Episode

Episode 23: Percy and the Prefects

Hello magical friends! Especially Nancy, the newest member of the WZRD Radio Patreon team, whose support makes these interview episodes possible.

I’m your hostwitch Bess and today I’ll be talking with Percy and the Prefects, so everyone be on your best behavior.

Let’s get this show started. First up is “Neville’s Lullaby,” by Neville’s Diary.

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That was “Neville’s Lullaby” by Neville’s Diary, “Start Over” by Percy and the Prefects [lyrics], and “A Flower and a Hufflepuff” by Moss Bliss [lyrics].

“Neville’s Lullaby” is a special dedication to Elsa and Bridget, with the hope that there are many well-rested nights in their future.

“Start Over” was a special request from WZRD patron Jennifer.

And now it’s time to say hello to Percy and the Prefects! Welcome to the show, guys.

Joey: Hey!

Darvil: Hello.

James: Hello!

We have the whole band here today, Darvil, James, and Joey. Also known as Percy, Lucius, and Remus?

Joey: Yep.

Darvil: That’s right.

That seems like a good place for us to start. My patrons are fascinated by the backstory on your BandCamp page and would love a history of your band and members.

Darvil: All right. Well, I have like a two-hour version but I’ll give you the much shorter version cuz I’m probably the only person that wants to hear that. So it all started back in 2008—like all wizard rock artists I heard Harry and the Potters and was like “this is the most wonderful thing ever.” Found out about wizard rock, all these different bands…So, started Percy, wrote a song, but after a few google searches I thought the wizard rock scene was dead. So I was like “Dangit, I came into this way too late.” So I didn’t do anything with it until 2014 when I was in college and my buddy Ben and I started up Percy and the Prefects. And so he’s Cedric Diggory. So we started getting a band together. We had Tom Riddle, Albus Dumbledore with us, writing songs, playing shows. Started doing some recording, but we were all college kids and finishing college so we ended up in different places so the band just kind of turned into nothing again after we all moved away. Until 2018 when I moved back to Oklahoma and reached out to James who—we were high school friends. Then we found Joey through Facebook, musicians’ group, something, which turned out to be awesome, and now we’re back together. Well, a band is back together and the three of us are together writing songs and playing shows and…it’s awesome.

So did you all get to pick your characters or were they assigned by Percy?

James: We—we picked the characters.

Joey: Yeah. And at the time it was like “well, you can pick a prefect, if you want, and you can do with that what you will.” You know, like, if—if you want to write songs as that person that’s fine, if it’s just kind of just a thing to pick that’s also fine.

I was wondering, was Lucius a prefect?

James: In our canon, yes. Because all of the good Slytherin prefects were already taken, except the female-presenting one and I did not want to be that person.

That’s fair, that makes sense.

Darvil: I did give them the rule, you do have to be a prefect. But if it doesn’t specify whether or not they were we can assume anyone was a prefect. So we had, like, Horace Slughorn drum for us for one show once and we were like “that makes sense. He could be a prefect.”

Speaking of your characters, my patrons notice that, although you started out singing strictly from the perspective of Percy, you do sometimes branch out. What made you start shifting? Do you prefer thinking strictly from the perspective of Percy?

Darvil: Yeah, so I just had it in my head that it would be Percy forever. And it’s funny cuz I started— when I first had the idea for Percy—I wrote down and I had like 5 songs. And I was like “okay, I think I can squeeze 5 songs out of this character” and, like, I thought that would be it. But now I’m here, like, 20 songs later and have ideas for another 20 and it’s like “oh wow, you can really take a tiny piece of something and turn it into so much. And so I was like “they have to all be Percy songs” or, now that we’ve added prefects, so we have some Cedric songs once we got Cedric in the bands and Remus has written a song so I was like “okay, that’s how we can add in other perspectives.” But, uh, it was the end of 2019, I was reading through the books again and was like “man,–” and listening to a lot of wizard rock, and I was like “I would love to try with just, like, with no restrictions as far as point of view.” But I was—I even was like “well I can’t do it as Percy and the Prefects cuz that’s wrong.” And so I started a side project that I was calling Vault 713 and so what’s what— I wrote Hi Hermione for that project. When I told James and Joey about it, I think it was Joey was like “You can j—let’s just release it as a Percy and the Prefects song.” And I was like “we—we can do that? Like that’s okay?” So—and so yeah, that’s when I was like “all right” and then I just kinda—I don’t know. I loved being stuck with Percy for so long. I mean, it was 10 years of just Percy, and the songs that I have because of that I would never have gotten to if I was just like “Oh I’ll write a few Percy songs and then a few of whatever.” And I’m glad I have those songs but now that I’ve kind of lifted that and had fun just grabbing whatever point of view, doesn’t matter, I’ve really been enjoying the stuff coming out of that too.

