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
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!