Walt Disco Talks About Their New Album ‘The Warping’

Walt Disco and the Intersection of Identity and Music

Walt Disco, hailing from Glasgow, merges the dark aesthetics of post-punk with the glitz of glam rock and the pulsating beats of new wave. Formed in 2016, the band has quickly gained recognition for their energetic performances and unique aesthetic. The group is composed of Jocelyn Si, Finlay McCarthy, Charlie Lock, Jack Martin, and Lewis Carmichael. Their debut album, Unlearning (2022), challenged conventional ideas with its exploration of identity and emotional struggles. Their second album, The Warping, releasing on June 14, continues to address personal themes such as gender dysphoria, social burnout, and the complexities of human emotions. The Warping reflects a maturation in their sound and lyrical content. Incorporating classical instruments such as horns and strings, the album adds a new dimension to their music. Walt Disco’s live performances have earned them spots at major festivals such as SXSW, Glastonbury, and Austin City Limits. They have toured extensively, supporting acts like OMD, Primal Scream, and Duran Duran.

Featured image © Izzy Leach
Walt Disco’s Bandcamp & Youtube

How did the local Glasgow music scene support or hinder your early efforts? Can you describe the atmosphere of your first few gigs and the reaction to your music?

We’ve felt huge support and love from people in Glasgow, bands and folk from the scene that believed in us early on are probably why we’re still going. However, scenes can be complicated entities and it can sometimes feel like once you start playing shows and growing your fan base outside of your city that you have to leave the people behind a bit, but I think it’s just you become so busy and you can no longer socialise in the same way. We still have a lot of love for the scene and we won’t ever forget it.

How has your sound evolved from Unlearning to The Warping?

In many ways, after making Unlearning on laptops, with virtual amps and digital synths we wanted to hear what the opposite of that would sound like whilst keeping the drama and theatre in the songs. We found the best way to do that was as many warm analogue synths as we could get our hands on, big ambient capitol record-style drums, choral vocals, and of course orchestration. 

What was it like to collaborate with Phil Manzanera on The Warping? How did his involvement shape the sound of the record?

Unfortunately, this is a case of Chinese whispers, we just demoed in his studio with his assistant Lucas Polo, but he was never there. We are big Roxy Music fans though.

Walt Disco The Warping album art
© Walt Disco, ‘The Warping’

What was the most challenging track to complete on The Warping and why?

Either The Warping or Come Undone, two of our favourite tracks on the record. The Warping went through many structural and sonic changes and it almost didn’t make the record, but we believed in the lyrics and the melodies a lot so we worked hard to make it work and I believe we did. Come Undone always stood out as a big song but the pre-chorus was always a section we struggled with, it took us to the last moments of making the record to find the Wurlitzer part that would lift the pre in the right way.

What are your favorite pieces of equipment or instruments to use in the studio and why? How does using analogue recording techniques influence the sound of your music?

We have a Moog Little Fatty that is just an incredible synth that will always be an instrument we come back to but a lot has to be said for a versatile microphone, we have a Sennheiser MD421 that I love on vocals, snares, tom toms, bass amps, guitar amps and we even used it as the kick in for the punchier/heavier tracks on the record. 

I think analogue recording adds such a warmth to things, maybe just because it sounds familiar, like records we grew up listening to. I don’t understand a lot about it but for example, all the digital synths on the record were later put through analogue tape machines, pre-amps, compressors and reverbs, and there’s no denying that they sounded better but I couldn’t always tell you why. 

Can you describe the process of exploring and expressing your identity through your art? How do you balance your personal identity with your public persona as musicians?

In ways, our public persona is more genuine than my personal identity because growing up with certain societal pressures does mould you in ways that aren’t genuine, but expressing ourselves In the best way we know how through music forces us to let go of those pressures.

How important is visual art and aesthetics to Walt Disco’s identity?

I think it’s important because it’s another way to express ourselves and expand our artistic universe. We want to build a world within this band and within the albums we make and want these to be more expansive than just the music.

WD photo credit Izzy Leach 2
© Izzy Leach

Are there any new musical directions or genres you’re planning to explore in the future?

I think above all else we’re in a period of wanting to write BIG songs and improve ways in which we can be as genuine as possible but in simple and accessible ways. In terms of genre, on the music beyond The Warping, we’ve been leaning into some 90’s alt-rock/shoegaze stylings. 

What other art forms or artists outside of music have inspired your work?

I love Taika Waititi’s scripts, in his films such as BOY and Hunt For The Wilderpeople. His scripts are very humorous but often feel imperfect in a way that is comfortable with the imperfection, which has helped me be able to let go when writing a bit more.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disco

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by retrofuturista

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