Experimental, song-focused, talented, modest, and confident are all adjectives that could easily be used to describe this week’s Band of the Week, Deccatree. Chris Karn (vocals, songwriter, guitar), Jesse Nason (keyboards, vocals), Luke Agajanian (bass, vocals), and Dicki Fliszar (drums, vocals) are the heart and soul behind this sonically intellectual experimental band.
Deccatree’s story starts with front man and founder Chris Karn, a visionary and deeply thoughtful man with a quiet, humble tranquility about him. Chris had formerly seen success playing guitar in General Public, but after trying and failing to put out a record at Capitol, he left, disillusioned. He put together a studio in a corner of his house, began teaching himself about engineering and production, and within a few months, part of what would become Deccatree’s debut album, Battle Of Life, was written. All Chris needed were some musicians to do live shows with. He began asking friends to play with him and eventually formed Deccatree.
With a sound that hovers somewhere between indie and orchestral rock, Deccatree’s sound is truly unique. Although they had managed to land a record deal with Atlantic – going so far as to cut a record and even develop cover art – that soon turned sour. Luckily, possibly due to Chris Karn’s laid-back, easy-going geniality, Atlantic allowed him to retain all rights – and even the master tapes – to Battle Of Life, meaning they could put it out themselves. And that is just what they have done.
And now two years on, they are working on a new album and still supporting Battle of Life, an album written under the most difficult of circumstances. Chris’s father was battling with cancer — and losing — his first child was about to be born, and his deal with Capitol was going south, hence the name Battle Of Life. But although his father didn’t win, Chris did. He is now a father of two, a successful producer of many other musical artists (including former Band of the Week, The Ruse -- whose front man John Dauer made the introduction), and working on a new album with Deccatree. Chris was nice enough to give me a few minutes for an interview recently.
Tell me the Deccatree story.
Well, it started when I left Capitol records, after a failed attempt to get a record put out there. They owed me some money, so I put together a studio in one corner of my home. I just started working away and learning about engineering and production. After a few months, a quarter of the record (Battle Of Life) was written and recorded and I needed to find some players to do shows, so I asked some friends. The list of guest players both live and on the record started to grow and I liked it. I had my pick of the best in the area and everyone was happy to come in and record or play a show.