Today’s track of the today comes from the exceptionally talented Declan McKenna.
At just 18 years of age, McKenna has now released what will be his 5th single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’. The Hertfordshire born artist teased the single this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio 1, supplying their ‘Hottest Record’.
The release of this track comes after many credible outlets such as DIY Magazine and the BBC have tipped him to bask in the light of success in 2017. Speaking to Declan in December prior to one of his shows, he told me that it is somewhat nerve wracking to be so under the microscope, but he said its an exciting time and was particularly humble regarding the exposure he is receiving.
‘The Kid’s Don’t Wanna Come Home’ provides another reminder of McKenna’s ability to write an unshakably catchy melody complete with politically charged lyrics. However the subtle nature in which he can incorporate politics into his songwriting, but still evoke such a reaction and feeling of empowerment is admirable. This is evident in previous singles ‘Brazil’ in which he discusses the corruption surrounding football’s governing body FIFA and when performing ‘Isombard’ on Later… with Jools Holland, he donned a ‘GIVE 17 YEAR OLDS THE VOTE’ T Shirt.
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This track, inspired by a series of harrowing events that shocked the world in 2015, was a work in progress until the fateful attacks in Paris that year which fuelled the teenager’s frustration with the state of affairs and made him realise that the vulnerability felt by the young people on that night was what he was exactly what he was trying to express in the song.
Despite the awful circumstances surrounding the inspiration, McKenna offers a sense of hope within the walls of this track with a typically well constructed and uplifting melody, and the use of a children’s choir to provide backing vocals helps to present a rather melancholy feel as they are blissfully unaware of what they are actually singing about. This can be seen at the end of the track as they quiz him in a expectantly naive manner as to why he wrote this, and why the kids don’t want to come home.
When GIGsoup’s Ben Bowman caught up with the artist in December, McKenna spoke about the importance of relaying social and global issues in his songwriting as he believes that many young people are becoming disengaged with politics. However, in the press release surrounding this track, the 18 year old described him and his friends as ‘more politically engaged than ever’.
You can catch Declan McKenna on his UK Tour which kicks off on the 23rd of January in Norwich.
The rest of the dates can be found here: http://www.declanmckenna.net/
It’s fair to say that a lot of respectable music outlets such as the NME have been tipping you for good things next year, so what do you make of the hype surrounding you and does it put any extra pressure on you?
Yeah I suppose so, it’s a very exciting time and everyone wants to be on the polls and all the sort of stuff that magazines put out and it’s exciting like obviously it’s nerve wracking when you know that there’s eyes on you and people are expecting things from you but I’ve finished making my album and I’ve finished a lot of things that I could be nervous about before so I’m kind of just ready to go and do it really.
I was going to ask you about the album, is it true that you worked on it with James Ford, obviously he’s worked with bands like Arctic Monkeys and Foals so how excited are you about that?
Yeah he’s been really really good to work with, I’m really excited about the tracks we’ve made and obviously he’s made and worked on so many of my favourite albums. I really look up to him, he’s a brilliant producer.
You’ve had a pretty busy last few months, you’ve been on tour with Blossoms in the UK, appeared on Jools Holland and you’ve been in America – so what would you say the highlight has been for you this year?
I really enjoyed the American tour with The Head and The Heart, I did a couple of runs in America but that one in particular, we had a full band and we went to so many places and really got to know the band that we were playing with and that was a great highlight. Also playing at The Park stage at Glastonbury was a pretty big deal for me obviously because I’d been there the year before playing and then coming back and playing a bigger stage to more people.
Your political interest and engagement with ‘real issues’ is refreshing to see in your songwriting – how important do you feel it is to relay these feelings to a young audience and a young fanbase?
I guess a lot of young people now such as myself, especially with a lot of votes and stuff that have been happening – some are becoming disengaged because there are so many horrible things that are happening and we can’t have a say in it, but I feel like a lot of young people are becoming engaged in politics and they’re starting to realise that there are loads of things that are going on in the world that they can influence.
I feel like something that I’ve spoken out quite a lot about is young people being able to vote on these sort of things and I think a lot of people think it’s unfair that they can’t vote. I think I’m just one of many young people who are starting to want to have more of a conversation about politics.