KCRW Exclusive: Dan Deacon – “When I Was Done Dying”

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Dan Deacon
saved something special for his debut performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic, the live premiere of “When I Was Done Dying”, a standout from his most recent record “Gliss Riffer”.

It’s safe to say the album (which is excellent) is his most accessible material yet.

I’ve always thought of the Baltimore producer as a mad genius wizard and everything he said in his interview with Jason supported that theory.

There were so many gems that the full interview (and performance) is worth a full listen, but here are some highlights.

On his process:

“Sometimes it’s just you know the song is inside my head and I have to like find a way to get it out.”

“I listen to loops for hours and hours and hours and get lost in the minutia. I think that’s my favorite part. Like, you know when you go to like a fancy restaurant and they have like hundreds of options and you’re like, “Oh god. Just tear out five of these — ” Like that’s my whole life. I just wish everything was, you know, like The Matrix red pill blue pill scene. That would still cause massive amounts of anxiety, but still I’d be like, ‘Thank God, you don’t have like a full gradient of pill colors here. What would I do?’”

On his legendary live performances and the audience participation element:

“I just kept thinking what is a performance? What is something that is worth seeing and doing. Since I was one person, and I was like well who can I perform with every night? And I started thinking about the audience. Now, the audience is the performance.”

“It’s adding risk and chance to the performance, and I like that. For the most part, I’ve performed pretty much pop-formatted music. It’s in four-four. There are songs. I’m improvising on the microstructure, but the macro structure is largely set. So by introducing the audience as a performer, there’s a lot of risk that can happen. It can either go amazingly or terribly, and I think the most exciting things in life are where risk is a factor. I think the only thing like keeps my performances in the room of experimental music is that they can fail. If something can’t fail, it’s not experimental.”

Dan was truly inspiring and I’m glad to see artists like Arcade Fire, who he joined on their North America arena tour last year, are throwing their support behind him!