Interview: Darwin Deez

Between songs on stage, Darwin Deez and his band have been known to break out in choreographed dance routines. To some, that alone would be worth the price of admission. But Deez is much more than just loose feet: his saccharine pop bounces around in your head and leaves you with a dizzying sugar high.

His self-titled debut is set for release in April on Lucky Number Music, and it’s a winner. We caught up with Deez as he prepared to embark on an opening gig for the 2010 NME Radar Tour with Hurts and Everything, Everything.

Owl and Bear: Your sound is very upbeat and poppy. What kind of music did you grow up listening to, and has it helped to shape your sound today?

Darwin Deez: First music I remember hearing was Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and Toto’s album IV. I never liked that Marvin song and I’ve always liked that Toto album. I liked to dance to music in my room and I still do. But musically, no, not really an influence, [just] what I listened to way back then.

Owl and Bear: In addition to your solo career, you have been known to bust some sweet ass dance moves. Are you the mastermind behind the choreography?

Darwin Deez: Yes, you could say that I am the mastermind. Although it’s not much more than “first thought, best thought” when it comes to the dance breaks.

Owl and Bear: How would you describe your fashion sense?

Darwin Deez: Just hipstered out to the max. I’m not into expensive stuff, though expensive is not hip in my opinion.

Owl and Bear: Ace Norton directed your video for “Radar Detector”, which is interesting and hilarious to say the least. Was the treatment all Ace’s idea or did you and the band have your input as well?

Darwin Deez: The treatment was Ace’s idea. I came up with the Barbie Power Wheels bit, the singable typewriter, and the shadow-vac.

Owl and Bear: Can you tell us about how the band got together?

Darwin Deez: Friends. Greg and Cole and I all worked at the same vegan restaurant in the East Village. Mash and I grew up tap dancing together in North Carolina.

Owl and Bear: You are also in a band called Creaky Boards. Do you plan to continue recording with them? If so, is there any new material in the works?

Darwin Deez: Actually, Andrew did 90% of the recording for that project. I might do more though. I’m not sure. Andrew is currently undergoing some kind of metamorphosis, I think, so we’ll see. He loves to create, but he seems to be taking a break from music at the moment.

Owl and Bear: If you could tour with any band—past, present or future—who would you choose and why?

Darwin Deez: How about Paula Abdul? That would be fun, right?

Owl and Bear: Congrats on signing with Lucky Number Music. What does the future have in store for Darwin Deez?

Darwin Deez: Thank you. They are totally awesome. Just more of the same, at this point. I’m just trying to spread this flavor until everyone’s tasted it, and then who knows? I mean, I’m already starting to taste a different flavor in my mind but I’m not sure what my future music will sound like. I think it would be rad to produce other artists though, and assist on the arrangement and writing side.

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