Hey y'all, it's Episode 4 of WrockWay Podcast. In this episode I have something really cool for you guys. You see, I interviewed none other than Nagini. No, not the hissing sidekick of Voldy's, but the wizard rock band. And I learned some interesting things about her.
But I'm gonna start this podcast with a song. This song is by a band, that I actually...only yesterday I listened to his album, and I was just amazed that I haven't heard of this band before. So here is a song by The Sorting Hat, and the song is called "Get Your Hallows Up".
Wow, that was... that was "Get Your Hallows Up" by The Sorting Hat. That was pretty creepy but it was awesome, like the music and the way he sings. Again, it's something I haven't heard in wrock, it's not like any other band. Seriously, that was very good. I hope all of you who like that just go to this guy and urge him to do more music because I wanna hear more music.
I'm gonna play another song by The Sorting Hat, and this one is an instrumental song. This is called "Song for Neville" and it's by The Sorting Hat.
So that was "Song for Neville" by The Sorting Hat. Wasn't that just relaxing? I think that was probably one of the most beautiful melodies in this type of piano music. For me, I didn't necessarily think about Neville, though I understand why this kind of song would be about him. But I started to think about other moments in the books. And compare this song to the previous song, so you can definitely see that he does many kinds of things. If you like these, go and check his album, it's free for download.
Now, let's go to the interview I made with MaryBeth from the wizard rock band Nagini a little while ago. At the moment I can't really do any live online interviews so this is not the kind of interview that I've made with her live but instead I sent her some questions and she answered them in audio.
So here is WrockWay's interview of Nagini.
When and why did you start making wizard rock, and what got you into wizard rock in the first place?
"I first heard about wizard rock, it was probably the tail end of high school, in 2004. My best friend's little sister was like "check out this band Harry and the Potters, lol it's awesome" and I was like "oh this is so much fun". It was the beginning of college and I ended up with one of my friends at Boston University, and I saw Harry and the Potters at the Middle East. Then I saw more Harry and the Potters shows and all of a sudden the rest of it just came flooding on to me, and by 2006 I wanted to do it myself. I started listening to it because it was fun, and it's freaking awesome content to write stories about.
I started making wizard rock in May of 2006, according to my MySpace page. I'm a really big scifi fan, I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books. I used to write a little bit of music here and there but at the time I was in college for theatre, just doing that sort of thing, a lot of classical theatre and that kind of stuff. So it was a good chance for the music part of me, to kind of come out and give itself a go.
What really appealed to me was the interactive experience of seeing these bands. Most people who go to a wizard rock show are there because they have one really big thing in common. I think it enables a lot of people to talk to each other in really friendly terms coz they all know what each other is talking about. Like right away, you go in, you can reference Luna or Dumbledore or something and the person's not gonna be like "lame, what are you talking about". So it's an automatic connection when you go to those shows."
Have you, or would you like to collaborate with other wizard rockers? What other music projects do you have?
"I also have another project that does some wizard rock and some Dr Who stuff and that's called The Vashta Nerada. That's me and Zoë of Split Seven Ways, that's our duo. We've also played some of Zoë's Malfoy Manor music with Swish and Flick, with Stacy on drums and John on synth, and that was awesome, collaborating with them. And I sang in a project with The Blast-Ended Screwts called Sister Dumbledore. We only ever had one song but I was doing that. I had a male vocalist with me for my album Twin Cores, his name was Alastor. I have a great time, I just do. If I wanna collaborate with someone I'll ask them and if they say no then screw them, I'm awesome - no, I'm just kidding - I am awesome, I'm not kidding about that. But if people come to me and wanna collaborate, I'm always open and it's fun."
Why did you choose the name Nagini? Are you singing from her point of view, or does your point of view vary?
"The reason why I chose the name Nagini was just because I'm a Slytherin, I like snakes, nobody else was Nagini. She's kind of awesome, she's kind of badass.