So you don’t think you’ll put that prefect back in the…badge? That was terrible, I’m sorry.

Darvil: Prefect back in the badge!

Joey: It’s fun too, cuz like, whenever I tell people about the band first, you know, I’m telling people what wizard rock is. And then you mention you’re like Harry and the Potters and they’re like “okay, yeah, you write songs about Harry Potter, the main guy.” And then you have to, like, sell them again—

James: Right?

Joey: —on Percy and the Prefects like… But what I—what I try to tell them is that Percy is, like, at the sweet spot, actually, for characters because like, if you’re writing songs about Harry Potter, we know a lot about him. And so, like, there’s a lot of orthodoxy you have to kind of adhere to. And then like, some—if you’re like “I’m starting a Romilda Vane project,” no one knows anything about her. Whereas Percy, you know enough, like, the contours of it to like, have somewhere to go but it’s so open you can kinda do a lot with it that you couldn’t do with a more established character.

It’s interesting that both of the ones that you named are, um, villainized by the fandom. Is that something that appeals, someone that’s more, ah, morally complex than the golden or silver trios?

Joey: Maybe so.

Darvil: Yeah. And it is—Percy, the other sweet thing about him is that he does…I mean, he starts as this pompous prefect of this cool Weasley family but then he does, y’know, become Bad Percy and against the family for the Ministry, but then we get his redemption at the end and it’s… As far as writing songs from? It’s so fun going through those different emotions rather than just a character that kinda stays the same throughout the whole series. That’s really nice too.

It sounds like, from your use of “the orthodoxy of Harry Potter” you two were Harry Potter fans before you became Percy and the Prefects members.

James: Oh yeah. Like Darvil mentioned, we went to high school together and we were, you know, in that sweet spot of time that, like, I think the first book came out the first year of middle school for me or the last year of elementary school and so I kind of grew up with the books. And every time a new book came out I reread the entire series to get there. Personally I’m not as invested in the literature aspect as much as the musical aspect but I do have a lot of fondness and memories built around it that I think kind of inform the decisions that we take musically.

Joey: Yeah, and I would say I’m—that’s a pretty similar thing for me. Like, I’ve never, certainly not now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been, like, fanatical about Harry Potter, but it’s something…Yeah, same way. I grew up reading the books many times and all that. And so I have a lot of fondness for the series and I think it’s a very, like, rich…Yeah so I—I had that going before joining the band and I—yeah, it’s kinda like a rich place to kind of draw inspiration from.

James: Having the familiarity with the universe too…For-for me, we got “Never Thought” coming out at some point this year—right, Darvil?

Darvil: Never thought? Yeah, it’s coming out end of the month.

James: End of the month, right? And that’s the first Remus song we’re releasing and so there’s a lot of fun there to kind of sit back and be like “What song would Remus make?” We know Percy is in this kind of post-hardcore, emo kind of phase. That fits well with his personality. What would fit well with Remus? And you start looking for those through-lines in the literature of his relationships and what impacted him and his personality and you kind of come up with a different fit for each character, musically as well.

Joey: So I have to actually tell…since we’re talking about how, like, the band started and Harry Potter and all that. Actually, not to be too sneaky, I went and looked it up on Facebook right now. Cuz I have this memory and I wanted to be sure if I was remembering something correctly. In this Oklahoma Musicians Wanted Facebook group Darvil posted a YouTube video. It was like “looking for a bass player for this band” and that was it. And so, like, I watched it and I was like “this is a Harry Potter song.” I don’t know if that was like a litmus test type thing of like “let’s see who catches that this is about Harry” but I was, I was like “Okay, I’m definitely interested in this.” But yeah, like the Facebook post doesn’t actually mention Harry Potter at all.

