“I’ve invested everything I have into the music,” says Brandon Decker. “Energetically, emotionally, financially, everything has gone back into my art and growing as an artist.”
It’s with a wry wink at his bank account, then, that Decker named his new career-spanning album Into The Red. Primarily comprising tracks from the six studio records he’s released under the name decker. since 2009, Into The Red offers a bird’s eye view of Decker’s remarkable journey as a fearless songwriter and relentless performer. The collection reveals him to be a craftsman of the highest caliber, one who’s carved a bittersweet catalog of heartrending gems out of the unforgiving stone that is a lifetime spent pursuing dreams. He writes what The Dallas Morning News has described as “dramatic, emotionally enveloping songs,” which is to say that his music transports you, grabs you by the collar and takes you on a journey.
“Everything about what we do as artists needs to be about an experience, about making people feel and think,” he explains. “The reason to perform is to inspire.”
For Decker, inspiration most often comes from the natural beauty that surrounds him in his adopted hometown of Sedona, Arizona. Into The Red’s title also serves as a not-so-subtle tip of the cap to his fascination with the area’s distinctive geology.
“Sedona is this red rock land that looks like Mars,” says Decker. “I grew up in the Midwest and I’ve been all over the place, but Sedona is the first place that really felt like home. I don’t think I’ve ever really written a song outside of Sedona. It’s this fertile little embryo for creation.”
When Decker first moved to the small desert town roughly eight years ago, he had little more than ambition to his name. Working by himself in a makeshift bedroom studio, he recorded his 2009 debut, Long Days, on a shoestring budget. He followed it up with critically acclaimed album after critically acclaimed album, writing and recording at the extraordinary clip of nearly a record-per-year. As Decker’s songwriting progressed, so did decker.’s lineup, and the project grew to encompass additional musicians, bolder arrangements, and more sophisticated recording techniques as it garnered love from press and radio around the country.
Magnet raved that Decker’s music “bursts with emotion at every edge,” while Seattle NPR affiliate KEXP said his brand of “fevered guitar licks, crashing drums, and bluesy storytelling…gives Jack White a run for his money,” and The Phoenix New Times fell for his “fiery passion,” adding that decker. has “a vision unlike any other band these days.” Critics were quick to pick up on the influence of the desert in the music, with No Depression hailing Decker’s ability to blend “dark mystic lyrics and off-kilter attitude with taut musicianship and psychedelic romanticism,” and The San Francisco Bay Guardian dubbing his songs “dusty, moody, lonely, and super atmospheric.”
“There’s been a million opportunities to surrender,” reflects Decker. “The biggest takeaway I have looking back on the past near-decade is that I’m just proud and honored that I’m still in the game. I always liked that line in Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ where he’s talking about the workers in song. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve continued to do the work and develop as a person and an artist and a songwriter.”
By those measures, Brandon Decker is a very rich man indeed.