White Devil Disco: RED

“I recall my solar nature and would like to rush to my rising. But ruins stand in my way.  They say: ‘With regard to men, you should be this or that.’ My chameleonesque skin shudders. They obtrude upon me and want to color me. But that should no longer be. Neither good nor evil shall be my masters. I push them aside, the laughable survivors, and go on my way again, which leads me to the East. The quarreling powers that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me.” Carl Jung, Liber Novus

In the words of its founder, Joseph Pancucci, White Devil Disco is “…a bit of an illusion, an enigma existing on the cusp of your senses, ever changing, and evolving.” The group’s latest single, “RED,” released on Dash the Henge records, takes listeners on an electrifying, chaotic funhouse ride. Produced by Robin Harwood and Sam Fez, the track pulsates with a deep-seated anger, featuring snarled vocals laced over with a ribbon of contrast in the form of honey-sweet synth. The music video for “RED,” (a visualizer created by the renowned artist Ben Faircloth) is peopled with a crew of fabulously surreal beings, most of which look like Jungian archetypes or sketches from da Vinci’s notebook of recommended formulae for monsters, morphing in and out of scenarios that seem to be plucked from fever dreams and spiritual visitations. It’s an apt visualizer for a track with an unusual, traumatic origin story, underlining the lyrical themes of crisis and transformation. Totally Wired recently spoke with Joseph Pancucci to discuss the track’s initial formation, the recording process, and what’s next for White Devil Disco.

TWM: How would you define White Devil Disco? 

Joseph Pancucci: I’ve been asked to before, I can’t. I don’t really see how anyone can define their own music; it feels very constrictive. Graham Duff described us as “purveyors of distinctive dark pop.” That works for me. 

TWM: Who are White Devil Disco? Which other musicians are you currently collaborating with? 

Joseph Pancucci: White Devil Disco is a bit of an illusion, an enigma existing on the cusp of your senses, ever changing, and evolving. A less pretentious answer is that I’ve collaborated recently with Nathan Saoudi (Brian Destiny/Fat Whites) and Simon Milner (Is Tropical/Ysing Ysing.) We’ve written a few songs that I’m happy with. 

TWM: How does White Devil Disco differ from other musical projects you’ve worked on in the past?

Joseph Pancucci: It differs in the way that I actually have to keep it moving forward as opposed to just showing up pissed and playing bass. It’s still quite chaotic like other projects, though, which is what it is.   

TWM: “RED” is your third single release as White Devil Disco. Are there plans for an EP or an album looming in the future?

Joseph Pancucci: Yes, we’re working towards an album to be released on Dash the Henge. 

Footage of White Devil Disco Live at Peckham Audio, shot by the inimitable Lou Smith.

TWM: Where did the impetus for “RED” come from? 

Joseph Pancucci: Well, I wrote the vocals after I threw myself off the monument at the highest point of Margate Pier into shallow water. It was after shooting the video for our last single “Trouble” in summer. I think I did it out of frustration, or maybe it was a cry for attention. I don’t know. It hurt like fuck, and my whole body came up in bruises. I was okay, but halfway down, I thought I was going to die. Hitting the water felt like my soul was being ripped from my body. It gave me trippy flash backs for about a month after, like my brain had released DMT or something. I tried to channel some of that mindset when writing/recording the lyrics. 

TWM: Tell me a bit about the recording process of the single, please, and about the experience of working with Sam Fez at the Betty Fjord Clinic in Norway.

Joseph Pancucci: We recorded the music in Sam’s bedroom in London. We were working on another track last summer and got a bit bored of it. I started playing this John Carpenter-style horror movie keyboard line I’d come up with, just as a bit of a change of pace, and Sam jumped on it, adding all those sweet synth tones. Then, we layered it up with guitars and that. It came together pretty quickly, and then stayed dormant for months until I ended up at Betty Fjord, kinda by accident, where I was bullied into writing and recording vocals for it by a drunken Simon Tickner. I appreciate that.

You can find White Devil Disco on Bandcamp, YouTube and Spotify. ‘RED’ is out now on all platforms.

Cover photo by Emma Giaca