I have very few songs about Nagini. The only one I can actually think of right now, that I play regularly live, is "I Wanna Be A Weasley", and it's not even on any of my recordings yet. So that's really the only one from her point of view that I have. When I first started I used to do a little bit of comedy and quippy little jokes between my songs, and that was really cool. So I would talk from her point of view then but the first wizard rock song I wrote was from Narcissa Malfoy's point of view. And I change point of views all the time. A lot of the duo stuff I do, I write a lot of duets, they're two characters in a lot of stuff I do. So I think a lot of my best work has been the duets, particularly the love duets that I've written."
Have you played any live shows? When and where, and tell me something about them.
"Yes I have, and I'm playing increasingly more live shows over the years. When I started in 2006 I played a couple of shows here and there.
The first thing I ever did wizardrockwise was Evil Day with the NYC Harry Potter Meetup Group who are the coolest people ever. I did open mic. Draco and the Malfoys played that night and it was just a really fun, casual night with really cool costumes and people. I did the open mic and I felt pretty relaxed, it was such a chill environment. I didn't do that much after that year. The first big thing I did was to play at Terminus during Wrock Chigago. That was really cool, that was the first big thing I did and I was so pumped. At the time, retrospectively and comparatively, my skills as a musician then were crap compared to them now. And I'm not saying that I'm great now, I'm just saying I was really bad then, in my opinion. I got off the plane in Chigago, and basically I found my way to the hotel, walked through the doors and within minutes I was on stage. So it was a little bit overwhelming, and it was a little bit cool, and then it was really cool coz I was nervous but it was neat. I let myself be funny coz I knew I wasn't necessarily gonna wrock it musicwise, coz I was nervous and there wasn't a lot of skills but I let myself be funny and I made a lot of friends and that was really cool.
After Terminus I played at Wrock for Darfur in New York and that was when I introduced Alastor to my music. That was the summer of Twin Cores and that album.
Then I played at the NYC Wrock Fest, and it's been toppling since then. I'm having a great time and I love getting invited to do shows. I've played at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York City a couple of times. I played at Sonorus and at Incendio. It's just been great. I'm going on tour on July 24th to August 8th. The tour is called Carpe Geekdom, and it's really cool. It's me, Fred and George the Band, Muggle Mike and Snidget, it's an East Coast tour. That's gonna be my first tour and I'm very pumped about it, it's gonna be really cool."
Tell me about your musical style and about what makes your music unique:
"I think my songwriting fits into the acoustic singer-songwriter type, like the really teary emotional female singer-songwriter type things. I'm pretty sure it can fit into there, some tear-jerking stuff. In the beginning I was much more comedy-centric and then I slowly came around to be sort of a misery junkie. But right now I'm trying to balance between the two.
I have sort of a duality to my style, less now than I did but..I have this melancholy...I make really really sad songs, and a lot of people make really really sad songs, but I think that I come really close to crying while I'm singing. I really connect with what I write and I make sure I can connect with it every time I play it, and that I'm not just going through the emotions and bullshitting it. Being genuine and sincere from everything that I say, and especially that I sing that I've written, I try to be sincere. I don't make a lot of dance-along, sing-along songs necessarily, and I'm not dissing that, that's awesome, I just can't do that. I have to basically get up there and cry and let it all out, and let it be what it is. I think I have an unpredictable quality to my sets because sometimes I do really sad things and sometimes I bust out with something funny. Sometimes there's a set that's mostly sad but I try to lighten it up with being funny in between. I try not to keep myself into any boxes."
Who are your favourite wizard rockers?
"Danny, Hogwarts A History, is awesome. I feel like I'm on the same page with him a lot, and I'm not just saying this coz he's my friend. When I listen to his music, or when I've played with him live, hearing him sing is like reading someone's diary. It's like you've ripped out a page of this person's diary and there's soul and anger, it's very raw and honest, and I really like that style. I think it's awesome, to say the least.
I love Split Seven Ways, obviously, coz we've made so much music together, and I'm not just saying this coz we're friends, there's a reason why I wanted to make music with her, other than being very good friends. She is brilliant, and she has that melancholy side of her, and the darkness. What's great about her and especially working with Zoë is that she and I both have the ability of writing dark things but she tends to make it prettier and flowerier. There's something raw about what I do, so doing that together was great. Listening to her music, it's just beautiful.
