Sunday, November 14, 2021

A Chat with Declan Welsh

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West have made a lasting impact in the Scottish music scene, with tracks like ‘Absurd’ and ‘No Fun’, their unique punk sound mixed with strong pop influences have always allowed them to stand out and make a lasting dent in the music industry.

Forming in 2017 the band have managed to compete with some of the country's best bands such as The Dunts and The Ninth Wave. We had chance to chat with Declan about dream collaborations, their newest EP, as well as favourite tracks.

How did the band form?

Just through being pals. I’ve known Ben since we were in high school, met Duncan at Uni and then Murray we knew as a friend of friends and that.

Who’s been your biggest musical influence and what inspired you to start creating music?

It’s probably Billy Bragg, though I think Alex Turner and Jarvis Cocker are up there to. And I think I just wanted to be in a band when I was younger because it looked fun. The obsession W songwriting and that only came a bit later.

If you could collaborate with any artist - alive or dead, who would it be?

Nina Simone. As if I’d do anything in that collab though. Just give us a tambourine or something.

Could you tell us a little about your newest EP - ‘It’s Been A Year’?

It’s more introspective, it’s a bit more about layers as well. Both to the lyrics and the music. There’s always a couple of different things going on in each song, be it harmonies, counter melodies or guitar and bass textures over each other. It’s pop music played W guitars, still, but I think it’s been described a few times as more mature and I understand why folk say that.

What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever released and why?

Eh… it always changes but the now we’re touring and I do love playing talking to myself a lot. So let’s go that. And the reason would be, I think it’s one of the best examples we have of the music and lyrics combining to create a feeling. It’s not so much about literally what I’m saying, but every constituent part kinda combines to leave you hopefully understanding where my head was at in a moment of rumination and doubt. And a songs only real job is to illicit a feeling in the listener.

One of my favourite tracks from you guys is ‘Useful’, could you tell us a little about how that song came to be?

Ah cheers, thanks for that. I like it too. I think it was just, losing faith in what the point of all of this was about for a minute. I think everyone wants to feel useful, like they aren’t just existing by accident. And I think a lot of people who do music are absolutely convinced what they’re doing is objectively and inherently important. Doubt is a mark of intelligence, for me. All the smartest people I know are comfortable not knowing or feeling unsure. So I guess this is just me sort of analysing myself, interrogating the things I used to be certain of. It’s also leaning into the sadness a bit. “I’m not a prophet I’m a poet for pay” and all that. I think the realist and the hopeful person inside anyway can coexist quite happily. You should acknowledge that as an artist in a capitalist system that no matter how much your intentions are to shake things up or create something beautiful what you are is a company’s product to be marketed and sold. Or you are the ceo of your own business managing yourself. That shouldn’t stop you doing music, but it should make you think about why you do it and what you can and can’t do in that structure.

Could you tell us a little about how your songwriting process works?

I just sit down and start playing. It’s really as simple as that. I try and do it as much as I can, and very often I’ll hear melodies or words or that in my head and go as quick as I can to the guitar or the keyboard and get it down as quick as possible. Lyrics I try and write in stream of consciousness and then edit whatever I listen back to and don’t like.

What advice would you give to a new artist, especially in a post-COVID world?

Do it for the right reasons. Who gives an utter fuck about fame? And if you want to make money do another job. This is a craft. Work at it and it is its own reward. One of the only things you can control is how much work you put in. So put it in with your own writing, performing, and playing. Everything else comes after. Or maybe it doesn’t. But chasing it before you really are obsessed w yer own craft (whatever that is) is a sure-fire way to go about all this the wrong way.

What’s been your favourite and least favourite venues?

I’m not gonna say a least favourite but we just played TRNSMT at Glasgow Green and while not technically a venue that gig was really special.

Have you got anything exciting in the works?

An album we’re all really excited about that’s going in a v different direction. Currently touring. Those are the two things’ bands do and we’re going to continue to do them.

Liam Russell


Image: ‘It’s Been A Year’ Official Single Cover


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