Dreams. Diligence. Decades.
Despite Toronto’s growing indie band overcrowding, Decades proves that the cream always rises to the top.
Photographer / Dimitri Karakostas
“They can see that we’re worth working with because there is a chance that they’re going to see…results,” says Peter Gosling, leaning forward from his once nonchalant posture.
Gosling is talking about how the band he sets the beats for, Decades, adds value to the increasingly congested music industry. And when the boys of Decades talk about their work, they get serious.
It’s the end of a long day of perfecting their final track of their debut record (set to be released in April), and really, the end of a long 12 months of labouring over the album. Singer Mike Kaminski, guitarist Justin Lemaire, drummer Peter Gosling and bassist Greg Peter are sinking into the couches at 35 Bulwer, the infamous post-Horseshoe after party spot and home to White Girl Records studios. They admit that this is their first sit-down interview as Decades, and their slight discomfort shows. But as soon as we start talking about their goals, the mood shifts.
“I know there are a lot of bands that are trying to do it seriously but they’re not actually taking it seriously,” says Kaminski. “We rehearse as much as we possibly can. We rehearse at least 3 times a week, usually. And we try just being the best musicians we can, and playing the best music we can. I don’t think most bands are taking it as seriously as we are.”
And their diligence has paid off. In what started as a group of three friends with an unfocused sound and no singer, in less than two years, Decades has found their voice (literally and figuratively), signed to WGR and have toured with The Weeknd and k-os.
“It’s just changed so much [over the past two years]. We changed names and we totally had no idea what kind of music we wanted to write. We started writing together and it kind of just evolved into this kind of thing… The band has been going for two years but we haven’t really had a vision until recently,” explains Peter.
Right now, their vision is dark with a dash of melodrama. Their two currently released tracks feature lots of reverb, Kaminiski’s haunting vocals, and leave you feeling a bit eerie but still itching to dance.
“We’re interested in more dark music,” says Peter. “I think maybe it’s just kind of a way of getting that stuff out of you in a positive way. I’m sure we all feel down sometimes.”
It’s difficult for them to articulate what other bands their sound reminds them of.
“There’s a lot of bands that go for a sound and then they just become that type of band. First of all, I don’t know if we could write certain songs. It’s just what comes out of us, comes out of us,” says Peter.
And continuing on in the thread of breaking the mould, unlike many other bands, the members of Decades don’t claim to be BFFs. Just like any other working relationship, they deal with tension and blow ups, but are acutely aware that they all have a shared goal: to keep making good music for a living. But with that goal comes sacrifices.
In the middle of our interview, Peter has to return to his job at a retail shop down the street. As he leaves, Gosling points out that it’s difficult to juggle jobs and music – he was fired from his job earlier in the day.
“That’s why I got fired. When you tell people you’re going on tour, you’re not good to anybody. They don’t care. You’re just an employee to them. They need you to make money for them. So when you say you have all these exciting things…”
“They’re like, ‘Good for you,’ but it’s not how their world works,” says Kaminski.
“Totally,” adds Gosling, “We talk about not working all the time and jamming every day.”
This doesn’t mean they’re lazy or hiding from the world. Far from it. Aside from their rehearsal schedule, Decades also has a pretty thick skin.
We talk about facing disappointment as a young band, and every member agrees that they’ve had their fair share.
“It took a lot of fucking balls for us to go on tour with The Weeknd and k-os and get up there some nights, you know, in front of a hip hop crowd. That was not easy,” says Gosling.
This kind of bravado reflects in their music; Decades isn’t a band that is afraid to explore. Even though their debut album hasn’t even hit shelves, they’re already looking ahead and thinking about their next move.
“[Our second album] will still be dark,” says Lemaire. “Different sounds, but still dark sounds. Maybe a little more electronic and more weird.”
Looking ahead is all Decades can think about doing. Who wouldn’t with a future so bright?
“Progress-wise we’re still in the honeymoon stage and it’s only getting better,” says Kaminski. “It’s getting way better.”