Obviously I love Harry and the Potters. Their shows are great, their energy is great, you're drawn in, you're connected, you're there. And it's just fun rock music, and I have great time with that.
Also Draco and the Malfoys, awesome. I really love watching them and listening to them. They're by far one of my favourites and they're effing funny. I find their humour to be right up my alley."
What have been the funniest moments you've had with wizard rock?
"That's a big time question, coz isn't everything fun? I'm gonna go with this, and it's crazy: At Incendio 2010, I went with me and Muggle Mike (who is new to the scene by the way, and is freaking hilarious), Fred and George the Band and Rob of Apparation Nation, four of us in a car. We had this kind of nutty road trip and we got to Pennsylvania at Incendio, and we just kind of went a little nuts. She played and then Rob played and then I played, and somewhere during my set, I have post-its, and they have taken the post-its and drawn a really dirty shape on it, and they put the dirty shape onto my album so that it was my head, if you know what I mean, and then drew more of this dirty shape and we put them on everyone's backs all day, and we tried to see if they noticed and if anything was sticking on. Just generally like a strange, manic, hilarous day. Anything that I've done with the three of them has been wild, and they are some of my favourite people I've met through wizard rock. I just love them.
There are a lot of other very funny things too. At LeakyCon, Danny of Hogwarts, A History, and me and Fred and George the Band, and the Chocolate Frogs, and maybe a couple of other people. We were like, allright, we're gonna go to the park and sit around, if everybody wants to join us, come and sit in a circle, and we'll do a hippy sort of pass around the guitar, play a couple of songs thing. And I don't know if this was funny, or just really cool but this guy came over, and he wasn't into wizard rock, wasn't at the convention but he's like "can I play something?" and I said "okay", and we handed him a guitar and he played it was just really cool. Like "yea musicians, hanging on a lawn". It's not really that funny, the other one with the weird shape on the post-its I guess is pretty funny."
What are the most touching or emotional moments you've had with wizard rock?
"I have a really strong memory of my friend Dan and I. He was going through some stuff at the time and I was being the good friend. And I had shown him Harry and the Potters earlier. We were in his car, we put in the iPod, and he had this crappy speaker system at the time, and we've put it in, and we're driving down a long and lonesome road and he's crying his heart out about some girl and I'm doing my best to listen. We'd plug in his iPod and we started listening to The Power of Love by Harry and the Potters. We had both listened to it several times, and I had introduced him to it, and at certain point we were just singing along, and things we're wiped out from our minds, we were having a great time. By the end of the album we were teary. It was just nice. I think the best thing about wizard rock is that I have a better time listening to it with friends. If people like it I'll listen to it with them and it makes it really special.
There are couple of Harry and Potters shows that I went to where I feel like everyone was on the same page, and people are on the verge of tears because of the connection there. That's always very nice and it's such a cool vibe.
Doing the collaboration album with Zoë was really cool coz she stayed with me for six weeks, we worked. We had a really good chemistry as perfomers and writers together. We understand each other in a deep way, and that's one of the most interesting and soulful friendships that I have, and it's because of wizard rock."
What is the best moment you've had as a wizard rock fan?
"Any time that I was at a Harry and Potters show, especially the first couple of ones I went to. There was one at the Knitting Factory in New York, I'm from New York so I've pretty much only been to shows in New York. But there was one at the Knitting Factory, and I remember it distinctly because my friend Sarah and I were jumping, and I think that the whole audience was hugging. That's a great, as a fan."
What is the best moment you've had as a wizard rocker?
"Um, everything. I think everything is the best moment I've had. I'm kind of a spur-of-the-moment person so everything is wonderful. Everything I do, I'm doing it because I want to be doing it. I'm not doing it because there's not gonna be a good moment, I make every moment the best moment, and I know there's better ones to come and I've had some great ones. Recently I've been becoming a more confident vocalist so every time I get on stage I sort of discover something new about myself. Even non-wizard-rock things that I do, I've recently had the confidence to start with my song, and do my song with its hooks of whatever, and then just go off on improvisational vocal riffs or whatever. And I feel like every time I do something bold or brave, or let something out, it's the best moment. Every moment is the best moment. Sometimes things suck but mostly it's pretty good. I'm pretty positive.
