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Decades - Interview: Emma from Decades

07 Jul 2017 // An interview by LoraThompson

Lora spoke to Emma from Decades about their upcoming All Our Truths Tour with Bakers Eddy, Skinny Hobos and Dead Favours, as well as their new album for muzic.net.nz. Here's what went down:

So, how does it feel to be on the verge of releasing your first ever album?

Very exciting. This is completely new territory for us, and no doubt a childhood dream fulfilled. We released an EP a few years back when we were called Ashei, which we released and toured independently – but this is dream-level stuff releasing a full length LP on a major label. 15 year old me would be in awe of myself. Current me is just trying to soak up and savour the experience.

How did it all come to be? Who worked on the album with you?

After we released the Ashei EP, we sort of realized we didn't know what to do next, well mostly me – I felt lost and confused about where to go next, what we’re meant to do next. That felt like such a huge milestone and took so much work, I actually fell in to a bout of depression after it. I lost my day job at the same time, it was a heavy time for me.

So I ended up deciding ‘f**k it – treat yourself’ and went on a solo expedition around Australia and New Zealand following my favourite band, Biffy Clyro, on their tour. Nerd much? Then when I was doing that I managed to run into Tom Larkin (Shihad, Studio in the City) as he was managing their support act. We went and had a beer and a chat, he suggested working together and writing an album etc. It was insane timing – I didn’t know what to do next and the universe was like ‘here – have a Tom Larkin. He’ll sort you out.’

We were keen, we did want to do an album, so we spent like 6 to 8 months writing songs – he gave us the challenge of writing 50 a month. We were back and forth with him and each other over the internet, songs were being uploaded by myself and Liam every day in to a Dropbox for everyone to listen to and rate out of 5.

We flew him over to do pre-production a couple of times to work on the tracks that had the highest ratings (so scientific haha), then when we had songs that were good enough we headed to Melbourne for 5 weeks to finally record the album at Tom’s studio, which was 2 years ago now – pretty much to the day!

So Tom Produced it alongside Sam K. Sam also mixed and mastered it. Jon Grace was the studio engineer, with extra vocals recorded in Christchurch with our friend Alex Harmer – I had gotten really sick in Melbourne from all the pressure I put on myself and the anxiety around doing our first album “perfect.” Which is ridiculous, I know, but one of those involuntary things. So after trying every drug under the sun in Melbourne to be able to record vocals there, it just wasn’t going to happen so we needed to finish off the vocals in Christchurch. It actually ended up being really great – I was very grateful for the opportunity to do this in Alex’s home studio environment where it was a more relaxed atmosphere and I wasn’t pressuring myself so much to be the best singer in the world.

Then about a year ago we had a record deal offer come through from Warner Music NZ. I remember we were on tour with Villainy at the time, we’d just landed in Auckland and I switched my phone of flight mode and this email came through. “Urgent! You have a Record Deal offer!!!” haha. We had already released Terrified independently, and after that we've released singles (4 tracks released to date) over the course of a year.

We're excited to be releasing the album finally on July 14th!!

So you're releasing the album and then you are about to set off on a nation-wide tour with Skinny Hobos (Auckland) Dead Favours (Auckland) and Baker's Eddy (Melbourne/Wellington) – How did that all come about?

After tour managing Villainy's tour late last year, I really enjoyed Skinny Hobos’ presence and work ethic on the road and thought they were great guys so thought it would be ideal to have them on the line up from the get-go.

The Rock were keen to jump on board with the tour, which is where Dead Favours came in as The Rock is spinning their track, Dig, so hard – which is great because I really like that track and so in the line up they go! The Rock also pushed for a 4th band so Bakers Eddy jumped on board.

So you're playing Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin – I'm guessing Christchurch being your home town will be a big one?

Hmmm well, you know that thing when you're in a band for ages and your family and friends get sick of coming to your shows because they expected you to get famous quicker? haha! No, I'm sure it will be the biggest show and I'm really looking forward to it as we haven't played a hometown show in ages!

It's great to have Auckland and Wellington bands on the bill as well, Baker's Eddy have been based in Melbourne this year and I imagine the Wellington gig will be a bit of a home-coming for them too which will be awesome.

We briefly discussed that Decades’ guitarist and songwriter, Liam, is now based in Auckland, and how that means a lot of flying and travelling for him – do you think you will eventually end up moving the band to Auckland?

