Animal Feelings reflects on his favourite collaborations over the course of his career
You may recognise the name Oli Chang from quite a number of different musical forays – he was part of dream-pop project High Highs and his last electronic project was Theatre of Disco, which fun fact, was one of Future Classic‘s first signings. His latest project has been running for over two years now and is called ANIMAL FEELINGS.
Under this moniker, he’s dropped a plethora of different releases, both longer in form and a run of singles, but one things remains consistent – his knack for creating dancefloor ready tunes designed to make you move.
He’s got an emotive new single out called ‘Moment’ with the help of IRO on vocals.
What really elevates this single is how he’s managed to find a way to combine his love of the dancefloor, but also using the sound design to create something really light, delicate and nuanced. The delicate piano soaked in reverb behind the vocals heaves like a sigh and with the airy nature of IRO‘s vocals, it’s a perfect match.
Oli says of the track: “With this song we’re attempting to capture the feeling of letting go of all expectations. City life is so full of pressure that we put on ourselves and sometimes it’s nice to remember that we’re only animals who should enjoy ourselves a bit more. Even just for a moment.”
With a massive career bolstered upon working with others, he let us in on some of his favourite encounters and collaborations that he’s experienced over the years.
Animal Feelings ‘Moment (Feat. IRO)’
I first heard IRO’s sweet-yet-crackled voice wafting through the streets of Williamsburg 2 years ago. His voice sounded like a ripe fruit about to burst as he was singing to a crowd of swooning people on an autumn afternoon. We kept bumping into each other at cafes around the neighborhood which led to us finally writing and recording a few songs. Since I met IRO, he’s risen to fame, particularly in Brazil where he plays to crowds of 100,000 people. I love working with IRO because of his fun-loving approach to story telling. ‘Moment’ is our first release and there will be many more to come.
Fancy Feeling, Animal Feelings & Fancy Colors ‘NYLA’
I met Zac Colwell at various music studios in NYC and was blown away by his multitalented skill set of being able to sing and play flute, sax, guitars, piano, drums etc. On top of this, he’s an amazingly tasteful songwriter, arranger and producer. His music with Fancy Colors is super vibey. We bonded over our love for ambient music and disco. He has a very rare talent of being able to create music that sounds like it’s from any era – particularly the 1970s. In an age where synth and guitar music dominates the airwaves, Zac’s multi-instrumentalist approach is a breath of fresh air. Its especially fun when we chop it up like Daft Punk and Tiger and Woods. Our track ‘NYLA’ featuring the amazing Anya Marina was super fun to make and Fancy Feelings will release more sexy disco bangers down the track.
Animal Feelings ‘So High (Feat. Mammals)
Guy Brown of the Aussie band Mammals and I have a interesting chemistry. He’s a curiously sly dog who embodies the how he lives in his music. There’s a spiritual balance going on in our writing that embodies how we live in the summer surf and parties of Australia and South East Asia. We both love being close to nature and this manifests in everything from delicate piano pieces to cheeky disco bangers.
Theatre Of Disco ‘YOA’
My collaborations with James Brennan in our band Theatre Of Disco have probably been some of the most formative pieces in my musical career. Working with James taught me how music was more than song writing and production. I learnt that it was more about managing objects of sound in the way that they hit our physical bodies. I also learnt that the visual context of a live show was crucial to how the music was perceived. James also gave me the confidence to trust in my gut feelings and that current trends of music should be sidelined and stylistic whims should be prioritized.
Animal Feelings ‘Chemical Love (Feat. Nomi Ruiz)
I really can’t leave this without mentioning a few other crucial collaborative relationships – Jack Milas and working on High Highs taught me how sadness and euphoria could be simple, powerful and a way to find peace. Nomi Ruiz and I had so much fun making ‘Chemical Love’ and a whole host of other tracks that I really hope get released someday. Her messages are very important for the world right now – especially for the trans community. Judi Jackson is probably the most fluid writer I know and can improvise entire songs on the fly – new music coming soon. ATR31 (aka Victoria Chavez Vulner) and I have written perhaps the favorite song I’ve made this year called ‘Mean Reds’ – coming out soon I hope!
Last but definitely not least was my first ever electronic endeavour uBin with Jo Lamont. These were fun times and very formative years in the 90s where we would chop vocals up and make whole tracks out of them. We worshipped Aphex Twin. Jo Lamont is now doing very important work documenting rare South East Asian music that may go extinct when their creators pass away!
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF