Premiere: Meet Trace Decay, who showcase their strengths with Empty Handed
It's the Melbourne group's third single for the year, as they bring both quality and quantity to the table.
It's difficult to balance quality and quantity as an emerging band trying to get your name out there, but one group quickly working out the ropes is Melbourne-based duo Trace Decay. Since the arrival of their debut single back in 2018, the group have paced through a series of singles that have constantly seen them evolve and further themselves - two last year, and then another two this year, titled Sad Dance and Photobooth - within this crafty indie-pop sound, pushing their personal boundaries to keep their eyes set forward.
It's a balancing act that on their new single and third for the year, the today-premiering Empty Handed, really hits a fever pitch. It's a song that encapsulates Trace Decay and their brilliance in a tidy few minutes, showing that aforementioned drive for evolution and growth as they mix together a wealth of washed-out and dreamy guitar melodies with the vocals of Jordan De Pas, who really gives this commanding, hook-like edge to the song that drives it into that poppier side of things and gives it a new sense of life.
However, there's also an intimacy about Jordan's vocal that really shows a sense of emotion through his head-turning performance, and as the duo explain, it becomes apparent that this comes from the song's personal and reflective inspiration. "I wrote Empty Handed when I was going through a period of transition and was uncertain if I was on the right path to improving my own mental health or making it worse," Jordan says on the track. "I was holding myself to double standards and constantly second-guessing everything.
"It got to the point where I almost felt paralysed when I had to make a choice about anything as the fear of getting it wrong would haunt me. The verses are about me struggling with being in that unshakable mindset, trying to find answers anywhere. The chorus of this song was the last thing that was written as I was so stuck with where it should go."
As he continues, you get the sense that Empty Handed really allowed Jordan to process this, and overcome the demons that have held him back. "The songs themes had reared their ugly head and started to manifest in the songwriting process. At which point I realised I should just write about acknowledging that this is a thing and not worry about trying to find this magical resolution which I so desired. Probably one of my favourite lines I’ve ever written is the last line in the chorus which encapsulates my experience of self-doubt and crippling anxiety perfectly."
It's a brilliant moment that doubles down on the indie-pop brilliance they've carved over the last few releases, and while acts often stay semi-stagnant when they string together singles as such a pace, there's a clear progression amongst Trace Decay's work that all feels like it's building towards a break-out moment, one that leaves them teetering on the edge of something special (if they're not there already, with soundtrack adds and radio plays right through to shows with Art Vs. Science and the work they do behind-the-scenes in events and management).
While you wait for their breakthrough, however, you can dive into Empty Handed as it premieres on Pilerats ahead of its official release on Friday, and underneath that, introduce yourself to the pair ahead of everything they've got planned:
Tell us about yourself?
Our names are Jordan & Jeri and we are the two-piece Indie Rock-Pop band Trace Decay, from Melbourne. We met each other while studying at university back in late 2018 – funny story; the first time we met we had to do this meet and greet exercise where we had to look at each other and guess who we were based on what we looked like. Jeri thought Jordan was a private schoolboy, who only listened to EDM while Jordan thought Jeri was an ex-punk rebel who went to co-ed state schools. Brutal but honest (and mostly spot on).
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
Empty Handed is definitely our most anthemic/ energetic release yet. It kind of feels like if The Klaxons went on a one night stand with The Jungle Giants then had a love baby which turned out to be San Cisco, then San Cisco’s cousin from outta town came to visit (that’s us).
Overall, the track is laced with intricate harmonies, jangly guitars and 80’s inspired synths which combine to make one hell of an indie gem.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
Jordan: Usually I write all the music and then send over some demos to Jeri to get her thoughts. Once we land on our fave tracks, I’ll start on the production side of things then go ahead properly record and mix alongside the engineer.
For Empty Handed, I actually wrote the first half of the track in mid-2019 but could not figure out a chorus which was killing me. This song almost never got finished due to my lack of inspiration at the time. Then one magical day, I wrote the chorus in like half an hour and the song was done. I really got thrown a lifeline by the greater forces of the universe. Thanks Universe!
What does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?
This is the first single from out upcoming debut EP entitled Monstrous Subconscious dropping at the end of 2020! Obviously, due to the crazy year that 2020 has been, the recording process has taken longer to complete but we are so happy with what we’ve managed to achieve during this fucked up time.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
Jordan: Our new music has come from a deep place of introspection, dealing with the issues that are usually left to float around in your subconscious, slowly growing until they become unsustainable or dare I say, monstrous? At the same time, the instrumental side of Trace Decay has always been lo-fi pop-rock which is designed to pick you up and make you feel better about whatever situation you happen to be in while listening.
So ultimately, what we want people to take away from this project is for them to think a little deeper about the process’/ patterns in their life that appear to be there as foundational pieces, but in truth could be the very thing that’s creating their anxieties or fears. Also, we just want people to get pumped up and enjoy listening to our own brand of melancholy pop ™
Where can we find more of your music?
You can find us on all the streaming platforms as usual!