Hello magical friends, and especially The Cruciatus Curse, my newest magical patron friend, whose support makes these interviews possible.
Today I’m making a new friend and chatting with Sara Idani! Her new project is so much fun and I can’t wait to share her insights with you.
But first we’ve got “Not My Son” by QuickSpell and a couple other songs to hear.
That was “Not My Son” by QuickSpell [lyrics], “Enchanted Harp” by the Mirror of Erised, and Dream Quaffle with “Pickett in my Pocket” [lyrics].
“Not My Son” was a special request from my wonderful patron Moritz, who forgot to include it in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban listening party in the Discord, so please consider this an extension of that playlist.
Here’s my conversation with Sara!
Welcome to the show, Sara Idani. I am so stoked to talk with you today.
Sara: Thank you. I’m very excited to be here.
A magical friend in the Wizard Rock Discord pointed out that I had been talking about trying to get you on the show since about 2020.
So this is very fortuitous and a long time coming.
Sara: Wow. Nice. <laugh>. I’m happy that it’s finally happening. <laugh>
Me too. So, I always like to start with, uh, your history with wizard rock.
Do you know like what the first song was that you heard?
Sara: Yeah. It’s a bit funny actually because, uh, it came really by accident because I had been a Potterhead for quite a while, since I read the books as a teenager. Uh, but then it happened that, uh, Swedish radio, uh, made, uh, I think it was a program or an episode about, uh, wizard rock, and they interviewed Swedish, uh, artists that made, uh, wrock music, and they interviewed, uh, an artist that I suddenly don’t remember the name of right now, but I remember the song very, uh, strongly because it was called “Min Patronus är En Potatis,” which translates to “My Patronus is a Potato.” So that was the first song, and what really got me into wizard rock. And I realized, realized that “wow, this is really a thing,” that you can make music about Harry Potter. It’s awesome.
When was that?
Sara: Ooh, I sadly don’t remember, but it was, uh, was some years ago. I was, uh, I must have been in my early twenties or something like that. But, uh, but I remember it very strongly.
I feel like I ought to know what band that is, but I don’t off the top of my head. I’m sure my magical friends listening will know and immediately call it out and I’ll be like “oh, of course!”
Sara: Yeah. Like, if you know a song called, uh, “My Patronus is a Potato,” shout out.
And as far as I know, you recorded one wizard rock song for one of the Samplers a few years back?
Sara: Yeah, I did. It was, uh, part of an EP I was, uh, recording at that time that was about, uh, different fandoms. So I explored, uh, fandoms like Doctor Who and, uh, Breaking Bad and, uh, Stephen King. But then I thought “I mean, wizard rock. I mean, I’m a Potterhead and I make music. I should try to make a a wizard rock song, that would be awesome.” And I had, uh, recently struggle a bit with, uh, depression and had found that, uh, expecto patronum, and especially the mythology about the Dementors was, uh, such an amazing metaphor for, uh, how you feel when you’re going through a depression. So I thought “why not try to make that into a song?” I mean, expecto patronum, it’s quite of a catchy, uh, spell.
It is. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it does have a nice, like, rhythm to it.
Was that your only wizard rock song at the time, or are there others?
Sara: Yeah, it was my only wizard rock song at the time, but I, it really created, um, a desire to make more so… But, uh, for some reason it, it didn’t happen, like life happened and other things came in between. So it was very exciting to then return to it, uh, all these years later and dig back into it.
So part of the reason that this interview is happening is because of your project for this year.
And I would love to know what, I guess, what brought back the energy for it? What made you come back to wizard rock now?
Sara: Yeah. Um, I never really, um, stopped, uh, loving wizard rock. And I just, after I released, uh, the EP with Expecto Patronum, I felt like I wanted to create more songs. But, uh, it was, uh, uh, a lot of other things happened. I, I started studying and, uh, started to write other types of music. But then, uh, this year I came to a point where I felt like I started to lose, uh, the joy in writing and producing music. And, uh, I felt like I needed something to kind of help me find my way back to the joy of making music and producing music. And, uh, then, uh, I thought that “well, what if I would try to explore pop music in a wizarding world perspective?” What pop music would sound like, uh, for wizards and witches? So, uh, I kind of, the idea of the Charms project kind of surfaced back and I realized “well, that would be fun to one, not make a project where you write and produce one song a month based on a charm from Harry Potter and try to explore the joy in making music again.”
I hear that a lot, that wizard rock is a good way to just recapture the, the fun of music.
After being serious for so long.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah. I can really, um, sign under for that as well. It is, uh… there’s something liberating about, um, going into this, uh, fantastical world that is the wizarding world, and it feel, it kind of becomes a way to release, uh, all the anxieties about, uh, uh, being perfect and trying to achieve something serious and, uh, incredible, uh, according to what, uh, uh, other people expect music to be. And it’s just so much fun to just go in and just have fun and, uh, finding the magic, so to speak, and in making music.
