Dan Deacon on the impending U.S. election

Baltimore composer/musician Dan Deacon’s latest record, America, was inspired by both the beauty and sadness of his nation (the U.S., as it’s more accurately known). During our interview two weeks ago, he shared his feelings about the presidential race that comes to a close tomorrow.

Dan Deacon, proud American most of the time

Dan Deacon crafts music that’s beautiful enough to fill you with awe and energetic enough to work out to. His latest album is America, and our discussion of its concept segued into talk about Obama vs. Romney, and what it all means. (Read about Dan Deacon’s album and his free app, made exclusively for audiences at his shows, in the November print issue of Cult MTL, available at these locations.)

Lorraine Carpenter: How do you feel about “America” during election season?

Dan Deacon: It’s slightly horrifying. In Arizona, for example, there’s a referendum to reclaim all this federal land for the state. The Grand Canyon’s there. I’d be kind of horrified if the Grand Canyon wasn’t federal land and wasn’t protected under those guidelines — that’s insane to me. And there are many states, including Maryland, where marriage equality has been passed but there’s a ballot to repeal it. The Republicans do a great job at framing certain issues where the case has been closed and we’ve moved past it as a culture and society and somehow dredge it up again. It’s like, what the fuck are you talking about? The Democrats do the same thing. They’re both pretty much the same party — just different factions.

LC: But seriously, Obama or Romney?

DD: I think both of them are bags of shit, but I’d much prefer a smaller bag of shit than a huge bag of shit. There’s this delusion of choice. I think it’s important that people go out and vote and represent their demographic, but I’d rather they vote for a pile of concepts than Obama and Romney. But yeah, I’d obviously prefer Obama — he gets my official endorsement! The better of the two shitheads.

LC: As you’ve mentioned, every state piles on referenda. Is there one issue, apart from gay marriage and the Grand Canyon, that’s particularly galling or exciting?

DD: Well, in California there’s proposition 37, mandatory labelling of genetically modified organisms on any food that was made in the state of California. I think that’s massively important for the whole country, and the fact that major food companies are trying to stop it speaks volumes to its importance.

A big reason they make such a hoopla over the presidential election is because it’s such a distraction [from bigger issues]. It’s basically the equivalent of Angelina and Jen and Brad Pitt on the cover of a magazine — who is he going to choose, Jen or Angelina? It’s, like, fucking shit! Those state issues are ones where people can really have direct impact and feel a sense of empowerment toward their role in their system and their government, but I think nine times out of 10, people walk in with no idea what any of these things are and they either leave it blank or they just blindly click boxes, and that’s a shame. ■

Dan Deacon plays with openers Heights With Friends, Chester Endersby Gwazda, and Alan Resnick at SAT (1201 St-Laurent) on Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m., $17/$20

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