Interviews: Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon
Jeff Pearson, September 23, 2010
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath

In preparations for this year’s MoogFest in Asheville, North Carolina, I got a chance to ask one of the more anticipated acts of the weekend, Dan Deacon, some questions. We find out what capacity Deacon most likes to create music in, the direction he thinks music is going, and even his favorite holiday.

Tactile Tracks: You are well-known for your communal tendencies of giving so much energy back to your fans, with Wham City, and the fan interactions during your sets. What sort of response have you seen to your innovative ways of getting the people involved with your music?

Dan Deacon: People, for the most part, are very positive in their response of the presentation of my music. I think it’s one of the things people look forward to the most is the presentation and how the performance will be structured. It’s the most fun part of me anyway.

“The internet has clearly 100% changed the game and it’s clearly 100% still changing. It’s important to be constantly adapting but also sticking to your original plans.”

Tactile Tracks: You have also been gracious enough to make your early works available for free online. In the face of shifting attitudes towards purchasing music, and the fact that with the tool of the internet, music is so readily at fans’ fingertips. Have you changed the way you think about the way you’ll release your music in the future?

DD: I think the basic goal of every musician is for as many people to hear their music as possible, from there you have the best chance of finding the most people who will enjoy it. I’d rather people download my older albums for free and hear them, rather then just be chanced upon by someone in a record store (I made very few of these release, they were all hand burned CD-Rs in self made cases).

The internet has clearly 100% changed the game and it’s clearly 100% still changing. It’s important to be constantly adapting but also sticking to your original plans.

“I really like performing but my heart is in composing. That’s what I love to do the most.”

Tactile Tracks: Speaking on your music, what artists and sounds most have shaped the way you create your music? Is there an artist playing MoogFest that you would cite as a big influence?

DD: DEVO. I dont think there is anything else to say.

Tactile Tracks: Other than influences, what MoogFest artists are you most excited to share the bill with? Any “can’t-miss” acts you can clue us in on?

DD: Emeralds and Javelin are really great bands. I hope I get to catch their sets.

Tactile Tracks: You’ve managed to stay under the radar, for the most part, while gaining huge critical acclaim and pushing the boundaries musically. In a time when album sales are a fairly innacurate guage on success, and the most truly talented and innovative artists typically see very little commercial success, would you consider your career successful up to this point? What is your measure of success?

DD: I’m really happy with where I am at, as an artist. I’m just happy that people come to my shows and enjoy my music. That’s the bottom line. It’s nice to be able to support myself with my work.

Tactile Tracks: With your infamous Round Robin tour last year, and huge late night set at Bonnaroo, you’ve had some surely memorable moments onstage. Can you recall a personal favorite memory from while on tour?

DD: The last night of my first tour with the Dan Deacon Ensemble is a really wonderful memory for me. It was a great show and a really life changing tour that I will never forget. Nothing insane happened that night, it was just a solid show, ending a really grueling 8 week tour with 20 people on a school bus. It felt great.

Tactile Tracks: Very few artists create as much as you do in a live setting. Which environment of creation do you prefer: the studio or the stage?

DD: They are both very different. I really like performing but my heart is in composing. That’s what I love to do the most.

Tactile Tracks: Halloween is my personal favorite holiday, with the crisp fall air and beautiful colors, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than MoogFest. What is your favorite holiday, and what would be your perfect version of said holiday?

DD: Thanksgiving is the shit.

Tactile Tracks: Finally, the readers are dying to know: when will you make the upgrade to an iPod Nano?

DD: I’m already doing it in several alternate realities.

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