BUSAN, South Korea, Dan Deacon is capping off his tour of Asia with a visit to Seoul and Busan this weekend. Deacon studied at the conservatory of music at SUNY Purchase, and later went on to graduate with a degree in electro-acoustic and computer music composition.
Deacon has gone on to release eight albums, performed across the globe, and scored the most recent Francis Ford Coppola film ‘Twixt’ – not bad for an artist that's frequently described as “portly, bald and bearded”. His cute ‘n cuddly appearance belies the compelling force of his live shows, which involve mandatory audience participation, wild antics and a guaranteed fun time. As he explains:
“(The) music strives to take contemporary experimental composition and electronic music out of the circle of the esoteric intellectual gangs and hipster communities, placing it into the more informal “fun time.” His high-energy performances consist of structured material performed with Casio keyboard, computer, vocoder and many whosits and whatsits to process (my) voice and signal generator.”
It’s noise pop at its most jolly. And Deacon makes sure of this by conducting the audience and acting as a sort of “dance curator” – organising the crowd into a large circle, picking volunteers to dance, and creating human tunnels and dance spirals. Passively observing is simply not an option, and thank goodness for that- on listening to his synthy, trippy, jingles you realise that it’s infectiously dancey- perfectly suited to any energy enthusiast. Ever the innovator, Deacons particular style was borne out of his observation that electronic musicians lack the theatric element that usually makes live shows so exciting
“I just try to use as many elements of performance as possible, and the audience is a huge element of any performance,” he said. “So involving them and using the venue both as compositional and performance elements helps to create an experience unique to that night. And I guess the main reason is because it’s fun.”
Deacon is not only an engaging musician, but an art aficionado too. Having formed the influential Wham City art and music collective. He has a strong focus on DIY and community projects, as he explains: “I think it’s mainly for people who do as much as possible on their own or within their own core group without outsourcing. Like booking their own tours, making their own CD’s, silk-screening their own shirts, finding the venues and contacting the people who run the space. Normally they are house shows. A house venue would be considered a DIY venue, because they are putting on the venue without any funding. They don’t serve alcohol so it’s not like they are making any money.”
This DIY aspect has seen him go from touring around America in a rented bus, surviving only on canned vegetables, to touring the USA, Europe, Australia, and most recently Asia, as well as playing festivals SXSW, Coachella, Pitchfork Music festival, and Bonnaroo.
Come get down with Dan Deacons Rowdy fun fest this Friday in Bunsan and Saturday in Seoul.
-Busan @ Vinyl Underground: Doors open at 10pm, tickets cost KRW 18,000 advance, and KRW 25,000 at the door.
-Seoul @ Rolling Hall: Doors open at 1130pm, tickets cost KRW 25,000 advance, and KRW 30,000 at the door