What was the song?

Joey: I don’t…I don’t know…

Darvil: It was “I Was a Fool.”

Joey: Oh, okay. Okay.

Darvil: Yeah, one we don’t have recorded but there’s a few videos if you go hunting. Or I guess it might just be that one video. It’ll get recorded eventually.

I was gonna say, now that you’ve brought it up it has to get recorded.

Joey: Yeah.

Darvil: Yep.

So you were saying you fit the musical style to the character…

James: That’s kind of the idea as of late, especially as we’ve been in quarantine. This has really given us a lot of opportunities, musically, that we wouldn’t normally explore. Before, it was kind of like Darvil would always have a song idea, he’d kinda bring it to practice and Joey and I would punch in our ideas and all of that. But now with us all working separately, it’s kind of like everyone has these ideas. Whether it’s a riff or a “hey, this topic from this book would be a cool song, how do we make this work?” and we’ve been sending files remotely to each other and piecing songs together from there. For me it’s given me more, like, of an introspective way of composing than I was before where it’s like “I have to make my parts fit this song.”

So what is each character that you’ve played so far sound like? What is the musical style for, for them? I wish my listeners could see the faces we just evoked there.

Darvil: No, it was funny cuz honestly I haven’t really thought of it in that way. I mean I do, like, thinking at this yeah that kind of makes sense. But yeah! James, since you’ve started this conversation.

James: Well—well, so the obvious one is—is the Remus song, “Never Thought,” right? And part of that is just that Joey and I are metalheads and have been for a long time and wanted to drag Darvil down that road with us. But the other thought of it was, like, what kind of music would Remus listen to? And it’s like, in my mind, and I think Joey’s mind as he was writing this song, it’s like he would definitely be a fan of power metal like Symphony X or Nightwish. Like, that is Remus. Like, you look at his relationship—um, oh my gosh I just blanked on the character name…

Tonks?

James: Tonks! Thank you. His relationship with Tonks. You’re like, okay there’s a little bit of a…there’s a little bit of, like, an edge there that, you know, there has to be, that they relate to each other and I don’t know. I thought that was kind of fascinating. With the Harry Potter song that we are putting on this podcast, I believe, “Houses Me” there was like one portion of it that you’ll hear where it’s almost happy sounding, but kind of there’s an anger underneath it which, to me, seems like Harry, right? Like he’s happy with his friends all the time but there’s all this trauma that happened earlier in his life. And so the outside persona doesn’t always reflect the inner turmoil, as much. And so you’ll kind of hear that in this release.

Joey: Well, and I guess the only other person besides Percy is we have the one Cedric song. I don’t know how representative it is, because it’s also from the point of view of Cedric as a ghost.

James: Mhm.

Joey: So it’s kind of like a bummer song, which I guess makes sense.

Darvil: I’m curious Joey, did—when you were writing “Never Thought,” were you writing it as…cuz I just always like “oh, Joey just wants us to play metal so he’s going to write a metal song.” But were you thinking Remus’ character metal makes sense with him?

Joey: So this…I’ll start kinda like…okay, that song specifically. I will also acknowledge it’s a really great thing for an audio format to talk about a song no one’s heard before.

Darvil: Right?

Joey: No, like, I had this…so the thing I’ve always thought about Lupin is ‘gratitude.’ He’s, like, a very grateful person. Like, he’s grateful for his friends, he’s grateful for Dumbledore giving him a job, he’s grateful…like his whole life is just like all these things he’s just happy to be here. And so I had this idea for the lyric and the chorus where he’s thanking all these people. And then when the Bertie Bott’s, uh, song challenge thing came up and there was the month about fear and it was October, I think, to do with Halloween I was like “Oh. A big part of why he’s always, like, thankful, is that he’s afraid of a bunch of stuff.” Like, he’s afraid no one’s gonna like him, he’s afraid he’s gonna hurt people. Then he’s relieved to find out, like, “oh, things turned out okay.” And then, so, as far as the genre, it’s really just because, like, I have this lyric that I wrote the chorus for and then kinda started there and worked outward and it just kind of was a metal song. Which, kinda like what James was saying, well this kinda fits. There’s a lot of power metal about werewolves—

James: Mhm.

