‘You Have To Be Bored’: Dan Deacon On Creativity

I understand there’s a great story behind the song “Learning to Relax.”

Yeah. I was doing what I thought was relaxing, but was actually just killing time: I was on Facebook. And a friend of mine posted a video from the Toronto Film Festival of Bill Murray talking about his approach to acting — or his philosophy about life, I guess. And it just completely blew me away, because he said, “Whatever your job is, the more relaxed you are, the better you are.

And to me this was just like, “What are you talking about? I forgot that word even existed!” Because I very much was a person who was motivated by stress; I would use a deadline as a motivator. I think a lot of people do that, where they’re like, “I’ll just wait until the last minute, and that’ll light a fire underneath me and I’ll get it done.” And I just kept thinking, “Well, that’s a terrible way to live. Why am I building a house and lighting a fire in the basement just to see if I can finish the roof before it burns down my whole house?”

I started realizing how important it is to truly relax, and in relaxing, to be bored. You have to be bored. If you’re not bored, your mind is never gonna wander, and if your mind never wanders, you’re never gonna get lost in thought, and you’re never gonna find yourself thinking things you wouldn’t have otherwise thought.