Declan's latest single "better off without" is the song you didn't know you needed.
“Better off without” is such an amazing song! What’s the story behind it?
D: Cheers! I'm so chuffed that you like it! To me, 'Better Off Without', is a bittersweet breakup song exploring the complexities of love. The song is about a personal past experience. I was tangled up in love, but I felt like I didn't make my partner happy. It was a pretty tough pill to swallow for both of us.
'Better off without' was initially written on acoustic guitar with my sister but once I took it into the studio with Vinnie, the producer I met while gigging in Amsterdam, the song moved to the piano. I feel like the piano really allows the emotional quality to be expressed in a rich, delicate way.
I'm really excited by its release as it's my debut single, so it signifies the next chapter in my career as a musician!
What are your musical influences? Are there recurring themes in your music?
To be honest, there are countless artists that inspire me. I’d say, “Better off without” is inspired by a combination of the lyrical style of the Arctic Monkeys with an element of Lewis Capaldi. I love the blend of clever lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies. It really adds to the impact factor of a song.
I aim to create relatable songs that take the listener on a journey–Frank Ocean and Ed Sheeran are really great this.
I feel inspired to take my listeners on a journey through love and loss. To create scenes that are honest and from the heart. It’s all about sharing a little piece of myself through my music.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Almost always I start with chords and melody. I started ‘Better off without’ with the acoustic guitar gently fingerpicking the chords which set up the mood for a softer melody in the verses. This was then built up to the bigger choruses over some trial and error! It doesn’t always come out first time… Lyrically for “Better off without” I included a running metaphor throughout the song. I had the idea of books and reading because reading is something that me and my girlfriend did when we hung out. Phrases like “we weren’t on the right line”, and “now i’ve burnt that book to the ground”, embody this. It’s all about what feels right and what flows. I try and not force it.
As a young artist, do you ever feel pressure to sound a certain way?
The only pressure I really feel is to chase the sound which I have in mind when am writing a new song. I want to stay as honest as possible to that sound I envision and remain an ever-evolving artist. My main motive is to keep making the music I love in the hope of inspiring my listeners
Our summer theme is all about the coming of age experience. What does it mean to be young today?
To be young today means to explore new avenues. To be inquisitive and challenge old views. To be young means to fight for what you believe in and to love and care for one another no matter what race, sexuality or gender. I applaud the open-mindedness of the younger generations of today and hope it spreads further and further through the influence of social media, culture and music. I’m honestly so thankful for the opportunity to be able to connect with likeminded individuals all over the globe from my little village, Stanley in Yorkshire. I hope you all enjoy listening to ‘Better off without”!
Listen to Declan's music:
Follow Declan on Instagram @dec_gibson