Following his grand return with ‘British Bombs’ last year, Declan McKenna has announced that he’s got a brand new album on the way! Set for release on 15th May, ‘Zeros’ is the follow-up to 2017’s ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’, and Declan’s giving us a lil taste of what we can expect with brand new track ‘Beautiful People’.
Exploring how young people navigate the modern world and how terrifying that can be, Declan explains how he wanted it to be “a big song… Scary big. It very much relates to now, but I wanted to reimagine social media in this future-sphere where it has become even more immersive so that we cannot see where it ends and we begin.”
We grabbed him for a little chat in our December 2019/January 2020 issue to find out a bit more about what he’s got planned:
With ‘British Bombs’ earlier this year, you said you wanted to release something “quintessentially British”. Would you say the same of the new record?
I mean, I’m not just gonna end up sounding like Randy Newman! With ‘British Bombs’ I wanted a serious tone, to take a jab at our own people. That’s quite a direct approach, so on the new album there’s a bit less of that, but there’s a lot of references to greater suburbia and the world I grew up in.
You once said you wanted to emulate Bowie in terms of progressing your sound, and you called this your ‘Rubber Soul’ album when DIY spoke to you last summer. Is your music getting weirder?
I’m a big fan of weird art, but I see my music as pop music. I do like the idea of everything surrounding it being a little bit off kilter, but in the most clichéd way possible I’ll see where the music takes me. When I start knowing too much about what I’m getting into when I’m making a record, I’ll probably stop making records.
So then, how does the new one sound?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old Dylan records, these really raw recordings, and really appreciating that energy. I just wanted to get in a room with a group of musicians and not get it too ‘right’. The sound to me developed in that way. There’s a lot of ‘70s references, a lot of Waterboys and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but it still feels modern to me. It definitely feels like a natural progression from the first one.
As someone known for political songs, are you dreading all the questions about Brexit you’re going to be asked?
It can be intense fielding a lot of very political questions, especially when you’re on tour and you’re exhausted. But it’s also a political world, and I’ve been open about where I stand. As long as I’ve been making music, I’ve been speaking about the world I’ve grown up in. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
That said, the new album’s a little bit vaguer and less direct. I want people to take from it what they take from it as opposed to me telling the same direct story, saying exactly what it is I’m writing about.
As featured in the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of DIY, out now.