Emerging duo Deco are firmly on a trajectory to the echelons of pop royalty thanks to their brand of 80s-tinged, feel-good electro.
The two-piece, consisting of Max Kendall and John Dell, have been glossing their kaleidoscopic sound since forming in Nottingham – and it’s turning heads.
2019 marked a breakthrough year for London-based Deco, whose love of 1980s pop acts like Wham! and Duran Duran is evident within their sonic output with a Metronomy slash Friendly Fires-esque modern twist.
They performed at London’s historic Maida Vale for a coveted BBC Introducing session, were included in Spotify’s Fresh Finds and New Pop UK playlists, and played at a wealth of major UK festivals including Truck and the Isle of Wight.
Their new EP, Real Life, was released in May and masterfully weaves its way through styles. From the funk-infused magic of Real Life to the rousing atmospheric synths on Beaches, it’s a fizzing snapshot of an act ready to make waves.
Lyrically, they go deep too. Its prevalent title single delves into our reliance on modern technology and how those “real life” experiences are unrivalled.
And with support slots with support slots with Bang Bang Romeo and Marsicans coming up, 2020 is set to further establish Deco as one of pop’s acts you can’t miss.
Daily Star Online caught up with Max and John to talk about life in lockdown, their formation, how Real Life was produced, and supporting the charity Homeless Link.
Hi guys. Who are Deco and how did you get together?
Max: “Ay up! Deco are Max & John. We were both in different bands at the time we met in Nottingham at Uni and we played on the same bill.
“I needed a guitarist for my band, John looked alright so I poached him and we became Deco!”
How have you found lockdown so far? Has it given you a chance to work on new material?
John: “As soon as lockdown hit we holed up together, and we’ve been incredibly lucky to have all this time to write together.
“We had a home studio set up for ideas, so anybody could start something off at any time, and we churned out about 40 tunes, so productive!
“I know lockdown has sucked for a lot of people but in terms of creativity, we’ve definitely benefited.”
Your debut EP Real Life came out in May. What was the writing and recording process like?
Max: “We actually changed it up a bit for the EP. Ordinarily it would be myself who would do the majority of the writing but we worked on most of these tracks together which was really refreshing as we all have our own writing strengths to throw in the pot.
“We recorded it down in Kent just before we went on tour last Autumn with our Producer Raffer (Callum Rafferty) at his studio – he’s ridiculously good and helps takes our tunes up a gear.”
The four tracks boast an expansive, varied pop sound. How do you hone your musical style sonically?
John: “It depends on the song, and who brought the idea to the table!
“On the EP you’ve got one started by me, one that’s entirely Max, and two that are collaborations between Max, Little John (bassist) and myself, so quite a range of ideas.
“We’ve all got similar tastes so it’s always fun working out how songs are going to exist in the Deco universe together.”
What acts are you influenced and inspired by?
Max: “I’d say we have a mutual love for a lot of artists, but also bring our individual musical influences too.
“We both love 80s pop which you can probably hear. Bands like Duran Duran, Wham, Human League – not forgetting more contemporary artists like Christine & The Queens, Everything Everything & Friendly Fires.
“For me a lot of George Michael & MJ come out in what I write and John is a big fan of Talking Heads & Phoenix.”
You’re signed to Solo Music Agency, the home of some huge names. What do they bring to the table and how have they supported you?
John: “Solo have been great and have been working behind the scenes to book 2021 for us despite the lack of live music happening in the world right now.
“We signed with them at the start of the year, right before the madness, but they set us up with the Bang Bang Romeo support slots and 2021 is looking set to be pretty mammoth – it’s all exciting stuff, we’re very blessed to have them on board.”
You’ve supported Jess Glynne, performed at various festivals from Isle of Wight to Truck, and played at the legendary Maida Vale. What did you take from these shows and how have they helped you as a live act?
Max: “Yeah, last summer was mad! I feel like those shows were a defining moment for us, and we naturally took things up a notch to match the spectacle of the gigs themselves.
“I just remember soaking in the experience of Jess Glynne show, playing to 8,000 people and realising s*** – this is what our band is made for. We have pretty anthemic tracks & a bouncy stage presence so having the room to utilise that kind of allowed us to come into our own.
“Personally, those shows taught me the importance of taking it all in – and I think that helps us perform at our best.”
You decided to donate the EP’s profits from iTunes to Homeless Link, which is an extremely noble act in these strange times. How important is it that you’re able to support those in need?
John: “We spoke about this a lot actually, which cause we should donate the money to. I think all being indoors in a comfortable flat together, knowing that homeless people are out on the streets with a virus spreading across the country, highlighted how much those people need support from the people who are able to give it. It’s incredibly important.”
You’ve got a number of dates lined up towards the end of the year, supporting Bang Bang Romeo and Marsicans. How much are you looking forward to getting back on the road and what can we expect from a Deco show?
Max: “I can’t even contain my excitement. It’s probably the aspect of Deco that we enjoy the most, having that real engagement with people in a room.
“By that time it will have been 8 months since we’ve experienced that, so we can’t wait. You can expect some new tunes (products of lockdown), a lot of pent up energy being released and some new moves if our bassist has got anything to do with it!”
Do you have an ultimate goal? What are your hopes for the years ahead?
John: “Total world domination. Well no, kind of. I think we’d all love to travel the world, write music that connects with people, put on fun and uplifting parties and hopefully put a few smiles on some faces. If we get to play another show this year I’ll be happy”