Deafheaven's virtuoso drummer Dan Tracy came from humble beginnings. Born in Southern California in 1987, Dan started playing drums at age 12 after being exposed to all kinds of music via his Father; bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and The Who shaped the drummer in his formative years. With his supportive family behind him, Dan dabbled in saxophone and baritone before acquiring a drum kit (of which he still plays on pieces of today) and taking lessons for "…just a few months," Tracy said. "Lessons weren't allowing me to play the stuff I listened to at the time, I wanted to learn how to play Metallica songs, so I decided to go off on my own and learned by emulating some of my favorite drummers. And that's how I started to develop my own style," he continued.
As a developing, self-taught drummer, Dan started playing in bands (he uses the term loosely) around the age of 13 when he met and started jamming with current Deafheaven bandmate, Shiv Mehra. Tracy spent the following years digging even further into the realm of metal; particularly death metal and hardcore, where he discovered seminal drummers such as Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Vinnie Paul (Pantera), and Ben Koller (Converge) whose influence undeniably helped shape Dan into the drummer he has become.
Around the age of 15, Dan started playing in larger, local bands and began to run the Bay Area (California) hardcore circuit, playing landmark venues like Gilman St. in front of growing audiences where he really hit his stride at a young age. Over the course of the next few years, Dan played in various metal/punk/hardcore bands and toured the majority of the United States and continued to find his footing in the music industry. Along his travels, Dan was introduced to various forms of shoegaze and dream pop, which piqued his interest greatly.
Fast forward to 2012, when Tracy met Deafheaven members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy very casually through mutual friends around San Francisco. Deafheaven had released their debut Roads to Judah and were gearing up to record a new album but were in need of a drummer. A more apt time has never existed: George, Kerry and Dan teamed up for a practice and the chemistry was immediate. Tracy commented, "I knew when we met that it was a good fit. Everything fell into place." These three members of Deafheaven went on to record a new full-length album with Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden in Oakland and those resulting songs became the critically-acclaimedSunbather LP.
Sunbather debuted at #130 on the Billboard Top 200 (and #2 on the Heatseekers chart) and was the best reviewed album of 2013. At its simplest, the album can be described as a melting pot of metal and shoegaze that perfectly balances the hard with the soft - and Dan's drumming sets the tone for that. His hard-hitting percussion is the backbone to this monstrous album and is an urgent pulse to Deafheaven's swirling musical chaos.
The diverse percussion styles of Deafheaven can be credited to Tracy's varied music resume and influences in general. "That handful of years that I wasn't listening to metal constantly, I dabbled with jazz and pop kind of stuff. I didn't own a double bass pedal for 5 or 6 years," Dan commented. "I would attribute my style equally to metal drumming - as far as speed and technicality - and open, airy/jazzy free-form styles," he continued.
Tracy has toured the globe numerous times over with Deafheaven and has played countless festivals and club shows. Highly coveted sets at Pitchfork (Paris and Chicago), FYF, Fun Fun Fun, Jabberwocky, Way Out Fest and more to thousands of people as well as stateside and European tours with some of his favorite bands comprise Dan's career highlights thus far. In the coming year, Dan will settle in the studio for some time to record the new, yet-to-be-announced Deafheaven album as well as play shows with his other band, Creepers (a psych-rock band, once again featuring Deafheaven guitarist Shiv Mehra).
Dan Tracy still resides in California and has been featured in magazines and websites worldwide such as Modern Drummer, Rolling Stone, Fader, Decibel, Pitchfork, SPIN, NPR, and more.