Walt Disco’s star is in the ascendency and with a new album, Unlearning, due for release in April supported by a UK and European tour, we felt the time was right for a conversation.
Walt Disco are you’re next favourite band. With a new album and a spring tour they’re gonna be on your radar in moments. We’d set up a Zoom with lead singer, James. But then three of them turned up.
Just to mess with our head. They did it it on purpose. It amuses them to take people by surprise. Which is kind of their day job. They’ll do it to you as well when you see them play.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Charlie: We’re all in Glasgow, we’ve been practising lots recently and, hopefully, getting ready for touring in the next few weeks.
P3dro: You’re coming to Liverpool in April.
Finlay: Liverpool is the first show of the tour after the album comes out. We can’t wait.
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the band. How did you form, how did it come about?
James: It kind of grew arms and legs. It started off as a thing I did with some uni mates, but then gradually became more of a viable thing to do to chase as a career. Then, some people left because it wasn’t for them. We got new members in, like Charlie and Finlay, who have helped make the band what it is. It’s been an ever evolving thing.
P3dro: Do you think the band has a message?
Charlie: Yeah, we’re trying to tell people it’s completely OK to be how you feel you are and not necessarily the way you’ve been taught your whole life like you should be. We try and offer a space for people to shake off all they’ve been taught.
Finlay: And that it’s OK if it takes a while.
P3dro: And, who is Walt?
James: Nobody’s Walt. Although I get called Walt all the time. I work in a kitchen and there’s another chef called James, so, without asking me, they just went: “We’re calling you Walt”. So, I just thought, Ah fuck it!
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the album. When was it recorded? How did you manage to get that sorted out?
James: We started writing it in about March 2020, pretty much as soon as lockdown was announced. We finished recording it in summer 2021. So, yeah, just under a year and a half from start to finish.
Finlay: Apart from “Cut Your Hair”, unlike a lot of first albums it’s not just a bunch of songs that were built up over years. We did write most of it in that space. It feels like a frame of time for us. It’s been nice chatting about it and looking back on its creation.
James: I think it’s a testament to the band we can all remain excited about it and be proud of an album, even though each person had to dip in and out of it.
P3dro: Was it always intended to be an album? We’ve had many conversations about albums v singles v EPs. Is it a coherent body of work?
Finlay: I think of it as a coherent body of work. We think it has the essence of a play. We’d originally had the idea the album would be like a stage show which, although this isn’t, it has a kind of emotional arc and we’ve nodded towards that with some of the instrumental interludes.
I think we had that kind of grand attitude towards it.
P3dro: The theatre and the look is quite a big part of your being.
Charlie: Yeah, definitely.
P3dro: Do you see the album as an extension of that?
James: Yeah, we’re right in the mood of how we want to come across. The number one goal of fashion and dress is to show the world how we want to be. But as a songwriter and a musician we have another way of showing people what we’re about.
P3dro: What are we expect of the forthcoming tour from Walt Disco?
Finlay: Bigger and better! Hell, yeah.
James: Yeah, I’m excited. And nervous. This is by far the longest tour we’ve booked. I just hope we manage to stay healthy.
Finlay: You can expect a holistic show.
P3dro: We shall look forward to seeing what that means!
P3dro: What’s your connection with Gang of Four? They’re one of our favourite bands.
James: Yeah, their bass player, Tom McNiece produced our “Young Hard and Handsome” EP as well as mixing and doing some additional production on five of the tracks on this album. He’s been a big help in getting us to [where we are].
Finlay: He’s a total wizard. He makes things so massive.
P3dro: Do you see a connection between the kind of stuff you do and Gang of Four? You’re both bands who are quite heavy into rhythm.
Finlay: Yeah, I suppose it’s that kind of fusion of danceable rhythms with aggressive and interesting sounds on top of them. We reference their guitar playing quite a lot.
P3dro: What other kinds of things do you listen to?
Finlay: We all have really different music tastes. They all kind of cross over in some way.
James: I love the melodies of jazz standards, experimental crooners like Scott Walker and even Anthony Newley. But also a lot of the pop that’s around at the moment, the electronica.
Finlay: We all just love music. Even in the pub, or wherever, we’re showing each other something new we’ve discovered. We love it! It’s important to hold onto that childlike enjoyment of music.
P3dro: Tell us a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.
James: I’m sure a lot of people know to listen to this, but the new Black Country New Road album is insane. I thought the first album was good, but this one’s fucking off the scale.
Finlay: Rounds by Fourtet. I’ve just bought it on vinyl after it got taken off Spotify for a bit. It’s such a mad album. It’s that fusion of organic with electronic that I love. I think that attitude went a long way on our own album.
Charlie: I’ve been listening to Might Be Introvert by Little Simz a lot. I think it’s a very important album.
Mar 30th 2022 – Glasgow, UK @ St Luke’s
Mar 31st 2022 – Belfast, UK @ Voodoo
Apr 1st 2022 Dublin, Ireland @ The Soundhouse
Apr 2nd 2022 – Liverpool, UK @ Jimmy’s
Apr 4th 2022 – Sheffield, UK @ Yellow Arch Studios
Apr 5th 2022 – Hull, UK @ Tower Ballroom
Apr 6th 2022 – Newcastle UK @ The Cluny
Apr 8th 2022 – York, UK @ The Crescent
Apr 9th 2022 – Leeds, UK @ Hyde Park Book Club
Apr 11th 2022 – Nottingham, UK @ The Bodega Social Club
Apr 12th 2022 – Birmingham, UK @ Mama Roux’s
Apr 13th 2022 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
Apr 17th 2022 – Manchester, UK @ YES
Apr 18th 2022 – Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade Bristol
Apr 20th 2022 – London, UK @ Scala