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November 2020
Latitude 2017

Declan McKenna: "First Latitude, then the world."

"The story of Declan McKenna. That can be your tagline."
Published: 12:31 pm, July 15, 2017
Declan McKenna: "First Latitude, then the world."
Spoiler. We bloody love Declan McKenna. You may have noticed, what with him being on the cover of our new issue that came out yesterday. That doesn't mean we've had enough Dec action, though. Today, he plays Latitude - so we caught up with him in the Henham Park forest early this morning to catch up, as his debut album 'What Do You Think About The Car?' approaches ever nearer.

How are things? How is being at Latitude?
It’s good! It feels really good. It’s the first festival season I feel like we’ve kind of been… well, it’s certainly been busy, but also like, seeing so many people. Festivals are interesting because at a big one like this, or like Glastonbury which we’ve done recently, you draw a bigger crowd than you will at most shows that you do. It’s awesome. Everything’s going well, can’t complain.

It’s less than a week now until the album, how does it feel being so close?
It’s mad. Although it’s been a really long time, it feels like it’s come super quickly. One minute it was three-months to the album release, then it was a week. What is that?! That is a weird little bug.

That’s the one thing you find at Latitude, wildlife.
Weird bugs, and strange activities for middle-class children. There’s quite a few going on in the woods; I don’t really know what’s happening. It’s an interesting festival; it’s not like any other festival in the UK really. It’s just so… calm.

Have you been here before?
Yeah, I’ve been here two years in a row before this one, played here last year. Stayed I think for just a day, and then I came two years ago as well with a couple of friends. It’s a nice one. It’s just super calm. It does have a reputation for being the middle-class “Latte-tude”, but a little dose of that is quite pleasant. It’s just super clean. When you’re touring you actually do appreciate things that you might scoff at when you’re not touring. On paper, you shouldn’t like it, but actually, capitalism is sometimes kind of nice. In the middle of the summer, somewhere in Suffolk, capitalism is lovely. It’s just really pleasant. Just enjoy it for what it is.

Do you have special memories of the festival? Any standouts?
I remember queuing up for Thom Yorke, who was doing a secret set at like 3am. There was like 5 million people, and they kept telling everyone to leave. He didn’t play until like 3am, and I basically left at 1am. I was just really bored. I knew it was going to be Thom Yorke solo material, and it was Thom Yorke solo material, so I’m glad that I left. That’s the standout memory from Latitude. Queuing at 1am then leaving about twenty minutes later.

[caption id="attachment_20365" align="alignnone" width="1498
Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Dork[/caption]
"pull" text="I want to make records that I’d want to listen to.

What’s it been like playing around the world?
I love a bit of travelling; I love seeing new places. Other than through music I haven’t had much of an opportunity to go outside of Europe, outside of local countries I guess, so it’s nice to be able to go to America, Japan, all these places I’ve never been before. Go and play, and see people who’re familiar with my music. It’s just mad. It’s weird that it’s so normal. I don’t even think about it until the day. I’ll be like, ‘Shit we’re flying to Bulgaria today, argh I haven’t packed, what a pain in the arse I really wanted to go have a kick about’. It’s weird how accustomed I am now. You sometimes don’t think about how wicked it is, to be able to travel and see new places all the time.

[caption id="attachment_20361" align="alignright" width="350
Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Dork[/caption]You must be looking forward to being able to tour with the album out. What ambition do you have in that sense? Do you want to play on the bigger stages, or just to people who really appreciate it?
It’s nice playing to big crowds, but I think it’s great to play to people who’re enjoying themselves. If you look at goals on the performance side, that’s all you can really hope for. The best shows are never the biggest ones; it’s never the massive one that you really hype yourself up for. Glastonbury’s great, amazing opportunity, but it’s not going to be your best show, because it’s fucking so hard, it’s not easy. It’s always the ones that you’re not expecting anything from that stick out. On that side of things, you can only ever wish to play to a crowd that are enjoying themselves. But in terms of goals, I want to make great records; I want to make records that I’d want to listen to. It all comes down to a creative thing, the output thing at the end of the day.

Are you staying around for the rest of the weekend?
No, we’re doing Benicassim tomorrow. We’ve got the Main Stage of Benicassim, which is huge, it’s going to be the biggest one we’ve played to, so I hope that goes well.

It’s very hot.
Very hot, very big, lots of British people, so similar to today, perhaps! Slightly different crowd. But I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a shame we can’t stick around.

It’s just a packed summer.
Yeah completely - festivals, the album… the world. First Latitude, then the world. The story of Declan McKenna. That can be your tagline.

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