It's so interesting about that whole moving to Auckland thing – a lot of bands seem to think they have to move to Auckland or Melbourne or something to do well, it’s like they think that changing cities will make their music better – maybe it could if you’re lacking life experiences worth writing about. I think it has been better for us to hone our craft where we are comfortable and then be equipped to take it further afield when you can. Plenty of messed up life experiences in Christchurch… ha

You guys performed at a couple of really big shows earlier this year : Taking Back Sunday (US), Jimmy Barnes (AU), Homegrown Festival – what were these experiences like and which one was your favourite?

It’s hard to pick a favourite as they were all amazing and different new experiences for us. But I think I would have to say my personal favourite was opening for Taking Back Sunday as they are one of my favourite bands of all time. They’re pretty much the reason we started this band over 10 years ago. We actually started as a covers band when I was 15 or 16 called Taking Back Thursday! Haha!

The Jimmy Barnes gig was amazing as it was at the Powerstation – a venue we’ve wanted to play in for a long time. And it was a different audience that we wouldn't normally be exposed to, so it was interesting to go out there as these young loud kids in front of an older audience. We also got to hang out and have a whiskey with Jimmy after his show which was awesome – he was SO nice. He even asked his agent if he could book us again next time he’s in town haha.

Homegrown was another league of it’s own – with the rock stage being in an arena. A venue and stage of that size was something we hadn't played before – it was insane. I  had been there behind-the-scenes the previous year with Villainy so knew what to expect of the day, but for the guys it was their first time experiencing it all and they were just soaking it up and having a blast. We were all like 'Yeah ok, lets play more shows like this.' haha

So you've also just played 7 dates as the guest band on the Smokefree RockQuest Tour – How was that?

It was really cool playing all smaller towns we would never normally go to like Timaru, Nelson and Carterton. All of the venues were Theatres and Opera Houses – just absolutely beautiful places to play in which was great. Glenn and Dan do such an insane job keeping Smokefree Rockquest going year after year – it’s in it’s 29th year now!

It was good to reach an under 18 audience because that’s not an age group that we normally play to. I remember when I was a teenager, I never entered, but I remember going to Regional finals to see friends’ rock bands – it was all rock music or singer songwriters. It was really bizarre given how electronic stuff is a lot more popular these days – I feel like its so much easier for parents to buy their kid a shitty guitar than for parents to be like, ‘here's a synth and protools’ – which was just blowing our minds a little bit.

Still preferred the rock bands, though. Haha!

So how do you balance jobs and lives outside of the band etc?

We are all just really lucky that our day jobs and our partners are happy for us and support what we’re doing. My partner even comes on tour with us and press runs with us around the country and helps out. That is what makes us believe that this band is a thing that could be sustainable long term, you know? As a lifestyle. Like the universe has always just somehow allowed us to do everything we want to do. That’s got to be a sign that we should keep doing it!

Where is Decades heading in the future?

After the album release tour, we are pretty keen to release one or two more tracks. Warner had a collection of songs they preferred as potential singles, we agreed with some and were surprised by a couple others. There is at least one more song that the guys and myself really want to release as a single so I think after the album is out we will try and get that one out with a video as our own personal love mission. Haha!

Also gives us more excuses to stay on the road, right? We’re also focused on what a second album looks and sounds like for us, so writing and being inspired will be a big focus.


About Decades

Formerly known as Ashei, there are a myriad of ways to describe NZ rock outfit, Decades, but one word that really summarises their so-far 5 year journey in sharing their music is simply: determination. Bursting on to the scene in 2009 led by a unique female voice that reaches both the gritty angst and delicate reservedness of the vocal spectrum, Decades have shown they are an independent Kiwi rock band to really watch with their shared passion for intense live performance and honest song writing.

Members Emma Cameron (vox/guitar), Liam Muir (guitar), Daniel Perry (drums) and Curtis Booth (bass) have spent the last several years focussing on honing in on their unique sound, independently releasing a scattering of singles and music videos to varying levels of local success, playing as many local shows as they could muster around their full-time day jobs, and supporting larger national and international acts such as Midnight Youth (NZ), Villainy (NZ), The Ataris (US), and Scary Kids Scaring Kids (US).

In 2013, Decades knew they were at a point of ‘go big or go home’, and so they began to envision what the next couple of years should look like, and how they were going to reach these milestones. Early 2013 saw Decades lock in with producer Matt Bartlem of Loose Stones Studios in QLD to create their debut record. Faced with the many obstacles of an independent band, the band launched - and achieved - a $10,000USD indiegogo crowd funding campaign in mid-2013, to head over to the studio in Australia to complete a 5-track EP.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Decades


The Truth and Other People
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Music Is Boring
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Nine To Twelve
Year: 2013
Type: EP
Light And Live
Year: 2011
Type: Album

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