Washington, D.C.’s Sub-Radio are delivering buzzing pop, upbeat synths and a message of hope in their brand-new track. The group are exclusively premiering their glittery, VHS-inspired “Disco” music video with AltPress.
“Disco” is their first release since 2019’s Dog Years, a diverse, upbeat five-track EP. AltPress got a behind-the-scenes look at the music video and interviewed the dazzling six-piece on their nostalgic effects, funky costumes and what they hope to see in 2020.
What was the most fun part about shooting the “Disco” music video? What was the inspiration behind the visual?
Honestly, shopping for outfits was pretty damn fun. It felt like we were all trying to one-up each other on how hard we could lean into the theme. But on set, the best part had to be getting the individual shots of each guy dancing in front of the light wall. To get those little snippets, we shot full three-and-a-half minute takes of each of us dancing to the entire song. You can only imagine what got cut.
As for inspiration, our very first idea was the chintzy VHS-style effect you see on the video. And we knew we wanted something simple and fun that would drop people right into the fashion and music hell that was the late ’70s. We actually built that big light wall ourselves using LED strings and an acrylic sheet. It was originally for a photo shoot, but it was too cool not to incorporate here, too.
What was the most challenging part about writing and recording the song?
So the vocal sample hook in the post-chorus sections had actually been bouncing around for years—it’s so old, it’s actually the voice of a former member of the band. And it took us a lot of iterations to build something cool around it. And in fact, it was getting written right up to the last day of recording it. We stumbled on the “it’s all right”s in the last post-chorus by accident just doing some wacky vocal takes.
What’s your favorite disco song and/or who’s your favorite ’80s artist?
Tough question! We’ve been covering “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire for a few years now, and it’s an absolute blast. That’s probably No. 1.
“Disco” is a fun and poppy tune. What’s the deeper story behind the song?
The song is really about dropping the pretensions and baggage that all of us can have and getting silly and having fun. Which is really the theme of most of our music. There’s also a D.C. Easter egg or two in the lyrics, which I like to drop in, and that’s also relevant since there’s no shortage of people in this city who are afraid to let their hair down.
What are your plans for the year? What can fans look forward to in 2020?
This is a slightly more confusing question in the time of COVID-19, but we have tour dates scheduled throughout the spring and summer—we’ll see what materializes there, since our priority is always the health of the band and our fans. We’ve also got a lot more new music in the tank! It’s a good time to be a songwriter, at least. Lots of time indoors with your synthesizers.