Abby Portner on Drawlings, Rings, and making art for Animal Collective

Sunday, December 21, 2008

photo credit: Joey Gallagher

Abby Portner is rad for more than one reason. She is a member of the spirally minded all girl trio Rings, makes artwork for her brother Avey Tare's band Animal Collective, and also holds it down with her own project titled Drawlings. I asked her some questions about the goings on as of late.

Gaurav: How long have you been playing in Rings?
Abby: I have been playing in rings for three years now I think? i started playing with kate and nina three summers ago before we played midi festival in the south of france. i think that was 2006

G: How did you end up playing in the band? Were you friends with Nina and Kate when the band was First Nation?
A: They asked me to jam with them during the summer of after melissa (from telepathe) had stopped playing with them. I had known both of them for awhile. we would just play and hang out at kates apt a couple times a week. it was still called first nation then. I knew them pretty well but not that well. They had been asked to play at midi in august and they asked me if i wanted to come with them. We all had the best time. vacation/tour in france for ten days. after that I just kept playing with them. We have all become much closer. now their my sisters.

G: Tell us a little bit about Drawlings. What is your live setup like?
A: Drawlings started this past summer as a side thing for me to work on while we were not working on rings stuff that much. I kind of started it to relate my art to my music more and also express other things in my music that come out only when you are working solo. I guess its more personal. I kinda had a weird year so i wanted to make drawlings to express some of that. even the name is personal. that is how i say drawing? with an L and i have done it since i was little and its never changed. so its kinda about life things if that makes sense. kinda like my drawings. It has a scary kid vibe like my drawings. My live set up is a keyboard a sampler an an 8 track with some backing tracks i pre record. that is how it is right now at least. nina has also played flute with me in shows before. which is fun and different than rings.

G: The video for "Wolfie's Christmas" is so rad (see below!)! Are you planning to release anything under the Drawlings moniker?
A: Thanks yea i released wolfies christmas on a paw tracks 7 inch. my brother recorded it it was alot of fun to work with him. the other side is kria brekken and antony from antony and the johnsons. I think i will record the songs i have now, and that i play live. Im not sure when but it will come out on paw-tracks sometime in the near future.

Is that Portner family footage?
A: The video is footage from my trip/tour to europe this summer and old family footage. It is a mixture of my old family footage but from before i was born and also old family footage of joey's who directed the video. It is footage from the sixties and seventies and then paris this summer layered together. Joey did a really good job with it.

G: How long have you been making artwork for Animal Collective?
A: oh man for awhile. i have done old posters since they started when we were in high school. and then up untill now

G: Is that something your brother approached you about or was it one of the other guys in the band? Did you work on any new stuff for their upcoming tour or new record Merriweather Post Pavillion?
A: all of them i guess.I have known them since i was little so it wasnt really like a business transaction or anything. They are all family. they have always been into what i make and really supportive of me so i just started making more and more things for them. record covers, i do all the shirts and merch for them. i didnt work on the new record art at all but i did all the latest tour posters and merch.

G: Does making art and playing drums in Rings round out a full time commitment for you?
A: yea it does time wise but not money wise. i still work full time. I am making boards for alien workshop right now which is amazing and fun. i wish i only had to do things like that but i still work. someday maybe.

G: What NYC bands have you been into as of late?
A: hmh friends bands. IUD and Extreme Violence i think are some of my favorite bands right now. lady bands.

G: Who is your favorite 'new' band?
A: i think Girls from SF I think they are doing the most fun positive music right now. And they are super talented dudes.

G: When can we expect new music from Rings?
A: soon i hope. We took some time off but were coming back we just started to make new songs, we are going to try and record early next year.

G: What is the last book you read?
A: london the biography

G: What is the last film you watched?
A: i have been watching pretty silly ones lately taking it back. scroodged, back to the future, gremlins. its kinda nostalgic and nice.


You can buy music by Rings, Drawlings, and Animal Collective by pointing your browser to the Paw Tracks store.

Drawlings is opening for Animal Collective at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on January 21st, 2009.


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posted by Gaurav, 4:41 PM


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