In 2019, for the 50th anniversary of gay liberation, Van Hechter and Chauncey Dandridge came up with a fantastic anthem- celebrating The Stonewall Inn— where Pride began…
Last year they charted all over underground USA with a bubbly pop duet entitled ”The Delight”.
This year they are back with yet another ”LGBTQ” themed song; ”Disco Brother”! It’s camp, it’s fun, it’s catchy as hell and it will be premiered live on Saturday, June 25th, at The Stonewall Inn sometime around midnight…
We spoke to the pair- to know more about the track – how it came about- and why activism is important to them…
C: I’ve always been the person who likes to lead by example, and I have my own activist idols that I learn from and am inspired by every day. My whole family was always volunteering and doing community building, it’s in my blood and feels completely natural.There’s so much to fight for, these days especially. I try to round up as many troops as I can whether it be at a protest or with a song!
V: I’ve never really thought of myself as an ”activist” per se. More like a fighter. I’ll fight homophobia with every fiber of my body- until the final breath, I befriend the homeless and treat them with dignity… I do it on an individual, daily level. I don’t see myself as a ”system changer”… I attack on the ground.
First… Are you ”Disco Brothers” ??
V: Yes and what a surprising brotherhood! I waltzed into the Stonewall Inn one day and it seems Chauncey and I have been texting daily since! This wasn’t planned- a totally odd bond!
C: Yes we certainly are. I share things with him that I honestly don’t share with many other people, even friends I’ve had forever. There’s something magical about meeting a new friend when you’re already grown up. You can share nostalgia while building new memories the two of you share. We come from such different worlds, but have the same childlike sense of humor and lust for life.
Who produced the song?
C: There’s this guy who picks us up at the train station. He drives us to his house and we go into this little room and they make me sing over and over and over until I almost get it right. His name is Eryck I think.
V: Eryck is an amazing associate. God the work flows and that relationship is gold to me. Plus I love his wife, which only sweetens the pot, really! Like: I have a very specific friendship with her on the side…
A video comes out simultaneously, right? How did that come about; filming, concept, etc etc?
V: Gio Spano filmed with his super cool husband. We were at my friend’s resort, The Big Coconut Guesthouse… We just decided to get silly. Silliness has always been a tradition in homosexual culture- we wanted to embrace that! And— stroke of luck: I found 2 guys who were there on holiday to play our boyfriends. They were so perfect- and such fun- they dove right in with us!
C: Van was the mastermind behind our very first proper video together. We were both in Fort Lauderdale for a gig and made it happen. Gio Spano and his hubby did the filming while the rest of the guests at the resort watched. It was really an uncanny experience for me for sure.
When “The Delight” was getting released we were in lockdown and in two different countries, so this is our first time sharing the screen and we really are a fun and funky pair. I’ve said it before, I think we need our own sitcom.
Your songs together- are fun, but they’re also ”political” in a way…
C: There’s always something political surrounding anything unapologetically queer. We’re still fighting for everything we deserve. It’s also always kind of brilliant to wrap a message of unity and being a freedom fighter inside a joyous and campy disco coating. Like Van says, “Dancing can save the world.”
V: The minute you write about having once been an underdog- things become slightly political whether you intend’em to or not. I write about what I know- about my reality. How it is received is out of my control. However if it helps I’m thrilled!
What does Pride mean to you?
V: The pride of no longer being ashamed… I’m very proud to have overcome the shame. I am very proud to feel like a full man- not a half one as many have tried to make me believe through my childhood, teens and early adulthood.
C: Pride to me is a fluid thing, almost like lava. It’s a journey. We are taught so many things as kids that take a lifetime to unlearn. Pride is about visibility and looking out for one another. It’s certainly not a sin. It’s more of an accomplishment. A work in progress.
What comes after ”Disco Brother”?
C: We have a few more tricks up our sleeve to round out our EP. It really is such a wonderful collection of songs that tap into the power of being gay and the trials, joys, treats and tribulations that we experience. Van would have probably forgotten about me by now though if it weren’t for the pandemic, but he’s stuck with me for at least a few more releases!
V: More music! More craziness! More brotherhood! And year ’round Pride!