Hello magical friends, and welcome to episode 42 of WZRD Radio! I’m your hostwitch Bess, and I am so hype for today’s interview! Get it? Hype?
I’ll be talking with Aguamenti, wizard rock’s very own hype wix!
Let’s get the energy up with MC Kreacher and “My Precious.”
“My Precious” was a special request from my excellent patron Geoff. He wants Melanie to know that “you are precious to me, to Julianna, and all the people who love you most (especially your husband with the deep, mighty voice).”
And now let’s get to the interview.
Welcome to the show, Ash. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Ash: Yeah, it’s a blast. I’m excited.
Me too. I’m so stoked we finally get to talk. You are a newer member of the wrock community from the renaissance rather than the original era. Can you tell me a little bit about your history with wizard rock?
Ash: Oh man. Um, as a teenager and probably like, 04-05, I found probably—I think it was the Parselmouths, on MySpace and kind of launched into everything. I tried writing wizard rock then, but just some things happened with family and kind of couldn’t do it anymore. But yeah, I… I’ve been around and following wizard rock since almost the beginning. Took a few years off, came back and now I’m an artist and recording and that’s a lot of fun.
What made you take the plunge to start recording?
Ash: Actually my lovely wife. She said “if you like doing it, do it.” So I did and I took the jump and I love it. It’s fun.
Is she a wizard rocker as well?
Ash: <laugh> no. Um, she is definitely not a Harry Potter fan at all. I tried to get her to read the books. She got almost halfway through Goblet of Fire. So at least she read three of ’em? But she was probably one of the first people that was like “Hey, the stuff with JKR is a little iffy.” So yeah, she’s not,–she’s not a big fan, but appreciates where I come from with it.
How Airplanes Fly has the same problem; his wife isn’t a fan either. You could start a support group.
Ash: There we go. Maybe that’s what we need to do. <laugh>
So why did you choose Aguamenti as your stage name?
Ash: Okay. <laugh> So… I didn’t have a name and I was writing a song—and I still have it. I haven’t recorded it. I have it beat made and everything for it—but it’s called “Pickup Lines” and it’s all Harry Potter pickup lines and I really wanna record it. And I was like “oh, like, aguamenti,”—like to get a little dirty—“it makes you wet.” And so… that’s where it comes from.
I hope we get to hear that one day.
Ash: Yeah, maybe…maybe a hidden track? Maybe someday.
That would be fun.
Ash: Definitely. I… this album <laugh> that I’m trying to make is… I’ve taken songs off, I’ve put songs on and then I’m like “maybe I’ll just throw that one in as a hidden track.” So… maybe.
I can’t wait to hear more about that a little bit later, but I don’t wanna do any spoilers, so—
Ash: Yeah, yeah.
I’m gonna resist the urge to ask. You mentioned the, um, JKR fully coming into her transphobia. Is that affecting your relationship with the genre? The fandom?
Ash: Definitely. I go back and forth, you know. Like, I love Harry Potter and I love the fandom that it’s created, especially wizard rock, ut’s so supportive. But it kind of puts me in, like, a rock and a hard place. It’s like “I love this thing, it was so part of my life.” Like, I’ve read those books 80 plus times each, each one of ’em and it was growing up as they were being published. So I was, like, a part of that waiting and period to get ’em and so there’s that excitement that’s attached to it… But then there’s the transphobia and the bigotry and it just kind of taints it a little bit. I haven’t picked up one of my books since, unless I’m referencing it for something. But to sit down and enjoy it’s, it’s tough to do nowadays, just because she’s tainted so much with her, her opinion.
What keeps you here? What makes you stay?
Ash: Uh, fandom. Fandom. Uh, the wizard rock community, definitely. Man. I just have such a big love for it. And, you know, there’s a point in time where it’s no longer hers and it’s ours. Like, we built the fandom. I’ve said that plenty of times, like, I’ve helped build the fandom. I remember, you know, like role playing on forums when those were a thing back in the day and ,like, Warner Brothers, old Harry Potter site that had like little mini games on it and…all that, that kind of thing. And so there’s like… there’s nostalgia attached to it for me. And it was my safe place growing up. I grew up in a pretty conservative Christian household and uh, there were a lot of things I wasn’t allowed to be. And so I got to do that within the Harry Potter books and got to kind of learn a little bit more about the world.
