Hello magical friends, especially Kate, the newest member of the WZRD Radio Patreon, and Hayley, who I can’t remember if I gave a shout-out to, and would feel terrible if I missed.
I’m your hostwitch Bess, and this month I’m talk to Sagan of Candle Wix. If creating some of the funniest wizard rock around isn’t enough, they’re also the archivist over at the Wizrocklopedia.
First, however, we’ve got some music to get to, so don’t neglect your earmuffs! …I mean headphones.
Here’s ArgenPotter with “Como Un Horcrux.”
And here’s Sagan!
And I’m here today with Sagan, not only the funniest wizard rocker around as Candle Wix, but also the Wizrocklopedia’s invaluable Archivist. Welcome to the show.
Sagan: Hello. How are you?
I am delighted to have you here. How are you doing?
Sagan: I am doing okay. I, I spent all day w working on computer stuff before my grad school semester starts, so, so yay me.
So you’re ready to talk wizard rock then.
You are so deeply embedded in wizard rock as a musician and at the ‘Pedia, it seems impossible to imagine a time where you weren’t part of the scene, but you probably did start somewhere. So what is your history with wizard rock?
Sagan: It’s interesting that you should say that, that the scene can’t be imagined without me in it because—ah! um, but, uh, s secondly, uh, you know, I’ve only been involved in wizard rock since August 2019 when I discovered, well, I heard about Harry and the P Potters cause they their a new album was coming out then. I also have a r radio show for kids on my local community radio station and I saw that another radio show for kids had played something from the new album and I was like “Harry and the Potters, what is this?” And then, and then I kind of, like, tracked it down. I was like “Wait a second- this is actually good. This is actually good!” And then I, like, discovered the Wizard Rock Revival. And then I was like “Wait a minute. This is a lot larger than I thought it was.” And then when I started becoming like really involved was when I started discovering, like, that archiving was possible. You know, I was like “oh, th this is like important stuff that needs to happen. And I want to do it.” You know, I want to do as much of it as, as I can or, or just kind of be there. And it was, like, immediately like a really obviously a really, really loving and wonderful community of people. It immediately felt accepting in, in a way that not many other communities are like.
So how did you make the jump from passionate fan to Candle Wix?
Sagan: Well, so when I, like, first got, y’know, into w wizard rock, I had never, ever, ever recorded a song of any type before, you know. I I like, you know, written some teeny tiny things when I was like 10, y’know that’s about it. And honestly, it was just, like, the ‘can do’ attitude of the community and and just saying that, you know “oh, you, you can do it.” And then when the 2020—wait a minute, was it 2020? 2019? I don’t remember when my first song came out. I think it was 2020. Yeah. It was 2020, uh, Wizard Rock Sampler opened up for submissions that happened to coincide with my, my b brother who’s a much more skilled musician than I am g getting, like, a new keyboard and loop station and I was like “Ooh, I have something to record stuff on now. Maybe I should give it a shot.” And I just kind of did it. And that, of course, was my first song “Flying Car” which was really fun. It was interesting, like, when when I recorded that I fully intended not to record anything else until the next Sampler but, like, stuff just kind of kept—like a few demos kind of popped into my mind… and then, like, this s summer I have, like, so many—well, I have, like, more songs than I’ve ever done at one time on on, like, my plate and stuff. So it’s, it’s kinda just like growing and taking over, sort of? And I’m like “Wait a minute, I can do this now.” And now there’s, like, no g going back I guess. I don’t know if it will, like, continue… if I’ll continue t to come out with, with very many songs, but like, I’m not going anywhere, you know? We shall see.
I love to know the answer to this question: where did the band name come from? Candle Wix.
Sagan: I honestly don’t remember, like, the specific situation that I came up with it in, but I was trying to think of, like, catchy band names and I think it was like… it was Totally K Knuts that had recently mentioned wixes as the nonbinary term to refer to a magic u user. And I was like “Oh, wix… Let’s see, h how can I incorporate that into something?” And then just like Candle Wix was, like, the thing that popped into my brain.”
It feels like a good reflection of your songs which are always very witty. “Flying Car” is one of the Slytherspouse’s favorites, and that is high praise.
How do you come up with your songs? What’s your process for creating, like the the Fenrir Greyback one?
Sagan: Oh gosh. Okay. How I come up with songs that they just randomly pop into my head. Like, I think it’s like something like, my brain is like unconsciously w working on the song when I’m, like, not thinking about it because I know that, like, my first song “Flying Car” I was like, I was like thinking “Ooh, I need to come up with a song for the Sampler. I can’t really think of anything. I can’t really think of anything.” And then like the idea just, like, popped into my head and then like lyrics immediately—like the first couple lines immediately, like, started popping into my head and the concept, and then it just sorta like grew from there. Lik,e once I have like a concept sort of, and like the first couple of lines, I can kind of w work off that.