Joey: –so it kinda works for that. The genre was kinda like the late stage consideration of it.

Darvil: And for all the listeners, we do have this song recorded, ready to release. So it is coming. Tune in for OWLFest, we’ll be performing it there and releasing it. So get pumped.

I feel like you may already have answered this, but what, of the songs you’ve created, are you proudest of?

Joey: I don’t know about proudest, but in terms of, like, a song I have a great deal of fondness for is, uh, “I’m Sorry, Harry Potter,” just cuz that was, like, that was the first song where…I don’t know, Darvil wrote the song but it was the first song that came into existence after we became a band in this iteration. Even though the song was mostly written, like, the drum part was always James’ drum part and the bass part was always my bass part. Plus like, I think the sound of that song is very much a sound I like. There’s like—it reminds me of a lot of bands I really like. So that’s one I kinda have a lot of goodwill towards.

James: I think mine is, uh, “Perks of Being Percy” and it’s—it’s kinda for a similar reason. Because that’s a song that is essentially like an opener for the whole Percy concept, but it was written after we had become part of this new iteration of the band and we did a lot of things, musically, that we wouldn’t normally do. Like, I remember that train beat we put in. At first Darvil was like “this sounds like a country song” and it’s like “no no no no, just trust me on this. It’s gonna be good.” That was so different, musically, and everyone had such an equal contribution to that. I really felt proud of that one. Which also needs to be recorded, I’m realizing. But we’ve played that one live a lot.

Joey: Yeah.

Darvil: Yeah, I was up all night thinking about this question, cuz I—and talking with my wife and she’s like “well, probably this song. Well, no, probably this song.” I mean, every song as I’m writing it I’m like “man, this song’s good, right?” Like—but I think the ones it came down to, “I Was a Fool” was like the second song I’d ever written for the band. And honestly, probably like the fourth song I ever wrote in my life. And compared to what I was writing at that time—and not writing? It was just like “holy smokes” like “this is—” like “right? Neighbors, people, tell me this is good, cuz this is good, right?” And it’s funny now cuz you listen to it and the chorus is like “I’m sorry Dad, I know I made you mad” and it’s like “that’s your proudest song, really?” But yeah, at the time that was big for me. But honestly, I think it’s just the most recent stuff I’ve done. Like, when I was writing “Hi Hermione” that was just all new stuff for me and how well everything was coming together, I was loving. “Start Over,” completely different experience. And then, that was a fun one with James and Joey where they sent different stuff and it all kind of pieced together amazingly. And then “Houses Me,” which we’ll play at the end of this, as I’m working I’m just like “Oh, this might be, like, the one” and so, I mean, in six months it’ll probably be the next two songs we’ve written since then.

That’s not a bad thing, though. Your favorite one to be—

Darvil: Yep.
–the one you’re working on now at all times.

Darvil: Yep.

Keeps you moving forward.

It’s time for a quick break, but we’ll be right back with Percy and the Prefects. First up are The Parselmouths with “Heartbreaker.”

~*~

That was The Parselmouths with “Heartbreaker” [lyrics], Hawthorn and Holly with “Knickerbocker Glory” [lyrics], and “Whompy Stole my Pillow” by Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills.

“Knickerbocker Glory” was a special request from WZRD patron Geoff, who sends a shout out to Jen, “because she’s a top-shelf media manager who introduced him to WZRD Radio and reminded him how special wizard rock is.”

On with the interview!

Inquiring patrons want to know, what brand of instruments do you use, and do you name them?

James: Hm.

Darvil: Take it away, James.

James: How detailed of a response do you want to this question? Because I am a gear nerd. Just very generically, Sticks: Innovative Percussion. Drumheads: Evans. All my drums are Pearl. I use a Master series snare with a Midtown kit for most of the gigs. I have a vast cymbal collection that’s a problem. So I have way too many cymbals from every brand that I use all the time. For the electronic stuff we’ve been doing, on the latest couple songs, I’m using a Korg Volca Sample and an Arturia Microfreak Synthesizer. I rotated cymbals on different songs because that’s the type of person I am. So, sorry.

[Note: James sent us a specific list of his gear.

