Hello magical friends! Especially Teresa (hi Teresa!), the newest member of the WZRD Radio Patreon, whose support lets me do this episode!
Who’s ready to celebrate Halloween? Muggle Snuggle is, and they’re here to get the party started! And what better way to do that than with some music?
Here’s Mopey Merope with “Under the Stairs.”
That was Mopey Merope with ““Under the Stairs,” Dream Quaffle singing “Fickle Fudge” [lyrics], Slytherspouse “Chocolate Frog” [lyrics], and Muggle Snuggle with “Allez le bleus: Beauxbatons au ciel” [lyrics].
Without further ado, let’s get the party—er, interview—started.
And welcome to the show, Amanda and Kaitlin. I am very happy to have you guys.
Kaitlin: We’re excited to be here.
Amanda: Yeah, very excited; I’m a big fan of WZRD Radio Pod.
Oh no, I don’t know what to do when people say that.
Amanda: “Thank you” and move on.
But y’all were actually invaluable at the beginning, cuz you were the ones that started the giveaway codes.
Amanda: Yeah. That was a fun accident actually. Cause I was like “oh gosh, what am I going to do with like 8,300 of these?” They just give you a crazy amount, and I don’t know why.
Kaitlin: And yet I keep paying for our music. I have—
Amanda: That’s a true story!
Kaitlin: True story!
Amanda: When Kait forgets the password, she just re-buys our music so she could listen to it.
Kaitlin: It’s true. It’s true.
Amanda: It’s happened like four times!
Kaitlin: You know, you got to support yourself and your business.
It’s true, without our wizard rockers, we wouldn’t be here. It gets recursive though, when it’s you buying your own over and over.
Kaitlin: Yeah. Yeah.
Kaitlin: But you know, it looks nice for the analysis…
Amanda: Sure, yeah.
Kaitlin: …the analytics of “oh, we had sales this month.”
Amanda: “200% more than last month.”
So, speaking of beginnings, what was Muggle Snuggle’s?
Kaitlin: Muggle Snuggle’s beginning… So I was a Harry Potter nerd and we were friends in choir.
Amanda: We met in Renaissance City Choir
Kaitlin: Mhm, we met the RCC and I was like “oh, you haven’t read this?” And you’re like, you were, you were not into it at first. And I was like “if you do, I will throw you parties. I will make it worth your while.” I was like “you should read the series.”
Amanda: Yeah so, I did. And then I was like “did you also know that there’s wizard rock?”
Kaitlin: And I did not know that cause I was just all books. But after you started reading it—I’m a big hugger, so I would like come in and give you a big old hug. And that’s where I think we started saying like “Muggle Snuggles!”
Kaitlin: and then we’re like “that should be our band name.” I think we had performed in another group of gals.
Kaitlin: We had performed, but we like could never settle on a band name. And so… this though, we didn’t even have a song yet. And we’re like “we know what our band name would be.”
Amanda: Yeah. It was just for fun. Then it became—
Amanda: —a very ‘for serious’ for fun.
Kaitlin: It did, because we are serious people. So we’re like “let’s have fun in a structured, organized way.”
Kaitlin: We originally were playing with some of our other friends…
Kaitlin: …and then we wrote Knight Bus, and after that we’re like “we should perform it at one of our…” the Art All Night.
Kaitlin: I think it was, performance. And so we performed our first song as Muggle Snuggle.
Amanda: We did.
Kaitlin: A one hit wonder.
Amanda: Wow, I forgot that that was the first time.
Amanda: The second time, I think it was just at an open mic.
Kaitlin: Yeah. There was an open mic I think in Lawrenceville in Pittsburgh. Yeah, we performed.
Kaitlin: And that’s what I lost my tuner for my bodhrán the first time.
Amanda: Oh, I didn’t…
Kaitlin: The second concert! Lost a tuner. But yeah, we, we started performing. I do have to say though, the reason we started making music together before we became Muggle Snuggle was, I said “I bought a drum.” I bought a hand drum.
Amanda: Then I said “oh, we’re all going to be playing music.” And then I said “oh, since you play drum, you should come.” And she’s like “I bought a drum.”
Kaitlin: I bought a drum.
Amanda: I was like “oh you play drum, great.”
Kaitlin: And then I was that I was so nervous. I was like “okay, I need to like… just, I need to learn how to play this drum. I’m just going to be a drummer now.”
Kaitlin: And that’s kind of how I’ve fallen into all the instruments that we play.
So you said you’re very into structured fun, but that sounded pretty spontaneous.
Kaitlin: Y…Y’know what you’re right.
Kaitlin: I think, I think over time we learned that we flourished with some structure within our—our playing, but we—it started out as a spontaneous ask and… you had been performing with some other friends and writing music together for a while. Um.
Amanda: Mhm. Yeah. I wrote my own and performed and we… Yeah. We would perform…
Kaitlin: That’s where I started buying music online because I bought all of your music.
