Decoder (band)

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Lead Hands
Origin St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Genres Post-hardcore, post-rock
Years active 2010-2012
Labels Rise
Associated acts VersaEmerge, Of Machines, Oceana, Memphis May Fire
Past members Keith Jones
Jack Burns
Vinny Capitani
Liam Thomas
Spencer Pearson
Anthony Sepe
Bryce Sipes
Brent Guistwite

Decoder was an American post-hardcore band, formed in 2010 in Florida and brought together by former members that made-up the bands VersaEmerge, Oceana, and Of Machines. Decoder were signed to Rise Records and released one album. The group casually performed a mellow and slow tempoed post-rock and ambient-influenced sound coupled with screamed vocals and heavy percussion, giving the group a sound unlike most other in their genre.

On March 1, 2012, the band changed their name from Decoder to Lead Hands, settling a lawsuit of the group's original name due to a band from New Jersey of the same name. However, short months after the name change to Lead Hands, the band disbanded.


Inception and signing to Rise Records (2010)[edit]

Decoder was an idea that came about when drummer Brent Guistwite, formerly of Of Machines, and Jack Burns, formerly of Oceana parted ways with their respective bands. They had the style and concept for the music decided before they approached Keith Jones, formerly of Oceana, and Spencer Pearson, formerly of VersaEmerge, to be the band's vocalists, and both accepted. Bassist Bryce Sipes joined shortly after the recording of the band's demo for the song "Dreamwalker". On August 24, 2010, the band announced their signing to Rise Records on through their Facebook page,[1] and entered the studio with rock producer Matt Malpass on August 28, 2010.[2] When asked in an interview with Jake Denning about signing to Rise, Guistwite answered saying that "Jack [Burns] and I had been jamming together for awhile and we sent Craig [Ericson, Rise Records founder] some stuff we had been working on and he essentially sent [Decoder] a contract".[3][4] The band's second guitarist, Anthony Sepe, joined on December 30, 2010.[5]

Self-titled album (2011–2012)[edit]

Decoder's debut self-titled album, which was produced by Matt Malpass, was released through Rise Records on January 18, 2011, to positive reviews.[6][7][dead link] The album debuted at number 44 on Billboard Top Heatseekers.[8] The band's first tour was in support of Emarosa, Chiodos, and Go Radio, beginning on February 15, 2011.[9] On February 7, 2011, Decoder posted a teaser for their upcoming music video for the song "Believers",[10] and finished another tour dubbed "The Rise Record Tour" with Memphis May Fire, Ten After Two and That's Outrageous!.[11] The music video for "Believers" was released on May 13, 2011.[12] The band also had ideas and planning for their second album by the end of the year and according to Keith Jones the album would be more aggressive than the debut.

Name change and break up (2012)[edit]

By early 2012, Anthony Sepe left to join Memphis May Fire and Spencer Pearson left on January 15 due to many issues regarding him with the band. Fans quickly became aware their departures evident from public announcements at live performances along with Twitter posts. Short weeks later, bass player, Bryce Sipes also left the band on February 5 due to his distaste with the music industry.[13] On March 1, 2012, the band revealed that Liam Thomas was added to the group on bass guitar and clean vocals, replacing the positions of both Pearson and Sipes. They had also inducted a second guitarist by the name of Vinny Capitani and changed the band's name to Lead Hands due to a lawsuit settling over a band of the same name from New Jersey.[14]

Keith Jones left the band to pursue a solo acoustic career in June and then on the first of July, Lead Hands officially disbanded. The group did not release any material or ever perform live under the Lead Hands name. Guitarist Jack Burns was sued and faced criminal charges of $3,400 along with a possible prison sentence of three years due to financial depth ensued from a company that issued merchandise for Decoder.[15]

Band members[edit]

Final line-up
Previous members
  • Anthony Sepe — guitars (2010–2012) Currently in Memphis May Fire
  • Spencer Pearson — clean vocals (2010–2012)
  • Bryce Sipes — bass guitar (2010–2012)



  1. ^ Wagner, Christian (24 August 2010). "New Signing for Rise?". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Kohli, Rohan (28 August 2010). "Decoder Enters Studio With Malpass - News Article". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Solomon, Blake (11 January 2011). "Decode This Interview - News Article". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Denning, Jake (10 January 2011). "INTERVIEW: Decoder (1/10/11)". Go Away Jake Denning!. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Tsai, Matthew (30 December 2010). "Decoder's New Guitarist is... - News Article". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Gardner, Ryan (17 January 2011). "Decoder – Decoder – Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Apedo, Shekinah (14 January 2011). " Graf Wall: Album Review: Decoder's self-titled debut" Check |url= scheme (help). Indiestar. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Decoder – Decoder |". Billboard. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  9. ^ Ilvonen, Keagan (13 January 2011). "Emarosa and Chiodos Tour Dates - News Article". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Djaferis, Alex (7 February 2011). "Decoder Believer Teaser". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  11. ^ DiVincenzo, Alex (26 March 2011). "Rise Records Tour Dates". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Ilvonen, Keagan (13 May 2011). "Decoder Makes Believers - News Article". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Yancey, Bryne. "Decoder update: Bassist Bryce Sipes leaves band, ex-vocalist Spencer Pearson releases statement". Alternative Press. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Common, Tyler. "Decoder change band name to "Lead Hands," reveal two new members". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "Lead Hands (Decoder) Break Up: Guitarist Says He Could Face Up to Three Years in Prison". Ryan's Rock Show. Retrieved 15 July 2012.