And it usually helps if like I have like a, you know, uh, an existing tune to work off. And then of course the Fenrir Greyback one, which you know, is like an incredibly silly, goofy little ditty was inspired by the, by the the Bertie Bott’s Ever Flavour Jam that the Wizrocklopedia does—shout out to Zoe, hi!—and the theme that month was like ‘growth’ or something and then of course, like, I dunno how my my brain, some weird synapse in my brain connected connected growth with hair growing over Fenrir Greyback, but it did. I guess I’m trying to say, like, I don’t really know how I have ideas but when they’re there, they’re there. They just like pop into my head and I rarely have to, like, really like sit down and, like, work to come up with an idea. The ideas just, like, happen and then I have to work to like, make them sound like they’re supposed to.
I noticed that your songs are a combination of parody and original.
Sagan: Well, I’ve only done one parody that I’m aware of. I mean, the Fenrir Greyback one kind of sounds like a parody, but I’m not—I don’t think it is? But I I believe that the only parody I’ve done is the one that, that just came out, “Muggle Town.” I usually don’t end up writing parodies consciously. I usually, like, write in styles of music if you know what I mean? Like I wrote, like, a… I don’t even know what what style of music “Flying Car” is. I don’t know, ska pop something or other? And then like kind of off-beat country and western for, uh, “Fenrir Greyback’s Happy Song.” The, uh, “Muggle Town” was another one where my, my like, brain connected the Bertie Bott’s theme with a completely random and almost unrelated topic, you know? And it was like “Oh, this works.”
Did you find the parody easier to write than your originals or?
Sagan: Well, I mean, the the parody was, was really easy to write because I hardly had to do anything to it. I think I just, like, changed four words in the song, um, but it was, it was great because it like fits so well, but like, honestly, it was the same as my other, as my other things. I was like “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this works so well. How did I figure this out and n no one else has figured this out before me?” You know, it just, it just felt like really serendipitous, and it didn’t really feel…it didn’t really feel easier or harder than, than any of the other songs. You know, it’s a short song, but so it took less effort obviously, but it was like “oh, this is what this song needs,” and there we go.
Not to completely change tack, but my patrons are curious: if you got to go to Hogwarts, what would you most be excited to study?
Sagan: Oh boy. Okay. Um…oh man, I can’t think of any any, uh, subjects at Hogwarts right now… Probably something like charms, because you can do a lot with with them and, and they’re very li—they’re very much like art, honestly. Like, m more than a lot of –than a lot of spells they’re, they’re more about creativity and seeing what you can do and being creative and creating something that affects the world in an interesting way. Not necessarily like, just like ‘it does something to the world,’ it affects the world and kind of a way that that is offbeat. Not—not what you’d expect, if that makes sense.
No, I am right there with you. Charms is also my dream class at Hogwarts, and it never shows up on the quizzes. It’s never one of the choices; it’s always like History of Magic, defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures… but Charms is seriously underrated. It’s good to know I’m not the only one in the Charms club.
Sagan: Maybe someone should write a song about that. Hm…I don’t know.
Quick! Grab a notebook, write that idea down.
Here’s “Go, Wizard, Go” by The Cruciatus Curse.
Now back to the interview!
e Wizrocklopedia you are absolutely crushing the preservation of lost wizard rock. It’s genuinely amazing. What is a dream project that you really want to get into the archive, but haven’t managed to track down yet?
Sagan: Okay. Well, this is the one q question I actually c came up with an answer for beforehand because it’s really important to me. So, uh, the one project is one that that my predecessor on the Archive, Russ from Creevey Crisis, had actually been working on and he was never able to find them. It is a band called Striking Down Diggory, their album is called “Sever Us from Severus” and their music is, like, incredible. I’ve heard, like, one song because Russ posted one on his, uh, on his old Tumblr page and I have not been able to track them down at all and I’ve tried. And the really annoying thing is that eight years ago, a founding member of Striking Down Diggory actually commented on a Russ’s Tumblr page saying “Hey, we want the music back. We want to re-release it,” and has an email in the comment but by the time Russ saw the comment, the email was, was no more. And, like, it’s so—it’s so infuriating. And like, I just know these people are out here somewhere, and I really, really just w want to r release their music because it really needs to be out there. So if anyone’s listening and knows any of the members of a band called Striking Down Diggory—t the founding member of the band is apparently named Eric Ellison—please, please, I beg of you—get in touch. We need to release their music. Of course, we have so many releases planned that we won’t be able to rerelease it until like June 2022 at least. So, yeah, we have a whole lot more in the stacks, y’all. I can’t wait to share it with y’all. It is so great. I’m so happy that we were able to get in touch with all these people and get permission to re rerelease their work.
All right. Magical friends, if you, or someone, you know, was in Striking Down Diggory—Eric, if you’re out there—we want to hear from you.
