The music video for Walt Disco's "Weightless" is fantasy inspired and showcases the high fashion of the bandYOUTUBE/ WALTDISCO

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 struggle to keep up. Luckily, knowing a bit about the warmth Walt Disco share with their fans, I was optimistic about my prospects for our meeting. Indeed, my zoom call with guitarists Finlay and Lewis, both of whom looked surprisingly refreshed despite their “chaotic” previous night at TRNSMT festival, felt sincere and instantly familiar, and I appreciated their thoughtful reflections on my many ramblings about their evolution as a band.

“It’s kind of the feeling of gender euphoria you get when you realise your gender identity, making you feel weightless”

I launch into a discussion of their latest release, “Weightless”, a blistering single which explores frontperson James’ experiences with their gender identity. Finlay illuminates me on the meaning of the song title: “From my discussions with James about the lyrics, it’s kind of the feeling of gender euphoria you get when you realise your gender identity, making you feel weightless – like the weight is off your back.” I instantly imagine parallels with the song “Immaterial” by SOPHIE (a fellow Glaswegian artist who the band have counted amongst their influences, a list that combines both experimental pop and Scottish post-punk) - that feeling of release from constraints and substance that only trans artists could so strikingly illustrate.

The music video for "Weightless" was directed by Eric J Liddle and Kasparas Vidunas with set design by Furmaan Ahmed.YOUTUBE/ WALTDISCO

My curiosity piqued, I question how band dynamics work when one member writes very personal lyrics. Does performing a track rest upon a certain level of relatability for the whole group? “I suppose even knowing that it’s the way your best friends feel, you can relate it to their experiences, it doesn’t have to be personal to you,” remarks Finlay, “and the chorus of “Weightless”, for instance could be about a lot of things, that idea of weight getting lifted off your back.” He later considers how the time spent alone during lockdown encouraged personal reflection, something that is reflected in their recent music: “I think it’s always good to have a bit of introspection, writing about things like that help you understand yourself.”

Walt Disco are embracing maximalism in their fashion and soundPHOTO: MADDY ANDERSON

Moving away from lyrics, I chat to the two about production, interested in their first experiences of self-producing on this new single. “It was interesting because a lot of stuff from the original demo in lockdown still made it in there, there’s a sample in there of my girlfriend wrapping a Depop parcel that’s still made it to the final version,” muses Finlay. “If we look at all the stems I can remember where each bit came from so it’s nice being able to look at your music and see how it’s evolved, really pick it apart.” They both tell me how they want to continue dabbling in self-production, recording more with live instruments to create an even bigger sound. Lewis has even invested in a violin he is yet to learn to properly play.

“Everyone bounces off each other and pushes each other to wear more and more ridiculous things”

Impressively, the band seem particularly self-aware of their image and its progression. My mention that I’d seen them as a support act in 2018 elicits embarrassed groans (to be fair to them, I think many of us would shudder to be reminded of our image three years ago) and they second my opinion that sonically and aesthetically they have become more maximalist. “I think back in 2018, we were a slightly glamorous but still very minimalist looking, post-punk inspired band,” relays Lewis “and we changed the line-up and we figured out what we actually wanted to sound like and dress like and got a bit more exaggerated with all the colours.” “Kind of egging each other on a bit!” interjects Finlay. “Yeah, everyone bounces off each other and pushes each other to wear more and more ridiculous things,” according to Lewis, and, continuing after a reflective pause, “well, not ridiculous, just more things we actually want to wear but wouldn’t have had the confidence to before.” Finlay notes that the outfits they wear can bleed into their songs: “It can help you make music that is a bit more out there and self-assured, rather than hiding behind, I don’t know, lots of reverb!” They speculate that both the music and the dress are “kind of like a feedback loop, they bounce off each other.”

"Selfish Lover" is pop perfection for Walt DiscoTWITTER/ WALTDISCO

A maximalist dress sense isn’t the only transformation the band have undergone, rather their sound, especially on recent single “Selfish Lover”, has become drenched in a shamelessly exultant pop aesthetic. “I think with the EP [last year’s Young Hard and Handsome EP], we got poppier than the early singles, just a little bit,” suggests Lewis. “But in lockdown we were sitting writing songs at home, and we just decided to be a pop band. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision, it just kind of happened.” Finlay then adds, “with “Selfish Lover”, Lewis sent the original demo for that, and we were just listening to the chords, and we were like, there’s no way this can’t have a massive chorus. It needs a stupid catchy chorus.” Indeed, Lewis recounts sending the band a rather 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 for it!”

“I feel like being a mysterious band that no one knows anything about has been done a million times”

This introduction of pop ingredients speaks to the desire of Walt Disco to shed any pretentiousness or falsity that might distance themselves from listeners. Certainly, upon following the band, the pervading sense of close community is made quickly apparent. I note the collaborative Spotify playlist they made with fans, the feeling that you might bump into a dozen mutuals at a live show, and the rallying refrain of “Hey boy! You’re one of us!” in the highlight of their set. “I feel like being a mysterious band that no one knows anything about has been done a million times,” remarks Lewis, “so it’s nice to talk to the people that come to the gigs because they’re all super interesting and dress better than me half the time.”

Finlay (top left) and Lewis (bottom row) give one of the more entertaining zoom calls that Maddy has had this yearMADDY FISHER

“At the end of the day,” inputs Finlay, “you go to a gig to let go and have a bit of release, and if you don’t feel safe and comfortable at these places, then what’s the point? We want to create a safe, accepting, inclusive environment at our shows because we want people to enjoy themselves and connect with each other.”


Mountain View

Relearning old habits: live music after the lockdown

Coming to a Walt Disco show definitely feels like you’re part of a tight group with an identity, harkening back to an age where you could identify what bands people supported based on their clothing and hang-out spots. Having seen the band at this year’s Latitude Festival, I recall how the tent they played in had, in my opinion, been routinely full of the Radio 6 Dad demographic throughout the weekend. But as soon as Walt Disco arrived in the tent (a very last-minute addition to the line-up), the place was flooded with cool, young people, with more mullets and leather jackets than I’d seen during any other part of the festival. Rather than revelling in the ability to attract such trendy crowds, Finlay graciously affirms: “We want to appeal to the Radio 6 dads as well!” “Everyone’s welcome!” echoes Lewis.

The invitation to join Walt Disco’s gang is, therefore, unequivocally open to all. I suggest you take full advantage of this open invitation and revel in all the glamour, frenzy, and community that Walt Disco have to offer.

“Weightless” by Walt Disco is out now.

For tour dates and more music visit their website,