Image for Dan Deacon On Finding A Festival That FitsPhoto: Shawn Brackbill

Dan Deacon On Finding A Festival That Fits

Written by Cameron Nicholls on January 15, 2015

Dan Deacon is headed back to Australia, ready to unleash his new album, Gliss Riffer, upon willing audiences. He’s excited to return, playing rare solo performances as part of Sydney Festival next week, as well as upcoming festivals MONA FOMA and Sugar Mountain.

“I’ve played at the Sydney Festival before in 2012 and it was one of my favourite shows of the year so I’m looking forward to coming back.”

That’s a good thing. Deacon has struggled in the past to find festivals that suit his “experimental pop”, as he puts it. “Once I did a festival that was mainly radio rock bullshit — perhaps the wrong word, quite a strong term,” he laughs.

“It was just a lot of music that I didn’t fall in line with so I had some fans there but most of them weren’t. A lot of the time you’re just playing for people at the festival. And there were a lot of people there who were like ‘What is this?!’ I’m glad that I can still have that reaction with people but it was also quite confusing for all parties involved!

“So it’s nice to play at festivals that have somewhat of an alternative, experimental, weirdo sort of vibe. Same way that I’m not playing straight-up noise festivals.”

Watch: Dan Deacon – Feel The Lightning

Moving away from the orchestration and live instruments that drove his last album, he headed back to the computer for Gliss Riffer, experimenting heavily in his self-made studio.

“I wanted to dive deeper into computer music and I wanted to take the process of writing for acoustic instruments and apply it to electronic music. It’s not so much a recording studio as it is an artist’s studio for someone who makes sounds.”

Though he admits he’s far from youthful, he’s determined to keep up with and embrace all that technology has to offer. While many demonise the rise of streaming services or the fluid nature of the industry, Dan Deacon embraces the change.

“Think of it like a bacteria. A bacteria eats a living thing and kills it and then eats away at its corpse so its not dead anymore and that might be what’s happening right now. While that might be tragic to the current paradigms, a new paradigm emerges.”

It’s a paradigm within which he wants to remain relevant. It helps that he’s not one to shy away from attention. The video clip to the album’s throbbing synth-driven single Feel The Lightning features self-aware couches with a sex drive – what else? But behind the borderline concerning video is a song with a story that he needed to shake off.

“I keep thinking about how, like, when you go on a tour, and you’re like, ‘I did it!’ and then it’s over but you don’t want it to be. You want to keep going but its over.”

“I think about Lollapalooza a lot… It was one of the first shows where I was looking out into the audience and seeing 30,000 people screaming and I remembered it. And other times playing for around an equal size, and I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to go to the airport at 7 in the morning,’ and not appreciating it. I had this experience where I was standing on top of a mountain and all I was thinking about was my fucking laundry. I want to be able to not think that way. I wrote those lyrics in a really stressful time of my life.”

Dan Deacon plays as part of Tasmania’s MONA FOMA this weekend, and Sydney Festival and Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain festival next week. Details below.

Sunday, 18th January

MONA FOMA, Hobart

Tickets: MONA FOMA

Wednesday, 22nd January

Sydney Festival – The Aurora, Hyde Park North

Tickets: Sydney Festival

Saturday, 24th January 2015

Sugar Mountain – Victorian College Of The Arts, Melbourne

Tickets: Moshtix | Sugar Mountain Festival

Sunday, 25th January 2015

The Brightside, Brisbane (opening 8:00 PM)

Tickets: Oztix

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