Amanda: She’s my biggest fan. [she] has bought every single one of my albums.
Kaitlin: She’s just really amazing. And I couldn’t believe that you would let me play this drum I bought with you!
Amanda: It’s because you played drum! And I do not.
Kaitlin: I think I really, really appreciated your music and your musicality. And I was so nervous to play with you guys. And then we broke off and became our own thing—
Kaitlin: —because we worked really well together.
Amanda: Yeah. We were consistent and we, we wanted it to work so we made it work.
Kaitlin: Yes. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. That’s our origin.
Kaitlin: Origin tales.
So how did you learn about wrock? You said Amanda was first.
Amanda: I do remember… Oh, I don’t know. Probably it was 2008 or so. And I know Harry and the Potters were in Pittsburgh and I didn’t go to it, but I knew they existed. So I knew it existed a very long time ago, but I just never pursued listening to it. But then of course, when I wanted to listen to it, I hadn’t read all the books yet. And I started to listen to some and then I was like “oh, I don’t know what this is about, and I don’t want to be spoiled.”
Kaitlin: Yeah, spoilers.
Amanda: So then I couldn’t listen to it. So I had to wait a really long time, but I also had to wait between books to have parties because that was the promise. So.
Kaitlin: So yes, there’s a lot of waiting for you. It was hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait.
Kaitlin: I maybe had heard of Harry and the Potters, but like I actually still, to this day, do not listen to a lot of wizard rock. I enjoy what we do and I enjoy what you bring into—you’re like “hey, listen to this.” But I have, I don’t—
Kaitlin: —seek it out myself because I trust Amanda’s curation of music. So you’re my, you’re my, my liaison into the wrock world.
Tell me more about these parties. They were rewards for reading the books?
Amanda: I guess, if you want to think of it that way, yeah? That’s, that’s the adult way: structured fun, I guess. Bringing it back.
Kaitlin: I really like creating—
Amanda: She is so good.
Kaitlin: —and I, I grew up, uh, where my parents went all out for parties all the time, especially around birthdays and it was fall so it was getting closer to your birthday.
Amanda: Mhm. That’s true.
Kaitlin: Um, it was like fall of RCC, fall that year. And it was around—also around Halloween stuff and I had a lot of witchy things and I enjoyed making a theme party with food for each of the different books and I just really wanted to… play. And so we started having parties.
Amanda: Yeah. We’d have the parties and we would also watch movies…
Kaitlin: Oh, watch the movie. Yeah—
Amanda: Um, because I didn’t see them.
Kaitlin: because it would be your first time watching the, any of the Harry Potter movies after reading the book.
Amanda: Yeah. So I think what you would do is you would throw a party themed to the screen—
Kaitlin: Oh! Yeah, yeah. It was basically Rocky Horror, but for Harry Potter.
Kaitlin: Cuz we had both been Rocky Horror fans—
Kaitlin: —and we talked about like going to where, like, you know, you scream out things at different times. And so it kind of happened that I was like “oh, and at this point I will pull out a wand for you because it’s the wand choosing so here’s your wand.” Oh yeah. And then for the second movie watch, I picked you up—
Amanda: And I tried to participate in that one and I think I wanted to have, like, death day party foods—
Kaitlin: Oh yes!
Amanda: —and it didn’t have anything in there at all. And I was so disappointed.
Kaitlin: I, yeah, I knew that you would be disappointed because the books were better than the movie.
Amanda: I was like “I brought this cheese!”
Kaitlin: As far as detail. I know. You were so excited, but we were so, you know, we were just immersing ourselves in enjoying, um, the book in our own, in our own space.
Before I hit record, you mentioned that you needed “a cathedral” to house all of your instruments, which is perfect cuz my patrons want to know how many do you play? Both of you.
Amanda: I guess I would break it down into what I’m going to call instrument houses.
Amanda: So my first instrument that I actually had to learn with sheet music was saxophone. I learned on alto, but currently have a bari and a soprano. And those are the ones that you don’t play, but you played clarinet.
Kaitlin: I did. I grew up playing the clarinet.
Amanda: So we have that, our reed friends, the reed house.
Kaitlin: The reed house.
Amanda: And then flutes of some sorts.
Kaitlin: That is not my—that’s… I am not in the flute family. But you are!
Amanda: But you are able to play it.
Kaitlin: I can make a sound.
Amanda: Yes. So we can do those, you know, penny whistles. I also have a, a new hulusi, which is a Chinese gourd flute, which is fun, kind of bagpipe-y. I’ve decided that that’s what the grindylow sounds like.
Amanda: Yeah. Um, and then… we both play things in the zither family. So we’re both autoharp. You can play kantele if you wanted to.
Kaitlin: I pluck the strings when you tell me to pluck the strings.
Amanda: Yeah. You have a harp now, so you can play harp.
Kaitlin: My uncle just gave me a harp so now I’m a harpist according to Mermanda.
