The Skinny – Panda Bear – Cover Feature – April 2011 (posted by Harry)

The Skinny - Panda BearPanda Bear: “The guitar is still a real source of power”

Posted by Darren Carle, Wed 06 Apr 2011

Taking subtle cues from Nirvana and fatherhood, Noah ‘Panda Bear’ Lennox unveils his inner Tomboy

How do you follow up one of the most acclaimed alternative records of the past few years? Well, for Noah Lennox, perspective is everything. Whilst the bulk of critical opinion bestowed ‘album of the year’ type plaudits on 2007’s Person Pitch, his third effort under the Panda Bear pseudonym, the man himself has a rather more grounded view. “It was pretty shocking, definitely,” he agrees when asked if the reception took him by surprise. “When I first handed it to the label it was just, ‘Yeah, sounds pretty good.’ My only hope was that it would do a little bit better than the last one. I was hoping to at least have a slight upward trajectory with it.”

That much Lennox can feel confident in having achieved. The success of both his solo work and as one-quarter of Animal Collective has been as meteoric as it has been surprising. However, as is obvious during our trans-Atlantic conversation, having the proverbial spot-light in his eyes is not something he is entirely comfortable with. “I really don’t mean to complain in any way,” he worries. “I feel really lucky to have everything I have, but it is curious the way my life has gone considering the type of person I am. I’m very shy and reserved, so for me to have this public life as a performer is a weird thing to be doing.”

It’s a situation that has fuelled the creation of Tomboy, the album that will inevitably seek to follow in the success of Person Pitch. “A lot of the songs on Tomboy deal with those sort of opposites that are in my life,” he explains of how the dichotomy of a tomboy itself cemented the album concept for him. Does this conflict extend to performing under the Panda Bear name? “Yeah, I think it does,” he says as if the thought had never crossed his mind. “That’s another weird paradox, to have these two personas, isn’t it?” more…..

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