There’s a philosophical debate brewing in the naming of Darwin Deez. Are they a band or a singular person? Darwin Deez, the frontman of his eponymous group sees them as both.
“You can either call it a band or a man but it’s weird to think of it as just one person. We’ve changed a bunch,” Deez tells the Appeal.
“Our lineup has changed a lot but I went with Darwin Deez because I wanted to not change my name too many times.”
Darwin Deez started from the ground up: the original band learned their instruments as they played with Deez composing off a 4-string guitar. Using that same guitar, some effects, and meager home recording tools, Deez took two years to complete his eponymous debut. The redundantly named LP adds yet another layer of mystique to the Darwin Deez moniker, which Deez uses almost as a catch-all.
“I’m very practical,” Deez explains, “I think it’s because my Venus is in Pisces.”
“I can be very charming but watch out,” Deez says with a laugh, adding, “I’m well-suited to write love songs. It comes naturally to me.”
Lyrics played a vital part in the making of the quartet’s latest album, Songs for Imaginative People. After relentless touring and a break from writing, words were what got the creative process going once more. “I started with the lyrics. I’ve never done that before,” Deez says.
Positive feedback and an all-in approach makes for a varied, thoughtful, and altogether surprising album. It was existentialism that inspired “Free (The Editorial Me).” Deez’s love of Nietzsche and Sartre (the line “When you lost your head/ And got in bed/ Cause god is dead” perfectly encapsulates this) carries the main themes of the song, along with a more pessimistic outlook. “I mixed in a memoir aspect with the existentialism; things I was bummed out by,” Deez says.
The video plays even further into the song’s themes, both musically and lyrically. Looped guitars and drumbeats stuck in a palindrome of sound set the scene for Deez lost in a moment of time.
“It’s a total rip-off of Groundhog Day, one of my favorite movies. It’s like our music: it’s fun, intelligent, and can still make you cry,” Deez says.
There’s more to Darwin Deez than moody existentialism, however. Thursday’s show at Bottom of the Hill promises to be one big dance party filled with familiar faces. Fellow NYCers Caged Animals join them, along with local soul man Marqiss. Tickets are $12, doors open at 8:30.