Amanda: Correct. So we both can play a harp and um, and then we both know how to play guitar, but we both do not like it.
Amanda: And we have percussion in common as well…
Kaitlin: I have small hands, the guitar’s very hard. And then yeah, the percussion family.
Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. Anything, anything percussive. So I’m going to say, you know, seven or eight categories or so but—
Kaitlin: With a couple instruments in each one.
Amanda: Mhm. Yeah. But I, I personally own more than 30.
Kaitlin: Yeah. So you play more than 30 instruments.
Amanda: I do, but not… I have a trumpet and I don’t know how to play it yet, so.
Kaitlin: Okay. So you’re not counting—
Amanda: Brass is my hard stop.
Kaitlin: Oka, so you’re not counting those as ones that you…
Amanda: But I always equate instruments to languages cause I’m, uh, I was a language learner as well. So, you know, I can kind of play, this kind of play this. I can kind of speak some words here and speak some words in that language too. So it’s kind of the same thing for me where, you know, if you understand the concept of learning one, then it’s easy to learn other ones,
Kaitlin, did you want to list? Or are you happy with everything Amanda just said.
Kaitlin: For me, instruments were always really hard. Like, my family’s very musical and I would sing, but I always struggle with instruments. I started on the clarinet, but chorus, you know, was more important to me so I ended up moving towards that. And then my uncle gave me a guitar and I would tune the guitar all the time. I knew how to tune it, but actually playing it it was very hard for my hands to fit around the neck. And so I just felt like I kept failing at instruments.
Kaitlin: And when we were just beginning to be friends and I bought myself this drum, I was like “you know what, I’m going to try drum” because I really love Irish music. And so I wanted to play the bodhrán around, like my grandmother is a hundred percent Irish and so we go to big Irish festivals every year. And so I wanted to be able to play the drum when we were out at a festival or at the pub, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. So that was the goal. So I had just bought a drum and then became a drummer and then ended up tap dancing.
Kaitlin: So that’s the other thing that I do in the percussive family. So I started with the bodhrán drum and tap dancing since I’m a dancer, which is why I think that I don’t listen to a lot of music because music has worked for me in my day-to-day life. So I listened to books as an escape. Like, listening to music I’m always choreographing.
Amanda: Oh! That makes so much sense.
Kaitlin: So, so it’s, I think, you know, I think that’s, I think that’s why I don’t go out and listen to music for my entertainment—
Kaitlin: —because there’s so much music for work, but tapping and the bodhrán were my instruments that I was kind of playing with whenever we first started becoming friends and then you gave me an autoharp and autoharp—all of a sudden it was an instrument that came to me quickly. And I felt lik,e all of a sudden I went from just singing with you, to playing with you. And it was very exciting. So I’m an adult learner of instruments. I didn’t come to me early. I kept trying and failing.
Kaitlin: So I failed a lot of instruments before I came to the family of autoharp and percussion.
Amanda: Yeah. I failed at guitar too. I stunted my writing, I think, by trying to write music on guitar, cuz it just wasn’t the thing for me.
Amanda: And I didn’t know, you know?
Kaitlin: Yeah, no, I tried, I tried too. I will play the same song on guitar. Like there’s only one song.
Amanda: I know the song.
Kaitlin: You know my song, right? Like I pick up a guitar, I play my one song and I put it back down cause that’s all I know how to do. But on things like with the drum and with autoharp all of a sudden I started to compose as well. And that was really freeing—
Kaitlin: —to find something that I felt like I could start playing with sound and building different structures with.
That’s really interesting, especially because so much of wizard rock is singer-songwriter on a guitar—
—or punk rock with electric guitar.
Kaitlin: And we’re a band—and we’re two, two gals who, who failed at guitar and found, found music elsewhere.
I think that’s part of what makes y’all so interesting and unique and exciting.
Amanda: Yeah. I mean, I like all the odd things. You know, the land of the misfit toys sort of things.
Kaitlin: Yes. And I think I always loved accordion. Growing up in the nineties, loving Weird Al I love the sound of it, as well as I had an aunt who was blind and played her accordion and she just had so much music and you could see it when she played it, that, you know, whenever I met someone my age who played accordion I was like *gasp* and that’s why I bought all your music. Cause I just wanted to listen to you play. And we joked because we didn’t feel comfortable at open mic nights because of all the guys with guitar there. We’re like “all right, let’s bring in our 20 instruments and see…”
Amanda: They’re like “oh, you can go downstairs to tune.” And I’m like “I don’t need to tune.”
Kaitlin: Or you have to tune like every peg on the autoharp what 32 strings or whatever.
Amanda: 120. Oh, oh. Autoharp, sorry.
Amanda: Yeah. 36?
Kaitlin: 36? 30-some. That’s a lot of strings to tune.
Amanda: Yeah it is.
So when you go to open mic nights or whatever, which of your songs is the most fun to play? What do you get the most joy out of, what the best audience reaction?