Sagan: Yes please!
So obviously it’s impossible to pick, but were there any real treasures that you’ve managed to track down so far? Anything that was really challenging or long lost that was recently resurfaced?
Sagan: Uh, the, the compilation “Rocking the Borderline” uh, which was released, I dunno, in 2007 or something, it’s like a really, really early wizard rock compilation. It was put together by the Chinese Chomping Cabbages, and they had lost their copy. And we had been—I’d been trying to like track down a, uh, copy for like, for, for a long time. And just, like, a couple months ago somebody who recently joined the Wizard Rock Revival group was like “oh yeah, I have a copy of that.” You know, just like out of nowhere. But other than that, like, there’s so much that I’m so happy we, we were able to, to release and so much more coming up. Like I’m so glad we were able to get in touch with the Hermione Crookshanks Experience and release the release, their, their classic album. I’m so happy we were able to get in touch with MC Kreacher and like finally rerelease, you know, his EP… the, the Swedish, uh, wizard rock that we’ve released—and we have a lot more of that coming up. Th there’s just so much, and it’s like, I’m like “Thank goodness this stuff is out in the world again,” because it’s really a really important part of our history and a lot of people, those who didn’t, you know, buy it when it first came out, or like downloaded it from MySpace, a lot of people haven’t heard it, and they’re really missing out on a vital part of our wizard rock history. Until now!
The archive is an absolute treasure. If you haven’t checked it out, magical friends, I think it’s Wizrocklopedia.bandcamp.com.
Sagan: That’s it!
Amazing stuff. And so much more to come, like you were saying,
Sagan: Oh yeah, there’s so much. Yeah. It’s, I’m so excited. Like, just last week I tracked down some stuff that I didn’t even know existed. I was like “these people have recordings? Okay then, here we go!” You know?
All right: picture someone who’s brand new to wizard rock, and they’ve gone and they’ve listened to everything on the archive. And now they’re thinking maybe “I could make some music.” What advice do you have for them?
Sagan: Well, obviously make the music. Like, don’t even like, like think “maybe I can,” just, just do it. Obviously I didn’t know I could, you know, and it’s, it’s okay if you want to, like, work and work and work, you know, to make it sound perfect. It’s also okay if you don’t want to make it sound perfect, but like, you know, if you just want to like, get some ideas, obviously the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Jam, which I’ve already mentioned like three times is, is perfect for that. And, and of course, you know, that they have like a whole year’s worth of previous themes because it’s, it’s a monthly theme jam that you can—that you can also write songs and be inspired by. And like the, the topics they come up with are always like “Ooh, this would be really fun to write a song about, ooh!” You know, like it’s not just like, you know, something, basic and prosaic. It’s like, it’s like, like ‘muggles in relation to the wizarding world,’ like, how would you do that? You know, what, what could you write about that? It hasn’t been explored much. Feel free to, like, explore whatever you want in relation to wizard rock and expand the universe in the ways that, that you see fit. And, musically, do whatever feels best for you, honestly. If it’s like, literally just you and like a French horn or something, that’s fine. I would—I would love to hear that, you know?
Grace of Snidget talks about how they started off with a hammer dulcimer.
Sagan: Yes. Yes. I love that. Yes.
What about something really practical? Like this is the best note to always start on, or I dunno, get your band kit from some website.
Sagan: So I, like, edit all, all my music and stuff in Audacity and Audacity can do like 55 bazillion different things that you don’t even know it can do. So like, you know, it’s a free download, there’s a huge owner’s m manual that was written by volunteers and stuff. So like, I guess just like go in there and like fiddle around with, with Audacity and see what can be done. And you might think of ways to make your music, I don’t know much, uh, much more layered and you might be able to figure out things you can do with your music that you, you might not even have realized were possible.
I also do the podcast on Audacity, so I do agree: free to download, fabulous program.
What are you working on next? What do you have coming up?
Sagan: Oh boy. So earlier this summer, I did a song for the, the Wizard Rock Sampler, which is…I’m so excited about this song; y’all’re gonna love it. It’s so good. It’s like about s something that I’ve never heard a wizard rock song about before in my life. It’s it’s so good. I’m so excited about it. I also just finished recording a song for the upcoming pub song compilation that Totally Knuts is putting it together, which y’all should totally submit a song for, if anyone’s listening, it’s going to be so much fun! And I’m slowly working on a c collaboration with another wizard rocker. We don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out or how long it’s going to take. It’s just kind of h happening. I will say it is like, somewhat inspired by the, uh, July Bertie Bott’s theme and that’s all I’m gonna say right now.
