DECATUR have been hard at work upon what will be their first debut album titled "Badder Than Brooklyn", where the name was taken after their very own street of dreams out in New York, as they recorded this album at Silvercord Studios in Brooklyn. Not only is this an accomplishment for them in terms of recording and writing goes, but as a togetherness as a whole band. For this release as well as their first single for this release "Into The Night", just brings out the band more so than any other out there. These guys just want to create metal music, it is what they do and how they want to be themselves as a full circle force field. Frontman vocalist and guitarist Jay Sarrazin or "Beard" as he likes to be called does the talking about the single, this album, and what plans are ahead.
1. What role do you play in the band?
Jay: Hey, this is Jay “Beard” Sarrazin, I am the Vocalist and Guitar player of Decatur. I book shows, set up tours, do interviews, bring artistic concepts to the band and I also serve as the main songwriter and manage the band on a day to day basis
2. Why did you guys end up with a name like DECATUR for your band's name?
Jay: The reason we chose DECATUR is because it was the street that we traveled down every day to the recording studio in Brooklyn, NY while recording our debut record “Badder Than Brooklyn”. We had thrown around about 75 names over a couple of weeks but not every member liked those names. When Decatur came up we all immediately knew that it was the right name for us .
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Jay: One of the main things that influences our sound would have to be our diversity of music. We all come from such different backgrounds of music that we love. Some of us listen to punk rock, the blues and rock and roll, others listen to pop and singer songwriters. The one thing we all have in common though is our love for metal and heavy music in general. So we try to put all styles of music into our sound to create something completely original. We like to be daring and push the boundaries. Not just for metal and the music we play but also for ourselves personally.
4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Jay: With this record we decided to attack a subject that not only affects the members of the band but so many people around the world. That subject was mental illness. Growing up, music was a medicine that we all used to help heal our mental illness, depression or anxiety’s. While writing the lyrics for this record, Beard wanted to tackle that epidemic that seems so relevant in our day and age. We aren’t the kind of people who talk a lot about mental illness. We have all suffered in silence so to speak throughout our lives. But we decided that we felt strong enough to tell the world that they are not alone and that so many of us suffer from things like this. So we wanted to give back to music for helping us get through the hard times. We hope this album can help someone the way other albums helped us.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Jay: Yes we write all our own songs. We have a pretty simple approach to how we write our stuff. Beard usually comes to the group with the songs, the ideas. He writes a lot of the groundwork for what we do. He brings them to our jam room and shares them with the band. From that point we really start to dissect the songs and everyone starts to put their hands on the music. We work out all the kinks and come up with a final product that we love. From there we do more alterations in the studio. Surrounding ourselves with our team and getting fresh ears and opinions on the music from outside the band and fully refine our music that way to get the final product that goes on our record.
6. How do you describe your music to people?
Jay: To be honest, we describe our music in a simple manner. We always tell people that we are just a metal band. It would be hard to explain to everyone all the details and influences that go into our music. But we try to take all those styles and influences and present them in a metal fashion. Metal is such a big part of our lives so we love to put an aggressive outlook on our songs. Though some songs sound more like pop or rock and roll, we try to fuse that with metal to give it that aggression we need to release.
7. Why did you think that "Into The Night" was the suitable track to be made as the first single for this new album?
Jay: During this process of making the record “Into The Night” was never considered the first single to us. We had always thought that our song “Vegas Girl” would be our first single. The whole making of the record we thought that would be the song that most people could hear and immediately appreciate because it has such a rock and roll feel to it. Such a groove that it entices you to bang your head. But we sent it out to lots of outlets and they didn’t seem too interested in it. I guess the world wasn’t ready to take the risk on something different or new. Most people and outlets like the safe approach, the approach that guarantees them something. We are more risk takers, trend setter’s. We see the picture in a different light. But when it comes to “Into The Night” as a single we weren’t surprised that was a song the metal community grabbed onto as it has a classic metal sound and vibe to it. It really gets the motors going. So we weren’t surprised about that. We really see all 10 songs on this record to be single worthy. Our goal during this record was to write a great album. Not just a couple of good songs and some filler. We wanted all the songs to stand alone, to give you something different. A different feeling, a different thought process or even a different appreciation for what we can do.
