Monday, October 15, 2007

Fieldnotes

For the first stage of my research, I've gathered some fieldnotes related to the online wizard rock community. While I do plan on attending at least one show and interviewing some scene members, because the online aspect of wizard rock is so important I felt that exploring that realm first would help me fundamentally understand the scene before I began to interact more directly with it.

Facebook Group: I LISTEN TO WIZARD ROCK!

http://brown.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204889485

The vast majority of discussion board participants are high school girls, though there are some young men and college students involved. There are members from Mexico, Norway, and Iceland. The group has 982 members, which is substantial for a Facebook group. There’s a conversation on the wall about whether or not wrock will become too mainstream after receiving MTV coverage. It’s important that the scene stay “unique.” Most discussion revolves around promoting and mentioning fans’ favorite bands. There are some posts on the board from a member of the Moaning Myrtles. It’s a badge of honor to have seen a lot of live wrock concerts. Some band names send up rock cliches: for example, The Butterbeer Experience and the N. Tonks Project.

Myspace Group: Wizard Rock

http://groups.myspace.com/wizardrock

In group description: “This is a temple of love, no hating allowed. Also, we do not tolerate intolerance!!” 2767 members—it seems like Myspace is more central to the wrock scene than Facebook, possibly because of all the Myspace band pages. Many of the groups also have supplemental Myspace pages with more music on them, which makes wizard rock extremely accessible to young fans without much disposable income. There’s a large thread devoted to new songs on Myspace. The “Favorite muggle musicians” (non-wrock artists) thread is interesting. Lots of hipster indie music, some metal, some 80s. Very little hip-hop and country, no mainstream pop. Overall white-identified semi-alternative feel. Once again, band members are involved in a wrock fan group, even more this time than in the Facebook group.

The Wizrocklopedia

http://wizrocklopedia.com

Some music reviews on the site, but they’re all entirely positive and without ratings. In these reviews, some tracks are described as very emotionally affecting—wizard rock isn’t all a joke. This website held a People’s Choice Awards for wrock—they received over 2000 votes for categories like “Best Holiday Song of 2006,” “Best Instrumental,” and “Best Rap.” Not having encountered wrock rap yet, I check out the Myspace page for the Best Rap winner, DJ Luna Lovegood (http://www.myspace.com/djlovegood). She lists influences like NWA, Black Sabbath, and The Velvet Underground, her sound and vocals are frequently reminiscent of shoegaze (she doesn’t appear to be mostly focused on rap), and the song “Under Your Nose Hermione” reminds me of Peaches. Disparate influences like these appear to be common to wrock artists—there isn’t really a shared idea of “the right influences” like in some genres, though it is standard to claim to be influenced by other wizard rock bands. Mostly other wrock bands on her comments section. The Sectumsempras, winner of the “Best Metal or Goth” award, take their name from a “bloody and violent spell” according to their Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/sectumsempras). Also from their blog: “They’d [The Sectumsempras] like to think they are the darkest maybe not musically, but lyrically within the Wizard Rock genre.” Their techno-goth song “Lamb to the Slaughter” fits this model, with lyrics like “You’re the lamb to be slaughtered for the greater good.” Even though Harry Potter is primarily intended as a children’s book, it has several dark themes and elements, and these themes are reflected in some sectors of its fan culture. I’ve specifically noticed this in fanfiction, which can be graphic and very much for adults and teenagers only. It seems to me like a diverse world like that of the Harry Potter books gives fans many options to identify with different characters and elements of that world, an identification that can then lead to production of fan art in various forms.

13 comments:

Church said...

You may want to look at wizardrock.org and realwizardrock.com, if you haven't already.

Out of curiousity, were you a fan of Wrock before starting this project?

Matt said...

Just remembered I've been meaning to give this a community a serious look over and thought you'd be interested as well,

http://thehpalliance.org/phpBB/index.php?sid=53790b5a5d6e2c67788888fa24d1c44c

This is the forums for the Harry Potter Alliance, basically the political wing of the WRock scene. It is also supposed to be the home of the International Wizard Rockers Union, once that gets up and running. When it does, it should prove to be an interesting project.

Matt said...

Grr, not sure if that link will work with the layout. If not, just go to http://thehpalliance.org and click on the Forum link

Church said...

The IWRU is now up and running: http://thehpalliance.org/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=44

Eva said...

Thanks for the links! And I was only a very casual wrock fan before starting the project...it just seemed like an interesting community with fun music.

Jimmy said...

Just wondering if you think Rowling's public outing of Dumbledore will have any consequences in the Wizard rock scene. Do you think it will inspire another wave of wizard rock or fuel the current bands' creativity with more campy material? Saw the newslink and I immediately thought of your project!
-James

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You may want to look at wizardrock.org and realwizardrock.com, if you haven't already.Out of curiousity, were you a fan of Wrock before starting this project?

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