GIGsoup chats to Declan Welsh in an exclusive interview. 

Having been a regular presence in the Glasgow music scene for a while now, things are starting to look very exciting for Declan Welsh. With a series of big support slots in the past, he has taken the time to hone his abilities as a songwriter and performer and is now working on new material which, judging from his live performances, will undoubtedly take him to the next level.

Previously often seen as a solo artist, Welsh has beefed up his acoustic sound with the addition of a backing band who have effectively given his music more muscle and depth, allowing him to flex his skills as a wordsmith, and unleash all that punk-fuelled energy into becoming a brilliantly captivating frontman.

What makes this guy special, though, is his ability for musical storytelling. Also known to partake in spoken word performances, he transfers this poetic skill into his music effortlessly, often aiming his sardonic wit toward the political elite, tales of romance or simply a night on the town gone wrong. Behind their witty observations, these songs mean something and you believe every word he says. Armed with plenty of catchy guitar riffs, singalong choruses and that cutting sense of humour, it’s impossible not to get drawn in by his live performances.

With new material on the way and an appearance at the highly regarded T Break stage at this year’s T in the Park, it’s an exciting time to be Declan Welsh. GIGsoup caught up with him after his storming showcase at XpoNorth, Scotland’s biggest creative industries festival…

So how’s XpoNorth going for you?

Declan-Class man! It’s a good couple of days to see lots of good bands, meet lots of cool people and play a wee set!

How’s the Highland’s music scene then? Can’t say I’ve been up much!

Inverness is actually brilliant. You find yourself in the Glasgow bubble and you don’t realise there’s world in Scotland that exists outside of Glasgow.

It must be great to be part of such a collaborative music scene though?

Aye, definitely, you can’t believe how sound everyone actually is. You’ll be aware of that by going to gigs and interviewing as well…. I’m just waiting on the first pure arsehole to appear… there’s got to be somebody!

I’ve been up in Inverness a few times now though and it’s pretty vibrant. There’s loads of really cool venues. There’s Hoots, Market Bar, Ironworks…so for a city that you can walk across in 15 minutes, it’s cool that there’s three proper venues like that. I also think people just appreciate you travelling somewhere.. like in Glasgow, you’ll appreciate it if a band comes from Spain and the same is in Inverness. You come up here and you give yourself away with the accent, though. The first time I came up here, I got off the bus and asked where Hoots was and the guy asked me if I was from Glasgow and walked me to the venue! How nice is that?!

 So festival season, what have you got coming up?

We’ve got Solas festival next weekend and then T Break stage at T in the Park. I still can’t believe that’s happening!

So exciting! When did you find out?

Found out about three weeks ago! It was really cool being accepted this year because we’d applied last year and not got it. We’ve not released anything because getting something released is a pain in the arse because of money… We’d got these demos back of these new songs, so it was a matter of toying between doing the really good recorded versions of the old stuff which we’ve moved on from or sending the new stuff which is quite rough. So we sent the new stuff and we got it. I was heartened by the fact we got it with demos without proper mastered stuff!

It’s a great lineup on T Break aswell!

Yeah, there’s Vegan Leather, Mt. Doubt, Bloodlines.. Ninth Wave are outstanding! The Lapelles are great aswell! I reckon there will definitely be room for me to catch smaller bands. It’s good we’re all very different acts aswell.

So what else have you got planned in the future?

We’re releasing an AA side with Dead Beet Records run by the guys from Babystrange and we’ve got a tour coming up in August. We’re just going to try and get about and play as many places as we can. As much as it’s class playing in Scotland, we need to get out and play other places… We’ve not done England….
it’s also great that the sound has evolved…

Yeah, you were obviously previously solo and now you’ve got a band. Has that helped?

The sound evolving is hugely owed to Duncan, Calum and Ben and having people to throw stuff at. Even them being there has made me write differently; when you write a riff, you know there’s people there to make it a ‘thing’ as opposed to having to always write chords on an acoustic guitar. It’s also a lot more fun to be travelling with your pals as well. It’s the perfect situation right now!  The sound’s getting to a place where we’re all really happy with it.

This Declan Welsh article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.

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