Wrock Spotlight: Tonks and the Aurors

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our monthly Wrock Spotlight! This month we are featuring Tonks and the Aurors, a wrock band that has all the spunk of Nymphadora and that also happens to be kicking off a tour this month! The Yes All Witches Tour: Route 66 Edition begins on October 14 and will include appearances by Tiana and the Cliffhangers and the 8th Horcrux. I was able to talk to Tonks (a.k.a. Stephanie Anderson) about her band and the upcoming tour.

 

Tonks and the Aurors

 

tonks-and-the-aurors-yes-all-witches

Official website

Discography

*This discography does not include EPs, singles, or compilations

A Familiar Beat (20012)

  1. Owl Post
  2. Ravenclaw
  3. Sort Me
  4. My Patronus (Motown Version)
  5. Auror Granger
  6. Oh My
  7. Teenage Werewolf
  8. Diagon Alley
  9. Living For
  10. Weasley Brothers
  11. Werewolf Love (Motown Version)

We Are Magic (2009)

  1. So It Beings
  2. A Day in the Life
  3. The Mission
  4. Fallen
  5. Breaking News
  6. Tonight Tonight
  7. Taking You Back
  8. Remember
  9. The Radio
  10. It’s True
  11. Mr. Springsteen
  12. Streets of Hogsmeade
  13. We Are Magic

The Hogsmeade Diaries (2008)

  1. Yule Ball
  2. Scars
  3. Battle at the Ministry
  4. New Memories
  5. Aurors for the Win
  6. What Does It Mean?
  7. Eulogy
  8. Aberforth
  9. Not the Future Mrs. Weasley
  10. Loneliest Girl in Hogsmeade
  11. Aim for the Head
  12. Runaway
  13. The Hospital Wing
  14. Heart Song

The Pink Album (2007)

  1. Werewolf Love
  2. T is for Trouble
  3. The Black Family Tree
  4. The Daily Prophet
  5. I’ll Be There
  6. My Patronus
  7. Don’t Call Me Nymphadora
  8. Honorary Marauder
  9. In Which Tonks Loses Her Cool
  10. Parental Units
  11. Disapparate with Me
  12. Dear Remus
  13. I’ll Be There (Hogwarts Trainwreck Remix)

The Yes All Witches Route 66 tour is a new manifestation of the Yes All Witches movement. The movement was started by Stephanie, who was inspired by the #YesAllWomen feminist movement on social media. According to Stephanie, “Yes All Witches tours are about bringing more female and other diverse voices into wizard and nerd rock.” The movement began when Stephanie was inspired “to speak at the first Granger Leadership Academy about how being a woman in fandom and music impacted my experiences in the world.” She then wrote a song called “Yes All Witches,” made a music video, and started the Yes All Witches tours in 2015.

Stephanie has been an active wrocker and fan activist for years. She, like Joe DeGeorge from Harry and the Potters in my last Wrock Spotlight, expressed how big and important fan activism has become. She said, “I think fan activism is one of the greatest things that nerds have inspired, and I think groups like the Harry Potter Alliance, This Star Won’t Go Out, and Transfiguring Adoption, etc. will leave a legacy of what fans can do beyond just consuming media and actually change the world.” I would add Yes All Witches to that list.

Before Stephanie started Tonks and the Aurors in 2007, she was a fan of wrock. Like fan activism, one of her favorite things about the wrock genre is the fact that it is so accessible for fans and musicians to get involved. Simply put, “if you can quickly record something in your bedroom, you can be a wizard rock band.” And she doesn’t just sing about Harry Potter. Stephanie has albums based on John Green books, The Hunger Games, the Percy Jackson series, and her all-time favorite show, The West Wing.

To date, Tonks and the Aurors has released four full-length albums and one EP and has gone on multiple tours, playing at large fan conventions and free shows at local libraries. The accessibility of wrock at venues like free library concerts is one of Stephanie’s favorite things about wrock. She stays “committed to playing library shows because I know that for some people, paying a $10-20 ticket fee can be hard, or getting to a club isn’t possible with parents driving you. But everyone loves the library, and most can afford a free show.” In addition, she remarked on how great the people are who love wrock: “Fans and bands are thoughtful, dedicated, and kind. I can’t say that’s the case in many other music circles I’ve participated in since I started playing original music years ago.

