Catching Up With Declan Welsh and the Decadent West
Since Wide Days 2017, you’ve released 3 singles - what else have the band been up to?
We've been really busy recording an album's worth of material with Chris Marshall and Johnny Madden at 7 West studios, which was all made possible by Creative Scotland. Nazi Boys, Useless and Shiny Toys were all recorded there, and there's genuinely like 10 more tracks we have waiting to go. It's so exciting having all that material waiting to go. It's all pretty diverse too. We're releasing a 6 track EP late spring/early summer and I'm so pleased with it. With Ben, Duncs and Jamie on it, it's really clicked. They're all insanely talented and now the songwriting has become geared towards playing with them. They all contribute so much to the sound, I think it's a huge part of why we're getting better and better.
What would you say your highlight from last year's showcase was?
The gig was amazing, and getting a good response to the A&R you brave enough panel (where industry folk basically go through your song) was very nice for my ego. But it was really great spending pretty much the entire day with friends. Us and The Vegan Leather were on the same stage, and those guys are both an amazing band and some of the funniest and soundest people you could ever meet.
At your Celtic Connections set this year you co-wrote and played with various artists. Was this spontaneous or a deliberate change of direction to open yourself to a wider range of musical influences?
The quality of a fine wine but the satisfaction of a late night kebab was given free reign by Joe at the Hug and Pint to do whatever I wanted with the show, so I wanted to do something really far away from my comfort zone. I always write the basis of a song alone, then bring it to the band, so I thought, right let's do the exact opposite and co-write. I just thought it'd be a great idea to have a whole night of completely new material with all of it sounding totally different. It was also an excuse to work with some amazing artists I've admired for ages. One of whom, Zoe Graham, is playing Wide Days this year, actually. What was really cool about working with her was that the tune we wrote came out so different to what I expected. I was totally thinking it'll be a Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett vibe, and she comes in with these batshit amazing lyrics about wanting someone's mother and wanting her pretty. Ends up like a sleazy version of the XX. Quality.
We've already planned to come see you at The Great Escape this year, how do you feel about showcasing there?
I'm obviously very excited, but I really have no idea what to expect. If it can help us make a stab at making a living playing music then I'll be happy. It's also cool to be playing with a strong Scottish contingent as well.
What are your thoughts on the Scottish music scene and why do you think there is such a strong bond?
There's this atmosphere, right. And I'm told by some older heads that this wasn't always the case. But everyone wants to see everyone do well. There's no competitiveness, there's no bitching, there's no jealousy. Everyone knows that if one of us succeeds it helps us all. It's really amazing. It's how it should be. Not everyone is gonna love everyone's stuff, not everyone is gonna be best pals, but there's an acknowledgement that we are all on the same team. You treat everyone with respect, you turn up to other people's gigs if ye can, you don't badmouth anyone. It also helps that there is a wave of unbelievably talented people all writing great songs.
If you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you want it to be?
It's between waterloo sunset by The Kinks or All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem. I'd maybe edge towards the latter. Lyrically it's a masterpiece, it's two chords the whole way through and it's maybe the best way anyone has ever conveyed the beauty and melancholy of friendship and growing old I've heard.