Sticks: Innovative Percussion (specifically IP JW-2 Models)

Heads: Evans (mix of the Calftone and G1 series)

Drums: Pearl – Masters MCX Snare and Midtown series toms and bass drum

Cymbals: All the cymbals. Live I’m currently using Zildjian K/Z 14″ Hats, 18″ Paiste Innovations Crash, and a Sabian 21″ AA Bash Ride. Some songs use a Meinl Ching Ring.

Electronics: Korg Volca Sample and Arturia Microfreak Synthesizer

End note.]

Well I do believe this is for someone who is about to start their own wizard rock band.

James: Pl—please don’t get your gear recommendations from me. Go—go play what you like.

Darvil: Yeah, for you specifically, ignore everything James just said.

James: Yes.

But do you name them? Does each cymbal have a name?

James: I would have to spend a lot of time. It’s—it’s literally a problem. Like, I need an intervention for cymbals and collecting them.

Darvil: So that’s James, who’s a gearhead, and I am a…I don’t know, what would you—a gear airhead? Where I…all my gear is—has either being given to me or—well, I have one guitar that I won from Guitar Center, a raffle, but the one I play now is, Cedric Diggory, his wife won at, like, a Guitar Center show raffle and were like “hey, here you go, guitar player of the band, you can have this.” And so, I mean, it’s a Fender Squier Stratocaster, super cheap. But, uh, yeah no. If it—if it works and it’s free, that’s the route I go. And I have never named an instrument. I’ve actually never even considered it. So now I’ll probably be up all night, thinking about one, if I’ve neglected my gear by not naming it and then if it’s wrong to give it a name now or if we’re past that point. I’m not sure.

That’s amazing, those two completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

James: Well, and I feel like Joey is another aspect, cuz every time I see him he has a different bass.

Darvil: That’s true. That’s true.

Joey: I mean, to be fair it was, like 11 months since the last time you saw me, so.

James: That is true.

Joey: No, so I don’t really have much brand loyalty or anything. I—the only, there are two brands that I will, like, I will stan or whatever word you wanna use. If, specifically with this question where it’s like “I’m trying to shop for gear,” if you don’t know what to buy, just buy something that Yamaha makes because, like, honestly, everything they make is at least pretty good if not very good. So I’m a big Yamaha fan. My main bass right now is a Yamaha BB435, and then my acoustic guitar is also a Yamaha…something…A3R. The other brand is Elixir Strings. That’s the only strings I buy. They’re the best strings, they last forever. Which also, I didn’t even realize, ‘Elixir,’ it fits with the whole Harry Potter thing.

James: Oh! Yeah.

Joey: And then, my other bass is by Warwick. Yeah. And then everything else is kind of a revolving door of gear as I buy it, see if I like it. If I don’t love it I’ll sell it and get something else. Gradually I’ve accumulated the things I really really like. But if I don’t really really like them, chances are they’ll be sold or traded at some point.

How does this instrument hoarding occur for all musicians?

James: The thing for me is, like, you play something once and you form, like, like, an emotional attachment to it, a little bit. Like, it’s so—it’s so different, with all the tracks that we’ve done. Like on “I’m Sorry Harry Potter,” like literally I only have one cymbal that I still had on that recording. And I remember, like, when I was getting rid of the other ones I was like “But I used these on a record, I don’t wanna let them go. It’s so sad!” Like “remember that time were all together recording this.” So I—I think that’s just what it is. It’s a natural, like, sentimentality. Whereas, my wife is, you know, a librarian and she loves books and we have books all throughout the house. It’s a similar thing for her, I believe.

Joey: I think, for me it’s like the opposite. Like, I buy stuff that has, like, really specific uses and so then it’s like well I have to buy this other thing that does this other thing. Also, and this is a little-known fact, but the more gear you buy, the better of a musician you are. It’s a fact.

Darvil: That’s what I’ve been missing. I need to buy more gear to get better. That’s what’s been holding me back, lesson.

James: That’s…

Joey: Yeah!

James: That’s it.

Joey: It’s a simple correlation.

I don’t know, it sounds like you just need to enter more raffles.

Darvil: That’s true.

Joey: Yeah!

James: Yeah. We just need to have Amazon referral links for all this—

Joey: Yeah.