Amanda: We don’t, we don’t play open mic anymore.
Kaitlin: Yeah. Cause we learned that, early on, that we didn’t jive with like the general populace. That we liked going to our niche places. Like going to a Potter venue, going to a wizard festival. That’s where people would appreciate our music.
Amanda: Yeah. Let’s say on the count of three—
Kaitlin: Oh god.
Amanda: —what songs we think are the most fun to play—
Amanda: —at festivals.
Amanda: All right.
Kaitlin: All right.
Amanda: 1, 2, 3, “Knight Bus—”
Kaitlin: “Knight Bus.”
Amanda: “Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”
Kaitlin: I was just ready for the first one!
Amanda: Oh. 1, 2, 3, “Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”
Kaitlin: Yes, that one.
Amanda: And then 1, 2, 3, “Mad Eye.”
Kaitlin: “Mad Eye.”
Amanda: Okay. And those are all accordion.
Amanda: So just had this feeling that we had the same…the same ones.
Kaitlin: Yeah. Yeah. I love those ones. Cause “Knight Bus” is our oldest song and there was just a magic when we wrote that one. Other songs we’ve grown out of, but “Knight Bus” has stuck with us.
Amanda: I mean, it’s kind of like dramatic, theatrical and I think that’s where we have the most fun is when we get to actually like, you know, kind of play with the crowd and not be so serious with our music and you know, it kind of breaks things up too.
Amanda: It feels more like it’s a long musical as opposed to just playing a series of songs.
Kaitlin: Oh yeah, and our early songs were all like one minute each. We like wrote really quick ones and then, like, “Knight Bus,” I felt like had its own timing, especially with the speaking in between cuz we have a couple songs that we have little monologue pieces in with our music. So “Knight Bus” has that, like you said, play.
I like, uh, “Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.” I think that’s one of the first songs I played more than once on the show.
Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s funny cause that’s not even an original for us cuz that’s based on, uh, “The Clarinet Polka.”
Kaitlin: Again, this is how we differ is that a lot of wizard rock bands I find play covers or a…
Amanda: Do parodies.
Kaitlin: Do parodies, thank you. But you really love to compose—
Kaitlin: —and we’ll take a section from a classical piece and then morph it so much so that it becomes our own piece. We even feel guilty when we’re like “oh, we took like five notes from this orchestral composition.” Like “we’re cheating!”
Amanda: Yeah. Covers are fun though.
Kaitlin: Oh, yeah!
Amanda: And parodies are fun too.
Kaitlin: Yeah. I think you had done that in other places that here we wanted to play with the idea of composing and doing something a little different.
Amanda, do you do most or all of the composing? Or Kaitlin, do you write some as well?
Amanda: Well, he past year and a half I would say for sure—
Amanda: —I do all of it, but that’s mostly because you know, Kaitlin just had a child—
Kaitlin: Yeah, you know—
Amanda: —so it was a little bit harder for her to—
Kaitlin: —it’s been a little busy for me, you know.
Amanda: Yeah. And physically not being able to be together is…
Kaitlin: Was so hard.
Amanda: Yeah. I’m not able to compose songs with you—
Kaitlin: Uh huh.
Amanda: —when we’re apart. So then, you know, it just makes it a little bit harder because the way that I compose is a bit, um… what’s the word I want? I can’t even think of the word… evolving, and…
Kaitlin: my wife has said there’s a magic, you know, that happens between us. Like you will usually come up with this beautiful egg of an idea and you’ll bring it to me and then we’ll, like, play with it until it grows into something. Different albums had different, you know, amount of—I’ve had much more hands-on earlier in our music and I’ve had to become a bit more hands-off more recently.
Amanda. Yeah…and I think it’s a lot harder too, cuz some of the things that I’m doing, I get so much time to compose them that it turns out being, you know, a little more than just our quick one minute songs. The one that we just had on the Sampler was a big task because it was in French—
Amanda: —and it was a different style and we did all the verses differently so it was a lot of learning.
Kaitlin: Oh yeah!
Amanda: —So we really spent a lot of time learning that one because… again, another one of those that I composed by myself, so it gets a little, it gets a little too much in Amanda-land. So…
Kaitlin: Oh, no… So I… so it’s not just the composing though, it’s then the teaching. And like teaching… and for me to like get to, you know, ‘what did you, what do you want out of me?’ Like sometimes it’s not just black and white, but then it takes time with us together and sometimes I find my part and sometimes you’re like “fine, just sing my part.” And I’m like “okay!” Like, you know, sometimes we have to switch, you know—
Kaitlin: —what you would originally thought I would sing. And you’re wonderfully adaptive that way, which is awesome.
Amanda: You are as well.
This seems like a good place to put some more music. Here’s Daniel Kelly with “I Wish I was a Gryffindor.”
“I Wish I was a Gryffindor” was a special request from WZRD’s dreamiest patron, Geoff. He dedicates it to Creevey Crisis, saying “so long and thanks for all the fish.”
