Hello magical friends! Especially Kayde, WZRD’s new patron, whose support lets me do these interviews! (Hi Kayde!)
This is WZRD’s FIFTIETH episode! Can you believe it? It’s lucky I booked such a fabulous guest to help me celebrate. I can’t imagine a more glamorous interviewee than Luna (not) Lovegood. Have you seen those music videos?
But, of course, what’s a celebration without a little music?
This is Craic Boi Mental and “Transphobe Rowling.”
And now, here’s Luna!
Welcome to the show. Luna of Luna (not) Lovegood.
I just realized that this is the 50th episode of WZRD.
Luna: What? Oh my gosh! Well, congratulations.
Thank you. And, uh, thank you for helping celebrate by coming on.
Luna: Of course, I’m so excited to be here. I feel like it’s, it’s such an honor. I feel, like, blessed. Like, oh my goodness. I’m in. I’m officially, like, this is my knighting. <laugh>
Oh my gosh. <laugh> I have never considered myself that noble I’ll have to reconsider now.
Luna: Yes. Of course, of course.
Now, I believe that you are newer to wizard rock. I’m not sure you were there for the early 2000s. What got you interested?
Luna: To be honest, it was just my like post-series funk. Like when you finish something and you’re just like “I don’t know what to do with, with my existence right now.” Like you go through… especially with, with, uh, the Harry Potter books. Just, I had never read anything like it and I was in music school when I started writing the album and I was kind of just like—started writing music for it. And I was like “is there a thing for this? Do people do this?” I was like “there’s no way I’m the only person who—who’s writing these songs like this.” And I, I went on a bit of a Google spree and found a bunch of music, um, on YouTube and like Harry and the Potters and, and the Moaning Myrtles. And I was like, okay, so I’m not alone here. This is good. I can carry on with this. And that was kind of how I even knew that wizard rock was a thing.
So despite being in the birthplace of wizard rock you’d somehow never come across the, the library shows or OWLFest or anything?
Luna: No. I mean, I think that’s also because I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was about 17 and by that time I was just heading into college and I was, everything had, had kind of transitioned for me very fast. Like I felt like before the age of 17 I wasn’t really, like, very aware of Harry Potter. Like I knew, obviously, that it was a book series and, and, and very, very popular. But when I tell you, I was like very out of touch with so much of the fandom culture… Like, I really had no concept of how wild and awesome, like, everybody was. And is. But, um, I feel like I, I only just found out all this new information now, like after I, I put the music out, um, that’s when I kind of was like “oh my God, look at this whole other world of people who are doing amazing things every day.” But yeah, no, I had no idea. <laugh> I had no idea.
Well, welcome to the rabbit hole.
Luna: Thank you. Thank you. It is great to be here. <laugh>
So I always ask this just because I’m curious your band name, you chose Luna (not) Lovegood.
How did that come to be?
Luna: Um, well, Luna is my, my actual name. That is the name my lovely mother bestowed upon me and I quite like it. So, um, I wanted to continue to release music as Luna cuz that’s who I am. Um, but considering that I was writing for such a Potter heavy album, I, I wanted to play to a theme. I didn’t wanna be Luna Lovegood, cuz I’m not Luna Lovegood. And I, and I love, uh, the character and everything, but I was like “it’s just not me.” And I’m like “I’m Luna, but Luna not Lovegood,” you know, and I, that was kind of like my, my little quirky thing of like, cause I also got called that a lot as a kid. Like, and I, because I hadn’t read the books, um, people would be like “Luna, like Luna Lovegood.” I’m like “I have no idea who you’re talking about. I am not Luna Lovegood.” And so that to me was like a play on that.
We’ve talked around your album a little bit, Songs of a Slytherin” and after it came out—and it’s fabulous…
Luna: Thank you.
You made several music videos.
Luna: I did.
What made you decide to do that? Do you make music videos for all of your songs?
