Before we get going, I’ll admit it – I’ve not really paid attention to pop-punk-esque bands since I left Uni, and even then I’d not listened to much since College…But if a band is good, chances are they’re likely to seep through, and it’s this very seeping that lead me to hear big things about a group of dudes from Bath, five piece pop-punk juggernauts Decade. They’re currently on their first headline tour around the UK, with one of their stops being Sound Control in Manchester. It was here that I was able to grab band members Connor and Harry, Guitarist and bass players respectively, for a brief chat ahead of the show.

The tour comes off the back of the release of their debut album Good Luck, released at the start of the year. On recording the album, both Connor and Harry seemed totally upbeat about the experience and pleased to have it out in the public domain. On the album, Connor “It was great fun to do. We took a long time writing it ‘cus we wanted to make it just right – we wanted to make it exactly the record that we wanted. The whole reason we set out to be a band, we wanted to make life’s work (laughs)…Now that it’s out, it’s just amazing to be able to share it with people.”

Recording took place in November 2012 at Longwave Studios in Cardiff, with renowned producer Romesh Dodangoda – known for his work with Welsh heavyweights Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout. On working with Romesh, bassist Harry sums it up: “He was just the right guy. It was like working with a friend, it wasn’t like working with someone who has authority over you, it was just six friends working on a record.”

Connor: “It was just likeminded creatives, I guess would be the best way to put it. A whole lot of fun to do, and it just came out exactly how we wanted it to. It captured a great moment in time for us.”

Harry: “We weren’t expecting it to be as amazing as it’s been. It was quite a change in sound from our previous EP. With the wait as well, it’s quite scary not knowing people are gonna still be with us, but everyone’s been really amazing about it. It’s been really cool.”

Good Luck follows on from 2009’s Lost At Sea EP, and the self-titled EP released in 2012. Even though the band are still really young, they come across as mature musicians who have got their priorities in check, as guitarist Connor discusses, “We did a few EPs before, and I think that’s important for all bands to do – finding your feet, finding your sound, and realising fully what it is you wanna do. You don’t wanna just jump straight in with an album, because you might end up changing your sound. It feels, in hindsight – at the time you don’t really know it – we were all really excited about it, very hyper about it, like ‘this is amazing, this is great’ but it’s now with the hindsight that we can really say yeah, this record really is, at least for me, what I always wanted to do when I picked up a guitar when I was like thirteen years old. This is the record I wanted to make that whole time. I didn’t know it and now I do, which is a great feeling.”

Harry: “I think with every release we’ve always progressed. Our first EP was sort of us finding our feet; we were just five friends 1384323_714016545292718_694602214_nin the back room of a pub just messing around.”

Connor: “It just feels like the EPs prior to the album are sort of experimenting – learning about each other as musicians, and getting closer to each other. Then by the time the album rolled around, everything just bottlenecked into this awesome fivesome of friendship and awesome musicians. I love being in this band, and it was just so good to do it. The EPs I’m very proud of and they certainly feel necessary to have reached this point now, so I’m very proud of them. But the album is just so much better (laughs).”

As well as maturing in the studio, the band have been putting in the hours when it comes to paying their dues, as their experiences filming music videos for ‘Callous’ and ‘British Weather’ attest.

Connor: “The video for ‘Callous’ – the bowling alley one – that was great fun to do. That was about a fourteen hour shoot in a bowling alley, and we just had to do shots of bowling all day, which was great fun – I love bowling – but fourteen hours of bowling?”

Harry: “The ‘British Weather’ one was an experience. That was in a freezing cold warehouse in the middle of November. The final shots were of rain, we thought ‘Oh it’s alright, they’ll get us some warm water’ Nope.”

Connor: “It was just water that had been collected in a big rain bucket outside. They’re sprinkling it on our heads, and we’re trying to play these songs.”

Harry: “Never been so cold in all my life”

Connor :“Awesome though, real good fun.”

The videos that have stemmed from Good Luck are a great indicator that Decade are making waves (that little blue tick on Twitter hasn’t hurt…), and their current tour has seen them play some sold out dates. But how has it been for them playing as the headline band every show? I asked if the nerves have been kicking in. Connor: “So nervous to play 45 minute long sets, because we’ve always been a support band – 25 minutes, play all your favourite songs and off you go…We’re not relying on a headline band to sell the tickets, we’ve gotta sell the tickets. Really unsure of how that was gonna go down if I’m honest. It’s just been amazing. Some of the shows have sold out, which I never expected…ever. To go to places like Glasgow, and see people there wearing your T-shirt and singing your songs is probably the best thing ever.”

Harry: “It’s also cool seeing people come back time after time, the sort of people we see on the first few tours we did or even the last tour we did. It’s cool people have stuck with us.”

Connor: “A lot of the songs that we’re playing in the set now we’ve never played before, because we’ve always been a support band. We’ve never had the opportunity to play a lot of these songs and a lot of them are crowd favourites, which has been really cool – to experience these songs in a live environment. Some of them that were written on the album, I know it only came out like five months ago, but we hadn’t played them in the set since its release, so it’s just been amazing to experience it in a completely different format.”



