Matthew Wollert, the fellow behind the spanking-new BDSM-themed one-man punk band Disipline, insisted that we meet at Charlie’s Kitchen in Cambridge. He would have talked on the phone, but he wanted to make sure that my effort to set up an interview wasn’t an elaborate hoax concocted by his friends. And for good reason–Disipline has no Facebook page, hasn’t played any shows, and his Bandcamp demo had been up for less than 48 hours at the time of our meeting. What Disipline does have, however, is a striking album cover, scorching hardcore-punk songs, and a set of, ahem, conceptual restraints that sets him apart from the twee-indie, bad-tronica, and self-serious hardcore that composes most of the city’s musical web presence.
When did you record the demo and what was the impetus to start the project?
Well, I’m in, like, four other bands and it’s just like, every band member that I’m in a band with is in another band. Everyone I’m in a band with is in four other bands so it’s really hard to do stuff. It’s really hard to work towards goals. It’s hard to be like, let’s write this batch of songs and make a record and tour because everyone is doing it with that band, or this band and this band.
For Halloween, for years, I’ve dressed as a sexy devil in a spandex red unitard two sizes too small and fishnets and heels. I like wearing that every opportunity I get, so I was like, I should make a band where I can just dress in ridiculous clothing while we play and flaunt that. It’s mixing the more performative side with music, wanting to do a more theatrical, fun, sexy band.
It seems like a lot of bands in the Boston punk scene are either completely sexless or oddly repressed.
I think there are definitely bands that are talking about sex and sexual politics. There’s actually a lot of bands now that are talking about things like rape culture and consent, but I feel like a lot of Boston punk bands are very serious. And that’s not saying that consent/rape culture shouldn’t be taken seriously—they definitely should. But there are very few bands that are just like ‘we’re fun, we’re entertaining’…I grew up liking Green Jellÿ and Gwar, so I really enjoy the theatrical side and really want to bring that in. But I have fears of how it’s going to be received. There’s definitely some seriously jaded punks in Boston.
Lyrically it seems that you’re being very personal but is it “I’m telling true stories” or “I’m projecting a character” personal?
All the songs are about sex or sex-related things so I feel like when talking about sex, or BDSM, or things like that, it’s very important to not project onto others’ feelings. The only place I can really speak from is my own experience—so there are songs about sexual experiences I’ve had, or being young and putting on my mother’s lingerie and finding the joys in that or coming into life later and my own struggles with body image and body positivity and what attractiveness means.
I think the big thing is that you don’t see people talking about sex in this open, honest way. We are constantly being bombarded by sex, but the message we’re given isn’t a constructive one, it’s one that’s based in gender roles and social hierarchies. It’s constant struggle to think about being a cis-man and writing songs about sex and power—which is such a thing for men to do—and trying to do it and not fall into this groove that has been going on for so long.