Deaton Chris Anthony is a multi-hyphenate, period. The Los-Angeles based trickster is a musician, a visual artist, a fashion designer. He’s produced for Charli XCX, Clairoand PinkPantheress, plusdesigned merch for herand collaborated withVans. The dude is also a painter. On his website, among limited edition merch drops, he sells giant Blue Man group and Shaq rugs, and has made a rug collection for SSENSE. He translates that sense of humor, aesthetic sensibility, and play into his music, which is a caustic joy box of homemade beats, emo-tinged guitars, and pyrotechnic synth parts.Deaton’s Dirty Hit debut, Sid the Kid, takes place in rural Kansas and follows a kid named Sid through some of the most confusing and best years of his life. Onthe record, we watch young Sid blow his hand off with a firework, go bowling, kiss, and watch his life come brilliantly into focus. These songs, in addition to being a surreal bildungsroman about a chubby kid named Sid, is a love letter to Kansas, where Deaton grew up. It’s also a love letter to his older brother, Korbin, who taught young Sid (Deaton’s nickname growing up) all about emo music. When we chat, Deaton recalls memories of blasting Dashboard Confessional, top down in a convertible, while drivingthrough miles of big sky and fields that stretched seemingly forever. That’s translated here, on Sid the Kid, where Sid worships his older brother and learns about the world through him. It also comes through in the record's sonics: this is Deaton’s firstrelease centered around guitars. It’s imbued with the big feelings that come from emo music as well as the trashy glitz and glam that was indie sleaze. To make the record, Deaton enlisted some friends. His buddy Julian Klincewicz helped conceive Sid theKid’s visual universe. His neighbor Mac Demarco plays bass and drums on a song, and also turned him on to some old-school recording techniques that gives Sid the Kid such an unmistakably naughties vibe. Ultimately, Sid the Kid is some of Deaton’s most intimate music to date. It’s funny (Deaton is always funny), but it also breaks your heart, makes you bop your head. It has an extreme lust for life. Here, we chat with Deaton about how this record came to be, inspiration, recording, all of it. How did you arrive at the sound for Sid the Kid?I remember going to this concert and seeing this shoegaze band or something. One of the guitarists was ripping up there. I had made a rule that I don’t use guitar, I’ve traditionally only used synths and work well withthat creative limitation. In that moment I was like, “Wow, I just want to play the guitar.” I didn’t really know how to play the guitar, but I wanted to make guitar music. It was totally kismet. As I was having these ideas, I moved into a new house. One day, I was sitting in my room and I looked over at the corner and there’s a guitar in the corner of my room. I had totally forgotten that the guy that lived here before had left behind a guitar. I was like, “What am I doing? It’s here!” That night I wrote five of the album’s songs.Where did you draw inspiration from on this record? I draw inspiration from childhood. I have an older brother, Korbin, he’s eight years older. This record is dedicated to him. We would drive in the country in Kansas with the sunroof open. We’d listen to Dashboard Confessionaland he would scream the lyrics, looking up at the stars. That’s where Sid the Kid takes place: rural Kansas. Imagine this: I was a chubby ten year old, and my nickname was Sid the Kid.
Korbin and I lived in this little shed in the middle of this forest. This shed had our computer, TV and all of our music gear. We’d walk to school nearby, and we hung out at the skate park and the bowling alley.Take my song “Behind The Lockers with Hunter,” where I walk into school with my crush, making out. I’m like, “Dude, I hated that school, I’m running away.” And all I have in my pocket is an M80 firework from my garage over at my dad’s. And I just run away. And I really don’t look back and I’m like, “All I got is me and this firework.” The whole story basically leads up to this point where my dad—it’s right around the point where it’s Fourth of July and my dad’s like, “There’s a bag of fireworks in the garage and you boys do not touch this bag.” But I light one off anyways, and in the moment of lighting it off, I hold on to it too long and I blow my hand off. What were some of your sonic influences here?My friend Ian who is in a bandcalled Train Breaks Down—he’s my favorite guitarist of all time—blessed the record with his guitar playing and I think it’s going to turn everyone’s head. Especially the song “Colors My Dog.” He also showed me “Early Stars” by Jejune which was on repeat for pretty much the entire duration of recording. “La Vie des Animaux” by Nuts & Co was another track I just obsessed over for some reason. It helped me bridge the use of synth and guitar together. Tik Tok was also a major source for inspiration. Just how fried it is. I saw this video of a woman listening to 100 subwoofers in the back of a pick up. The sound is unbelievably blown out that it just amazed me. Enough to try and recreate it on R34l Lie$.[TK DCA REFS]Early digital recording was also so important in terms of the ethos of this record. When we mixed the whole record we bounced everything to digital audio tape, which looks like a tape, but inside it are all ones and zeroes. The high end is completely crunched and aliased. That’s a sound and a signature that I hope everyone can get across. It’s the lovesliescrushingsound. It’s all DAT! Because that was standard. That was how you gave that crispy sound at the time. I was like, “If I want to stand apart, we’re going to go to DAT.” But here’s the thing—we went to DATand then on top of that we went to digital micro tape which is this completely obscure format which I love called DMT. It’s very indie sleaze. I also used an old Commodore from 1992 on every track on the album. The sound chip inside of theCommodore is called a SID chip, if you can believe that. What is the aesthetic texture of Sid the Kid? You collaborated on some videos for the record, I’d love to hear more about that. The visual language for Sid The Kid is a spectrum of color, texture, and emotion that skirts the line between modern nostalgia, and contemporary visual vernacular. Each video takes on and pays homage to different textures of the early 2000s childhood: VHS memories, Sunday morning cartoons, skate videos on DVD, old familySuper 8 films and reality TV. The spirit ofSid The Kidis one of rebellion and angst,
but also one of a constant search for joy and meaning. We represent this emotional balance through many varied mediums—in search of capturing the whole of childhood.Iworked with JulianKlincewicz—a multi-disciplinary artist, director and musician—on all of this.He’s worked with artists likeBeyonce, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Leonard Cohen, plus brands likeLouis Vuitton, MiuMiu, Acne, Calvin Kleinand Vans. The short film “REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES”is the first thing we put out and really starts to build the world. We shot it on location in Kansasasa trip down memory lane—tapping into the childhood memories, geographies and ultimately emotions of being a kid. We wanted to useangsty edge,abstract tableaus, poignantportraits, and surreal andevocative scenestocapture the frustration and freedom of being a kid growing up in a midwest town.Tell me about some of your collaborators here. You’re neighbors with MacDemarco, and he plays on the record. The song “Friends Don’t Hurt Each Other” is majority him. He really helped me make this record. One day we were talking and I was like, “I have this song. I want it to sound like a classic ballad with live strings.” This is the song about Sid blowing his hand off. Wewent and recorded at Valentine Recording Studios withDrew Erickson anda full quartet—I feel like this album coming together owes so much to Macbecause he really opened my mind. One instance that I’llnever forget was when I asked himabout the extremely beloved and expensive Fairchild compressor under his console. The Beatles box. Verbatim he said, “It’s the chef’s kiss!” And actually kissed his fingers like “voila!” I said, “I have to hear one of my songs through it...” He ran my track through it, looks at me, turns the big knob, and goes, “see!” I didn’t hear anything change in my song and that’s when everything changed with my album. Mac could hear something I couldn’t. That’s when I really dug deep to hear what sound really is and its nuance. Everything I love about the sound of my album was brought out of me because of him.