Do Halloween bands exist? It was a question I wondered before I ever started Spooky Little Halloween. Surely, if I was crazy enough to start a year-round Halloween blog…that meant there was probably someone out there who had started a band 100% focused on being spooky 365 days a year.
And I’m not talking Alice Cooper kinda spooky. I mean bands whose catalog is entirely devoted to October 31.
I Googled…and I found a heavy metal band called Halloween…but mostly all I found was seasonal articles from music mags saying, “Hey…this band kinda has a Halloween sound!”
So imagine my surprise and spooky delight when someone called Nancy Nightmare and The Wizard started following me on Instagram. “We’re an alternative rock/pop band!” their profile proclaimed, which happens to be my favorite genre so I was intrigued.
I was floored as I started browsing their feed and watching their videos. They weren’t just any old alt rock/pop band from LA – they played music 100% centered on Halloween and horror.
This was the Halloween band I’d been searching for!
And today I want to introduce you to them.
Q&A with Nancy Nightmare and The Wizard:
Where did the idea for a Halloween/horror band come from?
Nancy: We like to say that our band was a happy accident. We really never set out to have a band, and we certainly never imagined having a horror-themed band! The Wizard and I are both big horror and sci-fi/fantasy fans, and we just started writing these songs for fun. The fact that people started enjoying them online just fueled us to keep writing.
Wizard: We wrote a few songs, cooked up a few magical recipes, and it slowly began to take a life of its own.
Give me a bit of your history – how did the band get started, formally, and where did the name come from?
Nancy: We wrote a few of these songs and decided we wanted to share them with our friends for Halloween. Wizard put on his Halloween costume for that year, and I threw on a skeleton dress that I had in my closet. We recorded a video for “Dead Boyfriend” on my phone, posted it to YouTube [in 2015] and the rest is history! We really didn’t think that anyone other than our friends and family would watch it. When we realized that we were having more fun than we had ever had making music, we just decided to run with it.
Dr. Godfried reached out to us on Instagram and asked if we were planning on playing any live shows. We had vague plans to play live in the future, but I decided to meet up with him and his friend for dinner. As soon as the four of us got together, it was magical. We all started bouncing ideas off of each other. As it turns out, both Dr. Godfried and Karrion are incredible musicians and songwriters. We got really lucky.
Wizard: I can’t remember which one of us came up with the band name, but it seemed like it didn’t take us long to settle on it. As for the newest members, Dr. Godfried and Karrion, we met with them in May. We hit it off as people and loved playing together. I guess you can say it was destined to be.
Where do you draw your song inspiration from?
Nancy: Most of the songs are inspired by books, movies, TV shows or just general concepts that we dream up. “Vampire Bites” was inspired by Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (more specifically, Pandora). As for “Dead Boyfriend”, The Wizard brought a chorus idea to me – I believe it was a song about “Night of the Living Dead”. I don’t know what’s wrong with my brain, but I suddenly saw a whole scene – me at the drive-in with my zombie boyfriend, a murderer appearing with a hatchet, blood splattering on my pretty dress. What happens when the captain of the football team gets attacked and turns into a zombie? Does his prom queen girlfriend stand by him? “Dead Boyfriend” came out all within a matter of 30 minutes or so. I have a pretty vivid imagination, so the song ideas usually come from me placing myself in different situations.
Wizard: Like Nancy said books, films, TV shows. Believe it or not, some of the songs are based on actual events we’ve experienced in our lives but with a spooky twist!
What has the response to your band been like so far?
Nancy: The response has been surprising and magical. I’ve been singing and writing songs for years and I’ve never had this much positive feedback. We feel really lucky.
Wizard: Incredible! We are so thankful for all the support we have been receiving!
What song are you most proud of to date?
Nancy: That’s a tough one. Personally, I think I am most attached to “Horror Queen” – I kind of think of it as a personal anthem. It was very important for me to have the girl in the song triumph at the end! I had to win one “for every other girl who isn’t homecoming queen.” Sometimes the misfit is the hero.
