Dan Deacon is one of those artists I’ve been following for a long, long time. Over a decade, to be precise. In fact, he was responsible for getting me into the glamorous, lucrative world of music journalism in the first place.
It was 2007 when Dan Deacon toured Britain for the first time. He was barely known over here back then, but thanks to a friend whose taste gravitated towards the weirder corners of the internet, I was familiar with early releases like Meetle Mice and Twacky Cats, as well as his infamous appearance on breakfast news show NBC Morning (see below). I was running a fanzine at the time, and while it wasn’t particularly music-focused I thought Deacon would be a perfect fit for it – so when the tour was announced I got in touch with his PR and arranged an interview.
And so began a lengthy, successful, inspirational and widely celebrated career… for Dan. His increasingly complex and ambitious compositions have resulted in acclaimed albums like 2012’s America and last year’s Gliss Riffer, yet he’s never lost the spirited sense of fun that makes every one of his gigs such a sweaty, barrier-breaking delight. His shows are so notorious these days that his booking agent’s phone must have melted into goo – his last tour was opening for Miley flipping Cyrus for pity’s sake.
So it’s something of a coup that our favourite London arts and music festival Convergence, which launches right about now, has secured Dan Deacon as their first ever artist in residence. This means he’ll not only be headlining Village Underground next Thursday, alongside Luke Abbott, Jack Wyllie and Laurence Pike’s Szun Waves, but will also be in conversation with Mary Anne Hobbs earlier in the day, preceded by a free Masterclass with Guildhall Young Arts Academy at the Barbican Fountain Room this Sunday. As someone who was lucky enough to be inspired by his infectious enthusiasm and maverick creativity way back in 2007 (and on many occasions since), I can guarantee you that all of these events will be damn fabulous. Frankly a Dan Deacon performance is a rite of passage for any inquisitive music fan.
Day Two is similarly exciting, opening with a masterclass by The Invisible’s Dave Okumu, a man whose talent and love of music has made an indelible mark on the London scene, before a data-crunching experience hosted by tech-arts collective seeper, technology-fuelled projects by multi-media artists The Light Surgeons, and a presentation by Google Lab’s new digital publishing initiative Editions at Play. Heady stuff.
Day Three looks an essential date for creative artists of all stripes. First of all streaming behemoth Spotify will be revealing some of the secrets behind their personalised Discover Weekly playlists, before digital arts collective onedotzero introduce a selection of people developing work that utilises Virtual Reality. Hopefully Dr. Lawrence Angelo isn’t one of them.
More technological wizardry follows with a workshop run by innovative design academy Makerveristy, before a fascinating-sounding talk by 1000bpm on the history of Cymatics, exploring the patterns created by sound waves. The Light Surgeons and Scanner then wrap things up with an exclusive live collaborative performance.
There are also exhibitions at the Great Eastern Wall Gallery and Village Underground, and a whole host of other treats for you to stuff into your eye sockets. Check the Visual Arts section for full details.
Words: Kier Wiater Carnihan
Photo: Frank Hamilton