INTERVIEW: WALT DISCO | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Furmaan Ahmed

The past 18 months have been both an unbearable drag and flashed by in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s been spent productively, a time of deep introspection, or simply just a period of survival has been up to the individual. For glam-pop ensemble Walt Disco, it’s been a combination of all three. The group didn’t slack off over lockdown, self-producing and self-releasing Young Hard & Handsome in the midst of the pandemic. This summer marked the first opportunity they had to play tunes from their 2020 EP live, and it was certainly a momentous occasion, as vocalist James Potter explains.

There were so many songs on the release [from] over a year ago. We want to keep them exciting to us. In lockdown, Doja Cat did metal versions of Say So. We’ve heavied up a couple and gone full heavy metal with it, which is so fun to play live. I think we’re just wanting to be ‘out there.’ We won’t take any gig for granted any more so we’ll just make it as big as possible for everyone.”

If you can put into words how you felt about something, you’re probably not the only one

Walt Disco have already put out two new singles in recent months, ready for a new run of headline shows this autumn. Selfish Lover is a fun take on an experience a lot of people missed out on in recent months; the camptastic synth-infused romp through post-relations disappointment is an instant classic. “It was early on in lockdown when we decided that we were going to write and record a lot of music. One day, spirits were not as high as we hoped they’d be, we were just dragging ourselves out on a walk, trying to feel normal… We had dinner and wrote the lyrics in half an hour. We thought about, ‘What is not happening in lockdown?’ Well, sex… Bad sex, then talking about the bad sex the next day. That’s a really fun thing to do. So we thought, ‘Let’s write a song about that.’”

Its follow up, Weightless, delves into a deeply personal journey undertaken by James over the course of the pandemic: gender identity. The track documents this internal discussion and their eventual euphoria with their decision to live authentically. “Quite a few years ago I questioned gender identity, but I didn’t truly explore it in day-to-day life. The band was a way to express it, but once a show was finished, I didn’t think about it, but I probably just didn’t know what to think. I knew I had these feelings for a while. In My Pop Sensibilities [2018] there’s a line that says, ‘You make me feel like a man and I hate it.’ I wrote that lyric kind of understanding what I meant by it, but not really. Fast forward to 2020, there was a lot more time to think about how I wanted to come out, to feel better and day-to-day life, how I was gonna live in 10 years or 20 years. What do I picture myself being? I was questioning if I was doing enough to make myself happy. 23 is not too late to do the things that make yourself feel better. A lot of people experience the same thing. If you can put into words how you felt about something, you’re probably not the only one.”

It may have been a tough year, but for some it has been a chrysalis to true fulfilment.

Walt Disco play KU Bar, Stockton on Saturday 23rd October


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