Wizard: That is a tough one. I’d say “My New Friends Are Vampires“. It was inspired by one of our favorite movies, “The Lost Boy”.
What song are you dying to write? Pun intended…
Nancy: To be honest, I never really think of the themes in advance. When an idea strikes, it’s almost like possession – it just takes me over. It keeps running through my head and driving me crazy until I finish it. It’s like exorcising a demon!
Wizard: I think trying to write an iconic Halloween anthem! Such as “Thriller” by Michael Jackson or “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
Most songs labeled as “Halloween music” have a heavier sound, but your music is more upbeat and, dare I say it, fun! What drew you to that style of music for these songs?
Nancy: Great question! I actually used to be in a metal band. While I loved it, I always felt like I wasn’t being myself. I’m not a “tough rock chick”- I’m Nancy Nightmare, a friendly but semi-cracked witch who loves her friends and isn’t afraid to use her hatchet when necessary.
We have actually discussed this with each other before. While I love listening to heavier music, it is not what I am most drawn to as a singer or songwriter. To me, Halloween and horror are multifaceted. There’s beauty and happiness to be found in the darkness too, and those are the themes that I tend to be drawn to. I want to be true to who I am as a person. I have a heavy darkness inside of me, as many people do, but I try not to linger there. I tend to use humor to get through the darkness. I am a complete goofball, so if I tried to be too heavy I don’t think it would be authentic.
Let’s talk Halloween! 🎃
What makes you guys love Halloween, horror and the spookier side of life?
Nancy: I think embracing fear makes you less afraid. It’s a healthy way to deal with it!
Wizard: We all have a darker side to our personality. Some of us really embrace it, and Halloween is the perfect holiday for those who are walking on the spooky side. It is also associated the holiday Dia de los Muertos, so it is also a time to celebrate the memories of loved ones who have since passed.
What is your favorite Halloween memory?
Nancy: When I was 10, my parents let me have a Halloween-themed birthday party in October instead of near my real birthday, August 7th. We didn’t have a lot of money and I only had two big birthday parties as a kid – one when I was 5 and this one. It was pretty special. I went as a genie!
Wizard: So many, but one that comes was when one year when I was 7 or 8. My mom took my brother and I out to pumpkin patch in late September. It was decorated like a rated G haunted hayride. I was so inspired that I attempted to recreate the experience, the best I could, in my parent’s basement for the rest of the Halloween season!
How do you celebrate Halloween these days?
Nancy: We always try to celebrate by playing shows! We are so excited to have booked a Halloween show this year at Pike Restaurant & Bar in Long Beach. The venue is owned by Drummer Chris Reece of Social Distortion fame, so that was pretty exciting.
Wizard: Playing shows or parties! As Nancy said, we are all pretty excited to play Pike Restaurant & Bar this year!
Best costume you ever wore trick-or-treating?
Nancy: Elvira! I was 11 years old, and I begged my parents to let me go trick or treating as my beloved Mistress of the Dark. I loved the costume so much that I fell asleep with it still on.
Wizard: Demon character of Kiss when I was 10.
And, most importantly, what’s the best Halloween candy?
Nancy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, all the way!
Wizard: Candy Corn.
Find Nancy Nightmare and The Wizard online:
You can also find Nancy Nightmare and The Wizard on social media:
And finally, if you happen to live in southern California, you can catch Nancy Nightmare and The Wizard live this fall:
- Friday, Aug. 25 at Universal Bar and Grill, North Hollywood
- Saturday, Sept. 30 at Molly Malones, Los Angeles
- Saturday, Oct. 14 at Undead Prom & Murder Mystery – Elks Lodge, Glendale
- Saturday, Oct. 28 at Old Towne Pub, Pasadena
- Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Halloween Spooktacular – Pike Restaurant & Bar, Long Beach
- Saturday, Nov. 11 at Suzy’s Bar & Grill, Hermosa Beach
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