But I will say this. One of the best moments, and I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet, but I have to tell this story coz it has to get out there. The Vashta Nerada album "Running in the Dark Alone", that album was recorded as a live studio album, so we were in a studio. My friend John, who is an engineer, so talented, I was very happy that he agreed to do this for free for us - so we go over to his studio and he has it all set up with candles and there was wine. Me and Zoë went over and so did our friends Tara, Josh and Devi of Fred and George the Band. And my boyfriend was there but he left at some point. So it was all of us, and Zoë and I recorded a lot of the stuff on one or two takes so that it had sort of fresh, live feel, that I love ever so much. At a certain point during the night we were taking a break. And the day before, Zoë had said something about The Whomping Willows, and she pronounced Matt Maggiacomo's name like "Matt Miagicomo" and I laughed her in the face and corrected her pronounciation and she got all red. So, the night at the studio I decided to tell everybody else that story, and she was so embarrased. And Josh, who is the mastermind behind the comedy of the "Christmas Crackin Daddies" wizard rock project, he thought it was so funny, the last name Maggiacomo. He doesn't know Matt Maggiacomo, he doesn't know a lot of wizard rock but he just thought that the last name Maggiacomo was really funny. And he's a really talented improv comedian, and he went off on this huge old war story, like if you ask your granddad about the war. He did a whole "oh I fought in the war with Maggiacomo" and he went on and on and on for like ten minutes, and that was our break and we were all hysterically laughing. So we finished the album, and we didn't have more time, it was like three in the morning but we sent Josh in with headphones and everything, and we all go in the booth and were like "tell the Maggiacomo story". And we then called it "Maggiacomo story" coz it sounded like the kind of name that somebody would have fought back in the war with. I don't know if anybody else thinks that's funny at all, but we threw that track on the album at the end as one of the bonus tracks. And it's funny, it goes on and on and on."
What future plans do you have with your music?
"My future plans are basically to do more music in general coz I don't just do wizard rock, I do regular, non-wizard music too. I'm planning this year to get more into promoting that stuff and playing everything. Obviously I'm going on tour with Carpe Geekdom. I just released Grindelwald's Song as single on iTunes. I don't have plans wizardrockwise. If something comes up, and someone invites me, I go. If a song strikes me, some lyrics about a character, I do it. I really don't put myself into any boxes and I try not to take myself too seriously. I try to just make what I wanna make. If somebody's gonna buy it or pay me to go somewhere, or invite me somewhere, I go. Non-Harry-Potter musicwise I'm writing an album right now and I put the first song on my YouTube page, it's called "For Theo". It's just really saddish music. God, I need to lighten up a little bit in my songwriting. I'm spontaneous and I go do whatever anyone invites me to usually. And I find my own way."
So that was the interview with Nagini. Thanks MaryBeth for doing this, it was really interesting to hear your answers to these questions. So thanks very much!
If some of you haven't heard Nagini's or The Vashta Nerada's music, go and listen to it. Also watch her music video to "Narcissa Unleashed", it's now on MaryBeth's YouTube channel. On that YouTube channel, you can also find videos from her shows, from recordings of the Vashta Nerada album, and also some videos of her playing wrock and other songs. And there is also some really fun stuff, like her introductory video titled "Who is Nagini?", that totally made me laugh, so go check it out.
And MaryBeth also has many songs for free download, both wrock songs and her regular songs, so go and get those songs. Links to all of this and everything else she has made are in the show notes.
Okay, that was Episode 4 of WrockWay Podcast, I'll probably have more interviews in the future, I really hope so because they are fun and interesting. Playing on the background is Grindelwald's Song, which is Nagini's new single, and it's available on iTunes.
Until the next time, Jade is out, bye people :)