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Introducing Interview: King Deco

Very rarely is it possible to stumble upon a musician, who – in the early stages of their career – has a strong sense of who they are, what they are trying to do, and where they are going. Dana Salah aka King Deco, is one of those precious gems. Imagine aquatic, lullaby-pop, mixed with atmospheric electronic music. Complete with ambient chants reminiscent of the Middle East, and lyrics conveying her ever-present story of leaving her hometown to pursue music, King Deco is a welcome breath of fresh air in the current music scene.

Deco is in the process of making a set of twin EP’s – Tigris & Euphrates. Working with producers Felix Snow, One Love, Adam Pallin, and Ryland Blackington, Tigris seems to be a culmination of her life back in Jordan, moulding with the move to New York. It would appear that despite raising family tensions, she is set on her goal to create music, and will always hold her roots close to her heart. The lead single from this EP hints at being a love song, despite King Deco telling us otherwise. ‘One’ is a mermaid’s pop-ballad featuring a rap by hip-hop group Kinetics. I got to speak to King Deco about the inspiration behind this single and the idea of a ‘Decosphere’.

PlanetNotion: Let’s start with getting to know a little bit about you. Born in the Middle East, you were producing and recording music at the age of eleven, then decided to move to New York to pursue music. What made New York most appealing to you, in terms of launching a music career?
King Deco: It was so different from where I grew up. It’s the perfect place to be if you’re nocturnal and create at night.

PN: Do you feel pressure for the music to be successful after turning your back on an environment that does not encourage music or the arts?
KD: Completely. I couldn’t even imagine going back without something to show for all the time I’ve been gone for.

PN: Where did the name King Deco come from and can you tell us a little bit about the ‘Decosphere’?
KD: It fit the music and everything I was going for. King and Queen have different connotations; I didn’t want to be associated with the latter.

The Decosphere is something I think will make more sense as the music comes out. It’s a clear concept in my mind that’s been coming up a lot in the writing sessions I’ve been doing over here in the UK and I think we’ve captured so many parts of it lyrically and sonically. When I picture it I just see a circular ring of energy.


PN: I’ve noticed via your social media pages that there are a lot of references to the stars, constellations and planets. Is otherworldliness a big influence for you? 
KD: Not so much. It’s more the idea that we all come from one place. I also like the idea that our destinies might already be written for us; Stars just represent that idea to me. I think everyone has a map of their future somewhere in there subconscious.

PN: Let’s discuss songwriting process. Where do you find inspiration for the lyrics?
KD: When I first started writing, it was the melody and the phonetics that inspired my lyrics. Lately it’s been different things. “Ocean” was written when I got a one way plane ticket back to Jordan from my parents, “One” when I was questioning myself as an artist, and “King of Leaves” one of my newer songs is from a scene in the movie Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor.

PN: The lyrics in your songs – particularly ‘Ocean’ – seem to reference life back in Jordan and not belonging there. Would you say that music and the ‘Decosphere’ is a form of escapism?
KD: The music is just an extension of myself. I don’t think I’ve tried escaping it. I feel like I’m constantly challenged and am challenging that life doing what I am doing.

PN: You appear to take a lot of inspiration from Cleopatra and the colour gold seems to surround you. Is this to represent sticking to your roots, whilst making a life for yourself as a bold, strong woman?
KD: It’s more to do with her as a female figure in power. To me she got the reaction that any woman today would get after gaining some sort of power, whether it’s in the workforce or anywhere else. Drawing inspiration from her is a reminder to shut out those voices because judgement and talk is inevitable.

PN: The EP ‘Tigris’ is being released on April 7th. What made you choose ‘One’ as the lead single? Can you tell us about the concept behind the video?
KD: Felix’s production speed helped me get my ideas out really fast. I started picturing sirens singing and angels playing harps in a world I wanted to be in and just channelled that vocally booth. He incorporated those vocals into the beat like it was nothing. That song was the first sonically honest piece of music I’d made and it happened right after I came up with King Deco. It felt like the perfect introduction to who I am as an artist.

I made the video with Nick Wiesner. He’s an insanely talented director and we’ve known each other for years. He was there for the entire journey so when we spoke about concepts it felt right to make the video about transforming and shedding certain parts of oneself. There are a ton of different themes in the video like being at one with nature, spirituality, self-battle, and feminine power that we incorporated into it too.

PN: Do you think that the ‘Tigris’ EP is a sound that defines King Deco?
KD: I think the sound is definitely there. It doesn’t mean that it is the only kind of music I will make, it’s just where I’m at in my life right now.

PN: Tigris & Euphrates are a river system in the area of Mesopotamia. What made you decide to use these names for your debut EP’s?
KD: I’m really fascinated by underwater sounds and already had the idea of doing two small twin EPs, so it just felt right.

PN: What message do you want people to get out of your music?
KD: To listen to your own voice and to find strength in that.

- Tyler Kelly

The ‘Tigris EP’ will be available on April 7th, via Night Beach Records.

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