Now let’s get back to Muggle Snuggle.
Now, when I was putting together this interview, I heard a rumor that one of you doesn’t actually speak French, even though at least one of your songs has been in French. And I would love to know… how?
Kaitlin: Well, uh, do you want to talk about that?
Amanda: Bah, non. Vas-y. [French: No, go ahead.]
Kaitlin: Ah, oui. [French: Okay.]
Kaitlin: So Amanda is multi-lingual…
Amanda: That’s my thing.
Kaitlin: That’s your thing.
Amanda: C’est mon truc. [French: That’s my thing.]
Amanda: Yeah, so I speak fluently, but Kaitlin had ‘passing/to go to France’ capabilities.
Kaitlin: Yeah. I studied it in high school and in college and have been to France about three times. My wife and I got married in Paris. So I have passing knowledge.
Amanda: Tourist French.
Kaitlin: Yeah, tourist French. But I also was classically trained, musically. In high school and college I was always in choirs where we sang in Mandarin and Russian and Latin. And um, I grew up in the church being a Cantor singing in Latin all the time. And so working with phonetic pronunciation…
Kaitlin: Is that the right way to say that?
Kaitlin: For me, I am much more an aural learner. I have a harder time reading sometimes and so when I listened to something, I can hear it. And, and she she’s wonderful at correcting and helping me to change my sound to try to have a better pronunciation.
Amanda: Yeah. She’s a really good parrot.
Kaitlin: I’m a parrot!
Amanda: I mean, if you want to make her a bird. You’re a parrot. You know, just, you have that ear and you can just… That’s why it’s easy for you to learn songs too.
Kaitlin: Yeah, I can learn anything in a song.
Kaitlin: I am not a fluent French—I’m a passing French speaker.
Amanda: I used to be a lot better, um, when I lived there, but you know, I can still do it now. But it’s funny too, because I can write in French and sing in French but I don’t like to sing in French, which is…
Amanda: I don’t know, but it’s, it’s what I can write.
Kaitlin: And you’ve written a couple—
Amanda: I know.
Kaitlin: —Muggle Snuggle songs. It’s because you like Beauxbatons.
Amanda: It’s just cause you know, there was stuff that was…
Kaitlin: There stuff that needed to be said.
Amanda: There was stuff that was there, I don’t know.
Kaitlin: Yeah. There were things that needed to come through you.
So does that mean that there’s potential for Muggle Snuggle music in other languages?
Amanda: Yeah. I mean our next—
Amanda: —so what we’re doing now is going to take a little bit longer cause we’re, you know, kind of doing songs on the fourth book and we have so many of them, but I, you know, I was like “we never got to this or this or this.” I know that’s your favorite, Bess, the fourth book. We just have so many songs in. Now that we can go back and critique everything even more, I just want to go back and just like—
Amanda: —just really give it to her, you know? And uh, so our next one, after that though, when we do book five—
Amanda: It’s gonna be a lot of Latin.
Kaitlin: You already have written so much and yeah!
Amanda: I do have stuff written already and I, I did write some things in Latin and I don’t speak Latin. I don’t even know how to do it. I just…
Amanda: It’s fake Latin.
Kaitlin: You had a friend translate “Pumpkin Juice for Breakfast.”
Kaitlin: That all of a sudden we were singing that one in Spanish in concert.
Amanda: Yeah. I also have it in Punjabi, but that one was tough.
Amanda: It’s so hard to learn, I don’t know.
Kaitlin: That’s… We’ve tried that one. And you’ve written songs outside of Muggle Snuggle in many different languages and your current Mermanda project. Have you done anything else or is it all English?
Amanda: There’s a little bit in French again. Oh well.
Kaitlin: You’re like “it just keeps happening.”
So for the Book Four album, is there anything maybe in Bulgarian or about the world’s best ship? Maybe?
Amanda: We have never recorded the song “Krum,” which was just one that we were doing live. We kinda, it was one of those songs that we just came up—
Kaitlin: It was an improv song!
Amanda: —with by improv. Yeah.
Amanda: Then we kind of expanded on it and then we kind of rewrote some things. And then, so when I went back through it, I decided to… there’s a lot of world music influence on this so far too.
Kaitlin: Oh, on all the dragon pieces! Oh, wow.
Amanda: Cuz, yeah, cuz we had dragons and you know, there’s like Hungarian Horntail so there’s a Hungarian influence in the song and then the Chinese Fireball and there’s some guzheng in there.
Amanda: But for the “Krum” one, I definitely, like, referenced some Bulgarian marches. So there’s some kind of like Bulgarian-march-esque sorts of sounds in it now. But yeah, not, not in the language because I don’t know any. Oh wait, we count. We count to four
Amanda: That’s what we’ve got.
Kaitlin: You’re like “there’s none, but a little bit.”
Amanda: Four words.
