Interview: deelanZ

deelanZ, self-proclaimed “queer pop-rocker” from Salt Lake City, is known for his volunteer work with Utah Pride as well as his catchy, visceral music. Almost a month ago, he returned with a cathartic new single, titled “Snake In The Grass”, about being left by his boyfriend after falling into a coma, and Indientry got to ask a few questions about it. Check out the interview below!

 

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Photo by Jason Arthurs.

 

Indientry: How are you? What have you been listening to lately?

deelanZ: I’m grateful, I just got freed from the matrix recently and I’ve never felt better. I also got my left hand tattooed so I’m officially not welcomed back in either, my artist said it’s called a corporate career killer. My soundtrack recently has been “Joanne” by Lady Gaga and I also haven’t been able to escape “Froot” by Marina and The Diamonds, she keeps sliding in my head with “Blue”. Locally, there is some amazing music being made by Totem City and I’ve been obsessed with their new releases, look out for the queer revolution coming to your airwaves in 2018 ❤

If you had to describe the color blue to a blind person, using only three words, what would you say?

Blue, again. It’s a myth that blind people can’t see color, their 3D eyes may not work but that THIRD EYE is probably poppin, I actually met a blind man the other day & asked him about his superpowers and he said all of his senses have increased but he can’t do the daredevil thing. I would say “honesty, love, protection” – blue corresponds with the throat chakra, we gotta live by our word, we gotta be honest folks.

How would you describe your sound in three adjectives or phrases? Who are your musical influences?

“fearless, witty, and wild” I also call it self-help music…Mick Jagger, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, Old LDR

I know you’re featured on the soundtrack of an upcoming movie. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Yes, so stoked about that, our song “Fire Starter” got picked up by this movie “The Annual” that is being released this year in Canada & beyond, the director contacted me after finding the song and his concept seemed way cool for the song: “As the truck flies down the highway, passing cars left and right, that’s when “Fire Starter” drops. As the song plays Cameron and Paul try to share a beer in the back of the truck, as they reflect on all the decisions that lead to this point in their lives.” This whole song is about self-reflection, waking up, and living it up, so pretty stoked to see it in action.

The narrative in your latest single, “Snake in the Grass”, is intense. I know that you were in a coma in 2013. How does that influence your music?

I mean, it’s everything, right before I went into the coma my heart rate was 220BPM, they (maybe the same ones Khaled has been talking about) told me to sing my favorite song so I sang “beast of burden” by the rolling stones and thought to myself, “I am way too young to die like this, I have too much to say” and then I woke up a month later, at first not able to write or really talk or walk or anything but I was blessed with an incredible recovery and was injected with my lyrical inspiration to help inspire and bring the messages I received to the people of this planet. Snake was the first song I wrote after gaining my motor functions fully back as my boyfriend at the time left me citing the “coma was too much drama for him” and he is now forever the snake in the grass, haha, but I have since found more, they are everywhere really, I feel like everyone has their own snake in the grass or they are the snake, either way, snakes…

Can you tell me a little bit about your activist work with Utah Pride?

I started volunteering with Utah Pride in January 2017 when I walked in and asked for a meeting with the director of programs, Jimmy, to see how I could get involved. He was so kind and pointed me around the city for a bunch of philanthropic work to do for the community & this inspired my artist collective, “Salt Lake Cool Kidz”, where we focus on community activism, benefit shows, creating a community and empowering local musicians to grow and attain success, within and outwardly. The first project we started working on with Utah Pride was a DJ class for their youth program so that we could breed a bunch of queer kids to take over the DJ decks worldwide! But actually, they performed sets at their Queer Prom dance after a few months of training and it was so awesome to see 1000+ queer kids jamming to their DJ sets, I always wonder why they didn’t make a queer prom when I was in high school…This spun off into a bunch of other volunteer projects including a “Youth Drag Program”, bringing out Cupcakke for Youth Pride, DJing for their events, and our current project “NoH8 Pride 2018”. We have had severe issues with the Westboro Baptist Church Zealots who come every year by the busload to spread hate and last year it got so bad they were spitting and throwing bottles at some of the trans kids that I work with. This inspired me to create some sort of “hate-free” atmosphere without impeding people’s free speech, we came up with a plan & its so good, but I can’t tell you because then the WBCZ folks are gonna come prepared with a backup plan, it’s gonna be big though & it will revolutionize the concept of free-hate-speech at events like this worldwide. music trumps all hate, bye Felicia.

How does both that volunteer work and your identity influence your music?

They are very synonymous, I once said “authenticity is killing us all” and I will stand by that until my last breath or until the solar flare hits and we all magically become our authentic selves. After the coma, I was trying to decide if I should become an author, a preacher, or a musician to share all of the good word I was receiving in my head, so I decided to combine all three. I am a queer artist & activist but that isn’t where the line gets drawn, I am here for the people, even the haters, to bring the message of love to all ❤ shout out cardi b

What’s next for you? Do you have any other releases planned that you can tell me about?

I’m getting together with my band next week & we are going on a road trip up the west coast through the PNW to explore and work on music. I had originally planned on releasing a single every month this year but now I’ve been given an album worth of inspiration over the last few weeks so I’m going to go after finishing my debut LP as I drop these singles. There is a big tune that I am working on with a very special queer artist for this year’s pride called “We Are Strong” and I wrote it the morning after the Pulse Shooting as I was crying on the airplane. We will be filming the video at pride and releasing the song with all proceeds benefiting “OnePulseFoundation” – can’t wait to share it with the world. I also want to contribute to ending the gay genocide in Chechnya, bring my music to oppressed countries and probably get banned like gaga, not katy perry, and help inspire the queer community to not fight each other in 2018+ as gaga said “Everybody’s got to love each other, Stop throwing stones at your sisters and your brothers, Man, it wasn’t that long ago we were all living in the jungle, So, why do we gotta put each other down?” Once we figure out our shit then I’m coming for the Illuminati, y’all next.

What’s something wild that has happened to you lately?

 

I randomly decided to work Door Dash the other night and I went to pick up some greek food for someone and when I got the apartment the app said, “Tell Door Man You’re Delivering To Tyler Glenn” and I was like, “Oh shit, is this the TYLER GLENN from Neon Trees?” So I walked upstairs and my third eye started banging in my head, and I knew it was him, I knocked on the door and he answered, and I about lost my shit. I have been trying to run into him since his solo album release party in late 2016 when I had the chance to meet him backstage and push my queer-political-activist agenda, but alas he did not remember my mug from that night but now he definitely will, because I’m definitely the most eccentric dash driver in salt lake, verified, confirmed. I’ve been trying to collaborate with him to give back to the queer community in Salt Lake City and Utah, we have the second largest per capita queer community in the United States and one of the highest youth suicide rates for LGBT and Trans Kids, another statistic I am here to lower. In a valley of religious oppression, I intend to bring the love to all & usher in a new era of Modern Day Saints, HMU TYLER ❤ @deelanz on kik

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