Luna: Um, I don’t make music videos for all of my songs though I wish I could. Um, my first album that I ever dropped was a visual album so we did make music videos for all of the songs. And that was like my favorite thing ever. Um, and I actually wasn’t sure if I was gonna release music videos for Songs of a Slytherin, because I, I wasn’t sure about like my budget and like, you know, that, that kind of thing brings a team. And I actually had a friend who… he really doesn’t have that much experience with Harry Potter, any of its like fandom or even with the books, he read the first three and he was like “no, I never really read them,” but he is a filmmaker and he listened to the album and he loved it. And he was like “I like have so many like visions of certain things, uh, for, for specific songs.”
And I was like “well, if you’ve got the vision and you wanna do it, let’s make it happen.” So it was really like very artist collaboration, like, you know, pure like two artists just going and, and doing what they do best, you know, he did film and I did music and it kind of just came about that way. And I was like “all right, well, you picked the songs that you like since you’re the one who came up with the idea.” Um, that’s what I told him. And he was like “great.” So, uh, he picked “Horcruxed Heart” and “Occlumency” and I was like “great. I’ll… we’ll make it happen.” And that’s really what happened. It was a team of three. Um, we had our camera person, our editor and our, our video guy… wait, I already said that camera person, editor and director. So there we go. And so that was before of us, including myself. Um, and it was great. It was really, really fun to put it all together.
They’re very, like, luxurious. There’s pearls and it’s very fancy and rich. What was the process like? How did they happen?
Luna: I promise you, it looks so much fancier than it was. Um, the, for starters it was mid-February and I was freezing and everything. So it’s, it’s some miracle that I wasn’t totally shivering in all of the shots. So the costuming thing, I had a wig… all the wigs that I had were, were like old wigs that I had bought. And my friend had opened a like wig styling business. We basically grew up together, um, and we went to school together and she was like “I can fix your wigs. I can style them up.” And you know, so she hooked me up and she actually died the green wig that I wore in the “Horcruxed Heart” video. And the other one was like the pink wig that I wore in the “Occlumency” video was like from Amazon and didn’t look anything like it did in the video, like, she transformed it, um, and she did such an excellent job.
And so that was kind of like the basis of my styling and everything else was just like “here’s a black shirt that I can make look really fancy if I put this necklace that I have” and we kind of put together like an entire look just off of things that were in my closet and, and the power of, um, you know, friendship and, and having people who, who have a lot of skills, whether it’s styling or, or just in the camera work, you know, and making it happen, um, that way. The actual video process… I mean, we shot outside for a lot of things, which is free, which is nice. Um, and then the “Occlumency” video was actually done in a gym owned by the director’s friend. And so we were in like a little room in a gym that had like the, the boxing… what’s it called? That like boxing, the thing you punch when you’re boxing?
Luna: The punching bag, that’s it! <laugh> Words. uh, the punching bag. It was like in the middle of the room and we had to move it. And so we were on like this… it was kind of like a dirty, gross gym floor, but, you know, we made it happen. And I had bought a <laugh> like disco ball ornament prop thing during Christmas time. It was like a dollar. And I went and took out with like a fork, all of the little gems off the disco ball and put them all over the floor for the “Occlumemcy” video. So all those little sparkles is just like little pieces of a disco ball. Which was kind of, kind of dangerous, do not recommend that anybody tries that cause, uh, a lot of, lot of little cuts there, but, uh, it like it added to the effect of, of the, the setting.
I guess you must have learned a lot through this process.
Luna: I mean, I did, I did. I feel like, uh, you always do. I mean, the first thing is that, um, I’d never thought I could, um, be out in the cold for so long. <laugh> Be out in the cold for so long for the sake of the craft, but we, we did I. And you learn a lot about, um, communication styles between artists, you know? Collaborations are always like not tricky, but there’s always gonna be some sort of obstacle when you’re working, whether it’s artistic differences or just the timeline, or just, you know “oh, I was thinking maybe we could do this instead of that” or “if you put your hair like this or like that.” And I feel like you learn a lot about how to work in a group, which is always a wonderful thing because that’s never—you can’t escape that as you go in life.
