Collective effort works for Real Mad Decent 0
Burnaby’s Real Mad Decent are keeping busy, currently writing material for the group’s upcoming second EP release. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
This has been a good year for Real Mad Decent with their selection as one of the top-20 finalists in the annual CFOX Seeds contest. With a self-titled EP out that that blends rock, funk and hip-hop, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with singer Zac McMillan.
24: How did you arrive at the band name?
ZM: We had already been a band for a couple of months and after a few drinks one night we came up with 'Mad Decent.' It turned out to be the name of a popular record label so we threw 'Real' in front of it and called it a day. The name itself is fairly ambiguous, but we've grown into it. It's who our friends and fans have come to know us as.
24: Do you all have similar musical tastes and influences?
ZM: We've actually been playing music together from a fairly young age, having grown up together. Early on, we were heavily influence by our local hardcore and punk scene — though growing older, our musical tastes started to change and we began to explore jazz, funk, hip-hop, and good old fashioned rock ‘n roll. With that, we all found ourselves drawing inspiration from different places. We tried a few different arrangements, switched instruments a few times, and one day it just clicked. We knew that we had found the arrangement and dynamic we were looking for.
24: Is the term ‘rock’ an apt description?
ZM: This is always a tough question to answer. We’re a rock band, to put it simply. Lots of other styles and influences play a role our music, such as hip-hop and funk, but essentially we’d consider ourselves a hard rock band
24: Some have noted that you have a ‘grunge’ sound. Was that genre an influence on you?
ZM: Grunge was definitely a part of my life growing up in the ‘90s. There are quite a few grunge bands that still mean a lot to me. What I loved most during that era was the sense of raw talent, no bells and whistles, just artists giving it everything they had never holding back for anyone.
24: Did music figure in your life early on?
ZM: All four of us were lucky enough to have musical fathers, so we were all surrounded by music from a young age. Bass player Mitchell Santaga and I started a band together when we were 11 playing Green Day covers. Music has always been an important part of my life.
24: Is there a principle songwriter or all four of you involved?
ZM: As a band, our songwriting style is very collaborative and we all contribute. Sometimes Nik Dagsvik, our guitarist, might have an idea for a vocal melody or our drummer, Marco Di Spirito, might have a guitar part that he's been working on. We try to leave the process very open ended and work through songs together. We’re always listening to each other’s ideas and building off those ideas and hopefully, that's what helps make our sound unique.
24: What’s been the reaction to your live shows?
ZM: We always get a great reaction when we play gigs that are suited to a loud, high-energy crowd. There have definitely been times when our music wasn’t appropriate for the venue or atmosphere. Despite those gigs, we’re always trying to play for as many people as we can, and stay true to who we are — a high-energy band.
24: What do you foresee for the future?
ZM: Our plan is to keep writing, keep playing, keep recording, and never stop improving as musicians and as a collective band. We’re currently writing a new EP that we can’t wait to release — working really hard on having it reflect the musical progress we’ve made as a group. Overall, we’re just going to keep plugging away and having fun.