8. You will soon be releasing your new album “Badder Than Brooklyn”, can you tell me a little bit about it?
Jay: “Badder Than Brooklyn” was so amazing to make for us. We were so fortunate to have Joe Duplantier from Gojira want to be part of it. As an artist I think he saw something different in us. Something no one else was doing and I think that is what made him want to work with us. Having Johann Meyer and Taylor Bingley from Silver Cord Studios there engineering the record and helping us focus our ideas and grow on them was also amazing. Their knowledge of music is so versed and they totally understood the road we were traveling. Also having Raphael Bovey from MyRoom Studios to master the record was really important. He knew the kind of power we were trying to put out and was able to go beyond what we were looking for. Him also working with Johann before gave them such an understanding of where to go with the final product. So I think the most important thing for us was that team of professionals. They not only helped us step up our game as artist but they also left our artistic views at the forefront. We spent 6-7 weeks living in Brooklyn and in the studio every day. We were so broke that we were eating canned food and at the end when it came to recording vocals Beard slept on the floor of Silver Cord Studios. We invested a lot of our lives and money into it and it was worth more than every penny we spent. We would spend it again 10 times over for such an incredible experience.
9. Where did the album's artwork design come from and how does the title represent the music off the album?
Jay: We really wanted to keep everything as real as possible. The album cover is an artist’s rendition of Silver Cord Studios. The building and street that is on the cover of our record is exactly what Silver Cord Studios looks like. So we wanted to pay homage to where this all happened. We are from Canada, so spending all that time in Brooklyn was very special to us. New York has such a special vibe to it and we felt like it became like a second home to us. So we really wanted to keep everything in sync and we felt like that was the best way to do it. We had a company by the name of Hue Dare come up with the rendition. It is someone that Beard has worked with for a long time when it comes to art and designs so it was an easy decision to go back to them for the cover and back cover. The title “Badder Than Brooklyn” was actually a band name that Beard’s older brother was in years ago. The fact that we were doing this album in Brooklyn 10 years after that band existed was so coincidental. We feel like Brooklyn has a bad ass reputation and we thought that it fit the record so perfectly. So it had many meanings to us and that’s why we went with that title.
10. What is your favorite and least favorite song off “Badder Than Brooklyn”?
Jay: We actually love every single song on this record. As I said before, we tried to make every song offer something different. So when any of the songs are listened to, it invokes a different feeling or element for us. We never look at a song on this record and feel like it is the same as another song. They all have their purpose on the record and that’s what makes this record so special to us
11. What can the fans expect from the new DECATUR album?
Jay: Fans can expect to bang their heads for 40+ minutes. We made this record with the intention of just writing good catchy riffs. Songs you can remember or learn the chorus for and sing along to, or scream along to. They can expect something completely different than what’s “cool” at the moment in metal. We didn’t want to be the heaviest metal band on planet earth or to be the band that plays the most difficult songs or puts the most amount of notes into our songs or solos or try to make our music as difficult to play as possible. We really just wanted to write some killer tunes that you could all digest and get into and pick up a guitar and play it and have fun with it.
12. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Jay: We spent a couple of months writing all of our songs and getting the just of them down before we went to the studio. We sent off a pre pro record for the studio and Joe to hear as well. They sent us back some notes and we started to adjust all those points before going there. Then in the studio we really refined the record. There is something special about being in a room together and making music. Lots of ideas get bounced around and we were constantly trying things or adding things. We were just really enjoying the process of every minute in the studio and that made for such a great environment to record in.
13. Why do you think people should check out your new album once released?
Jay: We honestly think that we have something original. If you’re tired of the ultra low tuning, brutal gutturals for vocals where you can’t understand what the vocalist is saying, 250 bpm, blast beats, rip your skull off, over shredding metal and are ready to get into something more like the kings of metal such as Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth and so on were putting out then this is definitely the record for you. If you want the same run of the mill metal that’s going out today then we probably aren’t for you. But if you like composition and songwriting and love you some good ol metal you can bang your head to then pop in this disc and you’ll be a happy metal head.
14. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
Jay: We feel like we are extremely different than all the metal acts out today. We aren’t looking to be better than anyone, we are just looking to be ourselves, whether that sells or it doesn’t. We don’t want to be part of a fad, or special sub genre or that cookie cutter style. We just want to be us and put out some great albums for everyone to listen to and enjoy. We want you to understand our lyrics and understand where are songs are going. We would love people to want to pick up their instruments and play our stuff. We just really want to give back to metal because it has given us so much over the years. So we want to give that all back in any way that we can. We find that the metal scene has so many bands that sound so similar. Bands that are “perfect” because of the studio and bands that want to just jump on to the cool ship that’s sailing in the popular sea. We focused on being as honest and real as possible. Not having perfectly lined up drums and fake sounding guitar tones and trying to be perfect. It’s the imperfections and honest emotion that we always loved about metal. So we wanted to be a part of that side.
15. What does the rest of this year have in-store for you?
Jay: We will be touring Canada for the rest of 2017 on our “Out of the Sewer Tour” which spans across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Hopefully we you will see us in the USA and beyond for 2018 constantly touring. We love playing live so we definitely have set out to play live as much as possible. You can also expect some music videos your way in the near future.