Post Animal Dreams of Sharing Beers with Bieber and Brewing Their OwnOctober 10, 2018
Having only released its first full-length album back in April, it's impressive that psych-rock outfit Post Animal landed a slot in its hometown’s most well-known music festival, Lollapalooza. That album, When I Think of You in a Castle, is an ambitious combination of ferocious guitar licks and gleaming pop melodies that pierce through a heavy psychedelic undertone. During live show, it’s not uncommon to see a mosh pit immediately followed by something that resembles an 80’s dance party.
In person, the five-man band made up of Jake Hirshland, Javi Reyes and Matt Williams each on guitar, Dalton Allison on bass and Wesley Toledo on drums is less raucous. I met them at a bar I frequent in Chicago called O’Callaghan’s, the day after their Lollapalooza set. It’s a humble, unpretentious place with a vast array of craft beer options and a pool table. We grabbed a table upstairs and settled in for an early afternoon pint.
How has the first few months been since your first full album release, When I Think of You in a Castle?
Allison: It’s been amazing. When we toured last year, we had the little CDs and things. We released all of our Garden Series as singles, so this is the first time we’ve ever had a full product that we were touring and supporting. It’s a lot different, because people have something to latch onto and talk to you about. There’s a greater connection between us and fans.
Wesley: The rooms are more packed. Shows back in the day had a lot of energy, but now there is like this new, palpable vibe for lack of a better word. Or mood. The shows have been consistently fun and we’re constantly playing better shows. It’s cool that it seems to be resonating.
Williams: It seems a little more ‘us’, if that makes any sense.
Hirshland: It’s the first time there’s been a piece that explains the band to people. Before, we were touring a lot of these new songs when they weren’t out. People would hear what was online, and then we’d play a number of very different songs. It was kind of an identity confusion crisis. Now, people now know what they’re coming for and how to mentally prepare for our show. Before, people were just getting to know us and probably only hearing “When I Get Home”. That’s on the more subdued end of our spectrum as far as energy or heaviness. The new album has a lot of heavy moments.
Reyes: We started pumping it up live a lot more recently, but that wasn’t necessarily matching up with what people were hearing.
Hirshland: It can be cool surprising people, but I think it’s better to have people know what they’re in for.
We’re all trying to build this community and scene, whether it be hip-hop or rock and roll or whatever.”
As a Chicago band, how did playing a giant Chicago festival like Lollapalooza feel?
Allison: I was taking it easy and not really drinking or anything, but, just because of the situation and the environment, I ended up getting stuck in these existential thoughts. The stage was at least twice as big as any stage we’ve ever played on.
Reyes: It was probably the most thrilling thing that any of us have ever done. These festivals hit a certain point where it’s beyond words. You cannot even begin to describe what you’re feeling.
Williams: It was crazy, because it was the first stage I’ve ever played on where there are cameras filming you and it’s projected on a giant screen you can see.
Allison: The pit yesterday was probably the biggest one we’ve ever had too.
Hirshland: I had my mom there too, which was a really good feeling. That was the first time my mom has ever been side stage at a show and it was Lollapalooza. It was amazing.
Allison: I showed my mom the videos and she was freaking out. It feels good.
Everyone in Chicago’s music scene seems really supportive of each other. What do you think makes Chicago so unique in that sense?
Toledo: It feels really humble in a way. There’s this sense of camaraderie and wanting to help each other. I think it stems from having a lot of pride about being from Chicago. We’re all trying to build this community and scene, whether it be hip-hop or rock and roll or whatever. Let’s all try and help each other make this city fuckin rule.
Hirshland: The other night, Wesley was at some party and Chance the Rapper was also at that party, which is crazy because he was just mingling with the people. Same thing when we used to go to parties before we knew the Twin Peaks guys. We would show up to a house party and they would be there. It would be a cool thing for us newbies to see this established band. There’s not a whole lot of separation—you can just talk to people here. I also think Chicago’s big and affordable, which makes it logistically a really good place for a band to start. You can actually afford your rent here and there’s a ton of venues to go and play.
