With two albums under their belts, Decade certainly know a thing or two about producing incredible British rock. Highwire Magazine writer Tom Clarke caught up with Alex Sears (lead singer) and Connor Fathers (guitarist) ahead of their support slot for Deaf Havana at Rock City, Nottingham.
How are we doing today, are we all good?
Connor Fathers: Yeah, we just had a burrito!
Alex Sears: We sat in the bus outside all day and slept until about 2pm.
The standard, then.
AS: Yeah, this is the thing about being on a bus, your pattern changes completely. So you’ll eat dinner at like 4AM, go to sleep and wake up at like mid-day.
CF: Have breakfast at 4pm…
At this point, Connor picks up his guitar and begins to play it.
I’ve got to say though, Connor, your guitar is amazing. I’ve always wanted a Gretsch.
CF: Thank you very much! I just gave her some new strings. I have a really bad habit of snapping strings on this because you’re supposed to be delicate with a bridge like this and I’m not a very delicate player.
AS: Yeah, you just twat it about…
Right, now we’re all warmed up I’m going to run through some questions with you. Why should people listen to Decade?
AS: I think people should listen to Decade because we don’t sound like every other band in the UK. I think we have a sort of music that isn’t necessarily that common nowadays. It’s like Brit rock, but also Britpop… and kind of grunge. I mean those are quite common genres but the mix of them is quite unusual and it makes a pretty unique sound. It’s maybe something a little different but quite accessible at the same time.
CF: I think with lyrical content as well, it’s relatable but it’s an unusual attitude. We’re not particularly showboat-y or boastful about what we do really. We’re fairly self-depreciating… but we are very honest and we always have been as transparent as can be. I like to think they are good enough reasons. Also, if you listen to us you’re guaranteed to be rich, successful and have an attractive spouse…
I’m sold! Getting back to the sound, I loved your early stuff like ‘Brainfreeze’ and ‘Coffin’, and then as soon as ‘Daisy May’ dropped I was blown away. You’re one of those bands I’ve progressed with so as you’ve changed, I’ve changed. I really love the transition you guys are going for. I’m also a fan of the tambourine!
AS: Thank you! We put loads of it on the record so I thought we might as well do it live. We didn’t want to have a backing track or anything like that. It meant I have to have a mic stand too which I’ve never had before, but I needed somewhere to put it. I didn’t know what to do with myself so I just used to jump around the place. I was like a weird tree, kind of stalking around the stage… now I’m stuck to the spot with my tambourine, I feel more comfortable.
Nice, so like a comfort blanket sort of thing. So, you’re on tour with the great Black Foxxes and Deaf Havana, are you enjoying it so far?
CF: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been amazing on a personal and professional level as everyone is just such a nice person. It’s just really refreshing to be around so many cool people every day to the point where your working day is well spent, helping each other and making sure people are okay and having a good time.
AS: It’s just a really nice inclusive tour, and has been from day one as we’ve been sharing a bus. Everyone is just so close straight away, like a little family. The way we all go on stage; me, James [Veck-Gilodi, of Deaf Havana] and Mark [Holley, of Black Foxxes], we’re not like, “yo, what the fuck is up, Nottingham!” we’re just like, “hi guys,” so there is no ego shit. We’re just like, “how you doing, here are some songs, I hope you enjoy them.”
CF: It’s really nice, everyone is all equal. From a music point of view, it’s nice to be on a tour with two completely honest bands in what they do in life and in a live setup. There are no gimmicks and no one is falling back on to help from technology. All three bands have the same sort of attitude in what we do and so it’s easy going.
Have you got any drunken stories from the tour yet? I can see you both have a can of Red Stripe in hand…
CF: I jumped off a boat last night… on to grass though. My new jeans that I bought that morning were very muddy though.
AS: You even screamed, “parkour!” as you jumped off the boat.
CF: Yes, yes I did. It’s been pretty cool though, lots of drunken shenanigans.
AS: I think my favourite one is when we all went to James [Veck-Gilodi]’s flat and decided we were going to stay on the bus instead so he picked up his banjo and it said on the front, on the drum of the banjo, ‘this machine kills vibes’. He was just sat in the back of an Uber for half an hour just playing his banjo… I don’t think the driver was very impressed. James was like, “does anyone want to hear what D7 sounds like on a banjo?” and the tour manager was like, “nobody wants to hear what D7 sounds like on a banjo,” but he was there just going at it in the back of the car.
Remind me to come drinking with you guys soon…
AS: There will be banjos.
So, Alex, I noticed you’ve got a lot of tattoos. Let’s talk about those.
AS: I’m an illustrator, but they don’t actually have any meaning. I just appreciate art. If I see something that I think is cool then I’ll just go ahead and get it. I have a sentimental one, a coffin for our song ‘Coffin’. I just really like art!
What about you, Connor?
CF: I have one on my left leg that’s pretty rubbish. It’s a Russian doll with a skull for a face. I have another on my thigh. I guess they meant what they meant at the time, which is why I don’t have any more as I change my mind every fucking week…
Well as far as stupid tattoos go, that’s not too bad compared to what I have.
AS: Is it a penis?
CF: You have a cock on your thigh?!
I was drunk and thought it would be a good idea…
CF: Tom, you are a legend, mate!
Dick tattoos aside, I’ve got some final quick-fire questions for you. Pop-punk or metal?
CF: Pop-punk. Blink-182, man, I mean I do like metal but always pop-punk.
AS: Metal. Always metal.
Batman or Spiderman?
AS: I prefer Marvel but Batman is way better than Spiderman.
CS: No way, man! Spiderman all the way. He can shoot shit out of his wrists!
AS: Batman is so much more badass, like all of Batman’s stuff is homemade so it seems more realistic.
CS: His voice is so lame…
AS: That’s just Christian Bale though.
They both do an impression of Christian Bale’s Batman voice.
PC gaming or console?
CF: Console, I’m a PlayStation fanboy at heart.
AS: Yeah, I love Nintendo.
Pizza or pasta?
CF: You’re the wrong kind of person if you prefer pizza over pasta, c’mon. Italian food is amazing but no… pizza every day.
This last one could cause some arguments, depending on how nerdy you all are. Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings?
Both: Lord of the Rings.
CF: Game of Thrones is just midget porn. Wait, can I say that? It’s Medieval midgets… you can’t go wrong with Lord of the Rings, talking trees and shit. It’s obviously better.
I have to agree with you on that one. That’s a wrap, guys, thank you so much for having me. Any last words before we finish?
CF: Eyes to the sky, don’t stop believing. I’ve been reading some stuff, it’s quite likely that we will be visited by aliens soon.
AS: For fuck’s sake…
CF: So, buy our record before it’s too late. Y’know, so you can show it to an alien and be like, “this is totally cosmic, woah!”
AS: Buy our record otherwise you might get abducted by aliens.