Active Bird Community
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Active Bird Community

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

New York City, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"[PREMIERE] Active Bird Community/Primate House – NARP Split"

For all the NARPs out there (myself included so long as hacky sack doesn’t count), Active Bird Community and Primate House have given us a soundtrack to live by. NARP, the 4-track split between the two New York based bands, is laced with angst, drenched in rawness, and powered by talent.

Active Bird Community, comprised of Carter, Andrew, Zach, and Tom, are following up on their recently relased debut album, I’ve Been Going Swimming, while also being in the midst of recording a new one. Primate House, comprised of Chris, Devin, Josh, and Jeb, have also recently released their album, Feels Good To Feel Bad. The obvious chemistry between the two bands, alongside their unrivaled combined talent, makes this split less of a divide and more of a superband super-split.

The opening track, “Dead Legs,” contains heavy doses of dynamic vocals, interrupted by striking guitar riffs. The strength behind lyrics like, “when these dead legs come alive, all my bullshit will subside,” is both a plea and a promise.

“Longport” is the jangly follow-up track that follows a rat resembling, nameless squirrel who’s as mysterious and lonely as the rest of us.

The seamless transition into “Weirdo” is comparable to the level of grungy undertones in both the track, and the “weirdo you never knew.”

The persuasive power of lyricism persists in the closing track, “Seven Fishes”. “You need to separate and feel ok, reevaluate and swim away,” is convincingly sung and equally enamored.

Active Bird Community and Primate House have proven to be the coolest NARPs with this sweet split.

Cereal Pairing
Cocoa Puffs Combos, for that perfectly complementary thing. - Cereal and Sounds

"Active Bird Community- "I've Been Going Swimming""

We’re really glad Active Bird Community has given ABC a way better meaning than ‘Already Been Chewed’ gum. Just as addicting though, these four friends have quickly turned into one of our favorite local bands. Carter McNeil, Andrew Wolfson, Tom D’Agustino, and Zach Slater met in middle school, and while the rest of us were just figuring out how a Master Lock works, these dudes were making music. With multiple track releases since 2012, an EP last year, and their most recent album, I’ve Been Going Swimming, dropped just last month, Active Bird Community ‘s journey has not gone unnoticed.

While 75% of the band is still in their senior year of college, I think we’re just as anxious as them for music to be their main focus. The 9-track record is the perfect example of questioning the future and doubting your decisions in the post-grad state of limbo. The relatability Active Bird Community provides listeners with stretches way past age, and creates a connection more on fear of the unknown, and ultimately being content with that very fact.

Lead vocalist Tom weighed in,

"While the first EP deals with saying goodbye to your hometown life and the relationships that were born there, “I’ve Been Going Swimming” deals with the next chapter. Confronting more diverse places and people, different problems and expectations, while maintaining that “whatever happens, happens” attitude that you can never quite shake. I think that’s what people will relate to the most."

Tom’s explanation of the record is brought to life with lyrics like, “they call it home because it’s where you’re from //and it sticks in your blood“, on “Inertia“. It becomes obvious throughout the album though, that needing to break free from that stagnant stage of unchanging ways is crucial – whether you know how to or not. “I found a plan // because it’s what I want” – and that’s really all that matters.

“Feeling like you’re supposed to be growing up, or changing somehow, but you’re still that same kid trying to figure shit out.”

Aren’t we all? Tracks like “Brookfield”, “Boy Blowing in the Wind”, and “I’ve Been Going Swimming” clearly follows the all too familiar, and seemingly never-ending struggle of finding yourself. Lyrics like “Who am I?”, and “I’m just a boy blowing in the wind // and I’m all out of answers”, combined with moving harmonies and sparks of angst, creates an undeniable relationship with listeners. ABC’s undeniable talent is also apparent in tracks like “Mr. Spins” and “Pick Me Apart” with sexy falsettos and lovey-dovey lyrics like, “I’ve got one thing on my mind, and it’s you.”

With quick instrumentals, catchy melodies, meaningful lyrics, and vocals that bring it to life, Active Bird Community has definitely created a clear sound for themselves, and we think it’s pretty great.

Catch them on Thursday, December 3rd at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn – it’s gonna be tight!

