Disco isn't dead.
According to Harry Wayne Casey, the namesake of popular 1970s disco outfit KC and The Sunshine Band, it's simply changed names over time.
"They just don't call it disco anymore," Casey says. "They couldn't kill the music, so they killed the name."
Casey cites Cardi B and Bruno Mars as some of the modern artists who have been keeping disco thriving as dance and club music.
Even back in the '80s, when Casey retired the band for a decade, disco lived on in contemporaries Donna Summer and The Village People and transformed with dance music pop stars like Janet Jackson and Madonna.
"You couldn't be more disco than Madonna," Casey says.
He adds that the only reason disco was ever even called disco was because it was played in discotheques.
"But what do they even call discotheques now?" Casey ponders. "Clubs, I guess? It should've been called club music. I never understood why we have to have so many different genres or names for an extension of the same thing really."
In the '70s and early '80s, KC and The Sunshine Band had five No. 1 singles and quite a few other upbeat, catchy tracks that came close to the top of the Billboard charts.
Among the disco and funk band's hits were "That's the Way (I Like It)," "Get Down Tonight," "Boogie Shoes," "Keep It Comin' Love" and "(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty."
When Casey decided to stop touring, he never imagined that he'd want to get back into it later on in life. But he says he realized he was missing it when he was asked to come on The Arsenio Hall Show for a reunion in 1993.
"It just reminded me that I had stopped doing something I really loved," he says.
That's when he decided to bring KC and The Sunshine Band back for good.
Casey says he's having the best time of his life since returning to the stage with the band, which currently has members who have been a part of the project for between 3 months and 43 years. There are 15 members on stage on a given night, playing guitar, piano, bass, drums, horns and more.
For Casey, it's all about seeing his fans dance, smile and have a fun time.
"That's when I'm happiest," Casey says. "That’s what the music was created for."
Since returning to the stage, Casey has also returned to writing new music. He teamed up with fellow disco great Nile Rodgers for new song "Give Me Some More (Aye Yai Yai)." He also connected with a London-based DJ; after listening to one track, he had written a song within 48 hours. It was a crack in the creative door.
"It was like I woke up out of some sort of creative coma," Casey says of his return to songwriting.
He adds that he's felt the same way he did when he was in his early 20s and just started out writing. That flow kicked in about a decade ago, and he's been writing new music and saving it up ever since.
That's why there are 50 new recorded tracks just waiting to be released. While Casey says some are reminiscent of older KC and The Sunshine Band material, others show a softer, more mid-tempo side.
Though the new songs won't be unveiled at the band's North Charleston performance, Casey assures that the band will play plenty of old hits. But fans will have to stay tuned for an "interesting" upcoming release that he can't quite share the details on yet.