On Saturday 4th March, Fiona went to The Cookie in Leicester to watch Decade perform on tour. Before that, she managed to grab a few minutes to sit down with Alex and Connor (by candlelight) to chat to them about their music and lives in general.
Connor: Do you have Pokemon Go open on your phone? What’s around?
Fiona: Just a Hoothoot.. and now it’s gone! What team are you guys?
Connor: Team Mystic I think? The blue one.
Alex: Yeah, the blue team.
Fiona: Ah, good lads. Right then: What was the inspiration for the title of the new album?
Alex: Well the theme is about the way humans are and the way they – well we – interact with each other, weird things that we do, well that everyone does, how people are perceived vs how they actually are, and just exchanging pleasantries like asking how someone else when you don’t really care.
Connor: We also like ironic titles!
Fiona: How do you feel you guys have progressed since the release of Good Luck?
Alex: Sonically, Good Luck was loud and fast and punky, whereas Pleasantries has a lot more loud and quiet as well as happy and sad, which Good Luck had too.
Fiona: So you grabbed people’s attention with Good Luck and now with Pleasantries you have a bit more to say?
Connor: The songs are also way better [both laugh]
Fiona: How do you guys go about writing your tracks?
Alex: I demo the songs on my laptop and then we learn the songs and each part is adapted to each specific player’s style, for example the drummer will change all his parts because he’s a much better drummer than me! But the essence of the songs are still the same.
Connor: Alex has a vision and sees the story that he wants to tell, but we all collaborate in rehearsals and in the studio to tweak ideas that Alex presents first.
Fiona: What have you been listening to lately that you’d recommend to our readers?
Alex: I’ve been listening to Stormzy‘s new album, I think it’s really good. I’ve been listening to Code Orange as well.
Connor: I’ve been listening to an artist called Steven Steinberg, he has an album called Anagrams, it’s been a bit of an obsession lately. Independently we don’t really listen to music that is similar to what we write, but when we listen together we listen to similar artists to ourselves.
Fiona: Do you have any pre show rituals?
Alex: [points to bottle of Fosters and laughs]
Connor: Not really, apart from the usual warm up and stretch that most people do before a gig.
Alex: We don’t really do anything weird!
Connor: I like to spend a bit of time in the room we’re going to be playing in before the show to get my surroundings. We also like to watch the other bands play and support them.
Alex: Watching other bands play makes you want to perform better than them, so that’s a good way to get hyped up.
Fiona: What’s the best show you’ve ever performed?
Alex: Wow that’s really hard to say. A lot of the best shows are where the performance isn’t necessarily the best, it really depends on the atmosphere of the crowd.
Connor: Every time we’ve played Slam Dunk it’s been really good, really fun shows. Last time was when we were writing Pleasantries and a lot of influences came out that weekend.
Alex: A lot of people came specifically to see us which was really cool.
Fiona: What was the mindset you had when writing Pleasantries?
Alex: I just wanted to write pop songs and not really work to a structure.
Connor: It was stretched over such a long period of time, some songs were written as far back as 2013. The attitude was really that if anyone had an idea then to speak up and we’d explore it, whether it was musical or experimenting with different microphones and equipment.
Alex: Because of that, the influences were all so different, but we brought them all together to make it sound cohesive and give it our sound.
Fiona: That unique Decade sound?
Fiona: What was the decision to release Daisy May so many months before your album announcement?
Alex: We’d left it so long from releasing the last single of Good Luck that we weren’t really sure what was happening in terms of record labels, so we wanted to put something out there for the fans.
Connor: We wanted to following Daisy May up with the album much quicker than we did, but the song actually caught the attention of record labels and it took time to get things turned around. It won’t happen again!
Fiona: What does Decade see for the next decade?
Connor: Whoa, that’s a long time!
Alex: You say that, but we’ve been a band for eight years now! Basically we don’t want to write the same record twice, we want to keep writing different tracks but with our own underlying sound and I guess we’ll just keep going!
Connor: At least until real life says ‘you have to get a real job now’! We all love writing and playing together, we’ve never had a line up change or anything like that.
Alex: We were all living with our parents when Good Luck was released, but now we all rent our own places and have to pay for that it’s hard to find the time to plan rehearsals and stuff. But as long as the music is fresh and we’re enjoying it, we’ll keep going!
Fiona: One final question, last time you spoke to Musicology you mentioned one of your main goals for the new album was to make it a little longer to give listeners something more to catch hold of. Are you happy with how you managed it?
Alex: It’s only about ten minutes longer [laughs]
Connor: Unfortunately the budget was tighter and we could’ve put in an extra track but sacrifice the quality of the whole album, so we decided not to. We’re happy with the choice we made. Album three will have at least twelve or thirteen tracks on it!
Alex: Ooh, we could write a concept album!
Pleasantries is available now, and keep tuned for our review of Decade‘s show!