When, when you started, when you were doing the open mics and putting together your first songs and uncovering new instruments, is there something that you learned or figured out—
Amanda: Well, actually—
—that might be useful for people getting started in wizard rock now?
Amanda: —we have a list so, quick, get your quills! Sure. Yeah. Do you want to read this first one? This one says approach the band as a professional relationship…
Kaitlin: Oh, know when to say no.
Kaitlin: Yeah. So we talked a lot about like what our expectations were when we came to our band. I think we had both been burned in other places and we really respected each other as friends and entered into this as a relationship, as a partnership and business.
Amanda: Our motto…
Amanda: …When we started was “once it’s not fun anymore—”
Kaitlin: “—it’s done.”
Amanda: And there were times this year when it was not fun.
Kaitlin: Yeah. And so we had to say “Hey, this is not okay.” Cause we had, we had signed a contract, agreed to this thing or that thing.
Kaitlin: But we learned that, trying to do things socially distant from our other houses, digitally, it just wasn’t right for the music for us. And it became not fun. We were both crying in our homes being just upset. And that’s not what Muggle Snuggle was about and finding the courage to talk to each other and say “hey, I wasn’t okay with this.” And being able to say no to venues or things—
Kaitlin: —or people that you’re not comfortable with is important in setting up your band.
Amanda: Yeah. The next one is ‘don’t trust people who will scare quotes, “let you play for exposure” end scare quotes.
Kaitlin: OH! Yes.
Amanda: Or you know that, that will say “oh, do you want to play this show for free? You can busk outside in this 95 degree weather.” Like no thanks, you know?
Kaitlin: Yeah, yeah. And we did it, but you don’t have to.
Amanda: We didn’t do that one.
Kaitlin: Oh no, no, no. Oh the busking, no.
Amanda: Mhm. Right out show notes in your set list. So, you know, you can write out your thank yous, do your shout-outs, don’t forget to mention that you have merch… Another one: you might need to make adjustments on your instrumentation. So since we are more of an acoustic duo, we’ve had so many microphone puzzles that we’ve had to put together with, you know, making sure that we get both sides of the accordion miked and then also I need a microphone, you know, when I’m standing. And then sometimes I have to sit to play accordion and so I need a mic close to me when I’m, when I’m sitting and then—
Kaitlin: And if I’m tapping, having a floor mic or paying attention to what—did they put us on a carpet or can we be on something else?
Kaitlin: You know? So like, there’s a lot of puzzle pieces. Yeah. So giving yourself time to talk about and to know what the sound is going to be like.
Amanda: Yeah. I’ve added pickups, but sometimes those don’t work. So you have to, you know, kind of figure out…
Kaitlin: where the stopping spot is. Like how long will you try? And then—
Amanda: Yeah. And also that, you know, I think for us being acoustic, we’re not really appropriate to be in every venue and that’s okay.
Kaitlin: That’s okay.
Amanda: This is what kind of band we are.
Amanda: You know, we’re not a ‘fill a stadium.’ Yet. So I have one about taking up space.
Kaitlin: Say more.
Amanda: I came to a realization lately… recently, like we were saying like how all of our songs used to be really short.
Amanda: I think it was like some weird psychological thing that was just like “I need to say what I need to say and get it over with” instead of, like, singing a chorus the second time or third time. I just—
Kaitlin: Yeah, taking up time and space.
Amanda: —didn’t feel comfortable, yeah. So I just think that’s kinda neat.
Kaitlin: And so telling people like “feel free to take up space.”
Amanda: Yeah. You know, and still in—with wizard rock as well. Like-
Amanda: You know, we were saying like, we don’t really fit into the open mic scene so much, but we still did it when it was fun for us. But you know, after a while it was like “eh, we’re not being paid for this. So nevermind.” But yeah. Don’t be afraid to be paid for things and you know, take up space, take up money.
Amanda: Take time.
Amanda: I think that’s it.
Kaitlin: You’re like “paged dropped.”
Amanda: It’s true.
You came so prepared. That was amazing.
Kaitlin: That—that’s being in a band with a Ravenclaw. I mean, she is, Mermanda’s the best. I just have to say—
Amanda: Oh my goodness. Stop.
Kaitlin: I’m not going to stop! I would like to take this opportunity to say what an amazing artist you are and what an amazing partner you are to have in music.
Amanda: You’re an amazing bandmate as well. And yeah, she’s, she’s really the only person I’ve felt comfortable composing with and it’s magic.
Amanda: It really is magic
Kaitlin: It is magic. Music magic!
Amanda: So much magic!
So was that shout out written into your show notes for today or spontaneous?
Kaitlin: So I’m the more spontaneous side, if you haven’t figured that out yet. Amanda is usually planned and then I throw a wrench in it by not paying attention.
Well, Gryffindors. What are you going to do?
Kaitlin: That’s where I, where I think I lean more Gryffindor than Hufflepuff.
Kaitlin: If I was a bit more dependable, I would be on point with you. I just bring a sense of, y’know, wonder and anxiety.