Cereal Pairing:
Life cereal and PBR for all of you who are now reminiscing on those college days and past ways. - Cereal and Sounds

"Active Bird Community"

Walking the line between simplicity and a perfectly condensed track, New York's Active Bird Community released the lead single, 'Pick Me Apart', from their new album I've Been Going Swimming recently. Having developed their punky sound over the past few years into something a little fuzzier round the edges their new release underlines some notable fine tuning. Quite aside from Christopher Daly's excellent production, songs are wound together tighter, the composition considered and frankly, brilliant. With a track that initially seems so simple yet so pleasing, it's hard not to be put in mind of Weezer, and coming from us, that's certainly no slight. From a sparse palm muted beginning, the sonic development across the song sees the introduction of new features, and the mutation of old ones at every turn. Bass, lead and rhythm interplay immaculately throughout, whilst devices like trem picking and strangled vocal harmonies add emphasis. At no point does the ear not have some subtle, fresh nuance to pick up on, proving that you don't need a long duration to condense the best of your sound into a song. Like Active Bird Community, you've just gotta be clever about it. - Music For My Friends


Pick Me Apart is the first single from the new album by the excellently named NYC rock band Active Bird Community. Not only does it get the coveted (pretty sure it is) RRP Recommends treatment, but we'd give it a super-recommend if we had such a thing. Kind of like an A*, except we wouldn't end up giving them to everyone and have to start taking them away again to stop the whole thing getting out of hand.

So basically listen to it, and see if you agree (you will) that the vocal jumps in the chorus and the tidy little surprise guitar solo are just two of the reasons why this is a great slackery sort of indie rock. And then go buy it for the princely sum of one dollar from the band's bandcamp page (link above). - Record Rewind Play

"Alternative Rising Acts: Active Bird Community"

Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.

We constantly feature notable indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview, the New York indie- rockers Active Bird Community:
IndieBeat previously described ABC as having an "off-center indie rock aesthetic, reminiscent of elements from pop-punk of the early 2000s but with a more contemporary and active edge. It's sort of an updated grunge for the 2015 alt soundscape." We recently talked in-depth with Tom D'Agustino, Andrew Wolfson, Zach Slater, and Carter McNeil about their take on alternative culture. Read on to find out more about your next favorite artist, Active Bird Community.

What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music? ​

I don’t think I can limit my musical inspiration to three albums or even three bands. However, when Active Bird Community formed when we were wannabe rockers in 6th grade, I think Enema of State, Weezer’s Blue Album and In an Aeroplane Over the Sea really moved us in a certain direction.

What are your fondest musical memories?

As an artist, some of my fondest musical memories are playing live and recording. I remember our first big show at the Knitting Factory; I think it was junior or senior year of high school. It seemed our whole school was there and it felt like for the first time people were really listening and enjoying. My fondest recording memory is when we spent a week straight, about 15 hour days, working on our EP Drive Like Your Kids Live Here. Our good friend Brendan Picone of Cosmonaut engineered and produced it. I remember one night in particular when we stayed up all night drinking beer and recording Pop Rocks vocal tracks. It felt good having zero boundaries when trying to create something. There wasn’t a formula or some regimented philosophy to it. We just fucked around until we made something we thought was awesome.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?

I’ve definitely become hooked on a lot of current Indie Rock bands. One of my favorite new bands is from Montclair, NJ. They’re called Forth Wanderers. I am a sucker for female vocalists, probably because I’m jealous of their talent, but Forth Wanderers really brings something special to music nowadays. I’ve also always been in love with New Wave bands like New Order and The Church. So, bands that are reminiscent of that genre today always catch my eye, and I love it when they can pull it off. I think Broncho would be a good example of that.

How did you decide to collaborate to form Active Bird Community? Can you tell us about each of your musical backgrounds before starting this project? How did you come up with your name and aesthetic?

We started the band when we were 12. We kind of all just learned how to play music together and we definitely learned a lot from each other. Our songwriting developed from just shooting ideas off each other and sharing demos as we got older. The name came out of thin air. We had a bunch of worse names before we were ABC..."Digital Dog Party". Come on. That's genius.

I’m a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe the New York music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?

There's a lot of really good music in New York, in the city and upstate too. The music scene in New York is extremely eclectic. I think that has had the biggest effect on our sound. Having all those influences so readily accessible is really exciting and inspiring. On the flip side, there are a million bands all trying to make good music so you need to work hard to distinguish yourself, which I think has helped develop our sound.

What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?

