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Dan Deacon at Celebrate Brooklyn under the Prospect Park band shell

Checking in with Dan Deacon

The Brooklyn Paper

Musician Dan Deacon is an experimental music guru who is revered as a voice of unbridled abandon and creativity. His live shows are full of childlike energy, as he allows the audience to crowd as close as possible around him and then engages them in strange dances and activities. For his latest album, “America,” he sent a refreshingly anti-political message, writing a series of pop songs and orchestrated pieces that evoke more universal associations.

Deacon, who will play Celebrate Brooklyn, spoke to the paper:

Danielle Furfaro: You have made a career of making some of the strangest, most frenetic music out there. What is your process of writing and recording songs?

Dan Deacon: I think its fair to say the process changes from piece to piece but I normally start on the computer and build the instrumental parts up around one particular sound or loop. Then it grows from there. Vocals tend to be the last element added, and lyrics the absolute last.

DF: What do you think will come next?

DD: I’m not sure what direction I’ll go in next. Part of me really wants to make an album of ragers and another part wants to dive into the ether with no direction. I’m not sure which will come out but I plan on recording this summer.

DF: What do you like about Brooklyn? I know that you used to live in New York.

DD: I like how many of my friends live in Brooklyn. That’s my favorite part. I never lived in Brooklyn though. When I lived in New York City, I lived in Washington Heights and only for a short while. I’m too cheap to live in New York.

DF: Tell me how you plan on using cell phones in your concert.

DD: I was writing a lot of chamber music for audiences and incorporating cell phones in a really crude and basic way. It got me thinking about how smart phones were intelligent light and sound sources that can be controlled wirelessly, which lead to developing the app with several friends. We will be using it for my piece, USA, at Celebrate Brooklyn show.

Dan Deacon at the Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 683–5600]. August 2, 7:30 pm, $3 suggested donation.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at

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diehipster from True & Actual Brooklyn says:
First I'd like to say thank you to Ms. Furfaro for validating just how right I, and so many millions of hipster haters out there are about how talentless and pathetic the hipster art & music scene is; this thick framed eyeglass beardo is one of the best examples of it.

Its hysterical to see words like "pioneer", "career", "concert", and "process" used in the same article as this Fisher Price Toddler Xylophone f*ck. Are you kidding me? This beardo has done what millions of kids did with their Casio keyboards years ago but feels he invented it - which is always the case with anything a hipster engages in.

Although this worthless wannabe says his stay in NY was short there are still his friends and 1000's of these perpetual culdesacian kidults here that are merely place holders in normal working neighborhoods until the inevitable developers and corporations swoop in to really seal the gentrification deal. Then the hipsters wonder and complain about it.

I'll leave you with 2 videos to watch to see this genius's work. But hey, I'm just a guy who doesn't know what he's talking about and what Brooklyn is REALLY about. LOL, hipsters and yups are such easy targets.
July 27, 2013, 7:39 am
diehipster from True & Actual Brooklyn says:
Oh, I forgot - he also invented sweaters.
July 27, 2013, 7:44 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
I couldn't make it through either video . I think it supposed to be a joke. There is not a shred of music in either one of them, just someone holding down the keys of a cheap casio. Calling him a musician because he owns a keyboard is like calling me Usain Bolt because I own running shoes. The man (not positive about that), is a complete and utter fraud.
July 27, 2013, 9:36 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
I couldn't make it through either video . I think it supposed to be a joke. There is not a shred of music in either one of them, just someone holding down the keys of a cheap casio. Calling him a musician because he owns a keyboard is like calling me Usain Bolt because I own running shoes. The man (not positive about that), is a complete and utter fraud.
July 27, 2013, 9:36 am
long time resident from BK says:
You two old mooks should get a room. You're like the Statler and Waldorf of the Brooklyn Paper, but not funny.
July 27, 2013, 11:07 am
Dan from Sunnyside says:
I'm nearly 60 and wear a suit and tie to work everyday and can't imagine attending an outdoor concert like this, although my daughter jokingly suggested I go. But I do believe Dan Deacon is a very talented young composer — with his new album especially. I don't take into account what he looks like.

I've been married 27 years to a woman who thinks Steve Reich does not make music. She prefers R&B. As would most people, I imagine. But thank Christ for the niche markets!
July 28, 2013, 12:24 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
John Cage is a put tought to get up to speed on but Steve Reich, John Adams and particularly Arvo Part and making great music Dan. Forget how the guy looks. One should not have to explain art. As duke Ellington said "if it sounds good, it is good". I didn't say a word about how he looks, just listen to Deacon's work. Start with the links above. It is a crime against sound. Judge it on it's merits. He is a fraud and he should be called out as the phoney hack he is.
July 28, 2013, 7:49 am
pat I. from Brooklyn says:
A pioneer? Really?

I've said this before. I don't blame the "artists" NEARLY as much as I blame critics. When you have a-holes fawning over every piece of crap that gets put on canvas or CD, insecure folks will follow them blindly in an attempt to be hip.

I loved the old school critics - the ones that used to write for Creem, Rolling Stone, etc. They had credibility. To be a critic back then one had to know what good was.

Now...with the technology at our disposal anyone can offer comment. Look at us.

My BIL is in the process of finding a designer to help out with an ever increasing workload. 6 months into it and dozens of interviews and he's yet to find anyone who has firm grasp of the fundamentals, like accurately rendering the human form.

So blame the schools as well. They can't afford have a highly qualified professor who spent 30 years call b*llsh*t on some coddled, Casio wielding wannabe because they don't want him flitting out of the conservatory in flood of tears, calling mummy and daddy to complain about his "mean" professor.

Schools just want to take the money and run, knowing full well that:
A) There are no jobs for these tools

B) Their parents will support them in a post-graduate adventure to Brooklyn. anyway. So as long as they think they're artists, they are artists - because no one ever call b*llsh8t on them.
July 28, 2013, 9:33 pm
Pat I. from Brooklyn says:
Wrong Pal. If it weren't for self-professed critics, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and King Crimson would force this a**clown back to working at Borders.
July 29, 2013, 12:28 pm
Pat I. from Brooklyn says:
You make my point Elvis. I don't get him therefore he's too deep.

In other words he's obscure and hipsters can elevate themselves by slavishly talking about him like he's the greatest thing since 10 dollar eggcreams.

If the planets align and this guy somehow...SOMEHOW manages to land a commercial (Subaru, no doubt) or suddenly finds the one shred of talent within himself to write a hit song, people like you will drop him like a locally sourced hot potato because he maninstream maaaaaaaaaan.
July 29, 2013, 12:36 pm
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
Believe it or not, I am a fan of Dan Deacon. I also am a fan of John Cage. Deacon has his own voice that is clearly distinguishable from all the rest, and though it is not everyone's cup of tea, that is no reason to trash him completely as untalented and worthless. And I believe he still lives in Baltimore, one of the less hip places to live on Earth! He's wise to stay out of Brooklyn.
July 29, 2013, 6:26 pm

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