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Decyfer Down Interview

"You really can't allow little glitches on stage to affect your performance and to affect the possible connection with the kid in the front row," said Caleb Oliver, the twenty-one-year-old lead singer for the rock band Decyfer Down. Oliver was responding to my question concerning some of the acoustic challenges in performing an outdoor concert versus one located inside a venue. Demonstrating an abundance of poise the already eight year veteran of the music scene was discussing the rock ensemble's summer tour schedule which features a plethora of outdoor music festivals.
"It is really all about the ministry in terms of what you portray when you get on stage. Those kids are watching us as soon as we get on stage. If we are letting a bad sound experience on stage affect even our facial expressions, what we are saying or our demeanor, it can really close it off for the kid in the front row. It is really important as a band that we do not allow those circumstances to change what we do," said Oliver, who also does double duty on his Warwick Thumb Bass and Ernie Ball StingRay bass guitar.
On stage Decyfer Down is an in-your-face rock band playing riffs that slash across provocative lyrics. Brothers Caleb and Josh Oliver (drummer) combine with guitarists Chris Clonts and Brandon Mills to create a blend of nu metal and retro eighties heavy metal tunes. "Life Again" and "Fight Like This," the number two and three tracks respectively from their new CD End of Grey, feature razor sharp riffs played by Mills and Clonts. If you like your rock music hard then End Of Grey will quickly lay claim to your iPod or CD player. 
As in-your-face as the music is, the band members are the kind of guys you could take to visit grandma without feeling the need to blush. They are thoughtful, sincere and Christ centered. Whether they are collaborating on a new song that is designed to reach out to someone hurting or taking time to speak with a concert goer the guys in this rock cast are keenly focused on the ministry aspect of their music. 
The band's audience covers a broad spectrum but they have a special affinity for those who have soured on the church. "Unfortunately, there are an immense amount of people out there who have had bad experiences in churches. There are so many horror stories and I have been a part of many of those. Often people in the church act worse than those outside the church," Caleb Oliver said, referring to interpersonal skills and hidden agendas.  
Oliver continued, "There are people who aren't being talked about or ministered to because in the family of God, we don't want to admit that there are people who go to church and get burned by Christians who are trying to affect their church in a way that's not God's point of view or His goal for that church. They are very focused on their mission instead of what God wants to accomplish. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who get thrown by the wayside." The Oliver brothers have seen the inside of church politics up close as they grew up the sons of a pastor.
In an effort to expand their mission field, the young rockers play a variety of venues including churches and clubs. "When we play clubs we have a huge influence. We are not Bible thumpers on stage. After (we play) people come up (and talk to us). People see that we aren't cussing, drinking or carrying on. They hear our lyrics and open up to us. Sometimes they will say things like, 'I used to go to church when I was a kid." He continued, "(Other times they may say)'My mom used to pray for me when I was a kid.' It opens up a door where we can show our face." 
"Burn Back The Sun" is a song that sets the stage for those types of conversations. In discussing the missive, Oliver said individuals can get to a place in their lives where they have lost any sense of warmth, love or intensity. "This song is a reminder that we can be brought back to (those feelings)," he said. "(The song) talks about being beaten up, feeling hollow and then discovering everything that he (the prodigal in verse two) needed was right back in the arms of his father. It speaks volumes," Oliver said in discussing the lyrics. 
"A lot of the lyrics for "Never Lost" came right out of the Bible. You can never escape the love of Christ. No matter what you do or where you go He will always be there with you.  No matter how many times you fall He will always be there with you. The song talks about how He is there no matter what the circumstance," says the singer in discussing yet another song.  
One of the things that Decyfer Down has come to appreciate about their relationship with SRE Records is the label's support of the band's vision. Oliver said Decyfer Down has not become victimized like so many young artists who labels often try to reshape in a different marketing image. "We have come together and minister to a broader spectrum of people. We can pretty much hit all the grooves because as a band we come from so many different backgrounds musically and on a social level," he said, in affirming Decyfer Down's desire to maintain that vision. 
Clonts in particular has the ability to reach deep inside those who may be struggling with drug addiction. Several years ago he turned his life around from the same kind of daily battles. 
In a remarkably short time Decyfer Down has risen from being a popular regional band in the Carolinas to maintaining a national presence with a future that promises to glow only brighter.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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