And even though JKR is ruining it a little bit, but <laugh>, it—it helped me on my journey to like find out who I was and who I am and who I will be, if I will, you know, quote one of my songs. So, yeah. It just… to create a support group, a supportive place in fandom that fans can come that isn’t tainted—necessarily tainted—from her bigotry and her transphobia and creating a safe space of like “yeah, I’m non-binary I’m I consider myself trans, like, I’m still a fan, you can be too” and creating that space for others to enjoy.
For me, it’s more important than ever. If you wanna be a Harry Potter fan, you have to be vocally an activist at this point.
Ash: Yeah, definitely. I completely agree with that.
So to, to bring it back a little, I know that’s a, a tough subject for everyone—
—my, my patrons had a few questions for you—
Ash: Let’s do it.
—starting with “which of the book characters would you most want to freestyle with?”
Ash: I think the Weasley twins would be a lot of fun. I also thought that Aragog would be pretty interesting. He’s pretty intelligent being, sees things that normal people don’t, in the Forbidden Forest and I thought that would probably be something, a little flavor to bring into something. But I think the Weasley twins for sure. Fred and George would be, would be fun. <laugh>
Enthusiastic <laugh> for sure.
Aragog is a fascinating answer.
Ash: Yeah. <laugh>
I wonder if the clicky Acromantula language lends itself really well to rhythm and flow?
Ash: You know, I kind of wondered that the same, like I listened to a lot of like German rap and French rap and while I don’t understand any of the language cuz I don’t speak it, it’s really interesting how it like coincide—like how, how they rap is so interesting in their other language. So I could just see it being similar with the, like, the clicky noises, but… who knows? I think he would be an interesting one though. He sees things that we don’t see.
My patrons were also curious who would make the hottest mixtape?
Ash: Of characters? Oh, I’d probably say Blaise Zabini.
How do you reckon?
Ash: Uh, you know, he’s kind of, like, cool-calm-collected, kind of keeps to himself for the most part and I could just see him like busting out something really, really cool.
Also I am so far out of my genre depth here. These words mean almost nothing to me.
I’m so sorry. <laugh>
Ash: It’s all good. You know, it’s like, uh, I don’t know who I asked… I think it was… I can’t remember who it was. I’m like “yeah, you wanna like… I wanna try and do a wizard, rock cipher with a whole bunch of bands.” And so it’s like you take 16 bars and you freestyle over a beat and then you pass it along to somebody else to freestyle. And so I thought that would be fun, but like—
Like round robin writing?
Ash: Almost, yeah. Yeah.
Ash: Yeah. There, you you’re getting it. You got it. So yeah, something similar to that’d be fun.
Okay. So if you got a group of characters together to do a cipher, who would you pick?
Ash: Ooh… I’d say Luna Lovegood cuz that would be fun. I think Gilderoy Lockhart would be interesting cuz he’d make it all about him and that would be fun or he’d just, you know, have somebody else write it for him and then little memory charm. It’s no biggie. Uh, Luna, Gilroy… I would love to hear Molly Weasley. Yeah, that would be fun. And like Hagrid. That’d be a fun one too.
Molly’s a Celestina Warbeck, jazz fan. I can’t imagine what that would sound like.
Ash: You know, hip hop and rap has roots in jazz, so she’d fit right in.
You make a compelling argument.
Ash: <laugh> I try, I try.
<laugh> To continue the theme: muggle rappers. Who would give wizard rap the energy it deserved? Who would do it best?
Ash: Oh… Uh, have to say Mack Miller. He’s one of my favorite rappers. He’s just got this sense of style and, like, rhythm and flow and his words and just, like, his storytelling is so masterful. Then… I think Del the Funky Homosapien, he puts on a really good show. And if no one knows who Del the Funky Homosapien, he is—does all the rapping on the Gorillaz albums. So like the rapping on the track “Clint Eastwood” by the Gorillaz, he does that. But I seen him live before and he is just like a primo performer.
And you think he’d lean into the Harry Potter themeing?
Ash: Oh yeah. I definitely think he would. I… he’s just this, this really creative individual and there are some songs that are really funny that he has, some that are like really serious and kind of out there and he just is kind of a weird dude, but I think he would really encompass it. And then the other rapper I could think of, he’s like a, not a super big name rapper. His name is Lausse the Cat. He’s a British rapper and he already raps from a persona of a street cat. And so I think that would be really interesting to see how that would work out
Too bad he wasn’t already in wizard rock for the, uh, cat themed album Totally Knuts put together.
Ash: Right? I, uh, definitely have taken some inspiration and wanna do like a themed album, something like that through like Crookshanks’s eyes or something. It’d be fun.
Crookshanks the Rapper.
