Walt Disco are a band who, at first glance, draped on stage in all their outrageous finery, you might expect to be mysteriously aloof during an interview. Or worse, so eccentric that any interviewer would surely feel intimidated and have a hard time keeping up. Fortunately, knowing a little of the warmth that Walt Disco shares with his fans, I was optimistic about the prospects of our meeting. Indeed, my zoom call with guitarists Finlay and Lewis, who both looked surprisingly refreshed despite their “chaotic” night at the TRNSMT festival, struck me as sincere and instantly familiar, and I enjoyed their thoughtful reflections. on my many ramblings on their evolution as a group. .
“It’s kind of a feeling of gender euphoria you get when you realize your gender identity, making you feel weightless.”
I jump into a discussion about their latest release, “Weightless”, a mind-boggling single that explores leader James’ experiences with their gender identity. Finlay enlightens me on the meaning of the song’s title: “From my discussions with James on the lyrics, it’s kind of a feeling of gender euphoria that you get when you realize your gender identity, making yourself feel weightless – as if the weight is lifting your back. “I instantly imagine parallels to the song ‘Immaterial’ by SOPHIE (a fellow Glasgow artist whom the band has counted among their influences, a list that combines both experimental pop and Scottish post-punk) – that sense of liberation from the constraints and substance that only trans artists could illustrate so vividly.
The music video for “Weightless” was directed by Eric J Liddle and Kasparas Vidunas with scenography by Furmaan Ahmed.YOUTUBE / WALTDISCO
My curiosity piqued, I wonder how the dynamics of the group work when a member writes very personal lyrics. Does playing a piece rely on a certain level of relativity for the whole group? “I guess even knowing this is how your best friends feel, you can relate it to their experiences, it doesn’t have to be personal to you,” Finlay remarks, “and the chorus of“ Weightless For example, could be about a lot of things, that idea of weight lifted off your back. He later considers how the time spent alone during the lockdown encouraged personal reflection, which is reflected in their recent music: “I think it’s always good to have a little soul-searching, writing about things like it helps you understand yourself. “
Stepping away from the lyrics, I chat with the two about the production, interested in their early self-production experiences on this new single. “It was interesting because a lot of stuff from the original locked out demo was still there, there’s a sample of my girlfriend wrapping a Depop package that still made it to the final version,” Finlay muses. “If we look at all the stems, I can remember where each song came from, so it’s nice to be able to look at your music and see how it evolved, really pull it apart.” They both tell me how they want to keep going into self-production, recording more with live instruments to create even bigger sound. Lewis even invested in a violin that he has yet to learn to play properly.
“Everyone bounces back and pushes themselves to wear more and more ridiculous things”
Impressive, the group seems particularly aware of its image and its progress. My mention that I saw them as an act of support in 2018 elicits some embarrassed moans (to be fair to them, I think many of us would shudder to remember our image three years ago) and they support my opinion than sound and aesthetic they have become more maximalist. “I think in 2018 we were a slightly glamorous but still very minimalist post-punk inspired band,” Lewis relays “and we changed the line-up and we figured out what we actually wanted to look like and dress up. and got a little more over the top with all the colors. “A little getting a little excited!” Finlay interrupts. “Yeah, everyone is bouncing around and pushing themselves into wearing more and more silly things,” according to Lewis, and, continuing after a pause for thought, “well, not ridiculous, just more stuff that we really want to wear but would like to ‘I had the confidence from before. Finlay notes that the outfits they wear can bleed into their songs: “It can help you make music a little more open and confident, rather than hiding behind, I don’t know, a lot of reverb.” ! They speculate that the music and the dress are “kind of like a feedback loop, they bounce off each other.”
A maximalist sartorial sense isn’t the only transformation the band has undergone, but rather their sound, particularly on the recent single “Selfish Lover”, has become steeped in a shameless exultant pop aesthetic. “I think that with the EP [last year’s Young Hard and Handsome EP], we got a little more pop than the first singles, ”suggests Lewis. “But during the lockdown we were sitting around writing songs at home and we just decided to be a pop group. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision, it just happened. Finlay then adds, “with” Selfish Lover, “Lewis sent in the original demo for that, and we were just listening to the chords, and we thought there’s no way it couldn’t have a massive chorus. . It takes a silly, catchy chorus. Indeed, Lewis says he sent the band a pretty minimal song with a basic pop chord structure, “and they were like, can we make it sound like the Scissor Sisters, and I? was like, yeah go ahead! “
“I feel like a mysterious group that nobody knows has been done a million times”
This introduction of pop ingredients is a testament to Walt Disco’s desire to shake off any pretense or falsehood that might distance listeners. Certainly, by following the group, the pervasive sense of close community is quickly felt. I note the collaborative Spotify playlist they made with the fans, the feeling of meeting a dozen mutuals during a live, and the unifying chorus of “Hey boy! You are one of us! in the climax of their set. “I feel like being a mysterious band that no one knows anything about has been done a million times,” Lewis remarks, “so it’s nice to talk to people who come to concerts because they’re all super interesting and dress better than me half the time.
“At the end of the day,” Finlay adds, “you go to a concert to let go and relax a bit, and if you don’t feel safe and comfortable in those places, then what’s the point. ? We want to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment during our shows because we want people to have fun and connect with each other. “
Coming to a Walt Disco show really feels like part of a small group with an identity, going back to a time when you could identify the groups people supported based on their clothes and where they hang out. Having seen the band at this year’s Latitude Festival, I remember how the tent they were playing in had, in my opinion, been regularly filled with Radio 6 Dad demographics throughout the weekend. But as soon as Walt Disco arrived in the tent (a very last minute addition to the lineup), the place was inundated with cool kids, with more mules and leather jackets than I had seen in all. other part of the festival. Rather than rejoicing in its ability to attract such hip crowds, Finlay graciously says, “We also want to please the dads of Radio 6!” “Everyone is welcome!” echoes Lewis.
The invitation to join the Walt Disco gang is therefore unequivocally open to everyone. I suggest you take full advantage of this open invitation and revel in all the glamor, frenzy and community that Walt Disco has to offer.
Walt Disco’s “Weightless” is now available.
For tour dates and more music, visit their website, https://waltdisco.com/
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