Avey Tare met Animal Collective's Deakin (Josh Dibb), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and Geologist (Brian Weitz) in high school. For years, the four of them swapped homemade recordings, shared musical ideas and performed in different group configurations. Avey Tare recorded the Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished album with Panda Bear, and initially released the recording on the band's own Animal label in 2000. The album is commonly referred to as the first official Animal Collective release, with Tare writing the music and Panda Bear providing the 'perfect percussion' (as cited in the album's credits).
After high school, Avey Tare and Geologist moved to New York City to attend New York University and Columbia University, respectively. Panda Bear and Deakin eventually moved to New York City, and the band became more collaborative in nature. They finally settled on the name "Animal Collective".
Although the band's output is, as their name suggests, a collaborative effort, with no typical 'frontman,' Avey Tare has been cited by the other members as being the 'primary songwriter' and de facto leader of the group. On the releases after 'Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished', which was written entirely by Tare, he has written at least half of the material, and for the albums 'Feels', 'Strawberry Jam' and 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', contributed around three quarters of the songs that made it onto the album. For the band's latest release, Centipede Hz, Tare confirmed that the album has eight songs penned by him.
In April, 2013, it was announced that Avey Tare had formed the group Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks along with Angel Deradoorian, former member of Dirty Projectors, and ex-Ponytail drummer, Jeremy Hyman. Avey Tare describes the band as "[a] group of three hippies on a road trip through the backwaters of 2013s rural music scene fall prey to a murderous cannibalistic band making..." Their debut album Enter the Slasher House came out internationally on April 7, 2014 and a supporting west-coast tour was announced soon after the album's release. Ahead of the album they released a video for ‘Little Fang’ directed by Avey Tare’s sister and featuring a puppet created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.