James: –for all the listeners, just going directly to the Percy… “This specific bass will make you good.”

None of you name any of your instruments.

Joey: Mm.

James: No.

Does that make you professional as well?

Darvil: Or lame.

James: That’s what I think, more.

Darvil: I don’t know. Either way.

James: Yeah.

Darvil: That’s what I’m worried about right now. Everyone’s like “wow, I thought these guys were cool but…” I will say, we did… The first bassist of Percy and the Prefects, Albus Dumbledore, he called his bass for the band the Elder Bass, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Joey: That is pretty cool. I have a really cool—I made a Harry Potter bass that I used to play with the band.

Darvil: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

Joey: It looked very cool. It’s gold and had, like, red Deathly Hallows thing. But the issue was like, I really didn’t like it a lot as a bass. It looked really cool but I didn’t like playing it or how it sounded so.

Darvil: He started talking about this, like, his second time practicing with us and I was like “Man, he is committed to this.” Like he his decking out his bass to fit the theme of the band.

But you don’t dislike it enough to trade it or sell it like you do with others.

Joey: Well, it’s not very good so like—it’s like worth more to keep it and maybe play it like if we ever play at like a convention or something than the probably like 50$ I’d get for it if I sold it.

James: Mhm.

Well maybe you just get really famous and raffle it off or something.

Joey: Yeah, that’s a good idea.

James: There we go.

A passionate fan will buy it.

Joey: I’ll make it a Patreon goal.

Darvil: There we go.

James: Oh, there you go.

Do you all have a Patreon?

Darvil: No.

James: No.

Darvil: We’ll start one, just for this one goal and then that’ll be it.

What is the best tip you’ve ever gotten from—or given to—another wrocker?

Darvil: Now, when you say ‘wrocker,’ that’s with a w, right?

With a w, yes.

Darvil: “wizard” rocker. So this is an interesting one cuz we have not really interacted with other wizard rockers.

You organized the entirety of OWLFest, you can’t say that.

Darvil: So—

Twice!

Darvil: Pre OWLFest, yes. So yeah, before March 2020, had never interacted with another wizard rocker and then—then yes, OWLFest. But all of those have been, you know, OWLFest related emails, not like “Hey, could you give me some advice, y’know, from wizard rocker to wizard rocker.” But, indirectly, I’ve gotten some awesome advice. Especially, I love that you ask these type of questions in the podcast so as I’m listening I’m like “Oh, what’s Tonks and the Aurors got to say for new wizard rockers.” It’s good for me to hear, even as I’ve been doing this for so long, to, like, just go for it. Cuz there’s times where I’m still like “ugh, is this song any good, is this sound any good, does anybody even like us?” It’s just like “just keep going, just go for it. It’s all good.” But then there’s, uh, I think Ashley mentioned in hers that, uh, like really working on your craft and getting good. You know, taking that time to improve, that’s something I’ve really been focusing on a lot lately. Some good advice there.

How do you do that? How do you focus on your craft and improve your, your craft?

Darvil: Well right now I’ve been focusing on record and mixing cuz that’s our big, like, bottleneck right now is we have so many songs written but it’s very difficult for us to get them out. And so I just have been googling and been doing a lot of reading on mixing. These last two have gone a lot smoother because of that. So, and hopefully they’re sounding better too.

Do you have any favorite resources?

Darvil: Google. I just type in my question to Google and YouTube and watch 10 videos and call it good.

Fair enough.

Joey: And not to mention the fact that like…you also have to mention that like…you just have to, like, jump in and try stuff. It’s like “okay, I’m going to read about this mixing technique” but after I read about it I’m gonna go, like, try it for two hours and, like, see if I’m able to actually make something that sounds good. It’s the same like, practicing guitar. Like, for every 10 hours of practice you might finally get to a point where the thing you’re doing sounds pretty good. And that’s fine, that’s just part of it is kinda kicking the tires and trying stuff out.

James: One thing I was gonna add is, I think the wizard rock community is very awesome and super accepting of everything that everyone puts out but I do think that sometimes people in the community are very insular in the fact that “I can present this to other people involved in the community already.” And one of the things that I’ve found with this band is that some of our best successes have been when we’ve done things outside the wizard rock community. Like we had one weekend where we played at a dive bar…was it? It was like a Friday night we played a show at a dive bar with like a punk band—

Joey: Like a rockabilly band

James: –and a psychobilly, yeah. They were kinda like a, a Reverend Horton Heat kind of thing. And then the next day we played at a convention and—

Joey: Specifically Harry Potter convention.