It, it was nice. Like it was nice to work with other artists who I also consider my friends, you know, which is, that’s a totally different dynamic as well, working with people that you, you know very well and care about. And, um, you know, wanna see them succeed as much as you. Like when I wear a wig that my friends styled, like that reflects on her business as well, where she’s like “this is my work, you know, on display.” And that’s always really nice cuz you know that while she’s sharing her wig, she’s also sharing my song. And when I share my song, we’re displaying her wig and, and it’s, it’s—that’s really fun. And, and you learn a lot about that as you, you go through, I think.
How long did the whole thing take?
Luna: Um, let’s see. Okay. We started recording in mid-February even a little bit before that end of January to mid-February is when we kind of did some video shoots and then we edited for like a good couple months. I felt like I was trying to get it out even sooner than when we released it. Um, and I think we released it around… end of March, April. So I wanna say the whole process probably took— it didn’t take more than three months, but for me that’s like a long time. I was like “we can get this done in two weeks,” which we probably could have, but you know, again, when you’re working with other people it’s not on your time, it’s on, you know, the time that you can get it done. And I think that was kind of like the fastest turnaround we could get. So yeah, I would say from when we started shooting to when the actual release happened probably three months and then even before we started shooting, we were planning everything for a good month before that.
That’s pretty amazing. I guess you can’t rush perfection, as they say.
Luna: And even then, I mean, not perfection, it’s just, you know, like there are things that I’m like “eh, we could have done that. We could have done this.” It’s like, you’re never satisfied, but sometimes there’s just a point where you have to like let it happen. But I’m also a very, um, process oriented kind of person. Like I enjoy being in the creative process as much as I love the release of things and having a final product. Like I will sit in an editing room for as long as it takes until like, I feel content if that takes a year or if that takes a day, I’m not gonna rush that. So I, I do enjoy like, you know, sitting in that, in that creative space.
Well now I’m going to make it your job to critique—imaginary—other people’s creative space.
My patrons want to know if the wizarding world had a song contest, a la maybe Eurovision or American Idol, what would it be called and who do you think would win?
Luna: Okay. I don’t know… I’d have to come up with like a, a quirky name that has like some Latin roots in it, right? Cuz that would be, that would be fair. But like, I feel like the first thing that would come to my mind is like… there’s definitely gonna be like a band or a group called like The Mandrake’s Cry, which I would live for. And I would love to see it be like, I guess this is like a little bit of a cheat, cuz it’s not like a single person, but I would put a girl group together. I’d put Lavender Brown, Cho Chang… lowkey I’d put Pansy in there too. And just like have a crazy, like… I would love to see them like write diss tracks and like metal tracks about like everyone who played them throughout their time in Hogwarts and being like, you know, like… I don’t know. I imagine like some sort of girl group kind of like a, like an X Factor, like “you, you, you we’re gonna put you together and make you a group.” Like I feel like that’s, that’s what I would do. That’s not, that’s not an answer to the first part of your question, but I think that girl group, the Mandrake’s Cry would definitely win it all.
That’s fabulous. I have never seen X Factor I’m only familiar with a much older show K-pop Star.
—where they do the similar thing, put people together in groups.
Luna: Yeah. Nice. Nice. Yeah. I think, I think that’s how that would, that would turn out, at least in my brain. <laugh>
What would your label be if you’re, you know, the judge who’s collecting these people?
Luna: Ooh. Um, my wizarding music label… ?ike the name of it or, or like what it would be like what kind of artists?
All of it. Design the whole business.
Luna: I think we could do something like, I mean, playing to the Luna (not) Lovegood… Like I would do like a, a Lovegood… like Lovegood Records, which is also kind of like, I feel like it would start with like “Lovegood Records…” I get some R and B vibes. Like we’d love to hear some R and B rock going on. And like, I would probably have like a lot of, in addition to that, a lot of, I would try to play to the Olivia Rodrigos of the wizarding world who could write me a nice heartbreak album and you know, everybody who’s coming outta the Lovegood Records is, is loving good, loving hard, and putting it all in their music. <laugh>
And then there’s your girl metal group.
Luna: I, you could put them in there! Cuz the pain. I bet Lavender Brown has a lot to say. She been through it. I feel like she can drop a crazy version of “Sour.” The wizarding rock version of that. I would love to see that TBH.
Let’s pause here for some music.
