Interview: Declan McKenna

Declan McKenna leicester

From winning Glastonbury’s 2015 Emerging Talent competition, to releasing his debut album and selling out shows around the country, 18 year old Declan McKenna is setting the UK music scene alight. Earlier this year he played to a sell out crowd at The Cookie in town and now, just 10 months later, he’s headlining Leicester’s O2 Academy. We caught up with him to find out more.

It’s been a massive year for you from releasing your album to playing massive festivals around the world, could you possibly pick a highlight?
Lollapalooza was great, wasn’t quite what I thought it would be but still managed to be a really special moment.

Even just in Leicester there’s a been a speedy rise from you playing the 100 capacity Cookie to now headlining at the O2 Academy, how do you explain the speed of your rise up the music ladder?
I guess putting out a full record has something to do with it? As well as just having loads of support from all over the place this year, or somewhere along the line a bunch of people just stumbled into my music, hard to say, the way the industry works is still very much beyond me.
 
So many artists enter Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition and you managed to win it back in 2015. What was that process like? 
It was cool, up until the battle of the bands I didn’t really do much just kind of waited to see what would happen, I have really great memories of going to Pilton to play the competition though, it was a surreal night, and then going on to play Glastonbury that summer was a step up from that, it all felt pretty fast paced.
 
What can fans expect from this tour?
More gold shiny things and more cowbell than ever before.
 
Should there be anyone reading who’s not heard your music how would you describe it to them?
Loud guitars and tattoos. Anything else is a bonus.

Declan McKenna leicester
 What are you most looking forward to on the tour?
Has to be playing the KoKo. It was the first venue I went to see a show at in London.

You first came to people’s attention with your song, Brazil, which talks about FIFA and football’s relationship to poverty, what do you think to the football market as it stands today with the record breaking transfer fees and wages that we’ve continue to see this summer?
In any case privately owned franchises in a capitalist world are going to spend loads of money if loads of people buy into it, this is how football is. I don’t find record breaking transfer fees shocking even if they are very unnecessary.
 
You’re touring now through to November, then will you have some time off for Christmas? What’s on your Christmas list this year?
Yeh I’ll probably just spend some time trying to make another record really, so hopefully Santa will deliver me some chops so I can deliver the tunes.
 
You’ve achieved so much in 2017, what are your ambitions for 2018?
Get more sleep.

Declan McKenna performs at Leicester’s O2 Academy on Saturday 21 October and tickets are available from Gigantic.