Into Scottish Creatives Interview: Walt Disco
The past 18 months or so have been a busy time for Walt Disco, the Scottish six-piece band whose sound mixes glam rock, post punk, elements of new romantic and electro-pop. Hints of Orange Juice, The Associates, Franz Ferdinand and David Bowie are in their sound but, it’s much, much more than that. Put it all together and the resultant output is bold, at times theatrical, and definitely grabs the attention.
Those past 18 months saw the release of the Young Hard and Handsome EP through to the imminent arrival of their debut album Unlearning coupled with a headline tour. Into Creative’s John Welsh spoke to James Potter and Jack Martin from the band to get the lowdown on all things Walt Disco.
John:Your debut album Unlearning is due for release on 1 April. How are you feeling about getting your new songs out there?
Walt Disco: We’re very excited to reveal the full picture of the album and its unique sound.
How did the tracks on the album evolve and what process did you follow in deciding what would go on the album and also the running order?
The sound of the songs evolved in tandem with us figuring out how to record music combined with the limitations of equipment and live instruments. This also informed the electronic sound of the album. Lots of happy accidents, experimenting with rules of production, and plenty of head scratching led to the album’s final being. The running order was informed by listening to musical and opera soundtracks. For example, we always wanted an album interlude and the name ‘The Costume Change’ felt really right and has many meanings to us, the songs, and the feeling of the album.
The album is called Unlearning. How did you come up with the title?
Its original title was ‘Unlearning a Perfect Life’, by which we meant, letting go of the notion that life can be perfect is no negative thing and gives us more freedom in our lives. We can decide our own meaning of perfect.
What and who are your primary influences from both a lyrical and musical perspective?
I think melodically and lyrically, Scott Walker is a huge influence for both Jack and me – the main lyricists of band. Sonically, we’ve evolved constantly but this album drew inspiration from Sophie, Young Fathers, Arca, Yeezus (the album) and St. Vincent, among many others.
You’ve got a UK & European tour scheduled to tour and promote the album kicking off with a hometown show in Glasgow (31 March, St. Luke’s). Of course, it’s been an incredibly difficult 2 years or so due to the pandemic. How much are you looking forward to getting out there and playing live on your headline tour?
Yeah, it’s been hard getting a huge part of our lives taken away from us and live music is still not back to its former glory, with many factors contributing to touring being harder than ever. This being said, we can’t wait to get out there and play the album to our fans.
Any particular towns/cities/venues you are looking forward to playing?
All of them!
What can the audiences expect from a Walt Disco show?
Energy, high volumes and the odd nip slip.
What’s on the tour bus mixtape?
We let our darling tour manager Simon take care of that! Driver picks the tunes, it helps that his tunes are always great!
What’s in the tour rider?
As much fibre and nutrients as the promoter is willing to give us. Desperately trying to avoid tour lurgy this time.
The lyrics to new single ‘How Cool Are You?’ don’t miss the mark. What’s the story behind the track? Was it based on anyone in particular or perhaps more observational of people in general trying too hard to appear cool?
Our friend Callum Rankine wrote the lyrics to this track actually. I always perceive these lyrics as saying to people to not take themselves too seriously.
The accompanying video sees you work with Eric J.Liddle and Kasparas Vidunas of Humble Film Productions – how did the idea for the video come about and how much fun was it to make?
It came about because of Finlay’s old hobby. In his earlier years of school he played ice hockey so when we were planning videos for the singles we knew we had to try and get in an ice rink somehow. I think the bruises were worth it.
Looking back over the past 12 months, you’ve shared a stage with Duran Duran and are on the cusp of releasing your debut album. What’s been your personal highlight of the past year?
I suppose it’s hard to look past supporting Duran Duran in front of 8,000 people.
Thinking back to all the gigs/concerts you’ve attended, which one show stands out the most as really memorable and why?
For most of us it was seeing Young Fathers in the Barrowland. It was an absolutely insane performance.
Walt Disco open their tour at St Luke’s, Glasgow on Wednesday 30 March 2022. Tickets for all tour dates are available HERE.