Q&A: The inside story behind Dec Burke's Book Of Secrets
Dec Burke has played with a dizzying range of progressive bands, while also embarking on a solo career. Now he finds time to give Prog the inside story on Book Of Secrets.
Limerick-born Dec Burke is something of a prolific multitasker. He’s had a varied career, from Darwin’s Radio to Frost*’s much-loved eccentricities and the recent anthemic sound of AudioPlastik. There’s no mistaking his signature melodies within each of the bands he’s part of. In 2009, Burke decided to embark on a solo career, something that proved to be a daunting yet ultimately rewarding endeavour. His tentative transition from band member to solo artist wasn’t easy – much of Burke’s talents lie with utilising the ideas of his fellow musicians to stimulate his own compositions. This was clear from his first solo record, Destroy All Monsters, a cornucopia of ideas collated from his time in his various bands. Book Of Secrets, his third outing, is where he really comes into his own. It clearly showcases Burke’s talents as a songwriter: he’s moved from keyboard-centric prog to rockier, riff-driven toe-tappers, showing just how much he’s grown in confidence as a solo artist, and taking his melody-fused progressive sounds to new levels.
How do you musically multitask so well?
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who would be a good collaborator when it comes to music. If I’m being brutally honest, I do struggle to write whole songs by myself, and with the various groups I’ve been with, I’ve been able to see what melodic content is needed in a song. This is what happens primarily with AudioPlastik – Simon [Andersson, ex-Pain of Salvation] writes the song structures and my job is to come up with the catchy content. So when it comes to doing my own stuff, it takes me a while. It wasn’t until I was looking through my ideas on the computer that I realised I had nine or 10 songs on there, which is an album’s worth. From there I was able to flesh out those ideas into songs.
I’m my own worst enemy – I’m very critical about what I do, and I worry about what people will think.