Well, the Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival is rapidly approaching so I wanted to be sure to take the time to actually speak with a few of the artists that are lined up to be performing and since there has been so much focus on the festival’s organizers, Sniffling Indie Kids and Mint 400, why not take the opportunity to spotlight one of the festival newcomers, Désir Decir, a Jersey City band on Killing Horse Records.
So first off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Why don’t we start off by just introducing everyone in the band, any other projects anyone’s involved in, etc.
Thank you for having us. My name is Mitch Cady. I play drums and sing backing vocals in Desir Decir as well as for another band called Sammy Kay. John Feuerbach is our lead singer and guitar player. He also plays bass and sings back ups for Life Eaters, who are our label mates on Killing Horse records, and he plays multiple instruments and sings back up for a band called They Live!, based on the John Carpenter film. Greg Reyes plays bass and sings back ups in Desir and occasionally takes on other projects as well.
Desir Decir has been around now for over five years, which is a long time for a lot of local bands to stick around. What do you attribute your longevity to?
I think we’ve stuck around because we enjoy playing music together. We were more active as far as touring and such goes a few years ago, but we’ve kind of stepped back from that for now, as we’re all in our thirties and have adult responsibilities. I think things can change between us situationally as far as what time we may have for the band or what we can do as a group, but we’ll always be good friends and want to play together on some level. We started this band as a democracy where we each get an equal say, and while that may be a sticking point for a lot of bands, it works for us. It’s important that our friendship is first and if the band stops being fun, I think we’ll stop making new music and playing, but it hasn’t and I don’t see that happening.
Your debut EP, Mechanics (2014), and follow up EP, Even the Earnest Learn (2015), were both released on Killing Horse Records. How did your relationship with that label begin and what made you sure that they were the right choice for Desir Decir?
I started working with Mike Sylvia and Ryan Gross at Maxwell’s in Hoboken shortly after I moved to Jersey and we’ve remained friends ever since. One day, while Desir was still kind of in its infancy, Mike asked if I knew a bass player and I told him John is one of the best pass players I know. John joined Mike’s project, Life Eaters, and when Mike and Ryan saw us play at Maxwell’s for the first time, they asked if we would want to put out a record with Killing Horse.
That choice was a bit of a no brainer for us. We liked what they were doing with and for other bands in our area and we were already friends with the label ownership. I’ve always kind of favored going with good people I have a relationship with rather than looking for someone to “do something” for any band I’ve been in and I think the other guys feel the same way.
It has been a little while now since the release of Even the Earnest Learn. Can we look forward to some new releases coming up? Are there plans or anything in the works?
Yeah, we’ve been working on some new music in the past year or so. We have about half of a new LP pretty much ready to go and I know John has some other songs in his back pocket. We’re just kind of taking our time and putting things together before we go in to record, doing things at our own pace.
We actually have a couple songs that have been recorded for a 7” that were finished around the same time as Even the Earnest Learn, but we’ve been holding them back as a vinyl release and haven’t found an outlet for them. Killing Horse does mainly CD releases and we haven’t been touring much, so there hasn’t been much of drive to put it out, but I would imagine those songs would see the light of day before the LP makes it out, probably gearing up for a tour when we can get back on the road a little bit more.
Desir Decir will be performing at the Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival and representing Killing Horse Records, and there will be twenty-three other bands between all the labels, which also includes Sniffling Indie Kids, Mint 400, Little Dickman, and Bar None. Who are some of the other local artists that you’re most looking forward to see perform?
Of course, we’re always tickled to play with our friends too and we go way back with Cicada Radio, The Rock and Roll Hi-Fives, Tom Barrett, and TV Sound. I haven’t seen Brixton Riot in a little while either, so it will be great to catch up with them.
This is the second year the Festival is being held in Jersey City, which is also your home town. There’s been a lot of changes in the city in the past few years that go beyond the local music scene, but in what ways have you noticed the music scene and community change in the greater Jersey City area, or do you think that it really hasn’t?
There are a ton of awesome bands that continue to crop up every year in Jersey City, but I think the most notable thing is what is still missing: a place for local and smaller touring acts to play that puts on shows week in and week out. Right now, you see a number of places that are filling the need: Porta, Monty Hall, The Archer, Fox and Crow, Cathedral Hall, and Pet Shop (full disclosure, I bartend at Pet Shop), but none of them are a full time, dedicated venue, besides Monty Hall, but even being linked to the amazing WFMU, they can’t have a show every night without a liquor license and have it make sense. This is going to be my first time playing at Cathedral Hall and I’m excited to get a feel for the place.
White Eagle Hall is an excellent addition and brings marquee names to the city, but aren’t a place for locals to really build a crowd from the ground up. With the loss of The Lamp Post a few years ago, Funhouse, and The Citizen a year or so ago, we have a real need that’s not being filled. I would love to see a small club in Jersey City with a big sound system come into being. I’d also love to help make it happen if anyone else is interested.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.