Entertainment, Interview, Manchester

Declan Mckenna Interview

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By Sam Gosling

At 18 years, old Declan McKenna has already been around a couple of years and has made a dent in the indie music scene. 2016/17 has been spent supporting bands such as Blossoms and more recently headlining his own tour. I sat down with the young Hertfordshire singer before his gig at Manchester Gorilla;

Your new album, What Do You Think About the Car?, is out July 21, what was the process of making that record?

Long…, It was hectic to the point of I didn’t really reason it was an album process until the last two songs. The rest of it was quite staggered. We would do a bit of recording and then go on tour. I had a couple of different producers at the start. James Ford did most of it.

The title, ‘What do you think about the car’ is very interesting, what inspired it?

It comes from a home video I made where my sister said “Dec, what do you think about the car?” and I said “brilliant, now listen to my new album” I was age four and I think I started singing Busted or something like that. The clip is sampled on the album at the start.

Being young, do you feel like the music industry is difficult to navigate?

It can be at times, I’d say if you have got the right people around you (which I do at the minute) it kind of goes a step at a time and can go in your favour if you play the game right. It’s very hit and miss the music industry, you get bands who just get swallowed.

Brazil is obviously about football, is that because you have a personal passion for it?

It was more because I saw the world cup in Brazil happening and all the stories going on at the time, people being evacuated from thei homes and people dying while organising. It all just came together into one song, not that I really expected anyone to hear that song.

Your songs take on some serious issues at times, what makes you decide what to write about?

When I wrote those early songs, Paracetamol for example I was sat at home revising for my GCSE’s so I was getting my inspiration from the news. It was being influenced by what was around me rather than having any personal inspiration to write about I suppose. It was stuff I cared about or passionate about. I didn’t intend to be political it was just what was affecting me at the time.

What is your favourite song on the album?

Humongous, It’s the last song that I wrote. It feels more mature, where I want to head. That for me is my favourite.

Who are your musical influences?

It ranges for me from The strokes, Bowie, Nina Simone, Abba too.

What are your goals for the next 5 years?

I hate looking into the future. I want to take it a day at a time. I love playing shows. A part of you after a while on tour you just want to put your energy into creativity and not repetition. At the moment I love playing these songs and the shows are amazing.

Playing American chat shows must have been a highlight?

Yeah playing Conan was unreal and also Jools Holland in the UK. I have had some amazing moments this year.

What is your opinion on politics currently?

There would be more engagement if the government in power wanted it. The Tories don’t want young people to vote. It is kind of left to artists or social media to influence young people which is a shame.

Are you a Corbyn fan?

He has his faults but definitely over Teresa May. He is well-intentioned and wants to do good things for people. The Tories are focusing on the wrong things.

You can find out more about Declan Mckenna on his website here and his Facebook page here.

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