Reyes: People hoist each other up. There’s that inexplicable Midwestern niceness, where people are just sweet to each other. That’s reflective of the music scene.
I think the same can be said about Chicago’s beer scene. What are some of your favorite local breweries?
Williams: I think in Chicago, I would probably say Half Acre. They’ve blown up. They have the most classic pale ale. They just make really good beer.
Reyes: I love Pipeworks. Ninja vs. Unicorn, which is what I’m having right now, is amazing.
Toledo: I like Half Acre a lot and Lagunitas.
Williams: Lagunitas was my first craft beer.
Hirshland: My favorite beers are cheap beers usually. Nine times outta ten, I’m gonna order a cheap beer. I think for breweries in Chicago, though, Half Acre is great. I love Goose Island. I’m from Madison, Wisconsin, so I’m really into Wisconsin beers too. There’s a brewery called Karben4, which makes a beer called Fantasy Factory. New Glarus Moon Man is one of my favorite beers. Ale Asylum is great too. They make this IPA called Bedlam, which is one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed is a delicious IPA. In the Midwest, there’s a beer community. Chicago and Madison are all in that same family.
Reyes: Since we’re venturing outside Chicago a bit, I want to say Surly Brewing in Minneapolis. They have this beer called +1. It’s pretty much just like Natural Villian, a gourmet Mexican lager.
Allison: This one I’m drinking is good. It’s called Working for the Weekend by Spiteful Brewing in Chicago.
Do you have a go-to beer that you bring on the road?
Allison: It’s Coors Light.
Hirshland: It’s a crowd-pleaser and works for everyone. Coors is just better. I like Miller High Life too.
Reyes: Whenever we’re in the South, it seems to be Lonestar. That’s generally what we get.
If you could share a beer with one musician, who would it be?
Allison: I would want to talk to David Gilmour. He seems like a very wise man that has been through a lot. Pink Floyd is legendary, and he took them to a different level.
Williams: I do honestly want to see if Post Malone is cool or not.
Toledo: It’d be sick to share a beer with Lemmy [Kilmister]. That would be unbelievably intimidating. He seemed like a really authentic dude.
Williams: Justin Timberlake or Bieber.
Reyes: I feel like Justin Bieber would razz me and be done with me really quickly, and I’d feel really bad.
Williams: Or, he’d really vibe with you and make you kind of uncomfortable with how much he’s vibing with you.
Reyes: I’ll put down Jerry Garcia, because I feel like he is someone I really admire, but it would be low pressure.
Hirshland: I’m going to stick with David Toledo.
Have you thought about doing a Post Animal beer collaboration?
Reyes: We’d love to.
Wesley: That would be so sick.
Reyes: Anyone out there, let’s do it.
Hirshland: Any of you Chicago breweries for sure. Twin Peaks did that Goose Island collab named Natural Villian. It was such a good beer too.
Williams: The concept was an easy-to-drink Mexican style beer.
Hirshland: They had an extra keg that they got to finish. I got to have a glass of it. It was such a good beer. I would want like Evil Twin in New York to do ours. That would be the sickest graphic design. I want them to do a Post Animal beer called Power Animal.
What are some local chicago bands you guys are listening to right now?
All: Paul Cherry!
Reyes: We like actually listen to his record a lot.
Williams: He’s incredible and so nice.
Allison: He’s interesting to talk to because his energy is so good.
Reyes: He’s caffeinated, really focused.
Toledo: We gotta be caffeinated like Paul.
Hirshland: Paul is a definite Chicago band to listen to. Also, Slow Pulp, the other band we toured with this summer, is becoming a Chicago band this week. They’re moving here as we speak. They’re from Madison originally.
Allison: We just played with Rookie too.
Toledo: Town Criers are up-and-coming.
Hirshland: I just heard some new little goodies from The Voluptuals that’s going to be releasing soon. I also got my first chance to listen to Bunny and they just had a great sound.
What’s next for Post Animal?
Toledo: We’ve definitely been writing a little bit. We’re probably gonna go on another tour and hit some different markets in the fall and winter. We’re definitely cooking up some new music though.