Dan Deacon to riff Republic with innovative show

Alec Schwartzman, Print Arcade Editor

Despite releasing countless critically acclaimed albums, Dan Deacon has always been most celebrated as a performer. Touring tirelessly for the better part of a decade, Deacon has pioneered the interactive electronic show where audience participation plays an essential part of the performance. In support of his newest release “Gliss Riffer,” Deacon seeks to challenge live show expectations again with an innovative concert 9 p.m. Tuesday at The Republic.

“I have been thinking a lot about the stage,” Deacon said. “The first couple years of my career I saw the whole venue as a performance space, but I ignored the stage … Every aspect of the room plays a part in the performance and every person in the room can be a performer. I am trying to create a stage show that makes sense, I don’t want to just do my floorshow on the stage.”

Deacon is throwing out the book with regard to his past show structure. For this current tour, Deacon will focus on a new kind of experience. Those who have experienced one of his performances in the past know his penchant for experimentation. Due to his veteran touring status and dedication to the craft, Deacon’s fresh approach can only mean good things for future audience members.

“We did a soft unannounced test of these robotic drums that we’ve been workshopping for a long, long time now,” Deacon said. “The set will be a combination of me playing solo, me playing with the robotic drums and a large lighting and projection aspect. By the time we get to New Orleans, it will really coalesce, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Deacon’s new perspective, while surprising, did not arise without reason. His latest album “Gliff Riffer” has proven impossible to maintain the same old status quo. With an emphasis on synthetic soundscapes, the record represents a significant departure from Deacon’s past work, specifically his preceding album “America.”

“After ‘America,’ which was a very large-form process, getting players, arranging parts … I was so used to making music as a large-scale process,” Deacon said. “I kept thinking I wanted to make a record that had the sonic scope of ‘America,’ but make it with synthetic instruments and largely solo. [I wanted to] do it in the process with the electronic instruments recorded in a way formed by my previous acoustic recordings, though.”

The new Deacon sound relied on single-chord recordings-inspired vintage dance music, particularly albums by distinguished bands like Talking Heads and Devo. Deacon bucks the trend of standard DJs you might see at a festival by committing himself to live mixing and concentrated fan involvement.

“It’s electronic music, but it’s not EDM,” Deacon said. “It is music that you dance to, but that wouldn’t get played in a dance club. It’s much more in vein with post-punk than it is with house. I drew more of my sense of what electronic music is, what movement-based music is, from the Talking Heads and Devo than I did from Aphex Twin or something like that.”

To fully gauge the intent of Deacon’s latest record, listeners can simply look at the work’s cover and title. The cover features a closing green-gloved fist with eyes on dangling fingernails and a long, looping tongue escaping from a grimaced grin. In addition to the cover, the title “Gliss Riffer” clearly displays Deacon’s affinity for aesthetic.

“I really just liked the way that it sounds,” Deacon said. “Like most things, I liked the sound of it more than the meaning. Gliss means slide, like when you slide your hand down a guitar or across a piano. It is short for the Italian term ‘glissando.’ A riffer is one who plays sick riffs.”

Those who witness Deacon invoking the “Gliss Riffer” are in for a truly distinct and memorable event.