Feathered friends: Active Bird Community launches fourth album

Still flocking together: The rock band Active Bird Community, playing Rough Trade on Sept. 27, has been playing together for 13 years, when its founding members were 11.
for Brooklyn Paper
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They have been Active a long time.

The four members of Active Bird Community are only 24 years old, but they have plenty of experience playing together. The Bedford-Stuyvesant indie rock group, which will launch its fourth album “Amends” on Sept. 27 at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, formed 13 years ago, when its founders were middle school students in the small town of Hastings-on-Hudson. The musicians have changed a lot since then — but they have always been committed to the music, said the band’s guitarist and vocalist.

“We took the band seriously from a very early age,” said Tom D’Agustino. “We held each other accountable, but we also praised and encouraged each other’s creative process.”

Early on, the band members were united by their shared admiration for pop-punk bands like Blink-182; these days their tastes have become more nuanced, said D’Agustino.

“Our friends and older siblings exposed us to more indie, experimental acts like Animal Collective, Why?, and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone,” he said. “Those bands didn’t necessarily influence our sound, but they definitely brought us closer together as music lovers.”

And the band members were ambitious from the start.

“We wanted to be rock stars,” said D’Agustino with a laugh. “We wanted a record deal with some huge record label, and to play the Super Bowl — but at the same time, yeah we just wanted to play a show outside of Hastings.”

The band members moved to Brooklyn, and took on the philosophy of “building a fan base one fan at a time,” according to bassist Zach Slater.

D’Agustino, Slater and lead guitarist Andrew Wolfson have been in the group since its beginning; drummer Quinn McGovern joined in 2016, and Slater says that the addition has given the group new energy.

“Quinn has pushed us to take more risks,” said Slater. “He brings a new level of excitement to the band.”

After the album release show at Rough Trade, Active Bird Community will set out on its first real nationwide tour.

“I’m excited to let these new songs stand on their own legs and express themselves to new audiences,” says D’Agustino.

Slater’s goals are a bit more modest: “We’re just excited to see who’s out there listening to our music,” he said.

Active Bird Community at Rough Trade [64 N. Ninth St. between between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 388–4111,]. Sept. 27 at 9 pm. $15.

Updated 6:31 pm, September 18, 2018
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