I have no idea really. It’s definitely more about what’s going on in my life at the time. When things are going well or just going, I think I write less. But when everything is shit and I feel alone, or bothered and I can’t figure it out, I sit down with my acoustic and Garageband and have a little therapy session. Trying to write can be really difficult. When I’m like “I haven’t written in a while, I should work on something”, it’s hell. It pretty much never works out and I don’t write for another 3 months. But when I get compelled to do something, pushed into a corner where that’s the only thing I can do, I think something realer comes out.

As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?

This is a huge debate going on right now and my personal opinion is pretty useless because of my ignorance. But I think social media, for better or worse, is very important. I still get sick to my stomach trying to justify to myself why 10,000 likes on Facebook somehow makes a band worth listening to or taken seriously, but in an age where everyone plays guitar and has a band, social media can be really helpful in getting your stuff out there and helping you distinguish yourself. I’d be lying if I said I don’t appreciate and rely on music sharing and streaming for my own listening. I think it sucks that bands can’t be adequately compensated for their recorded material anymore, but as an indie artist who’s probably never going to get compensated anyway, music streaming and sharing is enormously helpful to spread the word about mine and my friend’s projects.

What are you currently working on? Any new projects?

Active Bird Community just finished recording our new record I’ve Been Going Swimming with Chris Daly at Salvation Recording Co. up in New Paltz. We’re working on getting tapes made so we can distribute physical copies at shows, etc. Other than that I’ve been playing shows with ABC and drumming for Ghost King, ABC’s drummer’s solo project. As far as my own personal projects, we’re starting to write a new album so I’ve been listening to a lot of my old recordings from high school and thinking about reworking some of those or picking up where I left off with solo stuff. There’s something creepy and amazing about what you’re able to tap into, consciously or unconsciously, as a stoned teenager.

What can fans expect in your latest release I've Been Going Swimming? What’s the story behind the album title and artwork? What are your fondest memories in recording this album?

They can expect the same four dudes doing the only thing they know how to do. Wow that was cheesy, but it's kind of true. I'm pretty sure this the only thing we truly enjoy doing, and when our fans enjoy it with us, it means a lot. Expect a bit more variety on the record but also that familiar driving sound that I think our fans have come to love. The story behind I've Been Going Swimming is that I was going swimming in a bunch of swimming holes in New Paltz, NY when I wrote that song. But I think the title can have a lot of different meanings. My fondest memories about recording this record was seeing it come together, that moment when you take a step back and feel like "Shit. This is actually a thing now." Chris Daly is an incredible dude to work with and makes the process really enjoyable.

What is your dream collaboration and why?

My dream collaboration would be to work with Doug Martsch just because he’s always been a huge inspiration to me. I probably should have put Perfect From Now On in those top 3 albums… Anyway, he’s an incredible songwriter and I feel like I still have no idea how to write a song so maybe he could help me out.

Finally, a few questions we ask all of artists: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?

Currently obsessed with PWR BTTM's song "I Wanna Boi" off their new record. Definitely recommend Primate House, we grew up with them and their sound has really become amazing. I don't know why they're not more well known but their style and attitude is something the NY scene should definitely be aware of. - Indiebeat

"Daily Feature: Active Bird Community"

As stated in their bio:

“Active Bird Community is a four piece indie rock band from New York City.

Members include Andrew Wolfson (lead guitar/vocals), Carter McNeil (drums), Zach Slater (bass) and Tom D’Agustino (guitar/vocals). The four friends formed the band in 6th grade and have been playing together ever since.

ABC has definitely evolved over the years, beginning as a turbulent shoegazey act and shifting toward a more alternative sound.

The band remains honest in its depictions of a chaotic adolescence as well as the bliss and debauchery that often accompany it. Song themes span from drunken nights in smoky basements, to heartbreak, to fearing for the future (or choosing to ignore it completely).

Their live shows at colleges or venues in Brooklyn are definitely an opportunity to let loose as well as reflect upon what it feels like to stumble into adulthood. At the end of the day, Active Bird Community is just four best friends trying to make good, honest music that people can relate to.

Their latest release is titled “I’ve Been Going Swimming”, recorded by Chris Daly (Porches, PWR BTTM) and is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Soundcloud.”

How do you define success as a musician?

I don’t know exactly how the other dudes would define it, but I think I (Tom) would look at success as something you could make a life out of. Not being super famous or the best band ever, but waking up everyday creating something new and real, something the little kid inside of you would look at and say “Shit, my life looks pretty great”. Success as a musician is being surrounded by talented and honest people while being able to pay rent.

What’s been your biggest challenge on the path to reaching that success?