That is so wonderful to hear. So you’re doing 12 songs about 12 different charms?
Sara: Yes. Hopefully in the end it’ll be 12 songs about, uh, based on 12 different charms, and I choose them on random as well. So I, I don’t know in advance which, uh, charms it’s gonna be.
So you don’t have like a list you’re working from? Are you just, like, going through the books?
Sara: No, I, uh, I have, uh, this, uh, a book called, uh, the, uh, Unofficial Harry Potter, uh, Spellbook where they have listed all the charms and spells and the jinxes. Uh, and, uh, so I, the only limitation I have is that I want to use, uh, charms that are, uh, canon, that are actually in the books and spoken by the characters. So, uh, I’ve marked out all the charms that, uh, I know are present in the books, and then I, I simply, uh, go through the pages and just, uh, pick one randomly.
Is there anything particular that draws you to one charm over another? The, like, the sound of it or the effect?
Sara: Um, I try not to think that, uh, of that too much when I’m choosing a charm, because I want kind of the randomness and fate to decide, uh, which charm I’m gonna work with. But of course, there are some charms that, uh, uh, sounds really good in your mouth and, uh, therefore is, uh, maybe a little more fun to work with. Like “expecto patronum” is a good example of that. It’s sounds very good, uh, and in your mouth. And, uh, it’s nice. It was very fun, uh, process of working with that charm. Uh, “accio” was also very nice, uh, to work with. Some are a bit more trickier, uh, like “duro” before I real, because I wasn’t really sure of how to pronounce it in English. So, uh, uh, it, that can be a bit more tricky, but it’s, uh, yeah. I hope that, uh, that was a very long answer to your question. I hope it made sense, <laugh>.
No, it was perfect. It sounds like so much fun. Once you have your charm selected, what does the, the songwriting process look like? Where do you go from there?
Sara: Um, so far I’ve, uh, tried to, uh, uh, focus a lot on the lyrics. So what I do mostly is that I, I do a bit of research. I go to the charm and try to figure out, um, “what does this charm do? Is there, uh, a deeper meaning behind it that you can work with?” Uh, like with, uh, “alohomora” which is a, a spell about, uh, opening doors and opening locks. Um, there are the literal meaning of opening a door or a lock, but you could also maybe work with the deeper meaning of that, like opening a door into someone else’s heart and soul and what is there, what can we work with there? So a lot of it doing in research and analyzing, is there a, a deeper meaning that you can find in this charm, and then try to work with that and, uh, make it, uh, materialize in a way that reflects, uh, in the song, in the production later.
Are you working with other people at all, or are you a one woman production company?
Sara: I am, uh, very much a one woman, uh, production company <laugh> right now. Um, it’s not that I, I don’t, uh, like working with other people, it’s just that, uh, um, I am used to being the only one, uh, who is engaged and passionate about working in music. So it’s just something that has happened naturally to me. But I, I like working with other people as well, and I hope to do that more in the future.
Let’s pause for some music. This is The Chinese Chomping Cabbages and “I Understand.”
That was “I Understand” by the Chinese Chomping Cabbages [lyrics], “Privet Drive” by The Prefect Project, and “Lullaby” from Amy Snow.
Let’s get back to that interview.
Another reason I wanted to reach out to you for an interview was because you came up in a previous interview as someone one of my other guests would love to work with on a song.
Sara: Oh, nice.
Are there other wizard rockers you think would be really fun to work with, maybe on a Charm song or maybe on a different project entirely?
Sara: Yeah, definitely. I, I still feel like I am a bit new into the community, so I, I can’t say that I have someone particular that I would like to work with. I feel more like I am open to everyone. I, I would love to work with anyone who’s interested.
Oh, I’m sure you could find, uh, no shortage of interested offers.
Sara: Oh, nice. Sounds good. Just, just be in touch and we’ll work something out.
So you might be fairly new to wizard rock, but you’ve been doing music for a while now.
Sara: Yeah, I have, uh, I think I, I’ve started to perform music at… by 2012 under Sara Idani moniker and started to release music as, as by 2017. So it’s been a while right now.
So was there… what advice would you have for a new wizard rocker? Is there something that maybe you could have done better when you were first starting, or something you’d say to just make their journey a little bit easier?
Sara: Yeah. Um, I’ve always been very careful, um, with, uh, and tried to, uh, do as much as I can on my own and, uh, not, uh, and not giving away musical rights or, uh, giving away things, uh, too much, but to try to do as much as I can independently. And, uh, that has been good. But I, I’m also think, I also think that, uh, if I could go back, I would tell, uh, my younger self to maybe be a little more trusting and trust other people.
