Meet Melodic Metal Powerhouse, Art of Decay

It is often said that variety is the spice of life, but what happens when the variety you choose is the collaborative musical talent of artists from across the globe? It’s safe to say that very few answer this question quite like Orange County’s melodic metal powerhouse, Art of Decay.

With the founding members bringing their American flavour, a lead singer from Russia, and a bassist and audio engineer from India, this four-piece, energy-infused group really know what it takes to put on a powerful performance and capitalize on everything that each member brings to the table.


Enthralled by their talent, we sat down with the band to learn more about how they came to be and how they do what they do so well.

By Brandon Schiafone

Tell us about how Art of Decay came to be formed.

David: Myself (drums/vocals) and Eric (Guitar) were introduced through a mutual friend over dinner. Eric wanted to start a band, however I had given up on the idea, but our friend was insistent we meet, emphatic about how their skills would complement one another. After a couple months, Eric and I decided to jam, so we rented out a three-hour block at a local rehearsal studio.

Eric had years of guitar riffs stored up and we sifted through those and we were actually able to create a very bare-bones version of one of our songs. We really, just, clicked right away and kept it going, and that’s really how it all started. So, we went on to record a 7-song EP of just guitar and drum instrumentals, just to shop a bass player, another guitarist, and a singer.

From the recanting of the band’s formation, none of you knew each other prior to Art of Decay, so how did the other members come into the mix?

Eric: We had ads for the EP everywhere: Craigslist; Reddit; Soundcloud, where people could go in and actually listen to it; we were trying to find like-minded individuals, as we had a vision of what it is we wanted to be and what we wanted to sound like and we were really focused on finding people that we could vibe with, and were able to work with, that fit into our sound.

Olga (lead vocals) was kind of a surprise for us—she sent in her demo, and at that time we had been playing for a couple months and people were really interested in the music, then when we got her demo we wanted to try it because it was something different and wasn’t what we were expecting, but she was really professional and had a really good sound. So, I met her at a coffee shop down the street from my house (and I was really jacked up on Rockstars, I had crazy facial hair, I had just been in an accident so I had scars on my face) and I basically said this is what we’re doing and within in three minutes I’m just like “Wanna come back to my house? I have a vocal booth set up over there and we can track.” And she just said “Okay!”

David: It takes some balls to go back to some crazy man’s house that you just met and step into his vocal booth (laughs).

Eric: I must have looked insane, but she came back and she just killed it within a couple of takes. I sent it over to David and it just grew from their—it changed our sound and we started writing more to her strengths and I think it’s been a real blessing to find her and be able to work with her.

David: It excited me because I was at work, and we were really heavy at the time, just brutal squeals and all that kind of stuff, I was just doing vocals myself at the time and never really planned to be a vocalist. I never really imagined having a female vocalist, but when he sent over her demo tapes, I was just really blown away because we’ve gone through so many auditions where people just didn’t show up, or they didn’t prepare, but she came in and had the lyrics, melody, choruses, harmonies, and she just went and recorded all of it. I was excited because, I didn’t see this being the direction we went in, but I saw it as the thing that could help us stand out from all of the other hard rock and metal bands out there.

Olga, being born in Russia, do you feel that your upbringing their helped to shape the direction you took with your music?

Olga: Even in Russia, I used to sing in rock and metal bands and have been involved with it since I was a teenager. When I moved here, I wasn’t really sure what I would like to sing just yet because there are so many styles, but I was looking for over a year on Craigslist and other websites, trying to find a band and, although I went to many auditions, nothing really blew my mind.

Finally, I found these guys and it was just such an awesome experience and I really wanted to sing for them—I love that music, I love the style, and I even said, when I first auditioned that, though I know you may not need a female singer, I could be a backing vocalist (entire band laughs).

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Art of Decay is still a fairly young band. Having only released your first record a year ago, tell us about some of the things you’ve experienced, the ups and downs of that year.

David: Our EP was really exciting for us, it was the first time we came together as a band and it was great to get some help from a producer. We’ve all came from other projects but we hadn’t recorded as a band yet and it was great to get some insight from a producer to help us craft a record that is radio friendly, in terms of structure. We went into that session with seven minute songs and we basically chopped them down to half of that, sticking around three to four minutes. So, it was really exciting, for us, to learn those aspects that we didn’t really know.