Ash: I mean, he’s gone off with Sirius… He does all his other things he wants to do. I think it would be a, a fun time.
I think in fandom he’s always portrayed as very sarcastic.
Ash: Oh yeah.
That would be a lot of fun. <laugh>
Ash: Yeah, I definitely think so.
We’re going to pause here for some music, but don’t go away! I’ll be right back with more Aguamenti. Here’s Mudblud with “She’s a Keeper.”
Now back to the interview!
So tell me a little bit about your song creation process. You are fairly unique in wizard rock at the time.
Ash: So sometimes I get, like, little snippets of things, like, a couple lyrics pop into my head and I’m like “oh, let me like put that in my phone, come back to it.” Or I’ll make a beat and I’m like “oh, I know exactly what I wanna say on this. I know what I’m going for.” But it’s kind of a little random for me, just like inspiration hits when inspiration hits and I take it when I can get it. <laugh>
You sometimes post on Twitter and Instagram snippets of like the backing tracks you’re creating. How… how? <laugh>
Ash: <laugh> So a lot of the time, the beats I—that I create in the backing tracks I create, I do just on my phone, like on my break or my lunch at work. And then they get like more fledged out, fully fledged out as I’m like “oh, I like really want this particular sound to come through.” And… I don’t know. I just like, I like to play around with my GarageBand on my, on my phone and on my iPad. And it’s just kind of like, whatever sounds good I’m gonna just create. There’s not like really a process with the beat making, unless I’m really specific. For instance, when I covered R.A.B. from Totally Knuts, I had a really specific beat I wanted to use for that and tweaked it a little bit and… really depends on how I wanna use it. And if I have a specific idea, get a little bit more creative, but otherwise it’s just like stuff that sounds good in my head. And I’m like “okay, let’s do it and record it.”
So you have a GarageBand app on your phone?
Ash: Yeah. Yeah.
It sounds like the, the beats and the lyrics are completely disconnected from each other.
Ash: Sometimes. It, it really depends. Like for instance, on the Sampler… I don’t even remember which one it was. I think it was the “Our House” which I think was last year’s? I can’t remember. My brain…
Might have been 2019?
Ash: —something like that. Well we’ll fi—we’ll figure it out.
It’s fine. It’s whatever. You can, you can find it at wizardrock.bandcamp.com and tell us how we got it wrong.
Ash: Exactly. Please, tell me how I got it wrong. Um. <laugh> But the song “I’m Magic,” like, I had a particular vibe I was going for, like, I wanted something that was really upbeat—and especially in response to JKR’s transphobia—wanted something that was… you know, we’re all angry and there’s varying songs on that Sampler that are like angry and I wanted something that was more of like “I’m gonna celebrate me in this and I don’t care what she says.” And so I was trying to go with like a really summery, happy type beat.
That makes a lot of sense to me because by nature, I am drawn to happy-summery-upbeat and I’ve been listening to “I’m Magic” a lot lately. <laugh>
Ash: Well, I’m glad to hear it.
There’s something about the line “those books made me hella gay” that just like keeps drawing me back to listen to it again and again. You deliver it with such zest.
Ash: It’s—it’s true. They did make me hella gay. On top of like other things, but that was the main, the main thing.
So for other folks who might be wanting to get into the wizard rap game, what would you tell them? Download garage band?
Ash: Uh, yeah, download GarageBand or any kind of other beat making software. There’s a lot out there. And just, even if you don’t make beats, you can find things that you can use for free like on SoundCloud or even on YouTube. Sometimes—I don’t like really recommend that, but to get started to like understand how writing lyrics can go on the beat, the cadence and things like that is really helpful. And then just start writing. Before I started writing raps, I was writing poetry and that’s really where it starts out. Been writing poetry since forever. <laugh>
What encouragement would you give someone who maybe had, did some writing, maybe was thinking about recording, maybe wasn’t very confident in putting it out there?
Ash: I say “just do it.” You know I, I talk a big game and I have a lot of confidence, but I’m really actually a pretty shy person. And, like, if you were to meet me on the street, I’m just like really quiet, really like ‘fly on the wall’ kind of person like to watch people watch things. But yeah, just do it, just make it because if you think it’s bad, somebody’s gonna love it. With wizard rock there isn’t really a ‘bad’ song. We’re very DIY. And I really like that. And so, yeah, just do it, you know? even if you don’t publish it publicly, but you want somebody to hear it, send it to them and see what their opinion is and go—just go for it. I think that’s the best advice I could give.
