‘It feels good to represent Scotland and Glasgow wherever we go’ – In Conversation with Walt Disco’s James Potter

Rosie Lowndes sits down with Walt Disco’s James Potter ahead of their homecoming show at St. Luke’s to talk Texas experiences, Glasgow venues, and what it means to be ambassadors of contemporary Scottish music.

Ahead of their imminent gig at St. Luke’s, I catch Walt Disco for a quick fifteen minutes amid a busy day of press to promote their forthcoming album, Unlearning. They are characteristically witty and self-assured, after a couple years spent developing a cult following in their hometown of Glasgow. Primed and ready for a morning of back-to-back interviews, Walt Disco are recently back from their trip to America. Considering their look and attitude as a band, I’m curious about their reception in Austin, Texas, a state notorious for its conservative views. But, for them, it was lovely. 

Q: How did you find America?

WD: America was wonderful! It was hot and sunny, and everybody was lovely. We did nine shows in a week. It was just in Austin, so it wasn’t like we had to drive through massive deserts or anything between gigs which, y’know, would’ve been brutal. I think we all fell in love with Austin. We all got tattoos. Austin is described as an oasis in Texas. Every person we met was like “Oh my god, I love it here so much, it’s like nowhere else in Texas”. So, we were quite lucky for our first time in America to be in Austin instead of somewhere not so welcoming. 

Q: That sounds so accepting. 

WD: Even in Austin, the local government don’t really reflect how the people feel. Austin itself is very open and everyone feels like they can be themselves, but the government is still passing bills that hurt trans kids and their parents so, y’know, Austin still has its battles to fight, but it is an amazing oasis in the middle of Texas. Obviously, because of South by Southwest, it’s a very arty city.

Q: Did you get all the creative kids coming to see your shows? 

WD: Yeah, it was great because the place we stayed was called the Pearl Street Co-Op and it’s essentially student halls, but it’s actually a student housing cooperative, run by them, and it’s very laid-back and hippie. We got to play a gig there, which was a nice break from all of the super industry events because it was just a bunch of young people having a really fucking good time. I enjoyed every single show we played there, but sometimes in the industry showcases, you’re not gonna get a mosh pit of A&R agents. You get a lot of young artsy people like that gravitating towards your band in the hopes of finding likeminded people.

Q: How do you feel about that? 

WD: Wonderful, really. That’s kind of our mission statement. We felt really good about that; before we came together, we all wanted nothing more than to find likeminded people. I think we all came from relatively small towns and maybe didn’t have that for a while. I certainly feel that way. To think that maybe our shows would be place for people to come and find that is amazing. We haven’t even played Glasgow in such a long time. We’re very excited to finally be playing a hometown show again. I think maybe at the moment it feels more like we’re ambassadors rather than hometown heroes. It does feel good to represent Scotland and Glasgow wherever we go.

Q: If you had to choose one song from the new album that you relate to in particular, what would it be?

WD: That’s tough. I relate to different ones at different times. I think, when I’m in a great mood, it would have to be “Be An Actor”. That song puts a massive smile on my face, and I guess it’s all about being a dreamer and having a bit of a fantasy, which I really like. When I’m feeling a bit less optimistic, maybe “Those Kept Close” because it reflects a bit of my tour homesickness. I think “Those Kept Close” can affect you in good and bad ways: when you’re really missing someone, it can bring bad feelings, but it can also bring good feelings of what you really miss about them. 

Q: Are you looking forward to playing the new album live? 

WD: We’ve played a lot of the songs off the album live already, but there’s some that we haven’t, and we’re going to be playing them live for the first-time next week. So, I’m pretty buzzing about that. 

Q: Will it make a difference playing it in full?

WD: Totally. I dunno if we’ll play it in order, but we’ll probably manage to fit the entire album into a set. We were looking at our tour setlist yesterday in the pub and it’s pretty massive. It’s like the Star Wars credits – honestly, it just goes on forever. It was like 16 songs in the pub last night. I don’t know if that’s maybe a bit ambitious – but ambitious is our middle name. 

Q: And you’re playing in St. Luke’s – are you looking forward to that? 

WD: Oh yeah, it’s a beautiful venue.

Q: If you had to choose one venue in Glasgow to play, where would you choose? Q: It would have to be the Barras. Everyone wants to play the Barrowlands. It’s when you know you’re on your way. There are stories seeping out of those walls. Oh yes, many things seeping out of those walls.

Read Rosie’s review of Walt Disco gig @ St Luke’s, Glasgow, here.

[Rosie Lowndes – she/her – @rosie.lowndes]

[Image credit: readdork.com]

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