Written by: Ciara Campbell
Disco Risque, a 4-piece group comprised of Robert Prescott (Drums), John Bruner (Bass) and Charlie Murchie (Guitar) got their start in Charlottesville, Virginia back in 2014. A year later, they added Ryan Calonder (Horns, Vocals) to the mix, and since then the quartet has been steadily pumping out jams.
Their sound? Well, the group’s website describe it best: “a controlled chaos that leaves listeners astounded and hungry for more”. Other than that, their sound can be summed up as funky, rock n’ roll dance music. “We want to be able to take our music from a peaceful and exact place to a realm where things feel like they are about to absolutely fall apart at the seams and back to that peaceful place over the course of one song, or vice versa,” says Calonder.
He mentions the band also operates under controlled chaos, meaning that there is a lot of give and take. As a self-managed band with four large personalities, the group likes to “ride the ebb and flow of ideas, both musically and otherwise”, but they are always there to reign one another back in when necessary.
All four members contribute to every level of the songwriting process, from conception to music to lyrics to finishing touches. This means they are always working on new stuff. The band has over a dozen new finished tunes since the release of their self-titled debut double-album, just waiting to be played live for their fiercely loyal following of dedicated fans.”We spent a lot of time during the album an immediately thereafter writing tunes in a heavier vein, now we’re looking at writing stuff that’s on the funkier side”. The band prides themselves on consistently switching up the music they put together, and says the number one rule of the group is to not be boring.
As a band with such a diverse sound, why would their musical influences be any different? “We’re all really inspired by bands that are just playing new and fun stuff,”. The group mentions a three-piece instrumental prog-metal band from Brazil by the name of Vitalism. “The stuff they’re playing is untouchable, and just really inspiring to listen to”. Other favorites range from classics like Led Zeppelin, to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coheed and Cambria, and even up-and-comers, such as Phantogram.
However, as any artist knows, inspiration is everywhere, and music isn’t the only thing that gets those creative juices flowing for this group. Robert Prescott is a big Manchester United fan and enjoys soccer in general. Charlie Murchie is obsessed with John Bruner, while Bruner mentions Zelda and Mandy Patinkin as sources for inspiration. Lastly, Ryan Calonder says “long runs and fat joints” inspire him most.
Current plans of Disco Risqué include recording some “made for radio” tracks by summer of this year. “You may see the more controlled side of Disco Risqué on our next release, but the secret is even those songs will be pared down and we’ll keep certain parts for only the live performances. We’re actually really excited about the prospect of having different versions of the same tune, one recorded and one live. Just another example of the chaos”. The group also recently revamped their website, and they hope to put together a music video in the near future.
Besides that, they’ve got a string of shows coming up in April with Tweed, including a show in their hometown of Charlottesville on April 22nd that they are super stoked for. The band says this is the first event they’ve put together “from the ground up” and, though they received a tremendous amount of outside help along the way, they are proud to have been present at every level of the planning. “We’ve played a number of themed shows where we had to put a lot of work into it, but this is the first one where we had to find a suitable venue for our vision, catering, an opener, a bigger named headliner from out of town, etc.”
Weather permitting, Disco Risqué sees this event turning out wonderfully. In addition to Tweed headlining, Kendall Street Company will be the opener. 3 Notch’d Brewery, based out of Charlottesville, and Ace Biscuit and BBQ, who has “the best hog in town, hands down” will be catering for the show. These factors, coupled with Disco Risqué’s love for performing, are sure to create the perfect environment for a good time. When asked what they liked best about their lives shows, they had this to say:
“Probably getting the chance to see someone else getting into what we’re doing. It’s a great feeling to see someone else appreciating something you’ve worked hard on, and it definitely helps make you believe in what you’re doing… Some crowds are tough but when you get the right group of people it just transforms the show. We never play better than when the crowd is into it, you gotta play either way, but it’s not work when you’re just up there basically having a party with everyone.”