Born and raised in Berlin, electro junkie Decto made it through the hipster fad and wannabe start-up projects. He is the last producer standing, defying the monotonous singer-songwriter- and minimal electro movement by fusing hip-hop elements with ass-kicking dubstep beats and seasoning it with progressive jungle and drum’n’bass music. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
DECTO: As a teenager I was already into music mostly listening, but also fascinated by Keyboards and Synthesizers at local stores. I started with a Casio keyboard at the age of 10, it had some minimal sound shaping capabilitiers and not even a pitch bend. When I got my first Computer I started creating with Fasttracker. Later when I was 17 I got my Synthesizer/Drumcomputer and startet messing with Cubase and MIDI.
2. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
DECTO: I’m doing my best to just ignore it. Fortunately I get lots of support from my own circle. It is sad that most haters are just lacking the drive and passion to create something on their own. Most creative people creating something know the hard work and appreciate it if you are doing your thing. Still constructive feedback is super important and should always be appreciated to get you forward in your own process.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘DECTO’?
DECTO: Back in the days it was a mixture of electronic music by “The Prodigy” and “The Chemical Brother” among others as well aslots of Hip Hop, R’n’B and Drum and Bass. I was producing music for myself and friends mostly, but was forced by friends to release music, at lesast on soundcloud and youtube. Therefore I needed an artist name. While working there was a kind of password generator – muust have been around 2003 – containing the string “decto”. And I thought it is catchy, fitting electronic music and also it was available, noone was using the name/brand. Later found out the there is some technical equipment (metrology) from Nestlé using that name.
4. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
DECTO: Looking back at what I achieved so far, in music and classic education. I got a masters degree in Computer Science and landed a spot on an official Spotify playlist last year. I have been releasing music now for over 15 years, staying püersistent and delivering with consistency. Often I can’t see it that way, but when meeting other musicians, they tell me how impressive that is. Having strong bonds with friends and family over decades, that is something I’m really greatful for and which I’m also responsible for. Sometimes it helps to hear that from your long-term peers, they have a different perspective. Also people you don’t see regularly have a different perception, they don’t see you in the mirror every day like you do.
5. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
DECTO: Music should fulfill some purpose for the listeners. That might be distraction, entertainment, conveying values, cultural and social criticism. I mostly want people to relax, think, support them in their process and sometimes get them to let go and just move to my music.
6. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
DECTO: No, all self taught, especially in the beginng by reading Magazines and books plus exchange with fellow musicians. Later I could use the internet, youtube and Instagram which are great starting points for new talents today. Also I’d say, kust make music, train your ears, you’ll get better over time. Guaranteed!
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Even more, I’m having fun creating (music) also this is kind of a therapy for me, dealing with problems, thoughts and challenges. Of course I also value streams, views and like. But nothing comes close to seeing people dancing and vibing to your music and giving you (positive) feedback after playing live open air.
8. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Decto describes himself as an ‘Urban Warrior’ with a hard shell and a soft core. He enjoys producing everything from melancholic melodies to hardcore basses, calling it ‘Urban Electronic Music’. Merging hip hop elements with ass kicking dubstep beats, spicing it up with progressive jungle and drum’n’bass tunes. Often people associate images like traveling by car or on a train, some action movie scenes, video game boss battels or relaxing sunset moments with friends with my music. This highly depends on thje song they are listening to, since my music is quite diverse. Only the last album was consistent with just relaxing and mellow tunes.
9. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
DECTO: I might have some chords or specific beat in mind. Mostly I play around with chords and mellow sounds, which also narrows down the BPM. After creating chords, adding some motifs, melodies and bass, I finally add some drums, vocals and/or vocal chops. FX might follow while arranging the track to support build ups, drops and break parts. After sketching the arrangement I listen to the track on the go and present it to musical peers and advisors, just to get input on massive flaws, if there are any.
10. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
DECTO: Massive breakup at the end of 2016 crushed me for more than 6 months. This had a massive influence on my second solo album “Resurrection”. I never felt this way before or afterwards, this really changed me. Now I got way more sympathy for people mentally struggling with life and its challenges and made me realize what massive obstacles you can overcome. Stay strong, fight, cry and crawl through the mud. Light is ahead, just keep on, biuild trust and survive.
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