Trying to do ‘more than make myself money’: Declan Welsh on using music as a tool for change

By admin

26 May 2024


Declan Welsh and the Decadent west are an indie-rock band formed in Glasgow, 2015. A staple in house-parties around the UK, Declan Welsh and the Decadent west produce high-octane guitar led music that is undeniably catchy and impactful.

However, there is more than meets the ears when their lyrics are concerned. Declan Welsh, is an advocate for human rights and his band’s music reflects this.

In 2018 the band produced a song about the precarious humanitarian situation in Palestine, which went on to get air-time on Radio 1.

Welsh, has not stopped there; he told us how he plans on putting out a new song in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The one coming out next, Walk A Mile In Gaza, manages to channel my anger at the genocide fairly effectively I think.” 

Coming out on June 14th, all profits from Walk A Mile In Gaza will be donated to a fund that is sending surgeons to Gaza in response to the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. Welsh sincerely implored: “Please stream it and donate yourself if you can.”

Welsh, being a staunch advocate for human rights, has shown a consistent effort in trying to write songs to spread awareness for their situation – and this isn’t going to die down anytime soon.

Welsh also went on to critique the capitalistic music industry. His song Absurd, is in his own words “essentially an argument against the commodification of art dressed up in the aesthetics of commodified art”.

Further explaining his songwriting process, Welsh said: “We first and foremost make music that we like the sound of. 

“Then I want to try and do something with those sounds, something more than make myself money. “So, it’s about creatively pushing yourself and trying to find a way to agitate alongside it,” he said.

Finding a way to ‘agitate’ is something numerous bands and artists have done throughout the years: Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Cranberries amongst countless others have taken to the stage to support the ‘downtrodden’, criticise and hold governments and corporations to account.

Music has frequently been a powerful tool for protest. If you can write a song that’s catchy and has a deeper meaning in support of a deserving cause it is a potent way to raise awareness for the issue in question.

It also lends a greater purpose to your music. Try to tell a story, help people and raise awareness for causes you feel strongly about, and your music will always be important. It doesn’t matter if you get one thousand streams or one million, if you are trying to help and contribute to something larger; people will recognise you for it.

The band’s depth of meaning continues even within their own name. Welsh said explaining the name:

“The kind of alliteration and phonetic poetry of ‘de we de we’ – then its second meaning would be this kind of nod to leftism, by referencing a criticism of the west as this ‘decadent’ bourgeois empire, in my opinion, it is quite funny.”

A common critique of Western civilisation, Welsh perhaps would like some of the West’s decadence to be used to help, rather than line the pockets of the ‘bourgeois’.

Outspoken and aware of the impact they can have for noble causes around the world, Declan Welsh and the Decadent West are not here to be heard, but listened to as well.

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