Earlier this year, we announced our latest partnership with DIY magazine to celebrate our #MusicMadeUs campaign. As part of this new partnership, students from across our colleges interviewed artists and industry professionals in collaboration with DIY and through the lens of Music Made Us. They also received guidance and mentorship sessions before the interview with DIY’s journalism and editorial team.
Here BIMM Institute Berlin’s Hedda Delin interviews Walt Disco about symbolising the queer band that late Gen X missed out on, and how music has taken them to where they are today.
As six band members join forces from different parts of Scotland and the rest of the UK, glam goth-pop Walt Disco have started to symbolise the queer band that late Gen X missed out on growing up. Speaking to the band’s singer James Potter over a Zoom call, DIY wants to know how music has shaped his life and how the experiences of music have taken Walt Disco to where they are today.
At the age of 12, James started to write songs after attending a council-funded initiative for youth songwriters, and at 16 he took things more seriously and learnt how to sing. Music was always there growing up, but to start a band was never the plan. “It sort of happened by listening to music, going to gigs with friends, and then the band was created and it felt like the right thing to do, to at least give it a go.”
Your peers will always influence you more than anyone else because friend groups are usually formed around having a mutual interest
Three of Walt Disco’s current members met at university in Glasgow and after some years of constellation changes, they are now a completed band of six. “A band is like a big friend group,” James says, “your peers will always influence you more than anyone else because friend groups are usually formed around having a mutual interest, which is where music comes into the picture. So in the end, your preference of music is affected by who you are friends with.”
When it comes to how music geographically and culturally has affected his songwriting, James mentions that when moving from a small village in Scotland to Glasgow he had a lot of figuring out to do, and writing songs worked as a way to document the process of finding answers. Scottish music in general also became an influence, especially from the 80s and 90s, which is notable in Walt Disco’s debut EP ’Young Hard and Handsome’. “I think I always looked a bit further back for my idols, like David Bowie, Pete Burns, and Freddie Mercury,” James explains. “When we were growing up there wasn’t really that band or that artist, so we kind of just want to be a band that we’d want to be around when growing up. I just try to be who kid James would like to see.” As a queer band and part of the LGBTQI+ community, Walt Disco wants to be honest and express themselves as much as they can without hiding any message, and they just want everyone to feel welcome to go to their shows.
Music has been sort of the driving force in wearing what I’d like to wear and without it, it would have been a less complete form of myself
As for where his passion for music comes from, he answers that it’s because it’s something he feels he’s genuinely good at; he wakes up thinking of music and goes to bed thinking of music. James agrees with the fact that music is so much more than just music – it’s a lifestyle. “Music cooperates with other art forms so easily, like fashion for example,” he states. Music, style, and identity are highly connected and James says that fashion has become a prominent part of Walt Disco’s image too. “Music has been sort of the driving force in wearing what I’d like to wear and without it, it would have been a less complete form of myself.”
Regarding what’s next to come, James mentions that postponed concerts and festival slots will finally take place this autumn across the UK and he looks forward to playing all material that has been released since 2018; as well as some that are yet to come. He also looks forward to learning more about producing and spending time in the studio, working on artwork, videos and creating music with more electronic features. Music made Walt Disco come this far in a short time and DIY is sure that it will bring them even further into what looks like a bright future.
Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by this creative outlet. Discover their stories here.
Photo by Maddy Anderson