We are a baby-band, as they call it, but we’ve grown very fast, in my opinion, and even faster than I expected. We’re playing really good shows; we went on our own tour that was put on by OCML, we’ve been working with Pirate Entertainment as well, both of which are terrific companies; and we’ve gotten amazing feedback. The shows are getting bigger and bigger.

Eric: I think what’s really cool, you mention ups and downs, I feel over the last year we’ve had a lot of ups. We, pretty much, began the year being unknown, and we’ve done a great job developing ourselves as a band, as a brand, and as a force to reckon with—we’re really being embraced by the community, out here, and I think that’s incredible. The OC has such a rich culture of music and there’s a lot of competition out there, so it feels really great and validating to be embraced by our peers and musicians that are out there right now.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Being that there is so much competition out there, do you feel your geographical location has helped or hindered you in regards to the traction you’ve gotten?

David: I think it’s a testament to what we are creating, since we have so many friends in so many bands out here—rock bands, metal bands, grunge bands—and we’ve been able to play with so many of them, and, for me, it’s really validated what we’re doing as a group and shown that we are doing things in the right direction—blending melodic pop with a heavy edge and screaming. With that, I think it’s actually helped us gained traction since we’ve been embraced by the scene.

Eric: Being that there is so much competition, you get to see what other people are doing and you can consistently immerse yourself in music. Every night of the week there may be four or five shows that we want to go to and, while we’re out there, we’re seeing what these bands are doing, how is their musicianship, how is their stage performance, what are they wearing, what are they doing musically, and it gives us a consistent springboard to bounce ideas off one another—it gives us an avenue where we can bring ideas that we saw to the table, but also provides us a way to network with local bands and work with them, and support each other as local musicians.

David: The LA/OC music scene is better than it has been in years with bands supporting each other and establishing a real brother and sisterhood of musicians, we’re all like one big family out here—if someone gets hurt, there are charity shows—it’s really just one big community.

In having both David and Olga on vocals, do you ever find it difficult to coordinate the duo during a live performance? Or, have you developed to the point of being able to play off each other effectively?

David: I think we’re really good at it. It was a little difficult at first, matching our two styles, as I never thought her style and my style would be blended, but we’ve gotten very good at coordinating ourselves. For me, personally, there was a learning curve with being able to play the drums as well as be on vocals, especially with metal vocals, as it takes a lot to drum and scream like that. That, I found difficult, but Olga has amazing melodic sense about her and is able to place melodies or harmonies in these heavy rifts that the rest of us have no idea what to use.

Olga: During my first audition, I was preparing a song and sang my melodies, then I stopped and Eric said that was great because David screams the next part, so it was almost an exact match from the very beginning.

David: We have this joke, Olga and I, that we’re always on the same page—she says the things that I’m about to say and I always say the things she’s about to say, she is able to create a melody where I can’t and I can do it where she can’t.

Eric: It was really organic and there’s always a place to shine. We haven’t had a show, yet, where someone didn’t come up and compliment on David’s ability to drum that fast while screaming. In the same light, Olga has a lot of room to dance and shine on stage as well. We’re a four-piece band, but everyone always compliments on how full we sound and how much is going down on stage while we’re performing.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Now with Olga dancing and being such a presence on stage, do you feel that that particular aspect is what sets you apart from the other acts in your genre?

David: Having Olga in the band definitely sets us apart from the other groups. One of the best compliments that I love to get, though it sounds weird, I’ll get off stage and someone will come up and say: “You guys are different!” That’s exactly what we’re going for. We’re trying to fill a void and fit into a space where there isn’t much in the way of competition. So, someone tell me that we’re different is terrific because that’s what we were aming for from day one.

Olga: Another thing is, so many people ask David: “How in the world are you drumming while you’re screaming?” I think that’s another thing that sets us apart.

David: If you listen to our EP, the stuff that we’re performing is, maybe, twice the speed of what we play on the record. It’s really fast, lots of energy, and really intense. Also, when we perform, a lot of people may leave the stage after the band before us is done, but when we get up there, they run back to see what’s going on. I encourage people to have fun, come on stage, dance with us, yell, scream, grab my mica, whatever, and by the end there’s just so much energy in the room. I feel like there’s really someone for everyone at our shows.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Art of Decay plays the House of Blues Anaheim March 23, 2016.

