Once upon a time in a past interview, Darwin Deez responded to a question about what made a perfect song, exclaiming that such a song was best described by Neitzsche’s “The Birth of Tragedy.” Oh, what a delight it was to read an articulate answer, and gush over the philosophical implications, to such a question that typically receives such mundane answers. I then contemplated and discussed the application of “The Birth of Tragedy,” which for those who are unaware compares and suggests the balance of two Greek figures Dionysus and Apollo, respectively symbolizing chaos v. reason. Such a titillating concept encouraged SFCritic to engage Darwin Deez philosophically in our second interview and playlist in a two part series. You can read the first interview here.
SFCritic: “Candyman” (Ft. Donavan Deez) from the album Wonky Beats
SFCritic (SFC): Do you ready philosophy? Did you take philosophy classes? How did you discover Nietzsche? What artist and song reminds you of a philosophy professor?
Darwin Deez (DD): I don’t read or study philosophy anymore. I discovered Nietzsche through my senior year English teacher. He had a blues band, actually, so BB King reminds me of him.
SFC: How in your music career have you been like Apollo? What is a song that reflects your journey in its reasoning, calamity, and precision?
DD: I think my consistent production style on my albums has been very Apollonian. Music organized clearly into genres. I think Pete Townshend’s song, “Pure and Easy” reflects this progression from genre to genre that I’ve undergone during my 15 odd years of making music. I like the way that song moves from section to section. Great guitar parts and chords in each, and a super dull 70’s drum sound that I adore.
“I think my consistent production style on my albums has been very Apollonian. Music organized clearly into genres. I think Pete Townshend’s song, “Pure and Easy” reflects this progression from genre to genre that I’ve undergone during my 15 odd years of making music.”
SFC: How in your music career have you been like Dionysus? What is a song that reflects your journey in its chaos and primal emotions?
DD: I think some of the breakbeats in my old jungle/drum ‘n bass music were pretty Dionysian. I used to just freestyle that stuff and record it. I think Dionysus is also represented in my old noise/pop stuff that was never released. I was going for the same harsh fusion of screaming squelches and lilting pop melodies as can be found on the first Animal Collective record, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (2000). I’m happy for that whole album to reflect my journey because it was a huge influence on my former self and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.
SFC: Is there a moment in your life where both the Apollo and Dionysus have been balanced? What song reflects this moment, or reflects your feeling if said moment has never occurred?
DD: Nothing comes to mind. I guess one is always in ascension over the other. “Every Day Is A Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow comes to mind. That song is all Apollo to me. Great riff and nice vocal harmonies though. Loves it.
SFC: A song like “Bad Day” seems at core like Dionysus in its emotional wish for someone to feel bad, and yet like Apollo with its rational conclusion “I’m sorry if it ever is.” Would you agree? Would you say that in your daily interactions you respond first as Apollo or Dionysus? (I will use “Bad Day” as this song, unless you’d prefer something different)
DD: Ah, well, no. I would say that the rigid structure of the song (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus) is very Apollonian, as well as the organized use of chords, the clear concept, and the neat turnaround at the end. The Dionysian parts are the high notes in the bridge and at the end and the long notes in the chorus. In my daily life I tend to process with much more Apollo influence. Have to be very careful with Dionysus in real life!
1. Darwin Deez “The City”
2. BB King “3 O’Clock Blues”
3. The Who “Pure and Easy”
4. Animal Collective “Chocolate Girl”
5. Sheryl Crow “Everyday Is A Winding Road”
6. Darwin Deez “Bad Day”
1/31 – San Diego, CA @ The Loft (UCSD) (w/ Friends)
2/1 – Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture (w/ Friends)
2/3 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s Alternative Lounge (w/ Friends)
2/4 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Downstairs (w/ Friends)
2/5 – Denton, TX @ Hailey (w/ Friends)
2/7 – Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Cafe (w/ Friends)
2/8 – Nashville, TN – Venue TBA
2/9 – Birmingham, AL – Venue TBA
2/10 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder (w/ Friends)
2/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Drunken Unicorn (w/ Friends)
2/12 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor (w/ Friends)
2/14 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 (w/ Friends)
2/15 – Charlottesville, VA – Venue TBA
2/17 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage (w/ Friends)
2/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie (w/ Friends)
2/19 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (w/ Friends)