Treasure Island Music Festival Interview: Dan Tracy of Deafheaven


The metal band Deafheaven only formed six years ago, but they’ve quickly gained popularity with fans of all genres. The band was initially just lead singer George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, but they gained three more band members (Daniel Tracy, Stephen Clark and Shiv Mehra) after the release of their demo. The band has since released two critically full length albums, 2013’s Sunbather and this year’s New Bermuda. We got the chance to chat with Deafheaven’s drummer, Dan Tracy, in advance of the band’s performance at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco this weekend.

TYF: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We have to first note that Deafheaven’s performance is unlike any other metal band. Critics say that it’s quite theatrical. Where does the inspiration to create such a show for your fans come from?

Dan Tracy: We keep our live set as visceral and minimal as possible, allowing George to interact with the crowd and bridge the gap between stage and crowd. We’re inspired by countless “theatrical” bands from Queen to Cradle of Filth.

TYF: Being a San Francisco based band, does the City by the Bay and it’s famous metal scene  inspire any of your music?

Tracy: We’re all huge Weakling fans as well as classic Bay Area thrash so to live in San Francisco is an absolute pleasure.

TYF: What drew you to black metal? Did some of the bands you listened to growing up influenced your sound?

Tracy: We were all very influenced by black, death, thrash metal and everything in between growing up. Black metal is special to me for its hypnotic trance inducing qualities.

TYF: Your music has also been compared to the shoegazing genre. Did you draw anything from that scene as well?

Tracy: We don’t limit our influences to any specific genre per se, although we do enjoy many “shoegaze” bands.

TYF: You guys have received a warm response with two back-to-back albums doing so well. How has the success felt?

Tracy: It feels amazing and we can’t wait to continue touring and sharing our music with the world.

TYF: Why do you think your music has caught on with music fans who may not necessarily listen to metal otherwise?

Tracy: Our sound incorporates many different sounds that appeal to a wide range of people. Most people can find something they enjoy about it.

TYF: You guys will be touring with Carcass soon and we heard that they’ve been wanting to tour with you guys since 2013. How does it feel to finally the tour happen and what are you looking most forward to?

Tracy: It feels great and we can’t wait to play with our friends on an amazing bill.

TYF: What are some of your pre-concert rituals before going on stage?
Tracy: No rituals really, hang out, have a few drinks and meet friends in the area.

TYF: What was your reaction like when you found out you were a part of the Treasure Island Music Festival lineup?

We couldn’t have been happier. Playing a local fest of that stature is super exciting.

TYF: Lastly, what are you most looking forward to at the Treasure Island Music Festival (besides performing, of course)?

I can’t wait to see James Blake, Tycho and Purity Ring.

You can catch Deafheaven at the Treasure Island Music Festival. For more information, click here.

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.