Acid 4 U: The Decius Interview

Decius are a force to be reckoned with. The acid house-slash-hard techno outfit comprised of members of Trashmouth Records (Liam and Luke May) Paranoid London (Quinn Whalley) and Fat White Family (Lias Saoudi) have spent the past few years barnstorming London’s underground club scene. They’ve remixed tracks from artists ranging from Depeche Mode to Warmduscher, and they’ve released twelve original EPs (one of which, Decius Vol. 1, made DJ Mag’s list of top albums of 2022.) 

The band has played in both the grimiest and the most glam of London venues, and their signature slick, sleazy rhythms are the backing tracks of raves and clubs around the globe. Superstar DJ Honey Dijon is a fan. So are Chloé, Jennifer Cardini, Roisin Murphy, and Iggy Pop. (In a recent interview, Murphy dubbed the band’s sound to be, “… very good indeed. Very sexy and it’s got equilibrium. It’s not too fancy and it really works.” On his BBC 6 radio show, The Godfather of Punk has described the band as “a loose amalgam of England’s most troublesome, wayward and wonton musicians…Decius get the groove going in a different way, they kind of come at you out of the dark.”) 

The band’s rare live shows in London are debauched, disconcerting, elevating experiences that never fail to reach above and beyond the realm of reasonable expectations. Luke and Liam May and Quinn Whalley man the decks from behind custom-built ‘techno lecterns’ while frontman Lias Saoudi undergoes his trademark exorcisms, emitting tormented banshee howls. Sometimes Saoudi is clad in a pair of greasy black leather shorts and sometimes he dons an adult diaper; whatever the night’s getup, the band make sure that barriers are crossed, and comfort zones destroyed and rebuilt to their own specifications. To see Decius live is to see the form of acid house totally anew. It’s a gonzo revelation, club music for the end of the world.

Ingrid Marie Jensen: You guys have been working together for a good long while now. Was the material you used to put the Trax EP 1 together material you’d been gathering all along the way, or was it an entirely new bunch of sessions? 

DECIUS TRAX: It’s all new, we have been recording a lot recently as we are putting together Decius Vol II, so there are lots of ideas flying around… As we’re making them, some seem right for the album, others smell more like Decius Trax.

Ingrid Marie Jensen: How do you choose your track titles? (Or more to the point, which of you writes them?) They’re all imbued with a very on-brand sense of humor and dark sexiness combined. (i.e., ‘Russian Salad’ and ‘Just Can’t Fuck It’.)

DECIUS TRAX: Luke has a side hustle of collecting suitable track names, some he thinks up, others he edits out of overheard conversations… We don’t actually understand how the compatibility between the list of titles and the list of tracks work, they just kind of find each other.

Ingrid Marie Jensen: The techno lecterns are brilliant, they’re the perfect pulpits from which to preach the gospel of Decius. Whose idea were they?

DECIUS TRAX: Liam insisted that these were absolutely essential. Designed and built with the kind of passion that can only come from something not entirely necessary and perhaps even futile…

DECIUS live, shot at Venue MOT Unit 18 by @lousmithphoto

Ingrid Marie Jensen: Your live shows can get real freaky, real fast. What’s the audience reaction been like, especially when playing abroad away from your home turf?

DECIUS TRAX: Pure passion again. A particularly memorable reaction was from the fashionistas in Maxim’s in Paris for the after-show party we played for Valentino during Fashion Week. We weren’t sure how they’d feel about Lias having discarded 90% of the Valentino garms they’d clothed him in, leaving only shades, flesh colored patent leather shoes and a Super-drug adult nappy he had filled pre-show. They loved it. 

Decius live, shot by Spela Celidnik @spela_is

Ingrid Marie Jensen: What’s your gig schedule like for the rest of the summer? How was Glasto?

DECIUS TRAX: Glastonbury was as ridiculous as it always is! We have taken July and August off to finish Decius Vol II, but we are back with full intensity from September, with a mini tour of France and shows in Glasgow, Belfast, London, Berlin and Manchester (South American dates also currently brewing hard…)

Frequent collaborator Maggie the Cat performing with Decius, shot by @spela_is

You can keep up with the unholy activities of Decius via Instagram, @deciustrax. You can purchase their latest release, Trax EP II, via the link below.