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Bridging the Gap between Rock and Dubstep with Decadon [Artist Interview]

Dubstep’s newest heavy hitter, Decadon, will be joining the musical invasion this weekend at Phoenix Lights Festival in Arizona. Growing up in the neighboring state of Colorado, 23-year-old Decadon, or Donnie Miller, began playing guitar with rock bands in hookah lounges and shifty bars around the Denver area. Completely immersed in the Colorado music scene, Miller transformed his love of RockNRoll into a creative inspiration for his recent brand of hard-hitting bass music. Much like his fun and energetic personality, Miller takes the same approach to producing. Managed by his father Don, they both have been enjoying the incredible musical journey over the past seven years. We were fortunate enough to be able to speak with Decadon before his set at Phoenix Lights Festival to talk about his influences, creative process and unique RockStep sound.

CYM: Compose Yourself Magazine is based out of Colorado. I understand you’re from the Denver area. If there’s one thing that region contains besides beautiful mountains and scenery is a dense music scene. How did the Colorado music scene help shape your own musical vision?

Decadon: I grew up in Littleton, just a thirty-minute drive South of Denver. There’s always an overwhelming amount shows going on every night of the week in Colorado. That helped me in the sense that there was never a shortage of being able to play live. In middle and high school, I was playing in Rock bands, but they call Denver the ‘Bass Capitol’ for a reason and soon moved to producing.

CYM: What were some of you early musical influences? Not just Colorado based, but in general.

Decadon: Growing up my mom and my dad were huge influences. They played a lot of Classic Rock around the house and in the car. Bands like Guns N Roses, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Then I moved on to Saliva, Kid Rock, P.O.D. and similar bands that really got me to love music. The first EDM song I ever heard was Zed’s Dead remix of White Satin followed by Skrillex and then Bassnectar. I was just blown away that only one or two people can make all of these sounds and not have to rely on a full band. After that I began molding the worlds of Rock music with Electronic.

CYM: An early introduction to Classic Rock certainly made a difference early on for you. How old were you when you first started playing music and decided to seriously peruse the craft?

Decadon: I started messing around on the guitar around 10 or 11 and lost interest because of all the rules and scales. I just wanted to Rock. A couple years later, I got freakishly good at Guitar Hero and it inspired me to want to take up guitar again. This time I just took to the internet and taught myself. While I actively play guitar, I am very fluent in drums, piano and bass as well.

CYM: You mentioned you started playing guitar in bands early on in your musical career. Was there a trigger that made you want to start producing?

Decadon: I think it was being able to control the music that was being made and the drive to be successful. I knew I wanted to be a musician for the rest of my life by the time I was 15. At that age it’s hard to find other kids with the same motivation. It was just easier for me to move to producing from being in a band because I could put in all the time I wanted to, and I could write what I wanted to write. It was my control element.

CYM: I must ask, what kind of guitar to use to Rock out both onstage and when you produce?

Decadon: I go between two for when I record. A Les Paul Custom along with a Gibson SG. In general though, I just love guitars. I have a nice collection. But on stage I use a custom guitar which looks like a cross between a B.C. Rich Mockingbird and a Walrock that lights up with LED’s.

CYM: As I was diving into your Soundcloud I discovered some interesting remixes. You don’t normally see a Dubstep version of tracks from Green Day and Fall Out Boy. Can you speak to why you choose the songs you decide to remix?

Decadon: A lot of people who love heavy bass music usually started in the heavy rock, hardcore and punk scenes. So, I guess there are two main factors. First off, I just love the energy of those songs and secondly is the nostalgia factor. It was the music I listened to growing up and the music I love to play.

CYM: Last year you played Goldrush here at the same venue Phoenix Lights is held. What are some new things we can expect from your return to Rawhide? What are you most excited for this year at Phoenix Lights?

Decadon: Arizona is probably one of the top five states in the U.S. that contains my biggest followings. This will also be the first time I am playing there with a new set and the new version of the LED guitar. I am also excited to play a later time slot so I can show more of the crowd what I’ve been working so hard on.

CYM: I’ve noticed more DJ’s adding instruments to their live sets. Everyone from Odesza to people like Boogie T are getting in on the action. Can you speak on this growing trend in dance music?

Decadon: I think people are getting bored of just seeing a DJ behind a booth mixing songs together. I think artists are realizing the direction things are going and that direction is to be more musical and be musicians. However, not everyone is able to accomplish being both a musician and a DJ. For those that can, it has really been opportunity to create something special.

CYM: What’s next step for Decadon? Any new releases or big announcements that you would like share?

Decadon: Continue to push out quality music. There will be a lot of releases coming every few weeks while I build on an E.P. I will be playing a hometown headliner at the Bluebird in Denver which will be very special. In addition to Phoenix Lights Festival and Dancefestopia, there are so many festivals that haven’t even been announced yet. I’m really excited to reach a lot of new people and play a lot of places for the first time.

Come bang your head with Decadon on the Mothership Stage Saturday. Donnie will also be hosting a meet great and guitar giveaway directly after his set. It’s not too late to secure entry to the invasion. Weekend tickets for PHXL are on sale now!

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