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decker. Probably Isn't Going to Use Kickstarter Ever Again, Even Though It Helped Pay for the Band's Awesome New Album

decker.
decker.
Emily Caldwell

It took a successful Kickstarter campaign, numerous fundraising shows, and generous outpouring from the local music community, but Sedona's decker. has successfully completed its fourth album, Slider (no relation to the T.Rex record of the same name), and was able to replace the instruments damaged in a near-fatal rollover. Now, the band is gearing up for a South by Southwest tour with Palms, The Wiley One, and others, as well as prepping for their album-release show at The Sail Inn in Tempe, on Friday, March 1.

We spoke to frontman/songwriter Brandon Decker via phone.

Up on the Sun: First, I want to say congratulations on the new album.

Brandon Decker:Thank you, buddy.

So how is Sedona?

Sedona is Sedona. It's kinda warm. It's nice. It's pretty. We're actually heading to Phoenix. We're picking up [bassist] Bryant [Vazquez] and heading down to shows there and doing a little promotion for the March 1 show.

I don't hear a lot about what's going on up in Sedona. Any bands up there you'd consider your contemporaries?

That's a challenging question to answer. I think we just try to stay focused on what we're doing musically and professionally. We try to be around bands from all over the place that are like-minded, that we respect and admire.

Do you feel Sedona is a spiritual place?

There's definitely something remarkably special there, you know? I know I've changed [since being there]. The way I've viewed myself, and I guess my spirit has changed, and I attribute at least some aspect of that to living in Sedona, so I guess so.

How spiritual of a person are you?

You know, I don't even know what spiritual means. Daily, I'm focused on trying to bring the best me to life and honor my spirit. So I'm guess I'm just growing in that capacity as best that I can. As best as I don't interfere with. [Laughs]

The reason I ask is because the spiritual metaphors in your music are appealing. They bring imagery and life to your lyrics.

I mean, it's definitely something on my forefront. I think a lot of the reasons is when the songs initially start happening in the writing process when I'm kinda coming up with lyrics or something is working through some life inequity.

Did you go to church as a kid?

I did, definitely. I was a Catholic.

So did I.

Did ya? I did a Catholic thing, I was into Eastern religion a bunch, I had a Christian phase. I had an atheist phase. A lot of phases.

I get that. I feel there's some things about humanity that you can't really explain. Spiritualism is trying to answer that. I don't know how good of a job it's doing necessarily but . . .

Absolutely. Not just humanity, but the whole universe. I can imagine our ancestors all over the world a thousand years ago as they would lay in a field of grass without the Internet or science and thinking about clouds and rain and sun and calamity.

 

decker. performs at SxSW.
decker. performs at SxSW.
Christian Rudman

How do you feel about your new album? It's your fourth one. I think we're all really proud of it. I'm grateful that there's four. I've never really thought of myself as a prolific writer, so I'm grateful that material keeps happening and getting captured in some capacity. I'm grateful that people seem interested to hear it. We feel really grateful to make it and it's done. Musically, all you can ask is that everyone advances and I think because there was a more solidified band. We're all on the same page musically, and, personally, I've never been as close to proud on the other three as I am on this one. We all feel optimistic where it's headed.

Is this the first time you've ever used Kickstarter?

Yeah, probably last as well.

Well, it was obviously successful.

Fortunately, yeah.

What did you learn from that experience?

Oh goodness. I learned to be very careful for what you set as the rewards because there is just mounds of work. I'm not even 20 percent done with the Kickstarter goodies, so we're just chipping away.

Can I ask how you're feeling about the accident now that it's behind you?

[Vocalist] Kelly's [Cole] right here with me, I can ask her, too. How I feel about the accident mostly is just gratitude across the board. I mean, primarily that Kelly and the rest of us were all okay physically . . . the obviousness that nobody died or much worse things didn't happen. I'd say the after-effects of the accident in terms of those who are still in decker. that I speak with. We're changed people. We're changed people and I think that is massively impacted by the accident.

Kelly, how are you feeling about the accident right now? [Speaks to Cole.] Kelly says, someone was saying, "So sorry about your accident," the other day and she said to them, "I don't feel sorry about it. It was humbling and expansive." I feel the same way. I'm really glad that Kelly feels that way because I felt that way from very early on. I felt guilty at first until Kelly expressed that she felt the same way.

 

Bryant was telling me that you have a brother-sister relationship now. All of you were close before, but now you're even closer after that experience. Can I ask you how you approached the song "In the Van"?

"In the Van" was the first song written for the album, believe it or not. Well before the accident. It was written on the way to South By [Southwest] last year. We were traveling to Amarillo and we thought, why don't we write a song? One of the girls had brought a ukulele and we started playing the ukulele and writing a song in the van. It just kinda happened over a matter of two hours.

If you wanna know the approach truthfully, I had come up with this little lick on the ukulele, which I don't know how to play. I was like, everyone come up with a line. Right now, come up with a line. So I started to sing and everyone had one and we decided to do the layering, a kind of sing-along thing.

It was just this massive, massive irony that the song was called "In the Van" and what happened, happened in the process of making the album. I mentioned this to Kelly one day: The words are eerily prophetic about what happened. Ominous. When you think about what happened and when you think about these words, some of it, if you think of the symbolism to it, applies to the accident. I dunno, that's crazy to me.

Someone also mentioned your album before that, Broken Belts, Broken Bones.

I never thought about that too, but, yeah, the album before that was kinda prophetic. That was Mitchell [Hillman of Java Magazine, Echo Cloud, and Sounds Around Town.]

Did anything in the accident inspire some of the other songs on the album?

Um, no. The album was written and we were in production [when it happened]. We were probably 70 percent to 80 percent done with the record. The writing was all done. One song was written after the accident last minute, but that dealt with different emotions.

How was filming the music video for "Killing Me?" I thought it was really well done, especially since I know mostly everyone in the clip.

"Killing Me" was a blast. There was a lot of me running around, kinda stressed out, as I'm apt to do. But it was a great experience, a really creativity- and energy-charged day. I'm real grateful to be a part of it. I think it's beautiful. I'm grateful for the work that Matty [Steinkamp of Sundawg Media] and Jake [Hoyungowa] and Donovan [Seschillie of Paper Rocket Productions] did, the filmmakers.

I was telling Matty the other day -- because I really think he's a good filmmaker and editor and whatnot -- I was telling him, no matter what stuff you end up doing, you will always remember this day. It was just . . . We were fully guerrilla man. We were going in restaurants and making a scene and renting hotels under false pretenses. You know, holding up convenience stores.

It was great. We're really happy with stuff so far and just how it looks. It's the first video that I think really I've been a part of that I'm so proud of.

Anything you'd like to add?

We're really grateful, especially to Phoenix and everyone that came together so much for us. I and we have worked so hard for so long. It's just an honor. I just feel a nice acknowledgment of our efforts, in an authentic way from people. We're just humbled and grateful.

I'm so stoked for the lineup for the night. I think there are 14 bands, including us. Two of my favorite out-of-state acts are coming in for it: Adam Faucet and Chimney Choir. They are just both brilliant. I listen to both of those bands as a fan, along with several of the bands from Phoenix. I'm just so tickled about the March 1 show.

decker. is scheduled to perform Friday, March 1, at the Sail Inn in Tempe with (deep breath) 6-640 PALMS, Plastic Arts, Them Savages, Vagabond Gods, Fancy Cloud, Field Tripp, Dry River Yacht Club, The Tryst, Adam Faucett & the Tall Grass, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Chimney Choir, Future Loves Past, and Zero Zero.


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