Decoder Go for ‘Mystery’ and a Movie Feel on Debut
Some record labels have a sound they're known for, with each band holding to a particular aesthetic. But for Florida's Decoder, they're the black sheep of the Rise Records family (home the glitzy metalcore of Attack Attack! and the like). Decoder rest their musical laurels in melody and lush soundscapes that put the band closer to the Deftones than a modern hardcore band. "Off the bat, we we're trying to distance ourselves from the [label's] roster," guitarist Jack Burns told Noisecreep.
But by mixing screams and singing, the band still ends up getting the hardcore tag, even though one of the post-heavy references would be more fitting for the quintet. "You get stuck in the basic idea of a heavy band, because you have screaming, but we're really not that heavy when it comes musically," said Burns. "The screaming has more emotion than heaviness."
To create a sound that fit what the band was writing, they ventured to Atlanta's Marigolds and Monsters Studio to go under the production of Matt Malpass -- a producer known for his clean hooks and work with Manchester Orchestra and Relient K -- there was to be no heartless brutality sneaking into the debut.
"[Matt Malpass] helped us develop our sound, you could say," Burns revealed, as phone static attacked both ends of the conversation. "We had basic ideas and songs written. We heard [the songs] live, but we never got to hear them played back or anything. I'm a big tone guy, so I pay attention to guitar tones a lot. So we had a big discussion of where we were trying to go tone wise, and that's where it started that Matt helped us develop our overall sound."
Looking back on the band's debut, it shocked the guitarist to realize the song sequence actually presented itself in the exact order the songs were written, making the debut a sort of timeline of progress. "Well maybe one or two were different," Burns laughed on further examination of the album.
The last song on the self-titled album comes not out of nowhere, but it's very much a contemplative closing credit as the guitars are given a rest to strong pianos and a building jazz structure. Burns revealed that 'Holding On' came not only from one of the more experimental parts of the recording, but it was the result of spending constant time working closely with Malpass and drum engineer Lane Johnson. "That song emulates the whole vibe while we were there. We just vibed off them."
Moods are an integral part of the band; even the heaviest of tracks don't turn into angst, but focus on aggression in response -- melody and harmonies are never lost to the riff.
"It's a big journey," the guitarist admitted, describing the album's theme. "You could put it to a movie, you could say, like how it fluxuates and there is a climax. It's a mystery about who you as the listener is."
Decoder are currently on tour with Emarosa and Chiodos.