For their UK tour, Decade have been joined by Irish four piece Only Rivals, and – my personal favourites – Brawlers. The inclusion of Brawlers was a huge plus point for me, and both bands are really fitting with the tour. Decade are pretty high on working with the two groups, as Connor puts it “Really, really the nicest guys and both just such incredible bands. Brawlers, Only Rivals – just awesome guys, awesome music, and really the future. I feel like it’s a good time for music right now in this country. Only Rivals would hate me if I said that, ‘great time for English music’ (laughs) being Irish and all. Yeah, two great bands, so thrilled to have them on the tour.”
But it’s not all late night partying and trashing hotel rooms, as the lads discuss “It’s quite a different environment, because you’re finishing so late, and then you’ve got to drive to hotels, so it’s mainly been playing the show and collapsing in a hotel room really (laughs).”

Connor: “Yeah, we’ve kind of been a bit boring this tour. We normally like to do a bit of exploring; get outside, see the sites everywhere we go, but this tour’s been a bit of a chilled one, we’ve been doing lots of hanging out with the other dudes in the bands, ‘cus they’re such nice guys. It’s just been a really chilled out relaxing, but really super fun tour. It’s been great.”

When I’m at a gig, I often take a look around the room and ponder ‘What will gigs be like when I’m older?’ I’m certainly not going to stop going to shows as I get older, but I don’t want to be seen as that guy who hangs out at the show on his tod, decades older than the crowd, looking out of place.
Walking into Sound Control that evening, having arrived far too early for the show, I feel as if I’ve skipped the ‘getting older’ part and arrived smack dab in the awkward-guy-at-a-show-on-his-tod stage – at 25 years old… The room is full of kids – actual children. I always feel a bit put off at 14+ shows as it is, but this is a whole other story. The opening band certainly don’t help, with the front man giving it some slap dash patter to make the kids laugh. To make the kids laugh! At a gig!

Feeling like a Dad at a festival, I make myself comfortable near the back of the room (next to the great new Brawlers merch that I can’t afford…) and wince through the first groups set. The music’s not so bad, but the whole thing just feels a bit cringe worthy. I feel past it, and worry that my time away from the scene will alienate me further…

I’m happy with the arrival of Brawlers, who I’d not realised up until this show are pretty much a pop punk group… The thing 10269527_800163773327917_2773386117643710329_nthat separates them from the first group however, is their full on intensity. Sure, they also employ the lame crowd participation traits at times, but I suppose with it being such a young audience, to them it’s just like playing a kid’s party…I discovered Brawlers at the start of the year, when they signed to rad label Alcopop! Records, and I’ve really gotten into them. Live, they’re a really fun, poppy group and the tunes sound just as good as they do on record. They might be a bit too much for this crowd, but those in attendance are still up for it, and I spy many minds being molded! The last time I saw Brawlers, frontman Harry pretty much had half the room to himself, and he used every inch! With Sound Control, the set-up is considerably smaller, but it doesn’t stop Brawlers putting on a rad show.

Decade come on to a fantastic response, and cut straight into it. They too fall into the lame playing to the kids routine, but I realise throughout the night that this is pretty much the norm. This night has opened my eyes, as it were…You’ve got to adapt to your audience. I don’t particularly agree with dumbing down for kids, but it works for audiences like this. The crowd go pretty mental, and the band respond positively, pretty much giving their all on stage. Frontman Alex is perfectly suited to this sort of show, and completely captivates those in attendance. The sound takes me back to when I was into this sort of stuff, and I totally get a buzz from it. It reminds me of early Fall Out Boy records, which is not a bad thing at all. The transition into a headline band seems to have been a smooth one for Decade, and they play a great set – those nerves they spoke about earlier not showing up at all.

Whilst it might no longer be my scene, I can fully appreciate what these dudes are doing. Decade seem to be blowing up at the minute, and I can see them becoming household names fairly soon. Brawlers too are pretty close to following in their footsteps. The main thing I gathered from the whole evening was that it’s all about fun. Talking with Connor and Harry earlier in the night – they’re just cool dudes, and they’re having a great time both on stage and in studio. I love the fact that they’re just a tight group of bros, hanging out and playing music.

So what’s next for the band? I’ll let Connor sum it up, “We’ve got a few festivals coming up – we’ve got NASS festival, Boardmaster’s festival, 2000 Trees – Then we’ve got a couple of things that we’re waiting to announce, juicy little tours that I think people might enjoy. Gonna be a great year, we’re touring as much as possible and then we’ll start work on another record.”

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Andy Hughes

Hi, I'm Andy.I'm the man behind Birthday Cake for Breakfast, a site featuring music news, reviews and interviews.Big believer in Birthday Cake, Pizza, math rock and beer (preferably all in one sitting.) I spend my mornings daydreaming about gigs and my evenings going to gigs. Lunch times are spent walking about town listening to Tom Waits.'Id rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy'