Interview: Harry and the Potters
Mon, 16 Jul 2007 16:02:13
Harry and the Potters are on a mission. The DeGeorge brothers—Paul (28) and Joe (20)—don't want to vanquish Voldemort; instead, they're bringing the indie rock experience to kids across the country via bookstore shows, libraries and even the odd pool party. Taking their cues from early Weezer and The Decemberists, the band mix a melodically ramshackle sound with lyrics that would make JK Rowling proud: "Save Ginny Weasley (From the Bad Guys)" and "Song for the Death Eaters" are just a taste.
ARTISTdirect caught up with co-frontman Paul in Boston to talk about Harry Potter and the art of rocking out...
Why don't you start by explaining about the band and how you began?
Harry and the Potters is me and my younger brother, Joe. I play older Harry, around Year Seven in the books, and he plays Harry in Year Four. I had the idea for the band a few years ago; I felt like we could use it to play to kids. I had always been a fan of doing concerts and shows in unconventional places, so I thought, with this band, we could play in libraries! I figured it would be a great way to get kids who are into reading into live music—indie music—which they wouldn't have exposure to normally. We did some backyard shows, but we didn't really do anything with it until 2003, when the fifth book came out, and we decided to get our act together.
You must have been big fans of the books to do something like this.
No, well, we were casual fans before—we'd read the books like, once. But when we decided to really go at it, in the span of three weeks we sat down, re-read all the books, and then wrote and recorded what was our first album Harry and the Potters. We recorded it in our parent's living room, on a digital 12-track, and mixed it live to the computer, with the 12-track plugged into the input jack on the computer. Old school. We didn't even know how to mix yet. The first album shows we were super-amateur about it. We recorded it real quick—one take on everything, because we just wanted to have CDs to sell at our bookstore shows.
Part of the challenge for most bands is earning the name recognition and audience awareness that will actually motivate them to check out the songs or shows, but you were able to almost piggy-back on a brand...
We tapped into an existing community I didn't even know was there. But before that, I knew we could make the band work and just book libraries in the Boston area. Because libraries have their event outreach programs, and I was really into the community element, I figured that would be what pushed the band. We can literally play anywhere; we travel with our own sound-system. So, having that mentality really opens up the possibilities of what you can do.
Once the Harry Potter fan-sites discovered the band, you got a lot more attention. Did you run into problems with trademark around the books?
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