And I might be working—be doing some other collaboration with another wrocker? We don’t really know. We’re just kind of talking right now, that’s about it. Like the other one, we’re like deep into like song writing and r recording, and stuff. So we shall see how, how long that takes. And what I’m really, really excited about: I kind of unexpectedly wrote another song in like early July and I’ve been trying to r record as much as possible of it over the last, uh, the last three weeks. And I think it’s going to be a single, unless some other compilation comes up, which I doubt it will. It’ll probably be a single. But I’m so excited about this song because it’s, I think it’s like the funniest song I’ve ever written, and it is like, certainly the most like bitingly satirical song I’ve ever written.
And the really hard thing about it…like, you know, I, I finished recording all the music, but it’s going to require quite a demanding vocal performance from me. So, uh, I’m trying to make sure, like, to record it when like my, vocal chords are at their finest, but it’s going to be—it’s going to be really fun. I can’t wait. It is going to annoy the heck out of you in the best way possible. It’s from the perspective of a very blowhard character and not the one you’re thinking. And I had a lot of fun, like inhabiting this, this character and kind of just kind of writing a new story and also kind of making every aspect of the song, part of the character. That’s not gonna make any sense at all, but it’ll make sense if you hear the song. Which I hope I can finish recording it by the end of this week. And then maybe it’ll be out in the next month? I don’t know. I’ll have to think about cover art if I’m releasing it as, as a single. Maybe I’ll ask around for people who can do cover art. I don’t know. We shall see.
Well, I’m intrigued.
Sagan: That’s good.
So you’ve mentioned a lot of singles, any plans for an EP or full album?
Sagan: Ah! Well, part of the issue with that for me is that is I have very few actual m musical skills at this time. Like most of it is just like very slowly working out stuff on like the k keyboard and the loop station. So it takes me a long time to actually record stuff properly. Other than like, you know, the two d demos I have up on, like on my Bandcamp page are just demos and they didn’t t take me very long to record, but like, if I like, actually am, am recording something more than a demo, like I want to make it sound good and that just takes so long. And I’m so impatient that I just want to, like, put it out there. So maybe in the future? I have this, like, vague…vague idea for like, a snake themed EP of some sort, like a song about like parseltongue, and like the basilisk and then something else maybe. But like, I don’t really know if that’ll happen, it’s just like a vague idea in the back of my head. But I think for now, I’m just going to stay doing singles and who knows if that will change at some point in the future.
It sounds like we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Sagan: Yeah. But again, no problems that this will happen anytime soon, or even have happened at all with the snake EP. It’s just this vague idea in the back of my head.
Well, whatever happens I’m sure we’ll enjoy it.
It’s time for our final music break. First up is Potterwatch and “The Love You Seek is All Around You.”
That was “The Love You Seek is All Around You” [lyrics] by Potterwatch, Nanzdemort singing “Sangre Sucia en el 97,” “Ode to Broom” by Hogwarts Glee Club, and The Lovegoods with “Share My Toilet” [lyrics].
“Share My Toilet” was a special request from WZRD’s incredible patron Geoff who says “This one goes out to my best friend and cohost: Julianna! If you can tell me why I picked this song, I’ll send you a surprise! (And if you can’t, I’ll send you one anyway).”
Thank you so much for coming on the show today. This has been so much fun. Where can WCID radio listeners find you online?
Sagan: I have a BandCamp page, as I mentioned, a couple of d demos are up there right now and m more of my songs are available on the Wizard Rocks Samplers, and another compilation. I have a Facebook page that I’ll probably be sharing some, like, teasers for the upcoming single. I’ve already shared one little teeny tiny teaser. And I think I’m going to share another one. Also, for the upcoming single, it has the longest title. The title is like 20 words, it’s going to be hilarious. And it makes sense. But anyway, more teasers and stuff… I also have like a Ko-fi page. Oh wait, it’s Ko-fi [different pronunciation], isn’t it? Uh, if anyone wants to shower me with m money or coffees or anything like that, but yeah, that’s, that’s about it. And I’m also like just around in the Revival group, you know, just for fun.
Congrats Jami, who guessed Episode 32’s theme of “Sirius Black.” I hope all you Wolfstar shippers enjoyed the back-to-back themes.
Did you fall in love with a song you heard? You can buy it! Just follow the links in the transcript at WZRDRadioPod.com. Then share it with all your friends so they fall in love too. Because of course, without our wizard rockers, we wouldn’t be here.
If you’ve got two muggle dollars a month that you really want to get rid of, check out the WZRD Radio Patreon at Patreon.com/WZRDRadioPod. Patrons get early access to episodes, music requests, and all the behind-the-scenes info on upcoming announcements! The WZRD Patreon also supports Yes All Witches, the microgrant program for queer and BIPoC wizard rockers.
Find WZRD on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, in case you want to say hi or tell me about a revolutionary new wrock band I should know about. If you’re not on social media, you can leave a comment on the transcript or email me at WZRDRadioPod@gmail.com.
And now, here’s Candle Wix!