Dan Deacon on America album

We get to know US musician ahead of latest release

Dan Deacon might be the saviour of pop music. In a world of increasingly gaudy and outrageous chart hits, the Baltimore-based musician has carved his own niche making smart, bafflingly detailed avant-pop that is, nevertheless, uplifting in the simplest way. Deacon’s latest album, America, is a thrill-a-minute ride – one largely influenced by his love of train travel – that covers the emotional highs and lows of life in the good ol’ US of A. We asked the 31-year-old auteur what he really thinks of his home country.

He couldn’t choose between Romney and Obama.
‘It’s so easy for people to forget how evil they both are as individuals because there’s someone who’s the opposite evil. If you were to sit down and look at just one of them and their platform on most things, you’d be like, “No way. Not this guy!” But as soon as you brought in the other one, you’d be like, “Oh no! The other guy, the other guy please.” And that’s the beautiful theatre of American politics and this two-party system.’

He still believes in the traditional American Dream...
‘I’m optimistic about the idea of America as a place where your beliefs and your ethnicity and your life choices don’t dictate your status in society. But I’m also not oblivious to the fact that that’s not reality, and it never has been. And that every day, while progress is made, there are people who are also eroding progress from underneath.’

…and he still loves his country.
‘You can love a dog who [messes] on your carpet every day, and I feel like that’s sort of what the country is. You can be supremely unhappy about it, but the whole point of a democracy is that you can’t blame the outcomes of government on the government itself, you have to blame it on the populace.’

He thinks the train is the most romantic way to travel.
‘The thing I like about trains is that you don’t see the route ahead, you just see it coming by. That’s awesome – to not know what’s approaching. And when it does, it’s so cinematic and just – there. Then it disappears and something else new comes along.’

He has a philosophical attitude towards time management.
‘My approach to deadlines is like Zeno’s arrow paradox. If you shoot an arrow at a target, you can always divide the distance between the arrow and the target by half, so it never reaches the surface it’s trying to penetrate. So in regards to me, the deadline is always twice as far away as it could be. Do you know what I mean?’
America is out now. www.dandeacon.com.

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