The Magical Duo Behind the 8th Horcrux
By: Lyndsey Havens | @LyndseyAlana
Surrounded by books, youthful grins and skeptical glances, the duo that is the 8th Horcrux prepares to dive into the beginning chords of “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks. Trina Sieg, singer and guitarist, introduces the song.
“This song is about Hermione Granger and how she liked Ronald Weasley, but he liked someone else, so here’s a song about that,” she said.
Sieg, a senior from Ottawa, said this is her favorite parody to perform, properly titled, “Witch.” Sieg said when they start to play this song she can see parents’ worried expressions fill the children’s section of the given library, the duo’s primary performance space.
“When we play at our library shows, every show is different,” Sieg said. “You never know who’s going to be there, if there’s going to be two people or 200 people. You never know if your performance is going to inspire one kid to create their own band or try to do something creatively with the media that they like.”
“Witch” isn’t Sieg’s favorite song purely because of the shock factor though; she said the song also has sentimental value. It was the first song she presented to her musical counterpart and boyfriend, Paul Thomas.
“It’s really one of my favorites to perform because it has that sentimental value,” Sieg said. “And then the parents, they’re nervous about it at first, but then when I start singing the chorus and it’s just about witches, they start laughing with relief.”
Sieg met Thomas, a senior from Ottawa, during their sophomore year of high school through extracurricular activities. Upon realizing they shared a mutual interest for music and Harry Potter, the two starting having jam sessions together. It wasn’t until the summer of their junior year, when they went to see “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” that an idea materialized.
“We reached out to each other and were like, ‘Hey, you like Harry Potter, I like Harry Potter. I can play music, and you can produce music, whoa,’” Sieg said.
What started out as a humorous and fun thing to do and to show their friends at school quickly took a turn when the Ottawa Library reached out to Thomas and Sieg and asked them to perform and present their Potter parodies at the library’s Summer Reading Programs. The duo made connections through the series and embarked on a mini library tour of some of Kansas’ libraries the following summer.
“That really got me going about presenting to [the children] about how books are cool,” Sieg said. “It’s cool to like books and be enthusiastic about what you love and ‘Look at me, I’m a teenager, back then, and now 22, and I’m up here with my guitar being silly singing songs about Harry Potter.’”
Thomas is an anthropology and classics major and Sieg is an elementary education major. She said the fusion of her passions for music, children and reading fuels her desire to teach, and the library shows have really changed the way they thought about their band.
“At first we were like, ‘Oh we’re a parody band that sings about Harry Potter,’” Sieg said. “And then, eventually we just started promoting reading creatively and really reaching out to kids to just tell them that it’s ok, it’s ok to like stuff.”
What started as a jam session in a basement with a lone Logitech microphone attached to a music stand with duct tape has since evolved into over 60 songs.
“It was a pretty punk-rock setup,” Sieg said. “To be specific, because I remember things, I believe it was on Harry Potters’ birthday.”
“July 31, 2009,” the two said in unison.
Sieg said Harry Potter was at its peak of popularity during that time because the sixth movie had just come out. Since its release, the two said it’s possible people may be less interested since it is no longer in the public eye.
“We released an album and we were kind of like, well this might be sort of our last album,” Thomas said. “We didn’t say it was our last album but we sort of thought it. But the problem was we kept writing parody ideas; we kept having them.”
The lack of equipment that started it all proved to be insignificant when compared to the creativity shared between Sieg and Thomas. While Thomas draws his inspiration from Weird Al Yankovich and a band called Harry and the Potters, the duo also cites the White Stripes dynamic as a primary influence, as well as Lennon and McCartney in terms of their songwriting process.
“At first we were just writing parodies and recording them in the basement, and then we moved onto playing shows for kids and [the kids] were able to see us connecting with a crowd and telling our message to be enthusiastic about what you like,” Sieg said.
With graduation looming, Thomas said he is really happy with where the two are currently at with their music.
“We’re not super big so that it takes up all our time and we don’t have any fun and we’re working for The Man or something,” Thomas said. “But at the same time, we’re still successful enough that every once in a while I’ll walk around and someone will recognize me, who I don't know, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, are you from a wizard rock band,’ and I’m like, ‘Why yes, yes I am.’”
— Edited by Rob Pyatt
Photos by: James Hoyt/KANSAN