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Decoy (Dance'n'Dust, Australia)

Article posted by TweeKUniT on 19th Mar 2006

Decoy (Dance'n'Dust, Australia)

Hey guys, how are you? How is the weather down in Mexico?

Ok first things first- tell me a bit about each of your backgrounds in music, I understand you both have played with some pretty significant musicians over your careers…

Yes I suppose you could say that. Ian and myself have both been full time jazz musicians since we were teenagers (his main instrument is Saxophone and mine is Double Bass), and we have played with many of the legends of this music both in the United States and Australia. Johnny Griffin, Nat Adderley, Jimmy Cobb, and Dewey Redman are a few that spring to mind.

You guys have spent a long time getting to where you have- gone under a lot of changes along the way… Tell us a little how Decoy got its start- and how it got to today…

Decoy started out as Funky jazz kind of outfit, and was influenced by groups such as the Meters and Parliament (Funkadelic). We would play these 60's and 70's types of grooves, but improvise and shove the music around live exactly as we would on a jazz gig. At the same time Ian and I were both getting into some forms of Electronic Dance Music, and the band evolved according to what we were listening to at the time; both in the instrumentation and the types of tunes we were writing. The styles we experimented with were those that translated well to a real drummer, Jungle, Big Beat and Trip Hop for example, as we weren't initially using any sampled grooves or electronic drum sounds. A good drummer can sound great playing these types of grooves, whereas I've rarely heard live acoustic drums work very well with 4-to-the-floor dance music. As we became more interested in House, Techno and Trance, the band got smaller (it was a five piece at one point) and the use of programed rhythm parts became the main focus.

So 4 piece jazz outfit has turned into a2 progressive act- can you tell us why you made this transition? It’s undoubted that the sound of jazz is still there- but what captures you about the progressive psysound?

Progressive basslines by nature are often broken up (as opposed to the continuous rolling 16th basslines more common to Psy Trance) giving the music an element of funk and bottom end motion that we can relate to. The Classic Progressive bassline is also the same as the classic bassline in Cuban Salsa music, except that the harmony is static. In any form of rhythm based music, the space between the notes is just as important as the actual placement of the notes, and it is this space and placement of the fundamental groove in Progressive Psy Trance that I think we are attracted to.

The album was just released on Dance’n’Dust- you seem to be getting very good reviews worldwide- how was the response been to you guys personally…

Yes the response has been great so far. We just got the Album of the month spot in Mushroom Magazine, and Kai (one of the Editors) gave it a fantastic review. All our friends love it of course (...they have to, or else we wouldn't be their friends anymore!). We have also received great feedback from some friends in Japan.

So tell me a little bit about the process that went into the album… How long was spent in the studio? What does your studio consist of? How many live instruments did you use on the making of “Not Responding To Light”?

We spent some days in a large recording studio capturing the Latin percussion ensemble and acoustic piano. Other recording was done at my studio (Paper Mache Studios) ie Vocals, Double Bass Saxophone etc. All the programming/writing was done either at my place or Ian's place. Ian's setup is a fairly straightforward computer based rig, whereas mine is more elaborate and also is used commercially for mixing and mastering. Ian's place also has a large stereo system which is great for checking mixes at volume. Hardware synths include Alesis Andromeda, Access Virus, Roland TB303 and Hartmann Neuron.

I understand that the Son Kite boys doing your mastering has paid off- tell me a bit about what’s going down there…

When they heard our music Marcus and Seb sent a very positive email around to various record companies encouraging them to check us out. They could hear we were coming from a different background to many other trance acts and appreciated the Jazz and Latin influences on our album. These guys (Son Kite) are very much into diversity in any style of music, and you can tell by the way they write that they are never attempting to just slot easily into a generic and accepted sound. They create their own style with every new track, and this is the Son Kite sound.
So after the marcus and Seb had sent out these emails, we liaised with a number of record companies until going with Dance N Dust, which has been great. Asher has put time, thought and energy into the lead up to the album release, and I think it has really paid off.

For those who haven’t been fortunate enough to catch a Decoy live show- tell them a bit about your stage show and what you like to do live…

The most obvious difference between Decoy and other live acts is that we have Saxophone (mostly Soprano Saxophone) and Double Bass on stage. The bass I use now is actually a body-less "Stick Bass" which looks a bit more sci-fi than the original full size acoustic bass, but plays in a similar way. I had the instrument custom made for me and it sounds great.

We are actually currently in the process of moving from a DJ based setup to Laptop computer for our live shows, which will allow us to improvise the set more easily, as we'll be able to take samples from various tunes and create a new track on the fly, which could be useful for creating a breakdown for a sax solo or bass feature. As jazz musicians we have spent most of our lives improvising music and rehearsing very little, and that's the way we like it. So we are looking for more options to improvise with the laptop setup, and I think it will make our live shows more exciting.

So its been some pretty big gigs lately- really enjoyed your set at Rainbow Serpent recently, it was grand… What’s on the future gig wise? Where can we catch you next? Any plans to go overseas?

We are actually playing at the Epiphany Trance Club tonight (organised by Krusty and Kundalini), and have plans to travel Europe and Japan mid 2006. We'd also like to do an album launch in Melbourne at some point.

What about now the album is finished- any more tracks on the way? I noticed one on the latest Plusquam compilation…

Yes we have track number 1 (Cat Magic) on Kodama, which was compiled by DJ SO, and this is already generating some great feedback. We had 2 tracks released on "Double D" (Dance N Dust) as a lead up to the album. Tim (Sensient) is also releasing a track on the next Zenon compilation.

Where do you think the Decoy sound is headed? What direction would you like to take now the album is released? Anything you’d like to accomplish?

To keep expanding our music within and beyond the progressive psy-trance genre. As long as people are dancing and being taken on some kind of journey the music continues to have a life.

I know what its like to have your life engulfed in music- but is there anything outside this world? Any hobbies or interests that keep you busy in your spare time?

Music keeps us really busy, as we are both constantly involved in other bands and projects aside from Decoy. For me personally, aside from music I enjoy cooking, walking the dog, and snowboarding (not all at the same time!...).

Cheers Phillip, cheers Ian… You guys have a bright future, absolutely loving your tunes at the moment. Have fun and good luck with Decoy!