Speak Into My Good Eye

Track x Track: decker. – Into The Red

Mike Mehalick August 25, 2017 Features No Comments

decker.

Never give up and always follow your artistry. This has been the guiding principle at the heart of the Sedona, AZ-based psych-folk rocker decker. throughout his career.

His latest album, Into The Red, brings the sum of his experiences to the fore with nods to the particular realities of his lifelong chase in the title and beyond. It’s an expansive, exhilarating listen highlighted by Brandon Decker’s world-weary vocals and raw, smoky, cosmic rock soundscapes.

To celebrate the release of Into The Red, out today, we had decker. break it down for us in his own words, track by track. Check it all out below and be sure to order your copy of the album via Royal Potato Records.

“Matchstick Man” was a direct response to the astounding and alarming election of Donald Trump. It was meant to be a Neil Young-rocker akin to Southern Man or Ohio. A protest song and a call to unite and stand strong. I remember on social media everyone freaking out, with due reason, but wanting to say, “hey! let’s keep our composure here and get about the work that needs to be done.”

“The Holy Ghost” came about after touring our album Patsy for a year straight. We’d had a few albums of pretty long-winded, melodic material and I wanted something decisive, electric and to the point. I was listening to Thee Oh Sees one day and wrote this song in a few minutes. It’s been described as “frenetic” which I like. I wanted it to be this train-going-off-the-tracks feel.

Obviously, we did not write “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” but its genesis in our band was on one of the longer duo gigs, just messing around with a blues structure and in came “I Wanna Be Your Dog” out of nowhere. It was an instant fit in our set and the Doors “Five to One” medley came soon after. I feel like our version gives a different treatment to the songs.

“Patsy” came along as I was writing an album of the same name, loosely based on Lee Harvey Oswald and the plight of the everyman. I realized I needed a song about Lee Harvey Oswald himself and wrote this one night on a research-binge. It’s one of those few songs that our audiences will song with us and that’s always a surreal feeling. Many of the lyrics are taken directly from Oswald statements that I came across. The song isn’t meant to be a political statement or even a stance on whether Oswald was Kennedy’s assassin. One thing was clear: Oswald found himself in quite a mess, regardless of if his involvement is true; he was involved in a conspiracy with certainty. The song explores how we all end up in these twisted webs of survival and ambition at times.

“The Phantom” came right at the same time as “The Holy Ghost.” I fancied it a desert psych version of a Tom Petty song. Like my (far less notorious) Refugee. Both this and “The Holy Ghost” have this feeling of urgency to them, I think due to the urgency I felt in my own life and career and music. This song also came very quickly because it was just an outpouring of the feelings I was experiencing at the time.

“Shadow Days” came about literally right at the same time John Mayer wrote a song with the same name. I wrote this and then days later heard old John on SiriusXM one day and I was like, “You gotta be fuckin kidding me!” Then I thought, “Well, let’s keep it and hope some of his throng of fans accidentally buy it on iTunes.” This song was a standard in our set for many years and builds from this slow, eerie groove to this chaotic, garagey crescendo. Lyrically, it’s about those moments we willfully choose what we know to be probably the wrong or unhealthy choice, but are seemingly okay with whatever the consequences are.

“Killing Me” was written by Seattle’s Gabriel Mintz; truly a magical songwriter and human. When I first met him in Seattle years ago, he pulled us to his flat and I asked if he could sing a song, and sang this to us. I was mesmerized and instantly obsessed and began performing it—with his permission—immediately. It’s one of those rare covers, that while not written by me, feels like a part of me that I can authentically perform and share as my own.

“In the Same Boat” is one of the oldest decker. songs. I had been given a computer with more VSTs than I knew what to do with. I was slowly trudging away at my first album and teaching myself to record. I came across this folder of drum loops and found the groove to this song. I’ve always been a huge fan of Portishead and this was sort of my ode to them. It’s a song about how we all have our demons.

“Sun shine in” was on our album Long as the Night which was basically me reading a bunch of Bible stories one summer, hiking a ton and thinking about these archetypal stories of the journey through the wilderness. I love this song for it’s huge instrumentation. There is a choir, organist, horn section, gypsy-mandolin and so many layers. I’ve always been a fan of medleys and interpolations and this one came about as I had returned from my first tour and things were so dark. I has set my sights on making an album and doing this epic tour. When I got home, I realized I had failed to think about what came after and it was brutal. It was February and raining and out of that came this song.

“O.D.B.” is named after none other than the Dirty himself. Content-wise the song was about this inexplicable blowback I was feeling in my little community which troubled me. I thought, “what would ODB do?” Initially the song was written way slower, and appears as such as the last track on the same album and is alternatively called Ol Dirty Revival. I was really happy with the lyrics but the initial version was so slow that I rightly imagined no one would ever make it through the first verse if I didn’t pick up the pace. So I reframed it in this more doowop version.

decker. Tour Dates:

8/26 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom ^
9/2 – Sedona, AZ – Barbara’s Park
9/14 – Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfaer
9/15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Hi-Hat
9/17 – Chico, CA – Naked Lounge
9/18 – Arcata, CA – Jambalaya
9/20 – Seattle, WA – Conor Byrne Pub
9/21 – Portland, OR – Twilight
9/22 – San Francisco, CA – Brick and Mortar Music Hall *
9/23 – Oceanside, CA – Pour House
10/20 – New York, NY – Union Pool
11/4 – Denver, CO – The Walnut Room

^ Record Release Show Presented By Mescal Porch Collective w/ Paper Foxes, Wyves, Harrison Fjord
* w/ Papa Bear & the Easy Love and El Duo

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About The Author

Mike is a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts with a BFA in Film & Video focused on screenwriting. His career stops have included editing positions at AOL, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. He regularly contributes to a variety of outlets. Follow him @mmehalick

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