Yeah. I think the best thing that the deGeorges gave wizard rock was that punk, DIY ethos, where nothing was polished, it was just, you know, two guys who mostly knew how to play a guitar just having fun.
Ash: Yeah. I definitely agree. Just definitely have fun with it. That’s what it’s about.
Could they send you their bars?
Ash: Hell yeah.
Could someone start a rap beef?
Ash: Ooh, I’m not gonna do it. <laugh>
We need someone to step up. Challenge Aguamenti! Reach higher heights.
Ash: Maybe that’s what we need is like a battle album. Like a compilation of just artists battling each other and people can vote.
Oh, that would be so much fun.
Ash: Yeah, it would be.
I hope we get lots more rappers now and make this happen.
Ash: Yeah, I, it would be, uh, nice not to be the one of the lo—the lone stars <laugh> in wizard rock. I, I love seeing what people create. And so it’d be cool to see more.
So you, as we mentioned, have been teasing a bit, but you’re working on a lot of stuff these days. What do you have? What’s coming up?
Ash: As you know, cuz I’ve sent you a couple things, uh, I’m working on my album. I had to take a break for a little bit working on it, just for mental health reasons. And now that my mental health is getting back up to track, I am feeling more creative than ever. I am, like, rerecording some songs, I’ve taken songs I wanted to be on the album now off the album to replace them with things that I’m more happy with. Yeah. I’m just really excited. I don’t necessarily have an album name yet, but I’m, I’m leaning towards Hype House. That’s kind of what I’m leaning towards and yeah. I’m, I’m really excited to release it when it, when it’s all finished.
Do you have an end date in mind? Maybe this year, maybe next year?
Ash: Definitely this year. I’m hoping spring.
Ash: Not very far off. Only a couple months.
Yeah. And y’all, as they did say, I have heard some of this in advance and it’s really good.
Ash: It’s it’s got me excited.
So the songs you’re pulling off, are you gonna release them as singles or save them for another album?
Ash: Uh, probably release ’em as singles or like, you know, on a compilation type album, things like that. They’ll get released eventually, but they just needed a little polishing.
Comps do seem to be making a comeback as a, a main way to release wizard rock.
Ash: Yeah. I like being on a album with a whole bunch of different kinds of music and then you listen to like, <laugh> “Expecto My Fist” and then, you know, Dots and Lines and it’s super chill and then there’s me and then there’s like a bunch of other people… it’s so interesting to see what people come up with and how it’s expressed. I really dig it.
Do you think you’ll be doing the Sampler again this year?
It’s time for our final music break, beginning with The Vanishing Cabinet and “The Last Marauder.”
Here’s the last of the interview with Aguamenti.
Thank you so much for chatting with me today.
Ash: Yeah, no problem. I had a blast.
Me too. I have learned a lot <laugh> and I hope that wizard rappers become a slightly less rare and precious resource.
Ash: And you know, I kind of hope more wizard rockers brand into it who are already established as wizard rockers. I think that would be really cool to see. I know, uh, TK has the like wizard rock swap that they wanna do. And that would be interesting to see some people really switch it up.
Where can WZRD listeners find you online?
Ash: You can find me on BandCamp at Aguamenti.BandCamp.com. I have a couple songs up there, but most of my stuff is like on the Wizard Rock Sampler or other compilation albums… Man, there’s there’s a lot that I’m on when I think about it. There’s couple Samplers, the Compilation Club, the Trans Wrock compilation… Yeah. I’m also on Twitter at AguamentiWrock. Instagram is the same, same handle. And I believe Facebook is the same handle. I, uh, tend to spend most of my time on Twitter or even in the, the wizard rock discord. So find me there.
Thank you, magical friends, for being here with us!
Congratulations to Jennifer, the first patron and Zoe, the first non-patron, to guess episode 41’s theme of “first wizard rock songs.” To misquote Zoe, how incredible were those beginnings? Those were the last Cruciatus Curse download codes, so next episode keep your ears open for something new!
If you want more WZRD Radio, then you want the website, WZRDRadioPod.com. Once there you can find the Patreon (two muggle dollars a month!), the 24-hour radio station, and the merch shop where you can pick up a “wizard rock lyrics” notebook.
If you’re a social media fan, you can find your hostwitch on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. If you’re not a social media fan, you can still contact me via email at WZRDRadioPod@gmail.com or leave a comment on the transcript.
And now, magical friends, here’s Aguamenti!
Ash: All right, well here’s this it’s called R.A.B. It’s a cover of Totally Knuts and it’s called “the Overflow Remix.”
“R.A.B. the Overflow Remix” plays.