"He's very much community-oriented," Herring said. "He has continued to take his friends on the road to help elevate them. Dan's had a big impact [on Baltimore], but he's stayed humble because he knows he couldn't have done it without his friends."
Deacon is eager to release "America" and to perform the new material on the road. While some musicians become enraged when their records leak early, Deacon was excited and relieved by Internet commenters' positive reactions to the album.
Online, the indie music world can be as snarky and mean as a Hollywood gossip site. Deacon, who has battled food and weight problems for years, knows this only too well.
On a blog post announcing his tour dates from last year, the comments from readers of Brooklyn Vegan, a popular indie-rock blog, turned to vitriol in describing Deacon's appearance.
"Dan Deacon looks like a big fat baby ... that said, his music is pretty fun," from Anonymous was one of the more measured comments about Deacon's weight. He says negative comments hurt him because they're about his looks, not his music.
"There's no right or wrong way to look," Deacon said. "With that said, I'm not very thrilled with the way I treat my body and the way my mind interacts with certain addictions to foods. ... But don't put it on my music."
Improving his health is on Deacon's growing to-do list — which also includes a world tour until December (there's no Baltimore date as of now; he plays D.C.'s 9:30 Club on Nov. 17) and helping when he can with various Wham City projects, including a TV show pilot.
It's been eight years since Deacon, a Long Island native, moved to Baltimore and started Wham City with friends from the State University of New York at Purchase, where he attended the Conservatory of Music.
"It was a serendipitous time in the mid-aughts," he said. "Exciting energy. I feel like we were a big part of it, but I think a lot of groups were a part of it."
"America" proves Deacon — whose experimental music has been criticized by some as gimmicky or one-dimensional — is still refining a sound wholly his own.
Brooklyn and New York City come up, as they always seem to when talking about American arts scenes. Like a die-hard Orioles fan discussing the Yankees, Deacon speaks up for the perpetual underdog. He's seen bands start here and leave for hipper pastures. It doesn't bother him, except when they claim to still be a part of Baltimore's scene.
"There's a lot of bands that used to be here and aren't anymore, and there's no way we can associate them with the community that is the [Baltimore] scene because they're not feeding off that energy," he said.
He stops just short of naming names. "I shouldn't have said anything," he said. "You know who I'm talking about."
He's far from bitter about any group's success. It's just that Deacon has grown protective when it comes to Baltimore. Above all else, he's thankful he found the greatest city in America, as some city benches still read, because it never fails to fuel his creativity.
"Baltimore wouldn't be the same city if it didn't have these boarded-up buildings and this rotting decay that feeds this vibrant community and this life and the people that make up the city."
Wham City's presence has progressively widened in Baltimore, according to Deacon. It's a testament to his love and vision for the city. When asked if he ever considers leaving to see if he could duplicate his impact here in a new city, he pauses.
"Sometimes," he said. "But I'm not that person anymore. It was eight years ago when I moved to town and wanted to try and start something. It's not that I don't want to do it again, but I don't want to repeat myself. I'd rather push on into new directions and see what I can do."