I think it’s exposure mostly. Everyone probably says that, but it’s tough out here. We have a great following on Facebook etc., and Spotify streams have really helped get our name out there, but the biggest challenge is keeping the hype consistent and playing shows that matter, for audiences who are down to clown.

Playing colleges have been the most fun we’ve had, even after we graduate we’re gonna keep playing those spots and visiting fans and old friends. Trying to be successful at anything is never easy, but I think this group can get some cool shit done.

What’s your most immediate goal right now?

Immediate goal right now is recording a split EP with our favorite band we grew up with Primate House. We all went to Hastings High School together and we’re super pumped to create something together.

What’s the number one mistake you think aspiring musicians should avoid?

Start small and work from there. Play rooms you can actually fill and don’t get distracted by offers to play big venues no one will come see you at. Go play your friend’s house party or that dive bar that you know people like you will probably be at. If you can, play as much as humanly possible.

Have you ever gone on tour?

I don’t know if it was a Tour, definitely a lower case “t” tour. We spent a few days playing shows in Boston, Philly and Brooklyn and it was a great time. It was in the dead of winter and we all froze to death but meeting all those great people and great bands was a memorable experience.

Next lower case “t” tour is probably going to be in Feb. We’re gonna hit up some schools on our way to Oberlin college in Ohio, so keep an eye out if you go to Kenyon or Dickinson or Oberlin!

What’s your favorite venue you’ve played?

Favorite legitimate venue was probably Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg. The sound was surprisingly awesome and it was just the right size.

Favorite DIY spot was probably the basement of the art building in SUNY New Paltz. Primate House helped organize that probably illegal show. Sorry if you get in trouble for that as a result of me saying that, guys.

What’s the most innovative thing you’ve done to turn fans out to your shows?

Most innovative? No idea. We’re not that innovative. Whenever we play in the Bronx, where most of us live, we offer a keg.

What’s your favorite online channel for promoting your music and shows? Has it helped you connect with new fans and turn them out to shows?

Facebook is the easiest but making statuses gets boring. I love doing these little blog interviews the most because I feel like people can get a better look at who we are/what we’re trying to do. I’m pretty shitty at the whole social media thing but I’m really trying to get better..

What offline sources of information do you use to learn about the music industry?

People who have experienced it. Musicians, former industry people, friends, family. The people that know you and know what you’re trying to accomplish.

What blogs, forums, Twitter chats, Facebook groups, YouTube channels, or other online resources do you use to learn about the music industry and/or connect with other musicians?

DIY Tour Postings is a good one on Facebook.

What kind of online resources for musicians would you like to see?

Something that can get bands of the same or similar genre, that would probably have a similar fan base, in touch with each other and play shows together. It gets frustrating when you play shows and half the bill is bands you wouldn’t go see yourself.

Who are the top 3 bands / producers you’d like to open for or go on tour with?

PWR BTTM, Alvvays, and Jeff the Brotherhood.

Going meta… what’s one interview question you wish was asked but never is (and your answer)?

“Would you like to make it?”

Here’s a bunch of money and resources, and a publicist.

Any parting words?

Music is hard — but it makes us feel good so we’re gonna keep doing it. - Showspark


Magnum Opus, May 2012

Imaginary Talent Show, August 2011

This Time. April 2012



As bands continue to play over the years there is always an attempt to locate a sound, solidify it and build off of it. Active Bird Community has done just that as its four members, Andrew Wolfson (lead guitar/vocals), Carter McNeil (drums), Zach Slater (bass) and Tom D'Agustino (guitar/vocals) have continually developed since they formed the band as sixth graders in 2006. The four piece indie rock band based in New York City has definitely evolved over the years, beginning as a turbulent shoegazey act and shifting toward a more alternative sound. However, ABC remains honest in its depictions of the struggles of adolescence as well as the bliss and debauchery that often accompany it. Song themes span from drunken nights in smoky basements, to heartbreak, to fearing for the future (or choosing to ignore it completely). Their live shows at colleges or venues in Brooklyn are definitely an opportunity to let loose as well as reflect upon what it feels like to stumble into adulthood. At the end of the day, Active Bird Community is just four best friends trying to make good, honest music that people can relate to. In the fall they released a full length on October 23rd titled "I've Been Going Swimming" and just recently released a split EP with Primate House titled "Narp Split" which were both recorded by Chris Daly (Porches, PWR BTTM) at Salvation Recording Co.

Band Members