Dan Deacon is known for his live shows, which involve a lot of crowd participation and general positivity. His unique brand of music is pretty niche, which could alienate potential fans. In 2015, along with the release of his album Gliss Riffer, he released a music video that captivated an audience that may have otherwise never seen his work.
Here’s how he did it.
1. The video was featured on Adult Swim’s “Off the Air.”
Adult Swim called upon nine artists who had previously been on the show to animate the video. It’s a collective masterpiece segmented so each animator is allowed to show their interpretation of/inspiration from the song.
Because the series already had a unique following, this was a perfect way to market the music to an accepting audience.
2. The style is slightly different from Deacon’s typical work.
In an interview with Off The Air, Deacon stated that he used vocals on the song because he had recently lost his voice, and he realized that it was an important instrument that he wanted to take advantage of while he could.
The lyricism is straight forward with its meaning. It’s a narrative of a soul leaving a body. This made the song perfect for introducing his work, which is eclectic and instrumental in nature, to a new audience via music video.
Here’s an example of his earlier work, which probably deserves its own analysis.
3. The psychedelic nature is enticing to share.
The internet is a host to many circles that appreciate psychedelic imagery and discussion, and this video undoubtedly did its rounds. The meaning behind the song and the artwork cater to these online communities.
It’s approachable as well, so sharing it on Facebook is less like sharing a work of art and more like sharing something cool but deep.
Dan Deacon took his music to another level by collaborating with artists and letting them interpret his piece as they wished. Sometimes, letting people who love the music express themselves is a great way to show it in a new light.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching youtube videos or teaching math, he’s taking part in a 500 person dance off.