Darvil: Yup.

James: –a specific Harry Potter convention, yeah. And the reception at the dive bar was so much more hyped up then the convention that we played. Cuz at the convention we were kind of off to the side and it’s another thing that people have to go do versus, like, walking the booths and seeing the stuff they wanna do whereas, like, we were in the mix, you know? And people loved just being there. And I remember talking to the, the singer from the Fabulous Minx, was the band afterwards, and he was like “There was a lot of nuance in those books, I have to go reread those.” And it was like “yeah! Yeah!” So that was, that was a cool experience. And we were like “okay, cool.”

I l—that makes me so happy.

Darvil: It was a big eye-opener for me too cuz like, I get really uncomfortable in a lot of situations. So when we were setting up at this dive bar I was like “We are so weird. They’re gonna be like ‘what is this band doing here.” I was like ‘this is a bad idea.” I was like “I never wanna play at a place like this again, let’s just stick with the libraries.” But then everyone was loving it. I mean, we finished our set and they were like “No, you gotta play—play another song!” And then they were dancing around and stuff–

James: They requested “Scabbers and Ron.” Like people–

Darvil: Yeah!

James: –had gone to the BandCamp. They knew the songs. That was crazy!

Joey: Yeah!

Darvil: Yeah. So we were like “okay.” And the next day we show up at this Harry Potter thing and again there’s, there were a few songs. We finish, and there was no clapping at all. It was just, like, a few people looking away. I was like “what—what’s happening here. What is this world we’re living in?”

Oh no!

Darvil: Yeah. But it was a good weekend to have those right back to each other.

So dive bars are your friend.

James: Yeah!

Darvil: Yep. I’d say that’s the wizard rock advice I would pass on to others is, I mean, definitely, like this community is awesome, share your stuff with the community, but take opportunities outside your community. Find, like, open mic nights or other areas you can share you music and stuff. And even if it’s not, you know, Harry Potter or nerd music, whatever you want to call it, people still love it and you can have good successes outside just the wizard rock community.

How do you find opportunities like a bar lineup? I assume you just google ‘open mic’ but the other one seems…

Joey: I met a guy on Facebook. I asked a question about “Hey, can anyone recommend recording studios” cuz we were looking at that at the time. And this guy was like “Hey, I play drums in this other band, this is a good studio.’ And he was like “what band are you in?” and I told him and he’s like “That’s awesome. I’m gonna get you a show.” And so, like, it was just like someone—John—being super nice and being like “I’m getting you on the show. That’s what I’m gonna do for you, cuz y’all are good.” Kinda like going back to what Darvil was saying. You just talk to people. You find out, like, “oh, you know my cousin is in a band and is always looking for people to play” or “Hey, my…my wife’s work needs a band for this thing” or, you know, just various things when you talk to people you just kinda start hearing about it.

That makes sense. Wizard rock is a relatively small community so there are more opportunities to expand outside that.

You’ve talked a little about this throughout the conversation, but what are you working on next? My patrons in particular want to know if there’s any news about a full album.

Darvil: So there is. It’s the bittersweet news of ‘absolutely there’s a full album’ but, uh, how many years are we away is, uh… We have a 14 track Percy album that is, like, unfortunately it’s turned into my perfect little baby that I’m not giving to the world until I’m ready to give it to the world. And this is, ah, again, I wi—if I had done things differently I would have written a song, recorded it, and thrown it out into the world and moved on. But instead I recorded it and went “Eh, it’s not…that’s not good enough. That’s not what I want” and took it back. So I mean, this album, we’ve started the recording process at least 6 different times over the past 10 years. But now my plan of attack is writing new songs that are not my perfect little babies and using those to do all the trial and error to figure out mixing and our sound and all this stuff. And so that’s where “Hi Hermione,” “Start Over,” and then this month you’ll be getting “Houses Me” and “Never Thought,” these newer songs that we’re kinda just like going for it. And we’ve been learning a lot and it’s been awesome. And so in the next few months you’ll continue to get new music from us but it’s probably going to be more new songs that we’re writing and experimenting with. And then I think when we get to that—I mean, James and Joey might be like “Psh, we’re already there, let’s go, let’s record these!” I need—I need a few more, you know, first pancake songs that I can just, if something goes horribly wrong with I can be like “Well, who cares, I just wrote that song.” But when I get to the point that I’m like “okay, yes, I got a good feel for this recording,” that’s when we’ll attack our…and we do—James had the great idea of splitting it up into a Part One and a Part Two album just so we can get to you a little bit sooner. We’ll probably release the first 7 songs and the next 7 later. So you’ll get a lot of, kind of singles dropping here in the next few months but eventually…Again, is it going to be in 2022? 2023? 2024? Who knows. But, uh, it is coming.