I asked her if she could offer any advice for aspiring wrockers. She replied, “Just do it! If you write a song, boom! You’re a band. I spent three years telling myself I should be doing wizard rock, and when I finally did all I could think was, I can’t believe it took me so long to just do it. Write some songs, record them, even just on your phone, and throw them up on the internet.” She also mentioned plans to start a small scholarship program around Yes All Witches, so be on the lookout!

In the upcoming months, Stephanie plans to do more recording, including re-recording of some of her classic Tonks and the Aurors songs. She’ll have more shows before the year is up, and she is planning another tour for the summer of 2017. Tonks and the Aurors continues to prove that wrock is alive and well!

Full interview

Can you tell me about what the #YesAllWitches movement is and how it got started?

Yes All Witches was inspired by the Yes All Women feminist movement, which inspired me to speak at the first Granger Leadership Academy about how being a woman in fandom and music impacted my experiences in the world. I named that tall Yes All Witches, and that inspired me to write the song, make a music video, and start the Yes All Witches tours. Yes All Witches tours are about bringing more female and other diverse voices into wizard and nerd rock. I’m always looking for new wizard rock and nerd rock bands to play with, so it’s a great project to combine finding new voices and encouraging diversity.

I love the feminist vibe of Tonks and the Aurors – can you talk a bit more about the convergence of wizard rock and fan activism?

For me, music and activism have always been closely linked. The Harry Potter fandom also seems to attract some amazing activist groups and I think that it’s a perfect fit, knowing that the books are about fighting for what is good in the world. I’ve been wanting to do something feminism and diversity related for years. After trying to get other people in on it and talking about it for so long, I realized that I needed to just do it myself and get the ball rolling. I think Fan Activism is one of the greatest things that nerds have inspired, and I think groups like the Harry Potter Alliance, This Star Won’t Go Out, Transfiguring Adoption, etc will leave a legacy of what fans can do beyond just consuming media, and actually change the world.

You also write songs about other nerdy topics, right? Can you tell us about that?

Basically, when I love something enough, I write songs about it! So far I have albums about  John Green’s books, the Percy Jackson series, The Hunger Games, and of course my super favorite THE WEST WING! I plan to do a Star Wars album too, because that was my first fandom love from childhood. I love writing about things that inspire my imagination. The West Wing continues to be my favorite show ever, so I’m so glad I got to pay tribute to those characters.

Wizard rock is such a unique genre of music – what’s your favorite thing about it?

I started as a fan, so really just the fact that we can make rock and roll about these books is so amazing. Once I started making wizard rock, it was the fact that it’s such an accessible genre to participate in as a fan or a musician. If you can quick record something in your bedroom, you can be a wizard rock band. And so many of our shows are free or affordable, that it allows us to reach fans that wouldn’t be possible before. I continue to stay committed to playing library shows because I know that for some people, paying a $10-20 ticket fee can be hard, or getting to a club isn’t possible with parents driving you. But everyone loves the library and most can afford a free show. Fans and bands are thoughtful, dedicated, and kind. I can’t say that’s the case in many other music circles I’ve participated in since I started playing original music years ago.

What advice would give to musicians who are thinking of starting a wizard rock band?

Just do it! If you write a song, boom! You’re a band. I spent 3 years telling myself I should be doing wizard rock, and when I finally did all I could think was I can’t believe it took me so long to just do it. Write some songs, record them even just on your phone, and throw them up on the internet. If you have questions or need advice, let me know, I’ll help! Also, Yes All Witches will be starting a small scholarship program with our tour, so keep an eye out for that!

Tell us a bit about your tour! What are you most looking forward to?

This is my first big fall tour. Touring is the best, and we have difficulty making it out west, so I’m most excited to head out west. I’m playing in so many places for the first time, so getting to see Kansas City, Colorado, Arizona etc for the first time is exciting. We also have LeakyCon smack in the middle of tour, so seeing Harry Potter fans in their element is always incredible. I just love seeing the country, meeting new people, and getting to make music in libraries. I’m definitely an extrovert.

What’s upcoming for Tonks and the Aurors in the future?

This winter this year will have lots of recording. I have some new songs in the works and I’d like to reproduce some of my classics that I didn’t do justice to. I haven’t released much new music for T&tA lately, so I want to make up for that! I have tons of shows in November and December, which should propel me into 2017 which I hope to continue as a big year for T&tA. I plan to travel and play as many shows as possible for as long as I can. There will be a summer tour in 2017 and hopefully some smaller weekend trips throughout the year. With no GeekyCon in July, I’ll have to find something to keep me busy!