Interview: Declan Welsh and The Decadent West | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Declan Welsh The Decadent West have made a name for themselves as one of Scotland’s most promising talents and an unmissable live act. They have recently released their debut album, Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold via Modern Sky UK and are about to embark on a tour of the UK to support the release starting at Think Tank?, Newcastle on 31st October. We catch up with Declan to see how things are going.

What is your new album, Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold about?
Well it isn’t a concept album, so it’s about a lot of things. But when I look at it as a whole piece I was quite surprised to find it seems to be an album about loss and change. Over the album there’s songs about the loss of friends, of love, of hope, of confidence in ourselves, but it rarely is grim and final. I think a lot of the tunes end up examining something changing, doubting yourself but then coming out the other end. Like absurd, for example, where the album title comes from, is about me doubting the ability of art having the ability to change things in a capitalist system, but then saying well even if it is hard I’m gonna try anyway, because it isn’t enough to say the right things and we’ve got to forgive ourselves for what we fail to do or do wrong. 

What was it like working with the esteemed Chris Marshall on this album?
Haha, he’ll love that. I’ll definitely be telling him he’s being referred to as esteemed. He’s a genuine genius. Like he hears frequencies that I don’t understand. I think he might be part dog or bat. He totally gets what we’re going for and is utterly obsessive about his work. We also have some very interesting conversations that can span like 5 hours about politics. We want the same outcomes but have incredibly different ways of getting there. It’s good to have some pals coming at things from different angles, makes you re-evaluate why you believe what you believe.  

Can you briefly describe the band’s creative process?
So I will write a song on my acoustic guitar, I’ll usually come in with chords a melody and a bassline, maybe a lead bit or a vague idea of drums as well. We’ll then rehearse and in rehearsals, we’ll always take an hour to write. I’ll show the guys the tune, we’ll work at it then I’ll record it on my phone. It’ll evolve organically from the tune i brought in with everyone’s input. Then when we’ll let it sit for a bit and come back to it somewhere down the line. That might be my favourite thing to do, us writing. I get the most excited when we’ve just written a tune.

What can audience members expect from your live shows?
We perform. A lot of bands just sort of stand there, and it’s like if you aren’t dancing to your tunes how can you expect anyone else to? The album will be out, so it’ll be lovely to have a huge bank of tunes (EP, singles and Album) to play. We won’t get too Springsteen on you though, the sets will be under 2 hours haha! But aye, I was told recently that I have a presence and I’ll take that. I see what they mean, I feel really comfortable on stage and we are tight as fuck. Touring does that to ye and we’ve toured a fair bit now. Most of all though, we want to connect with the audience, have a shared experience. The tunes we have are mostly about empathy and coming together so we give our all to that and when the crowd do too it can be a real life-affirming experience. Oh, and we will end by changing Los Fascistas No Pasaran loud as fuck, which is always good.  

Your show at Think Tank is on 31st October, the potential date of pulling out of the EU. Do you have anything special planned for such a historic event?
Haha, fuck knows honestly. We’ll dress up cos it’s Halloween. My thoughts on Brexit are that it’s a disaster and the fact that jingoistic nationalist fawning over wanting some fictional version of “are Britain” back is worth so much to the Tory party that they’re willing to risk medicine and food shortages tells you everything you need to know about them. Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of the EU. A world free of borders doesn’t mean that we draw a line at the med and let Libyan refugees drown, ye know? So the idea that the EU represents some tolerant utopia is bollocks. Its a trade bloc. It’s designed to help capital move. But to leave it this way is ridiculous. The UK and US very likely will face a binary choice between very light socialism and far-right nationalism at the polling booth within the year. I pray to God compassion wins out. As to what we’re gonna do on the 31st, we’ll probably talk about how much of a dick Boris Johnson is a lot. We’ll also be asking people to protect immigrants and stand up for the fact that no human is illegal. Oh and stop flying EU flags. Fly the red flag. 

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