Well, everyone is very excited at the prospect.

Darvil: And that’s really…It hurts me because, like, “I Was a Fool” is like “this is such a good song” but like whenever I talk to friends and stuff I’m like “You can’t listen to it.” It’s like “I can play it for you” or I can send you this link to, like, I don’t—it’s not even on YouTube. There’s this Facebook video if you dig deep you can find it. And I’ve performed it like acoustic and stuff. But the full, like, experience of the song is like, you’re probably going to have to wait a few years before we get that one recorded correctly.

James: Well, and I think your…the end product is going to be better as a result. I—I really feel the past, from where we were with “I’m Sorry Harry Potter” to where we ended up with “Start Over” was a huge leap in recording capabilities for us.

Darvil: Yeah.

James: And, hopefully, when you hear “Houses Me” here in a little bit you’ll also see that same progression. And so by the time that you do get an album it’s gonna be a lot better quality than what we could have done if we’d just done it all at the same time.

Darvil: Yeah.

That’s probably useful for new wrockers as well, that they can listen to the progression of how you all have been progressing over time.

Here’s our final music break, beginning with “Song for a Squib” from Tom Riddle and Friends.

~*~

That was Tom Riddle and Friends with “Song for a Squib,” “Don’t Call me Dumbly” by Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons, and “Scabbers and Ron” by Percy and the Prefects.

“Scabbers and Ron” was a special request from WZRD’s wonderful patron Moritz.

It’s been awesome talking with you guys today, thank you so much for coming on the show!

Where can WZRD Radio listeners find you online?

Darvil: Anywhere. You google “Percy and the Prefects,” we’re there. So, I mean, we’ve got BandCamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….Now, how often do we use all these things? I mean, we get the notifications so if you send us some likes and stuff we get ‘em. But yep! Anywhere you want to find us we’ll probably be there.

Joey: Everything we’re coming out with will be on Spotify as well. Like, Spotify is a little bit evil but it’s also the most convenient place to find stuff so anything we’re coming out with will be going on Spotify at some point.

I’m so excited, magical friends! Zoe, who has a penchant for guessing my trickiest themes, nailed Episode 22’s theme of “songs played on WZRD in its first year.” Congratulations Zoe! However, no one has guessed episode 20’s theme yet, so those bragging rights—and the Muggle Snuggle download code—are still up for grabs

Next week I’m releasing a special bonus episode just for my patrons over at Patreon.com/WZRDRadioPod. If you’re interested in hearing that, supporting the Yes All Witches grant, and getting to submit questions for future interviews, please consider joining us!

Links to the music you heard today are included, as ever, in the transcript at WZRDRadioPod.WordPress.com. Don’t forget to check them out and support the artists. Without our wizard rockers, we wouldn’t be here.

If you’ve got a guess about those themes or just want to say hi, you can find me on Twitter at WZRDRadioPod. If you’re not on Twitter you can leave a comment on the transcript, or email me your thoughts at WZRDRadioPod@gmail.com.

And now, here are Percy and the Prefects!

Darvil: This is “Houses Me,” newest release, exclusively released on this podcast so for the next month if you wanna listen to it again you’ve gotta come back and listen to this episode. Big shout-out to Grace Kendall, for the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Jam. This comes back to the September theme of “houses.” Enjoy.

End transcript

Intro and outro music are from Higher Up, by Shane Ivers.
Art is by graphic_co on fiverr.

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