Amanda: And dread.
Kaitlin: And dread!
Amanda: No, none of that. Joy. Spontaneity and confidence.
Kaitlin: Boldly in the wrong direction.
We did touch on this a little bit earlier, fairly extensively, but what are you working on now?
Amanda: Oh yeah. So we do have, you know, our fourth full length.
Amanda: This one’s called “The Couplets of Fire.” And so in between all of the songs, we have poetry to make it couplets, you know. I kind of wanted to take it a step further and make music behind it, but I’m mostly taking just kind of folk songs and then just kind of playing music behind the poems. So those are, those are fun. Just kind of fun little in-between tracks. And I don’t know, it’s up to so many songs now. And then plus with all those couplets, it’s going to be like a, you know, 26 track sort of thing.
Amanda: Which is why I would like a part two.
Amanda: I started writing this fatphobia one about—
Kaitlin: oh yeah—
Amanda: —the diet.
Kaitlin: “Grapefruit Quarter, Not What I Ordered.”
Kaitlin: Yeah. There’s, there’s been a lot in the works for a long time and Amanda’s been really awesome at holding space for Muggle Snuggle while I lived in this pregnancy/having a baby/the world shut down, trying to figure out how to make music and then coming back together.
Kaitlin: So there’s been a lot that you’ve, like, held. You have basically two albums, tons of things started—
Amanda: It’s like four…
Kaitlin: Okay, four albums. Amanda has 45 albums.
Amanda: I started writing stuff for the last one that we’re doing. Like, we know when we’re doing now.
Kaitlin: So I do need to preface with: years ago, we were driving to Philadelphia for performance. And we had such a long time in the car that we came up with what all of our albums would be, in order. We came up with each concept for the album years ago. So we’ve had years to sit on seven albums of idea and of content. And so…
Amanda: so now we have all of our, like, finished songs in a list. And then we have our ‘in the works’ songs and then some, I put like, italics, cause they’re semi-done.
Amanda: They just need this and that. And we have all of those coming and that’s kind of why I had to break off and do Mermanda stuff—
Kaitlin: Yeah, be—
Amanda: —because I just kept doing too much Muggle Snuggle.
Kaitlin: And I—if it’s fun, I say, go for it. But I think it was sad that I wasn’t able to be there with you and so you needed more outlets.
Kaitlin: And so you started creating even more amazing work.
No. it makes total sense. Amanda was making more music for you to sing, you were making another bandmate. I mean, you were both very busy on Muggle Snuggle projects.
Kaitlin: Oh, we did have our first rehearsal all together, Sidda was, like, enchanted with your accordion.
Amanda: Yeah. She—
Kaitlin: And she has little baby accordions that she plays.
Amanda: Yeah, she was really into it. She was trying to figure out which percussion would go best with the songs. Like I could see in her head, she’s like “how do I do this?”
Kaitlin: She’s trying to figure it out. Yeah.
Amanda: We did have, like, our first getting back together as a band and we made sure that Sidda was in it. It was great.
Kaitlin: It was a good moment.
Amanda: She also has her own Muggle Snuggle T-shirt.
Kaitlin: She does! She has her first band merch since we started screen printing this the summer. Cause we’re like “let’s start doing this.”
Amanda: Yeah. And she has her own band too, with her cousin, so…
Kaitlin: If you can call two one-year-olds smacking together any instrument they could find, man…
Amanda: I don’t know. Maybe in our future also we’ll have ‘manager and producer of—
Kaitlin: Oh yeah.
Amanda: —child wizard rock.”
Kaitlin: Yeah. Oh man.
Amanda: Oh! Speaking of—
Kaitlin: Next generation—
Amanda: We also want to do a Halloween kids’ album.
Kaitlin: Oh yeah.
Amanda: So that’s a thing that we’d love to do someday. I don’t know if we’ll get to it now.
Kaitlin: Not this year. Maybe. Who knows?
Amanda: We’ve got to have it ready for when Sidda is, like, singing and talking.
Kaitlin: Yeah. Right now she’s just “no,” “cars,” and…
Kaitlin: “Kitty.” Eventually she’ll have more, more of a repertoire for our music.
So I’ve lost the thread a little bit. What is it you’re working on, at the moment?
Kaitlin: What are we working on? What aren’t we working on?
Amanda: Well, I mean, we’re still doing the “The Couplets of Fire—”
Amanda: —that’s coming up, and then we’ll probably have a part two for that. And then someday, Halloween. And then also our fifth. No, I guess it will be the six by then…
Amanda: Um, full length.
Kaitlin: So we, we have several albums on the way that are sitting in wonderful computers that are just waiting to be released.
And Amanda, you’ve been doing your international creatures album and the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Jam. Are you doing more Mermanda? I think you said there’s going to be a second creatures.
