Independent musicians are taking advantage of the technology that allows them to produce albums in their bedrooms, and using it to proclaim their passions; instead of songs about bad relationships or drug use, they write geek music about Pokemon and Star Trek.
I have a rather extensive playlist in iTunes, rather unimaginatively titled, ‘Geek Music,’ an assortment of nerdy musicals, songs by comedians, and music inspired by fiction. I’d include a brief history of the genre if I had any clue when or how it began – I’ll refer those interested to this article on The Mary Sue instead.
My first exposure to geek music outside of Weird Al (who had always seemed to be a one-off) was during my days in the Harry Potter fandom, with a group called Harry and the Potters. Their “wizard rock” or “wrock” songs were funny, but they weren’t particularly talented musicians, and for a long time I associated geek music with low quality, prizing nerdy content over production value. That makes it fun for diehards, but it’s not the sort of thing you necessarily want to share with the casual fan who isn’t tone-deaf.
When I found Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls, I was floored to discover the ‘group’ was actually the work of just one guy mixing multiple tracks and instruments together at home in Canada. His wrock music was not only about the Marauder’s Map and the Knight Bus, it was pleasant to listen to. His post-Book 7 album, Bare Bones, is especially lovely, and subtly nerdy.
It was at w00tstock in 2010, however, that I first realized geek music was something people performed in concert, like real musicians. (And often with ukeleles.) I went into that 3-hour music and comedy fest without a clue, and came home with a long list of music to purchase from Paul & Storm, Molly Lewis, Garfunkel & Oates, and Hard ‘n Phirm who all made money from singing songs about Frogger, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, smug pregnant women, and the number pi. It was pretty extraordinary. Though I’ll warn any w00tstock newbie to beware ‘The Captain’s Wife’s Lament.’
Geek Girl Con the following year introduced me to the Doubleclicks and Marian Call, and the magic of the internet allowed me to search for geeky music by fandom. Chameleon Circuit features music about Doctor Who, while the three members of The Oceanic Six play songs about Lost. And in the last year or so, a number of geeky musicians have used songs to spread messages about combating animosity in and out of the geek community, from (I’m the One That’s) Cool by Felicia Day and the Guild, to Marian Call’s I’ll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks it’s Chic, to a song with a really moving music video, Nothing to Prove by the Doubleclicks.
This is feel-good music. Music that makes you laugh, or makes you happy because it’s speaking to you. It’s sort of the epitome of the geek community – a celebration of inside jokes, nerdy references, and boundless passion set to catchy tunes that inspire impromptu group sing-a-longs. Who doesn’t love a song about Ikea?