Van Hechter & Chauncey Dandridge, otherwise known as ”The Disco Brothers”, have been coming up with power-pop duets every 6 months since 2019… All charted in the US underground, 3 reached #1 in Phoenix, NYC, Chicago, Miami and all over Cali. Although their success is not (yet) mainstream, America is loving the pair more and more with each release. This time around, ”Sissy Faggot Half-Man Poof” tackles a rather serious subject: bullying. But while the title shocks, and some of the lyrics are brutally honest, the song remains positive, fun to dance to, and conveys a message of hope…
We had a chat with them -just 3 days after the launch of their new single- as usual, they were relevant, funny, charming and cutting!
Music Authentic: When did you know you were gay?
Chauncey: I’ve always done things as a kid that were not on the side of macho. I definitely was the kid who helped his mother with chores and other things that are traditionally what a daughter would do. I was also friends with all the mothers of the kids I grew up with on my block. I’ve always admired strong women and was older than my age mentally and emotionally, while still maintaining my kid-at-heart status. Honestly, I think I discovered I was actually gay when I discovered my brother’s porno magazine stash as a kid. I was probably around 11 or 12. I focused more on the men in the photos than the girls. And then, there was my fascination and adoration of Madonna. That sealed the deal in my formative years for sure!
Van: A bit before my 4th birthday. I realized I was very attracted to my cousin’s husband’s bulging hairy chest. He had undone 3 buttons. I couldn’t stop staring- I was drawn to it like to a magnet. Next thought was: ”Best never admit this to ANYONE”—– I was already conscious it was something I needed to hide, especially from my father. I sensed it.
MA: This song is a tribute to those who were/are/will be bullied. What do you say to a kid who is getting scolded for being gay?
C: Every child experiences a different level of bullying for being different, whether it’s from their family or schoolmates, or strangers. Every child also has different levels of threshold for pain. It’s hard to assume what people are capable of when they are protecting themselves. My only advice would be to find out what types of activities make you happy and excited, whether it’s drawing, writing, sculpting things, or anything else. Queer people are naturally inclined to be creative because we are forced to live in a world we don’t feel we belong so sometimes our fantasies are all we have to feel safe. Queer people bring those fantasies to reality. That’s what I would encourage. Integrity, creativity, and passion. Those three ingredients have kept me alive.
V: I say: ”Listen, kid— YOU are right, THEY are cowards, threatened by your wonderful originality. You are royalty while they are very very mediocre peasants! Never forget that!”
MA: The title is very ”gutsy”: are you scared to release such a provocative track?
C: I love the title. It’s jarring. It’s in your face. It’s going to get a lot of attention. My only concern is how far our reach will be with online censorship and figuring out how to sneak past the social media algorithm. I want people to feel something with every song we release. Our music is mostly fun and catchy, but every track has a deeper and more important meaning under the wonderful production.
V: I like things in the face (yes- finding myself very funny just now). But I refuse to sugar coat. These are the exact words that almost drove me to suicide as a young adult. I get a lot of fan mail from teenagers who STILL suffer from these same insults. So basically these words are still tolerated at recess but not on the radio??? Fuck that! I’m telling it like it is! Censure us! The song will find its path regardless!
MA: You’re up for a GLAM AWARD later this month… How do you feel about that?
C: I’ve been nominated for a Glam Award for the past eight years in the Best DJ category, but to be nominated in the Best Video category is super important to me because I want my nightlife peers to realize that I’m much more than just a DJ. People know me for my activism and my sarcasm and sense of humor, but now they’ll all be made aware that I’m a little bit of a pop star too!
V: I’m just wondering what to wear, really… I mean- this is really great so I want to feel like Old Hollywood that night. Only 7 weeks to figure my outfit out- it’s tight! LOL!
MA: What do you wish to accomplish as a team?
C: We just want to excite people and make them dance and feel. Our chemistry on stage is pretty hilarious. Some dance steps I get wrong and some I get right. We are a modern-day Odd Couple and I think it’s really relatable. We’re having the time of our lives and want to spread that joy while we sneak in our messages of sticking together, living life to the fullest and reclaiming those nasty words, and holding sacred our safe spaces.
V: I think that our slapstick MAKES us. I love it when a room laughs at our silliness. Even when a topic is serious I want to bring tinsel to the table. I survived by not taking things OR myself too too seriously. That’s what I want us to transmit.