Decree is an excellent metal/grind band from the Pittsburgh area. Make sure that if you get any chance what so ever to see these guys live, you will do so. I promise they will blow you away. This interview was done aroun the 10th of July 2001 between Jason of Decree and Neil from Friends Like You. Bold text is Decree. Plain text is Friends Like you.
So... Where are you guys based now?
Well, I would have to say that we are based in Beaver Falls, PA. That is where we practice and where the band was formed. Thanks to Casey's mom we have had one steady practice spot for the entire duration of the band. Besides some of the shows that sort of just turn into practices. All of the guys in the band live in the same general area slightly north west of Pittsburgh (in Beaver County), with the exception of Kevin who recently moved to Bloomfield up in town.
Who is all in the band now?
The band consists of three original members, one second generation vocalist, and either third of fourth generation guitarist. Aaron Fehir (bass), Casey Burkhead (drums), and myself (guitar) are the three real OG's in the band (lol). Kevin Henderson took over the vocal spot about a year after we originally formed with George Maze singing. Our newest member is Mike Glenn (guitar), he replaced the short lived spot of Mike Moore (The Last Fall) after we had some communication/practice problems due to the fact the Mike M. lived in Erie, about two hours away. Before Mike M. was in the band (he joined Decree for his first show at this years Annual Thrash Bash in Erie) we had practiced with a few other guitar players, one actually being Kevin before George left the band.
What is your main motivation for being in this band?
My main motivation is for my love of music in general and furthering my self as a musician. I could talk for hours on the impact the music in general has on my life but I wont bore you with that right now. As a musician I push myself to make each song more of a challenge for me (and the other guys) to play. I try and use new techniques, scales, timing changes, and whatever else you might have that I haven't touched on before. Which makes me strive to play better/faster/tighter with every new song we turn out.
Well...How has music impacted your life? Do you mean on a personal level or what? What exactly about it impacted you? The emotion of the music or what was communicated in the songs?
Music has impacted my life in more ways, probably, than anything else. I can find any emotion I might be having (or looking for) in a song/composition of some kind. Its not only that tho, were I am right now in my life is due to music, it has to be. I dedicated my self to music along time ago, not the music industry or anything like that, I just have this massive love of music that is undeniable in any way. For an example if it weren't for being in a band, I probably would have gone far off to college and not have met so many of the awesome ppl that I have met since I graduated, how ever many years ago that was. But its like all my friends, and most of every activity I join in on involve music is some way. Music just always seems to be a large factor in my everyday life.
Is there some kind of agenda or something you are tying to communicate through your music?
I would have to say that overall we just love to have fun at doing what we are doing. Any sort of message or what not that might be communicated would never be done so in a way that was blatantly tossed upon our listeners.
Do you think it is o.k. for other bands to do so, or is music one thing and pushing a view or belief another?
I have had some rocky times trying to decide whether or not I agree with pushing views from a stage. I think that there are appropriate times for that to be done, but most of what I have seen has been very inappropriate. At times I have heard something that I believe in being pushed at the crowd in such a wrong manner that it almost made me sick. I guess I am still sorta undecided about it. At times I would just like to listen to the music and could care less about what it may be conveying, and at other times I definitely do listen to music to pull a message or emotion from it.
What is the biggest musical influence on Decree?
Wow, that's a tough one. I would have to say that just music itself is the main influence on us. All the guys in the band are into different types of music, but our biggest junction as a band would have to be a love for heavy music. Aaron listens to a lot country, as a matter of fact he just went to see Tim McGraw last night, haha. Casey is our "emo kid", you might not guess it by his drumming styles though. Kevin listens to a wide range of music, from experience, when your with Kevin you might here some of Nile's "Black Seeds of Vengeance" and the Smashing Pumpkins "Melancholy…." in a five minute span. Mike listens to a lot of fusion/jazz metal stuff. I would have to say that his biggest influence would be anything from Dilinger to Mr. Bungle to Praxis(oh yeah Bootsy Collins Baby). I would have to say that I am a lot like Kev when it comes to musical taste, I have none and it doesn't even matter. I listen to anything and everything. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Social D, Jill Scott, Barry White, and The Descendants. That's probably the best way I can break it down.
Haha... Oh shoot... Country??? Aaron listens to Country!! That Rocks! I would have never guessed it. Oh well... I like Johny Cash so I can't talk much...
What do you guys do when you are not playing music?
Well Aaron and Casey are go to Geneva College, Mike and Kevin left college after their first years. I plan on going back to the Community College for some more of that wonderfully cheap education. But it being summer now, Me and Aaron both work in various areas of the auto parts business, Kev and Casey both work at pizza shops (and you know we abuse their employee discounts, lol) and Mike works for Camelot Music. Personally I procrastinate and neglect most everything in my free time, j/k. Besides Aaron and the leash his girlfriend keeps on him, (just playing Laura). I would have to say that we are all pretty good at just busting a big chill and just having fun, going out and the occasional party. I know this summer for me has been all about Bar B-Q's. Dear Lord, we just make up excuses to have Bar B-Qs anymore.
If you could tour with any band who would it be?
I would love to tour with Parliament-Funkadelic, after seeing their free show this summer I am convinced that I will tour with P-Funk at some point in my life. But really I would have to say that I would love to tour with Pg99 or Burnt By the Sun. We have played a few shows so far with BBTS and watching those guys do what they do live, blows my mind and makes me want to keep trying harder. Not nesicarily because of their sound or style of music, but because how tight they are and how every one in the band is great at what they do, and how tight they are. Pg99 because of how much energy comes from them when they play, its crazy to see a whole venue turn into a royal rumble when a band starts playing.
Now from what I've heard, Decree seems to play a sound that embraces a couple different Genre's, such as hardcore/Grind/Metal... With what kind of bands do you enjoy playing with best?
I enjoy playing with varieties of bands, there are so many bands that are good at what they do. I love playing with any band that is good at what they do. For example we played with the Pseudo Heroes and Nemo at the same show (a vegan potluck show to be exact), two totally different genres, but they are both excellent at what they do. One band that I would love to play more shows with is a newer band from our area called "Fortiori." They are a great. If I really had to classify them I would probably say they are a very tight power violence band, along the lines of Reversal of Man and Pankration. They have two vocalists, Sean and Dingo, its not often that you see a guy and gal sing together in a power violence band.
You guys have all ready released a CD on your own, was this because of D.I.Y. ethics or just because it was easier that way. Are you guys looking for a future label?
We Released "Blueprint…" ourselves because it was our first release and we knew it would probably take to much time to try and have it put out for us. We bought a CD burner and studio time, and that's all she wrote. Right now we (or at least I) have been looking into a few different labels and talking back and fourth with one or two. We planed on a tour and possibly two releases this summer, but we ended up going through (still in the process of) a big reconstruction/re-adjusting period. The summer will probably end on a slower note for us at the moment, but look for a new release definitely this fall. The new music is different from our first release, a lot more "brutal" I guess you can say, or so we have been told.
There seems to be a lot of bands down your way playing in the same genre as you guys. How do you think you stick out in comparison to the other bands playing around you?
I would say that we don't really fall into either hardcore or grind or death (its all just metal to me). With all the influences we have as a band I think it makes our sound unique to a lot of stereotypical metal. Most of the bands in our genre around here have all their own unique sounds also, so it makes all of us stick out.
Describe Decree in 5 words or less...
"Not for every one"
Haha... That was good!!! Yeah... I think I'll agree with you there!
All right, Well... that is about it. Is there anything you would like to leave us with?
Thanks for setting this up with me, its highly appreciated. Oh yeah, we aren't black metal either.