Here’s “Ice Cold Skin (Draco’s Song) by Rophelia.
Let’s get back to the interview!
How would you describe your music?
Luna: Ooh. I mean, on a technical level, I would probably say like musical theater meets pop meets like the generic singer-songwriter, whatever that means. And then I think, I would say like for me as an artist… that everything I drop is a, like a time capsule. It’s like really an encapsulation of, of the, the things, whether—that I’m going through or feeling or experiencing in that time. And once the album gets released, it’s like that—that’s it. It’s just that. That… this is the, that one moment in time where I was feeling like this and this is the body of work that kind of encompasses all of that. Um, and then kind of like going into the next project, it’s like a whole different thing, you know, buried in the ground in a whole different way in a, with different objects, with different themes. And, and I would probably say that. Like different time capsules.
Is that what you would want… what you want listeners to take from it when they hear an album? Is it like a nostalgia unearthed?
Luna: Kinda. I mean like maybe not for sound, but always for lyrics. Like for example, my first album, which is not a wrock album, but the first album that I dropped was kind of like a… like about adolescence and, and, and growing up. And I feel like even lyrically, where my material was, was kind of a reflection of that and with the Songs of a Slytherin album, like that was really about that time period when I was really like “oh my God, like I, I read this, I experienced this and this is exactly how I felt and these are the characters that I, that I really, you know, wanted to channel.” And that’s where my headspace was and that’s what I wanted to show, you know, through the music.
Now that you’ve done it, released a whole album, music videos, general acclaim, been on comps…
Luna: Oh my goodness. <laugh>
What is your most solid advice for new wrockers?
Luna: I say have fun and don’t, uh, fight against your instincts. Like whatever you feel like you wanna write about, just go for it. Like even if it feels ridiculous or even if you’re looking for, for something that okay, like “is there anything like this already?” Like, just go with your gut, you know? If you wanna write a song about X, Y, and Z, like just go there, just go there. Have fun with it. And enjoy the process while you’re in it, because I feel like that’s half of the fun is like “how can I make, you know, this stick to a theme?” Or “how can I kind of like, how can I use these specific words and, and put them in a clever way?” Like that writing process, especially when you’re writing within a theme is so fun and it really tickles your brain, uh, in the creative side of your brain in a nice way. So I’d say if, if you’re doing it for the first time, like just don’t stand in your own way, have fun and, and let loose. Anything goes.
I also like to get a really solid piece of technical advice, you know?
Music warmups or… recording technology.
Luna: Um, warmups are key to everything. Everything, everything, everything. Do them all the time. All the time! I, I always am advocating for the warmups. Even if you don’t think you need to do it today, do it today. And use your ears. Like if you hear something and you’re like “I think it needs X, Y, and Z” or “I think we can pull back from this,” like really trust your, your musical ear to guide you through, through your material. Like as much as you can get technically correct about, you know, certain chord changes or certain melodies, or I wanna do this, or I wanna do that, like really listen to your intuitive, like musical ear, cuz that will never steer you wrong. You know? And I think that that makes for some of the best music is people that are really using their gut instincts in music to, to create their work.
Do you have a, a favorite warmup? Is there a place people should go to get the best ones?
Luna: Honestly, if you… so I have like a hundred thousand warmups in my brain because of how many musical spaces—like I did choir when I grew up and that was a different set of warmups than the things that I did when I was in college doing solo work. Um, and then… but if you go online and look up Cheryl Porter, vocal coach, she has excellent warmups. They’re so hard, but they’re so great. They keep you, um… they make you want to work harder. Like you’re like “okay, if I couldn’t get it today, I can come back tomorrow and do the same video until I get it right.” And she has like, she’ll do, she’ll have like 10 minute warmup videos or she’ll do like, here’s one warmup and you, you, uh, and it’ll be like a two minute video, but she’ll teach you how it goes. And you can take it as high or as low, like scale wise that you wanna go, the Cheryl Porter on YouTube. She’s brilliant. She really knows what she’s doing. Um, and it’s great when you are kind of like… if you don’t know how to guide yourself through warmups, she guides you through it. And she’s like such a positive soul. Like, and I don’t know her! Like, I just think she’s great. Like, I, I, I feel like she, she’s doing great work for singers on the internet <laugh> and beyond.
