Feeling burned and bummed, fellow Bostonians? Is the rapidly expanding pile of sweaty laundry you’re ignoring weighing you down? Looking for a fantastic distraction from having to haul all your stuff to the new spot come September 1st???
Providence, Boston’s adventurously goofy cousin, has you covered! TOMORROW, AS220’s annual Foo Fest goes down, taking over Empire Street with an incredible block party that’s been kicking for over 20 YEARS. Throwing around all of its weight as the biggest, baddest arts non-profit in town, AS220 has wrangled up a tremendous lineup of performers, ranging from hypno-ballad experts Arc Iris to kooky spooky Worcester psych heads Secret Lover to, headlining, the ever-inspiring and inspired Dan Deacon.
And when the Del’s Lemonade buzz wears off and you’re hankering for some AC, the wonderful community fair and street vendor tents are sure to keep you bopping all day, with offerings from the Providence Anarchist Book Fair, additional performances from the AMAZING Providence Poetry Slam, and the annual Mini Maker Faire all within the same block!
If the idea of drifting down south still doesn’t exactly have you scrambling to put together a crew, know that all of this is only going to be $10 FLIPPIN DOLLARS.
THE DEALS DON’T END, PEOPLE
Hitch a ride/bike/swim (??)/ commuter rail down to good ol’ PVD this weekend if you know what’s good for you!
In the process of hyping myself up for a THIRD FOO FEST IN A ROW, I had a swell early morning chat with the lovely Dan Deacon on coffee and film scores. Peep it below, then pack your bags!
Phillipe: You’ve been around Providence quite a bit over the years. Any places you try to hit up when you’re in town?
Dan Deacon: Usually I don’t get much time, but this time we’re getting in a day early! Last time we went to New Harvest, which was really nice. I’ve recently become very addicted to coffee and that’s a good place to dive into that. I’m pretty wiped out right now, so coffee’s just about all I can think of.
P: The past weekend you played Pickathon out in Oregon. How’d it go?
D: It went really well! Got to switch up the set a few times, changing where the focus was in each one. I’m in the process of ending one project and starting the next one, which will hopefully be the next record, and I’m starting with mapping out what the performances are going to look like.
P: So you’re playing different sets with different setups?
D: Right! It’s still largely older material, a lot of material I haven’t done in a while. At Foo Fest, I’ll be solo, which opens me up to playing some really bizarre stuff. Because normally, when I’m with a drummer or an ensemble, I have to stick with what that person or those people have learned for that particular performance. It’s been fun to try all these different setups; it opens me up to experiment more.
P: I saw one of your sets had you incorporating some kind of programmed player piano. It looked incredible, but does that mean you’re moving back towards live instrumentation in your records? The last one (Gliss Riffer) felt a little more firmly electronic.
D: Honestly, I don’t know? [Laughs] But I do love the piano and I love mechanical instruments. Since Bromst, there’s actually been a lot of player piano on my albums, but yeah, I think I want to focus on it more.
P: That’s great that you’ve been finding time to write; you’ve still been playing tons of shows this year.
D: A little bit. I actually finished a film score a few weeks ago.
P: Ooh what’s the film?
D: It’s called Rat Film. It’s an experimental documentary, kind of an essay film about Baltimore. It took up a surprising amount of time.
P: Where did you pull inspiration for the score from?
D: Mostly the film itself. The nice part about scoring a film is that you’re accompanying something that’s already fully formed. As far as other music goes I’ve been going back to a Philip Glass record called North Star. I’d been listening to that record for a while but didn’t realize it was a film score. The whole experience was a lesson in how having to be informed by pre-existing material can push you to write in ways you’d never imagined before.
P: Any fellow Baltimorean artists you’re hyped about right now?
D: Abdu Ali for sure. He’s going to be the name coming out of Baltimore on an international level very soon; amazing performer. Chiffon, they’re great performers too. James Nasty…I’m having trouble remembering names, but their shows always get me excited. I don’t have much of a problem still going out to shows at night, buying a little bit of today’s fun with tomorrow’s sleep.
P: With your own shows, have you managed to start feeling comfortable up there on stage with your act?
D: NOOOOO [Laughs] The set’s always morphing and evolving and it involves technology and airplanes. There’s something always about to fuck up or fucking up…I’d say about one out of every ten shows goes perfectly smooth. But I like that, it’s by design, you know? I like knowing that everything can fail and fall apart and crumble at any moment. It’s not like the show has toes, but if the show has toes, that danger keeps it on them.
P: If you got comfortable, would you just be bored then? Is that why you’re trying out all these new setups?
D: I just don’t want to be doing the same thing again and again. Even a 5% change… if you woke up in the morning and 5% of your skin had turned into feathers, that’d be a pretty significant change, right? So I think about it as these small gradient shifts. Even changing something as small as how the vocoder works has these butterfly effects on the whole system, from how the CPU’s handling it to how they mesh with the light show. The whole point of it is that it grows over time. It’s not a play.
P: There’s no script for it.
D: …well sometimes there is [Laughs].