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On the Record with Dan Deacon

"All of the early Pittsburgh shows are kind of a blur."

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Dan Deacon
  • Photo courtesy of Frank Hamilton
  • Dan Deacon

This week, Baltimore-bred electronic musician Dan Deacon returns to Mr. Small's on the heels of his new album, Gliss Riffer. City Paper checked in with Deacon before his tour kicked off. 

You're leaving for a three-month tour next week. How do you spend the time leading up to it?

A lot of preparation. I'll get to relax when the tour starts. I know for five hours a day, I'll have nothing to do but stare out a window and wonder if something has been put on Instagram in the last 30 seconds.

Gliss Riffer is different lyrically than your previous records. How did that change emerge? 

I kept thinking how, as a composer, I try to manipulate every aspect of the sound. Pitch, amplitude, duration, texture, any sound you come in contact with. But the voice is the one thing that has the added layer of lyrics. The stripped-down instrumentation of [Joanna] Newsome or Dylan can really be contextually colored by the lyrics and their minimal approach to instrumentation lets the lyrics go wild. It evokes such imaginative images.

What was your first Pittsburgh show like? 

All of the early Pittsburgh shows are kind of a blur, due largely to Lord Grunge/Grand Buffet and Greg Gillis. Always a wild time with those guys, still is. Those shows were fun because they were so ... weird. Kind of felt like a parallel universe to Baltimore in a lot of ways. It's like Baltimore without the good football team, too.

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