All right magical friends, I’ll include a link to where you can find Cheryl Porter.
What is next for Luna (not) Lovegood. What are you working on?
Luna: Um, I mean, for Luna (not) Lovegood… I don’t know. I mean, I’m kind of like… I’m writing. I’m writing a lot. Um, for me right now, I’m, I’m actually in a show. I’m in a, um, I’m gonna start rehearsals really soon for a show. That’s going up in Boston. It’s called “Late.” Um, we have an Instagram page. I think it’s called Late the Musical. It just started so there’s no content on it yet. <laugh> But we start rehearsals this Saturday so we’ll probably start there. Um, it’s showing in Boston. Um, I have no idea what theater… I, they gave this the information, but I don’t remember <laugh> um, but June 23rd to the 26th, um, if you follow me on social media though, I will be posting about it quite a bit. And it’s a very beautiful story. Um, it’s pretty intense. It’s nine students in the lives of nine students, the day of a school shooting, but they don’t know it.
Um, and it’s very intense, but it’s very beautiful. And, and I know a lot of the creative writers behind it and I’m in it. I’m, I’m very lucky to be, to be in it and, and going through the work. And, um, so yeah, I’m gonna be in that and, uh, other than that, I am writing, I’m writing a lot. I try not to talk about the actual specifics, cause I’m a little superstitious and I’m like, if I say something, like, it won’t go as planned, which it will never go as planned, but you know, this is gonna be my one way of trying to control the situation. But let’s just say I’m writing a lot and maybe within the next year or so, like we’re talking like a long, big projects, but within the next year or so you might guess some guess something nice.
I know you’re on the edge of your seat, but it’s time for the music.
Our final music break begins with The Parsemouths and “Quidditch is my Favorite Sport.”
“Whompy Stole My Pillow” was a special request from WZRD’s darling patron Geoff, who adds “to Bradley: Thank you for being my banjo buddy when I needed one.”
Here’s the last of my conversation with Luna.
Thank you so much for talking with me today.
Luna: Oh, well thank you for having me.
Where can WZRD listeners find you online?
Luna: Um, you can find me at MusicByLuna.com. All of my music is there free for download. It’s totally accessible for all of all of Luna media. I’ve got a bunch of videos there, I’ve got a bunch of pictures. I generally keep it updated when, when I’ve got something going. So whether it’s a show or, you know, promoing on whose song or, or video, um, it will always be there. Um, and I’m always on Instagram at the OGLuna, T-H-E-O-G-L-U-N-A, um, and also on Twitter with the same handle. Uh, and that’s where you can find me. I’m usually posting a lot of the same things across the same <laugh> I mean, different platforms, but it’s a good time.
Congratulations to Geoff, the first—and only—person to guess episode 49’s theme of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Don’t forget! You can get your very own copy of all the songs you heard today by following the links in the transcript at WZRDRadioPod.com. It’s the easiest way to support your favorite musicians and without them, we wouldn’t be here.
If you want discounts on WZRD merch, episodes a day early, and the ability to ask your favorite wrockers what their favorite candy is, you can join the WZRD Radio Patreon at Patreon.com/WZRDRadioPod. It’s two muggle dollars a month also supports the Yes All Witches grant in their quest to provide microloans and mentorship to queer and BIPoC wizard rockers.
As always, you can get more WZRD/hostwitch content on all the social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok at WZRDRadioPod. You can also comment on the transcript or email me at WZRDRadioPod@gmail.com, if social media’s not your thing but you still want to say hi.
And now, here’s Luna (not) Lovegood!
Luna: Okay. So my song “I’m in Love (with a Griffindor)” I chose it because I feel like even though I’m Slytherin, team Slytherin and everything, I, I feel very connected to that song. I feel like that song is really the turning point of, of when I was like “okay, I’m gonna make this a full project. I’m gonna make this a full album and I’m gonna, I’m gonna do it.” And so I feel like anybody who’s listening, who is not sure if they should do it, just do it.