Animal Hospital began as a one-man band fronted by the modest and multi-talented Kevin Micka, but the project has since grown into an ensemble comprised of a small army of friends and local luminaries.
When he began performing and recording solo, Micka’s music was created by looping live drums, guitars and specially mic’d toys into a homemade soundboard where sparse soundscapes culminated into heavy, intricate crescendos with multiple tracks coexisting in harmonious chaos.
Last December, however, he took his project one step further, curating his greatest undertaking so far. Stepping away from his instruments and taking on the role of conductor, Micka handpicked 32 musicians and positioned them in a circle surrounding the sold-out MassArt audience to perform selections from the Animal Hospital catalogue.
“Anywhere you were in the circle you would see something different and hear something different,” notes Micka. “It was really great going through the process of deconstructing and analyzing all the parts for everyone and then see what they did with them. Most of the parts I had very specific ideas about. Some others were a lot more open to improvise off of, which added a whole new life to it. I never really thought about conducting before, but I really enjoyed it. In some ways it made a lot of sense. My brain accepted it in a similar way to playing solo — a similar thought process of steps to follow and execute the arrangement.”
A sound decision
Micka is known around town as a sound engineer, a consistent hired gun for friends’ bands and the most recent member of Neptune. His ensemble is a testament to Mi-cka’s reputation as one of the city’s most important sonic architects and proof of a unified scene in our underrated city.
“One of the benefits of living in Boston so long is that I’ve met and gotten to know a lot of these people from playing with them,” he says.