Tell us about the concept you focused on with your debut EP.

David: Well, what’s exciting is, we’re actually about to head into the studio to begin recording our full-length album, which means we won’t be playing any more local shows for a month or two. The reason I mention that is because it’s going to be music that’s more written to what we have now. What I mean by that is, our style is probably going to change a little bit—we’re going to keep on evolving, like all good bands do.

The Rise was more my thought process and where I was at the time. I wrote most of the lyrics for that record because most of it was written when it was just Eric and I; however, when Olga joined, we wrote parts into it that were for her. So, a song off that EP, ‘Free World,’ is about Olga traveling from Russia to America and seeing all the opportunity she has out here.

The record itself, though, was mostly written from my perspective—I was depressed for a portion of the time so there’s depression aspects, there’s anger aspects, there’s hope aspects; the whole thing is really about hope. The idea that no matter how depressed I was or how angry I was, there was always hope. Before I met Eric, I had almost given up on music. I had toured, I had done the whole bit, but I just wasn’t really feeling music anymore and it depressed me, so the EP was essentially the rise from the depths of despair.

We haven’t touched too much on Nikhil, but tell us about his introduction into the band.

Nikhil: I was at the gym and I saw this dude with a Motorhead shirt, so I went up and spoke to him. I was looking for a bassist for one of my projects, ironically enough. So, I ended up checking out the band, checking out the show and I liked what I heard so I offered to do a track with them. I figured I could be their audio engineer for free and they’d get hooked on the worked I did and come back; I engineered their ‘Let Go’ single. After that, I heard they were looking for a bassist to help with some gigs and I offered to help out. At that point, I had a broken wrist and couldn’t play guitar, so I volunteered to play bass and that ended up working out. One day, the band just asked me to join and now we’re here.

Eric: I think it goes back to being organic. Nikhil was looking for a bassist at the time and we needed an audio engineer. Getting to know him as a musician and as a friend, we were able to say “hey, we need a bassist, do you want to fill in for a couple shows?” His live performance is incredible and we just felt he was the right fit. Now, we’re sitting here talking about next steps and I can’t even imagine it any other way.

David: Also, going back to knowing what we wanted our sound to be and our stage performance. We wanted the energy and the sound to be contagious and we didn’t have to coach him or train him or anything, he just melded right into the energy we were looking to produce.

Nikhil: What they’re saying about the presence, I was in a couple of bands before and we jammed but these guys actually have the solid songs, and that excites me. When I play these songs, it just comes out—you just want to move, you just want to do something, you don’t want to just stand there and play.


Now, David, you mentioned that the first record was written, primarily, by you, and also that, the new record will be geared more for the band how it is now. With that, how does your song writing process work in its current form? Do you all individually contribute something, or is it more the responsibility of only a couple of you?

David: I’m really excited to be hitting the studio because every band knows that, once you hit the studio, that’s where you really begin to refine how you structure things and what ends up on the record. At this point, Eric and I really collaborate together. That being said, Nikhil (bass) has been integrated into the band over the last few months and has done a lot of incredible solo work; he’s also an audio engineer, which is really great for us. So, we’re really looking forward to writing with him, as we haven’t gotten a chance yet. Eric and I usually collaborate and then Olga and I insert the more melodic parts into the songs. I think, out of me and Eric, I’m the more melodic one, where as Eric is the more aggressive one, and I think that’s what makes our music work, is that balance.

Eric: I just like to make noise (whole band laughs). I just come in with a bag of rifts and throw them at the wall and see what sticks. In the beginning, with it being just David and I, we would have a bunch of rifts and songs, but with adding Olga, she was able to come in and add her parts and make the tracks much more melodic and not so heavy. Her and David can work together to make suggestions for where we can put the heavier rifts and move the heavier rifts to produce a quality song. But, I think with all of us putting the songs together, as a group, we’re going to really make things click.

David: One thing we understood with adding Olga and Nikhil, guitarists want to be heard and drummers want to be heard, but we really want to start writing music based around the lead singer and making her shine, as opposed to trying to insert her into our music.

Connect with Art of Decay

One Response

  1. Romi

    This is a great band! They have a fantastic stage show with lots of energy and talent. The lead singer is awesome and the guys are amazing as well! You captured the essence of who they are very well. Great article!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


I agree

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.