Dan Deacon: The Avant-Garde Pop Artist Feels "Out of Place" Everywhere He Goes
That's the thing about you -- I don't even think of you as a musician, I think of you as so many other things first. Like, a creative force in itself. Your music is the best part, obviously, but you're pretty layered. Do you think music genres are irrelevant these days?
I think genres get more and more irrelevant and I think more and more instrumentation is becoming more prevalent. To think of the way people injest music these days, especially when they're just being exposed to music, very young people in middle school or junior high are discovering "weird" music for the first time or music that's not just on the radio. Starting to really get into musical taste. I could be wrong because I'm not 13, but I feel like genre is much less important. It's much more about sound and discovery.
I remember that period in my life when it was important, when it was vastly different. The Internet didn't exist in the capacity that it did, and I don't even know if MP3s were invented yet. It's exciting to see as people become more and more educated is the only word I can think of because the more you listen to music, the more you educated you are about it. The less important genre is to you and the more important sounds and ideas are to you.
I think that's starting to happen more at a more rapid pace. But who knows, I could be totally wrong. I could be homogenizing because there's so much on the internet that it's difficult to find what you actually like and what appeals to you. Maybe there was a Golden Period of the Internet, sort of how people look back at the West before it was homogenized with the United States and it had it's own culture and unique foothold on the world before it became annexed in.
The internet has that vibe where you can tell it used to be easier to find things and move around more freely before everything was put into channels and networks like Facebook or Twitter. But then again, you have things like Tumblr where people still have the freedom of a homogenized form and pass ideas around very quickly. It's an ever-changing game and that's what's so exciting about it.
Do you think it's weird that you're asked to perform in classical music settings? Do you feel out of place?
I kind of feel out of place everywhere I go. [laughs] I went to school for composition. Not that I have a background in clinical, classical music but it's definitely something that I strive to do and perform more within that context. I've been looking forward to doing more. I've been very happy with the outcome with the start and I've had a lot of great opportunities come my way and I'm very thankful for it.
I'm glad. I would love to hear some of the classical music stuff that you've done.
Some of it might come out next year. We recorded a piece over the summer with percussion with about 30 percussionists. We're excited to start mixing it this winter.
You've been on a lot of labels. Which one do you think understood your weird vision the best? Why do you keep switching?
I was only really on two. The ones in the early days were more just DIY style. I enjoyed my time with Carpark Records and switched to Domino for a number of personal reasons and I'd really rather keep it as that.
I'm still good friends with Todd who runs Carpark. It was a tough choice to make, but it was a choice I had to make.
Those are all my questions. Anything you'd like to add?
We made this app and it would be great if people knew about it because we use it in the performance. It synchronizes all of the songs and turns them into the light show for a portion of the set. It's a free app that you can download for iPhone or Android and it's been pretty exciting working with it. I'm excited to develop more stuff like it.
To me, it's important that people think of them less as phones and more as just lights. You know what I mean? I think a lot of people have a hang-up with phones. I myself have a hard time with the prevalence of technology on our everyday sort-of life. A lot of technology, anyway. People tend to like a lot of history's greatest hits. Especially since they're casting light, it doesn't require everyone in the room to have one, but if we reach a critical mass and about 25 percent of the people have the phone, it creates a really unique and I think beautiful spacial environment lightning-wise that wouldn't otherwise be able to exist, so it's enjoyable for those that have the phones as well.
It really annoys me to go to a concert and have people on their phones the whole time. But if you made the phone a part of the show, it solves the problem.
It is distracting. Culturally, phones are there. There's no way we're gonna remove them and people aren't gonna not use them so we might as well find a way to incorporate them into our work rather than pretend they don't exist.
Dan Deacon is scheduled to perform Thursday, October 18, at Crescent Ballroom.