“Much of our inspiration is drawn from scraps of our past…” These words lay the base for understanding the Bay Area-based darkpop project, Decant. The band, with Freddie Bytheway as the frontperson, features keyboardist and guitarist Joey Verdian, fellow keyboardist and guitarist Van Jackson-Weaver, and drummer Thelonius Quimby, creating a sound that is both melancholic and mystical. Also on Instagram, they present themselves with emphatic mystery, washed in muted colors and portraying a dystopian aesthetic.
“I like writing in coffee shops, museums, and parks…”, Freddie mentions, giving us a glimpse into Decant’s intimate creative process. Their self-recorded tracks, produced in a bedroom studio, explore themes of loss, transformation, and vulnerability. Their new track “Passing” pays homage to a dear friend, Corey Budke, presenting yet another single with darker vibes and introspective lyrics.
We sat down with Freddie Bytheway, where she talks about the band’s evolution, their approach to music, and the advantages of creating in their bedroom studio.
header photo by Roberto Lazarte
Tell us how you got together as a band, and what has been the biggest learning process over the years about playing music together?
The project started as a recording and production project by Joey around 2016. Van and I joined a couple years later and began to take the project to the next phase. I think the biggest hurdle for us was how to take our carefully crafted tracks and translate that into a living breathing experience. We are still in that learning phase and I think it’s very exciting.
Your new track “Passing” is about the emotional landscape of love and addiction. It’s an homage to Corey Budke, a dear friend of you. It´s a hauntingly beautiful track. There are some lyrics and melodies by Corey ( from his track “Solace”) included in the song. How hard was it to record this, in the sense of being emotional about it and remembering difficult times?
It feels like a moment when we as a band and his community of friends can honor the life of a passionate artist. The difficult times are always remembered by us, but by singing about it now, seeing how his lyrics would work perfectly over the chorus it felt like we were doing this project together and I think he would have been proud of the final song.
“I like writing in coffee shops, museums and parks, places with tables where you can be alone in a crowd.”
What is it that you want to remember the most about your friend through this song?
His collaborative spirit and infectious love for the creative process is something we talked about often while working on “Passing.”
I read a bit about the meaning of your band’s name “Decant draws parallels to the transformation of emotions into palpable sensations through their sound, much like the process of decanting wine.” Do you mostly write about emotions that you experienced yourself and it´s a way of processing something or do you sometimes think of topics and emotions specifically that you want the listener to think about?
Much of our inspiration is drawn from scraps of our past, whether it’s a line written down in a journal or an old song fragment. I sometimes like to imagine the song as it might be heard by someone else, but once it’s released it takes on a new life and I think that is some real magic.
All your records are self-recorded in a bedroom studio and you use organic instruments to create electronic structures. Can you talk us through which ones you use, which ones you like the most, and how does the atmosphere of the bedroom studio add to the song process?
The atmosphere adds a lot, there is no pressure like there would be in a professional environment where you’re paying for every minute. We have the time to get more experimental, and the ability to create at any time, job and life aside.
“Our songs often take a long time from first note to finish, every part of the process is important and we like to take the time to get it right.”
How long do you usually work on a song, and do you easily get to the point where all of you are happy with the result and can all feel that song is ready to go?
Our songs often take a long time from first note to finish, every part of the process is important and we like to take the time to get it right. But there’s always a song that comes along now and then which gets written in a couple days.
In what surroundings do you mostly write your lyrics?
I like writing in coffee shops, museums and parks, places with tables where you can be alone in a crowd.
Your Rooftop live sessions are great, when will you do your next one and will there be an opportunity for people to see you play live in this format?
Yes, we are planning more live videos for the next singles to be released. I love the idea of more curated events like the rooftop sessions with a live audience, hopefully we can make that happen in the future!
“Love means the smell of dirt, green trees, hot tea, cool air, sense of worth, soft sounds, warm skin, creature’s kin and self-care.”
What besides music makes you happy?
Friendship, family, traveling, nature.
If you had to choose, city or countryside?
I want both, but if I had to choose, a castle in the mountains overlooking a giant lake, with forests and hillsides nearby
What is love for you?
The smell of dirt, green trees, hot tea, cool air, sense of worth, soft sounds, warm skin, creature’s kin and self-care.