Amanda: Yeah. Um, I haven’t done much on the mermaids for that part, but I’ve been doing research on the… I’m on land creatures now. There’s some, some wild stuff that you come across. You know, things that have more of a cultural influence than you would have expected. So there’s sometimes like a really fine line between really infringing upon somebody’s actual beliefs now and you know, their, like, weird things that happened in history that like really influenced, I don’t know, how people… like what they’re not allowed to say.
Kaitlin: There’s been much research.
Amanda: There’s much research, yes. Yeah. So there’s a lot of research still happening for that one. And then, the last one I’m going to be doing is the air creatures. So I don’t know, I kind of got to a point where I, I got a little bit stuck, but then we also had to rehearse for our one concert this year, so—
Kaitlin: Hey, we got a concert. that was exciting.
Amanda: Yeah. So I wanted to take a break with like, um, you know, putting too much pressure on myself to, to create, but they’re still in the works. And I also write music for the Kingkiller Chronicle books and I have so many things that are also in the works for that. And there’s a 15 minute song I still need to write and I only have about three minutes written of that…
Kaitlin: You know, give yourself, give yourself, you know, time. So yes. Working on everything.
Amanda: Mhm. Yeah.
Now, where exactly is the line drawn between ‘mythic creatures’ and ‘cryptids?’ Because I’ve been very disappointed in the lack of Florida Swamp Ape representation in popular culture.
Amanda: Oh, please recommend what you’d like me to include and I will put it in because I, I mean, I’m kind of up for anything.
For our final music break, how about “My Wand has Broken” by Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff?
That was Jeff & Maya Bohnhoff and “My Wand Has Broken” [lyrics], Anna Dardick with “The Metamorphmagus Song” [lyrics], the Gringotts Girls singing “Sailing on Past Azkaban” [lyrics] and The Dolly Shakes partying with “This Party is So Dead”.
Here’s the last bit of the conversation with Muggle Snuggle.
Well, thank you so much for talking with me today. This has been incredible and easily going to be my longest episode yet because I don’t know what I’m going to cut. It’s all been fun.
Amanda: Thanks for having us. I was very delighted to, you know, to be on this podcast because I love it.
Y’all are truly amazing. Where can WZRD Radio listeners find you all, both has Muggle Snuggle and Mermanda?
Amanda: Yeah, Bandcamp for both [Muggle Snuggle] [Mermanda], Muggle Snuggle has YouTube… stuff that we haven’t updated that for a very long time. We’re on Twitter as well, but mostly for likes and retweets and, um…
Amanda: Mostly Instagram. Yeah. I mean, it’s mostly all just under Muggle Snuggle or some form of that .
Kaitlin: Mermanda music’s there on Instagram as well.
Amanda: Yep, Mermanda. And then I also have, uh, my old stuff that I did under First Person Singular.
Kaitlin: Oh, that’s good stuff!
Amanda: Thank you.
Kaitlin: I’m going to say deep cuts. You need to go… Yeah. You need to some origin story. If you want to know where Muggle Snuggle started, listen to First Person Singular.
Amanda: Thank you.
Kaitlin: That yellow album, right?
Amanda: “that yellow album.”
Kaitlin: I don’t know the name. I just know it was a yellow album art.
Amanda: “This May Not Be Punk Rock, But I Sure As Hell Am,” that one?
Kaitlin: There it is. Yeah.
Congratulations to Susannah, the first person to guess Episode 36’s theme of “the Slytherspouse’s faves.” I know it was super tough, so extra kudos on your cleverness!
Do you love WZRD Radio and want to support it? The Patreon, at Patreon.com/WZRDRadioPod, has just one two-dollar-a-month tier, which gets you everything from early access to the ability to choose which songs I play. It also supports the Yes All Witches grant, which gives microgrants to queer and BIPoC wizard rockers.
And don’t forget to support our wizard rockers! You can find links to the songs you heard today in the transcript at WZRDRadioPod.com. Click one and buy it so our wrockers know you love their work. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.
If you’ve got a minute, drop by social media and say hi! I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok at WZRDRadioPod, talking about fandom and, well, wizard rock mostly. If you’re not a social media magician (or it’s all down again) you can leave a comment on the transcript or email me at WZRDRadioPod@gmail.com. And apparently reviews are good for a podcast, so feel free to leave some words about the show on Apple Podcasts or Facebook. Ideally positive ones, but just speak your truth.
And now, here’s Muggle Snuggle!
Amanda: We’re gonna play a song “The Modest Witch.” We had the—the lyrics that were from “Fantastic Beasts” and then—
Kaitlin: Mhm. And then we added on—
Amanda: Added onto it, yeah. Actually, this is Kaitlin’s first song that she—she actually, like, picked the cords out, she made this on accordion—
Kaitlin: Oh! On the accordion, yeah!
Kaitlin: I was very into…yeah! Mhm.
Amanda: Yeah, she made the chords and then I was like “I got some lyrics for that.”
“The Modest Witch” plays.
A special shout-out to Kat for transcribing and translating the French for me.