Next Wave #964: Walt Disco

In Association With Vero True Social

Walt Disco are a Glaswegian six piece that are hard to ignore.They’re flamboyant. They’re outspoken. They’re breaking barriers with their andrygynous style and their distinctive sound. The original members met at a house party during Freshers’ Week and have since supported everyone from Sports Team to Interpol. We spoke to frontman James Potter and guitarist Dave Morgan about their irresistible rise.

Fiery new single ‘Cut Your Hair’ is an 80s-infused indie pop delight, which champions free speech and self-expression. “Cut your hair / And let us be young,”James sings in his baritone voice. The track is taken from their upcoming EP ‘Young, Hard and Handsome’. “Young people shouldn’t be judged for how they are, for who they want to be, by an older generation just because they are older. We are a very tolerant generation and we just wanted to write a very simple song about that,” says James.

The band’s musical influences don’t exactly lie where you might expect, with Grimes and St. Vincent cropping up as we chat. Continuing, Walt Disco also cite Scottish post-punk auteurs The Associates and the ultra-flamboyant Dead or Alive. “Honestly, everything,” James insists, including musicals, before name-checking The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a major influence to their music and style.

Inspiration for songwriting comes in many forms for James. “Anything. Gender. Love. Most recently we’ve been writing hypothetical songs about love and sex because neither of those things are happening. I think especially with this EP that’s coming up, there are songs about being young and identity and stuff like that”.

“I just write about my own experiences, really. Like, how sometimes dating one gender sometimes makes me feel a different way about my own gender. It’s hard to explain… but I just try my best”.

Walt Disco have been described as a ‘post-punk’ band but it’s an ambiguous term for them. James says: ”I think ‘post-punk’ obviously originated in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s and that sound has a big influence on bands right now. So I feel like ‘post-punk’ is kind of the word for guitar bands at the moment, which is no bad thing. But it’s become a very broad term. I don’t know. It’s weird to call something post-punk when we’re not in the post-punk era. It’s like post-post-punk. Post-pop, post-Britpop, post-dance, post-punk”.

Their new EP explores identity and gender. “I’m really excited. We haven’t released a body of work that big before and, even though it’s four songs, it feels like a real tightened thing. It’s called ‘Young, Hard and Handsome’ and that’s been our thing. It’s got really strong songwriting and really strong sonics and lots of sonic influences so yeah, I’m really excited about it”.

Walt Disco are spending their time under lockdown preparing for their debut album, “writing as much as (they) can”. They have live shows scheduled for September, and the band simply can't wait. “It’s very theatrical. We have a lot of fun. We played a lot of shows last year so toward the end we were just getting really into it. It’s a lot of fun and normally people leave with a smile on their face”.

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Words: Narzra Ahmed

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