Photo by Ben Rayner
Dan Deacon looks like if the singer from Hot Chip had been on an intensive Krispy Kreme diet for a month. But he’s no slouch. In fact, we think he’s one of the most exciting and plain funnest things happening in music right now. His records sound like the Three One G back catalogue being played through a bunch of Fisher-Price circuit-bending machines. This is topped off with vocals that sound like the spring guy from The Magic Roundabout shouting psychedelic dreams into your ear.
Live, Dan’s music is so over the top and euphoric that it inspires spontaneous dance offs and genuine freak outs, sort of like an aural burst of LSD. He also happens to be the nominal leader of Baltimore’s Future Shock movement which takes in a whole heap of amazing bands like Video Hippos, Santa Dads and Blood Baby. These outfits share a skewed, electronic, noise-pop sound that they play at massive squat parties in a big run-down warehouse in west Baltimore which they have christened Wham City.
Vice: Is Baltimore really like that TV show The Wire?
Dan Deacon: You mean full of crack dealers and dropped bodies? That does go on but it’s not like the whole city is like that. There is a lot of space in Baltimore, lots of huge derelict areas and warehouses. Most of the guys I live and do stuff with I met in New York at college. That was where the original Wham City was, Purchase SUNY. We commandeered one of the dormitories and renamed it; it was originally called Outback which was kind of boring. Then we all moved out to Baltimore because it was cheap and we could all live pretty much for free. The whole thing just got relocated to a warehouse. Unfortunately, the cops evicted us recently. All the parties finally caught up with us. There is already a licensed alternative space we have been using but we have plans to set up another not-strictly-legal venue soon just to keep the spirit alive. Wham City shall ride again!
An outlaw house party unit on the run? It sounds like a trippy version of The A-Team.
The things we were doing there were only kind of borderline illegal. I am a fairly law abiding person. I am addicted to raw milk though, which is illegal in the US. You can get it from farmers’ markets. You ask them if they have any and they say “no” as they kind of nod their heads. You buy it in pretty big quantities and it is the nicest thing in the world. It has great restorative properties and probiotic bacteria and stuff, although I would not recommend it over here with all that foot and mouth stuff going on.
Animals seem to crop up regularly in your songs. Do you have a favourite?
I really like turtles. They look so wise and they are really slow.
Spiderman of the Rings is out now on Carpark Records.