Uh, with that said, never like sign a contract that you don’t, uh, really understand the meaning of. That things you should always, uh, look up before you sign anything. But maybe to, uh, and don’t be afraid to take a little risks and try to work with, reach out with to other people and trust your instincts. And, uh, if it feels good, it’s usually good. And, and try to have fun. Try to have as much fun as you can.
That’s perfect. We don’t talk about contracts too often in wizard rock, cuz it is also self-produced.
But even the best intentioned, I think can be written, uh, confusingly.
Sara: Yeah. And that’s usually when conflicts, uh, begin, when there are likes the different meanings of what something means.
I meant to ask earlier and forgot, um, a lot of wizard rockers perform under wizard rock names like Dream Quaffle or Harry and the Potters. Was it a deliberate choice for you just to perform as yourself?
Sara: Um, uh, I think it was mostly because I, I started to perform music before I decided to venture into wizard rock, so I think it’s more for that reason that I have a, don’t have a, a full-blown wizard rock name, but, um, who knows? Maybe I’ll, I’ll add another, um, alias.
You’re gonna know a lot of charms by the end of this year.
Maybe Sara the Charms Professor.
Sara: Maybe. That’s not a bad idea. <laugh>.
So we know that you’re working on the Charms song project. What else are you working on now?
Sara: Um, I am, uh, I am about to release, uh, an ep, uh, in May, uh, which is, uh, non-wizard rock. It’s, uh, more a conceptual EP about, uh, love. It’s, uh, called, uh, “Takutsubo Cardiomyopathy,” which, which is a medical term for broken heart syndrome. So, uh, that’s happening. And, uh, but otherwise I am, uh, I’m looking forward to catch up with the Charms project now since I’ve, I’ve been sick and, uh, I have a song that needs to be produced and released. So that’s gonna be my focus.
Well, congratulations on the, uh… I’m just gonna say Broken Heart <laugh>
Sara: Yeah, <laugh> That sounds good. That’s a good, it’s good. <laugh>
Album! Not just broken heart, just the album.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah.
Will you be like collecting all of the charm songs into an album at the end of it, do you know?
Sara: Um, it would be, I hope that it will turn out into an album. Um, uh, I, I try not to think of it too much. I want to focus on the process, uh, right now, but I, I’m definitely, I definitely have a, a dream of releasing it as an album and, uh, maybe do, uh, other projects with other types of spells and jinxes. So there is plans, but I’m trying to focus on the process right now.
All of that sounds wonderful. I, I admire your dedication to just protecting the, the joy for now.
Sara: Yeah. I think it’s in important that’s, uh, it’s easy to forget, uh, when we’re in this, uh, because it’s so easy to start to compare yourself to other people and, uh, what they do. And, uh, it’s so easy to get caught up in this system of trying to make it as a musician and, uh, it’s so easy to lose track of, uh, the joy of it and the joy is why we’re going into this. And so joy should really be the center of everything we do. So I’m trying to remember that.
Oh look, it’s our final music break, beginning with “We Didn’t Start The Fire – Harry Potter Edition” from Magic by Mikaila.
That was “We Didn’t Start The Fire – Harry Potter Edition” from Magic by Mikaila, Trey Xavier and “The Chosen One,” and Ludo Bagman and the Trash with “New Broom” [lyrics].
Here’s the final bit of my conversation with Sara Idani.
Thank you so much for talking with me today. This has been really cool.
Sara: Thank you. I really enjoy talking to you also. This was, it’s not as often that you can talk about music and wizard rock like this, so thank you so much for having me.
I hear that a lot. We’re a very scattered community and even the internet can only do so much.
Sara: Yeah, that is so true.
Where can WZRD listeners find you online?
Sara: Yeah, um, they can find me, they can find my music on Spotify, uh, where I’m called Sara Idani and on Bandcamp. And if you wanna follow my Charms project, you can go to my YouTube channel, cuz that’s where I’m releasing all the live videos. And if you just wanna see what I do, you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram and see what I do.
I’d like to send a quick congratulations to Lan, who was the first person to guess last episode’s theme of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” I have a lot of fun putting together the themes and I’m so glad you got it.
And now, here’s Sara Idani!
Sara: So, uh, I’ve chosen, uh, a song from my current Charms project, which is a song called “Duro.” It is, uh, it’s, uh, it’s based on the charm “Duro,” which is about turning something into stone. And, uh, the reason I picked it is because it was, uh, really, it was a really fun process because I didn’t have any idea what to expect when I started it. And then it turned out as something new that I was very proud of. I’m really enjoying that song. So I can’t wait to share it with you now.