Yesterday, September 27th, marked the release of Nancy Nightmare and the Wizard’s newest song, 31 Days of Halloween, and I was fortunate enough to be able to have a chat with Nancy and the Wizard about their love of Halloween and horror, as well as the new music that they are releasing this Halloween season, so that we could get to know the ghouls behind their masks.
First, just a few questions about y’all as people, for our readers who maybe haven’t heard of Nancy Nightmare and the Wizard…Where did y’all come up with the band’s name?
Nancy: We never really planned on starting a band! A few years ago we wrote a few Halloween songs, mainly because it was fun and we love the season. We decided to post them to YouTube for our friends and family to see and thought we should have a spooky name to go along with it. My name is really Nancy and I wanted a last name that also started with an “N,” so I made a list of possibilities. I loved “Nightmare” because of its connection to The Nightmare Before Christmas and A Nightmare on Elm Street, which are two of my favorite movies.
Wizard: Originally, I just happened to have a wizard costume for Halloween the year that we recorded our first videos. Over time I thought about trying to bring something a little different to the horror genre. I wanted to create a wizard that fused both gothic and Voodoo elements.
I heard you both collect vinyl, what’s your most prized record you have?
Nancy: I love all of my records, but especially my David Bowie albums. Parallel Lines by Blondie is also a favorite of mine! I like to sing “Pretty Baby” to my little cat Luna.
Wizard: I would have to say it’s a tie between The Cure Pornography & the first Black Sabbath album. The opening track “Black Sabbath,” in my opinion, is one of the creepiest album openers ever!
What are you being for Halloween this year?
Nancy: Now that Halloween is year-round for me I find myself spending less time on my costumes! I used to go nuts with it. I have been thinking about being an evil clown this year, though. If I don’t have time to put that together, I will just have to keep being Nancy Nightmare!
Wizard: It’s one of the rare occasions throughout the year in which, I can totally be myself among mortals.
Is there any future chance of y’all making it out east? maybe for the annual creepy con in Knoxville, TN?
Nancy: That would be incredible! I would love to go to every horror convention in the country! I don’t have the resources for that at the moment, but that’s the dream. Tennessee is a beautiful state. I drove through it once when I was driving cross country and everyone was so welcoming. I’d love to come and visit!
Wizard: That would be amazing and I hope to someday soon!
And lastly, in the infamous words of Ghostface: what’s your favorite scary movie?
Nancy: This is such a difficult question! The answer kind of changes from day to day. Halloween tends to be my standard response, just because I love Michael Myers so much. I also love Poltergeist, The Witch, The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.
Wizard: Oh wow, that is a tough question! I guess if I were stuck alone in an abandoned house on a Friday the 13th in October at midnight, I would have to go with the original Halloween. Not only is Mike Myers one of the greatest villains ever, but Laurie Strode is a total bad ass!
Moving on to questions about what matters most: the music.
What music do y’all draw from as influences?
Nancy: Strangely, I find myself drawing more inspiration from art, TV shows and movies than I do from music these days. That being said, Danny Elfman is and always will be our biggest influence. I also love musical Theater as much as I love The Misfits. I have a hard time sticking with a genre!
Wizard: I also tend to draw a lot of inspiration from art and films. Some of the filmmakers I enjoy are Tim Burton, Guillermo Del Toro (I love Pan’s Labyrinth), John Carpenter, the late Wes Craven and George Romero. Musically: The Misfits, The Cure, AFI, Marylin Manson, Siouxie and the Banshees, Alice Cooper, The Cramps, Tiger Army and Danny Elfman’s soundtrack work and music from his former band, Oingo Boingo.
When introducing new people to y’all’s music, I tend to describe y’all as “horror pop,” but I’m curious what genre you would classify NNATW as being?
Nancy: I think horror pop perfectly describes it! Some of our songs are rock, some are definitely pop. I have found it very difficult to classify, but I like horror pop or horror rock. I am a fan of both genres!
Wizard: I think that sounds about right.
Is there any horror movie you’re dying to write a song about?
Nancy: I really want to write a song about The Witch! I want to “live deliciously!”
Wizard: Oh ya! Would love to write a song about Mike Myers!
Has the band always just been the two of you, or has there been other members?
Nancy: We have always been the core members of the band and the only songwriters. We have been lucky enough to have some wonderful musicians join us for some of our live performances!
Wizard: We have always been the songwriters and had musicians perform live with us from time to time like Nancy said.
Your new song, 31 Days of Halloween, was released today: what inspired it?
Nancy: Christmas has so many carols, we just wanted to write one for Halloween. We set out to write a song that captured the magic of the holiday and the feeling that we get when we think about it.
Wizard: We have always loved Halloween and wanted to capture what we spooky kids feel inside about our favorite holiday.
The music video for 31 Days of Halloween was also very fun, what’s your favorite music video you’ve done?
Nancy: 31 Days of Halloween is by far my favorite! I really just started learning more about video editing, so we are trying to make every video better than the last. I really enjoy putting them together. There was a big learning curve (as you can see in our early videos!) but I am finally starting to get the hang of it.
Keeping humor in the videos is very important to me too. Shooting the “early Christmas people” part of the video in the second verse really made me laugh.
Wizard: Oh 31 days of Halloween for sure. Especially the scene regarding the Christmas people- we are making a statement. This is where we draw the line Christmas people. We don’t want to hear a word of it until after Thanksgiving, unless you would like to watch A Nightmare Before Christmas, in which case, that’s perfectly fine. Ha
Y’all also do quite a few covers in addition to your original work. What’s a song you haven’t covered yet but really want to. Personally, I would love to hear y’all’s take on something by Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees, like Spellbound or Peekaboo!
Nancy: We actually have covered Spellbound live! We keep planning on recording it, but we haven’t had a chance yet. I spend most of my time thinking about the original songs- it’s actually difficult to pick covers. I always want to make sure I do a good job when I cover someone else’s song! It’s actually more stressful. I’d love to cover “This is Halloween” from A Nightmare Before Christmas, but that is quite an undertaking. It would be impossible to make it anywhere near as good as the original! I am always open to suggestions.
Wizard: Siouxsie rocks! Maybe Cities in Dust. Peek-a-boo is a great song too! Would love to cover the Cure’s Picture of You.
And lastly, you have a few more songs to be released this Halloween season, when should we expect to hear them?
Nancy: We have two more originals and one cover coming out before Halloween! I don’t have exact dates yet, but we are working hard to make sure we get them out before the big day!
Wizard: Very soon. Still working on video and ideas, but definitely soon so everyone who is interested can add them to their Halloween playlists.
And there they are, the beguiling duo in their own words! If you’re like me and you definitely want to keep up with the new releases the band is preparing for this season, be sure to follow them on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and their official website where you can download their music!!