Dan Deacon is a peculiar fellow. From his giant red-rimmed glasses to his ginger beard and indie electro beats, nothing and everything will surprise you about this New York-born, Maryland-raised man who's making some of the most interesting music on the market these days. Though he flies somewhat under the radar, fans of anything a little off-kilter – whether it's your typical indie whatever or something a little more electronic – can happily enjoy his tunes, knowing full well they're getting an experience like no other.
Knowing he'll be coming through town with one of his atypical live shows – he performs in the middle of the crowd with his equipment on a table near him – and that he's just released a new record, we caught up with Mr. Deacon and were pleasantly surprised that speaking with him is just as interesting as listening to his unique sound. Here's what we asked and what he answered:
Are you into anything musically right now (other artists specifically) that you think would surprise people?
I'm not sure what would surprise people but I've lately been listening to the score to The Master by Jonny Greenwood and really enjoying it. I also love Jazz Mind by Ed Schrader's Music Beat, probably my favorite record out this year.
Where does your inspiration come from when you're making a record?
The gist of it is the music is inspired by geography and travel, the lyrics from my awareness and conflictions about being American.
Are you constantly creating music and it just evolves into a record, or do you consciously sit down to make an album?
It's a little of both. I'm writing music the entire time but rarely finalizing it by recording. I'd like to change that up now that I have a studio and record while I write and see how it changes the process and outcomes.
What's your first memory of music?
A New Kids On The Block folder another kid in school had.
What do you think you'd be doing if it wasn't this?
Some sort of embezzlement schemes.
Where'd the inspiration to not perform a traditional live show come from?
It just sort of grew organically. When I first started, it was hard to get audiences to feel comfortable enough to wile out right off the bat so I would try to do things that made people feel more comfortable and relax and feel without inhibition. I'd also do stand-up-like monologues about nonsense, and that always broke the ice. I enjoyed playing on the floor and keeping the audience the focus, which lead to working with the audience, which lead to the app, etc.
Who's your favorite artist or group to see perform live?
Devo, Future Islands, Dope Body, Ed Schrader's Music Beat and Lightning Bolt.
What's the craziest thing that's ever happened during one of your live shows?
One time in Providence I was playing a warehouse show with the ensemble and the cops came. I asked everyone to sit on the floor and remain silent as the cops came in and I turned off all the lights. The cops were confused as fuck when they saw hundreds of people sitting silently in the dark. When the cops reached the middle of the room I started saying the "Our Father" prayer and then everyone else that knew it started saying it. It was pretty creepy with only flashlights lighting the room. It was an awesome moment.
I love your glasses. Where did you get them?
At Eyeglass Depot. It's a place by where I grew up. | RDW
Dan Deacon • 11/8, 9 p.m. • Magic Stick • 4140 Woodward, Detroit • majesticdetroit.com • 313.833.9700 • $15