If you were at LeakyCon a few weeks ago, you might remember these ladies singing their hearts out in the totally epic opening ceremony. Vocalists Dana and Ginny, along with producer Erik make up Not Literally Productions, an up-and-coming parody group dedicated to all things nerdy and wonderful. LeakyNews got a chance to sit down with Ginny and Dana this past Sunday for an interview. Keep your eyes peeled for some exclusive updates on their upcoming work!
LeakyNews: How did you get started in music and how long have you been performing together?
Ginny: Well, both of us did music in school. I did jazz performance in college and Dana did opera. We met when we were singing at the Colorado Renaissance Festival in a group together.
Dana: Lots of madrigals!
Ginny: We have both always been people who sing along to things, so it wasn’t like there was some sort of musical epiphany.
Dana: We both grew up with the rule “no singing at the dinner table.” That’s verboten at both of our homes because it was a problem!
LN: That is so great.
Dana: Yeah. We got started with Not Literally because last April, Ginny did Ravenclaws. And that went kind of viral on its own, and there was such a demand for more that we decided to just do that together. After Slytherins came about and was popular, we made Not Literally a thing.
Ginny: I picked Dana to work with specifically because we have always been musically in sync. We have a very similar sense of comedy as well. We work well together.
Dana: Singing in a capella groups together you develop this weird sixth sense like, “Wait. Ginny’s breathing somewhere. I should be breathing.”
LN: Oh yes. A musician thing.
Dana: Exactly! We’ll also answer questions at the exact same time with the exact same phrase. Or we’ll mess up lyrics to a song on the radio in the same way. But it’s not weird anymore, it’s just what we do.
LN: Where did the name “Not Literally” come from?
Ginny: We considered a lot of different names and we chose this one because it was a very subtle reference to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. There’s a part at the end of one of his videos where he goes…
Dana: “Peace! But not literally…”
Ginny: We wanted to pick something that wasn’t Harry Potter specific because we knew we wanted to branch out in the future.
Dana: It’s harder than it looks!
LN: Well that’s a good choice! Do either of you play any instruments?
Dana: I am teaching myself guitar and I can kind of play and sing at the same time!
Ginny: I’ve been playing piano since I was in elementary school, but I stopped taking lessons really early so I’m just a kind of pop pianist.
Dana: Now we’re both cultivating both of those things so that we can branch out into original music. Technically we’re wrockers, but we’re just parody wrockers at the moment. We’d love to be able to write new original songs but neither of us has ever done that before.
LN: You already talked about getting started with Not Literally, but were either of you involved in YouTube before that?
Ginny: Well, I had a channel where I mostly posted Disney fandubs, which nobody cares about because so many people do them. I also posted sped up screen captures of some of my drawings, but well, I wasn’t terribly popular.
Dana: I had a channel, but just to occasionally post a comment or like something. I barely ever used it.
LN: So Not Literally was really the beginning of it all.
Dana: Yes! Moderating a channel is a whole different experience.
Ginny: We’ve had to learn a lot about YouTube.
Dana: Like how one out of every fifteen YouTube comments is about how we’re dumb and talentless.
LN: I’ve heard that if you’re not getting trolled on YouTube, you’re doing it wrong.
Ginny: Yeah, exactly. That’s what we told ourselves. If somebody cares enough to leave a mean comment, we are doing something that’s getting a reaction.
Dana: In the Potter fandom, the fans are just so nice and so protective. As soon as somebody posts something horrible, our fans jump on them.
Ginny: Those comments almost immediately get a lot of thumbs down. People respond and defend us.
LN: Trolls are rough. But we carry on! Can you tell us about your upcoming Hunger Games project?
Ginny: Well, it is a Disney parody featuring the prep scene before the games: Cinna getting Katniss ready. We have introduced a couple of our cast members on our website.
Dana: We found a perfect guy for Cinna. He looks a lot like Lenny Kravitz. It’s not a bigger cast than we’ve worked with before, because we had more extras for Hufflepuffs, but it’s a much larger audio cast.
Ginny: We have six people singing. Usually it’s just Dana and me.
Dana: It was a new experience for us, but it kind of gives us a chance to introduce some people we’d like to have on as regulars in both the comedy and music videos.
Ginny: Not only that, but our friend Blake Smith, who did the guitar intro to Ask Hogwarts, created the entire background track for our Hunger Games parody. He’s an incredibly talented musician. So we’re really excited to keep working with him.
Dana: He’s also going to star in our Game of Thrones parody.
LN: What about Gryffindors?
Ginny: We are currently working on the Gryffindors video right now. We more than doubled our Kickstarter: the fact that we asked for $2,500 in our Kickstarter for the video and raised over $6,000 is absolutely amazing.
Dana: And we were terrified to ask for $2,500 because we didn’t think we were going to make it. So we’re trying to make sure that we really deliver. With the projects getting bigger and the production quality improving, we just have to keep trying to top ourselves.
Ginny: One thing that is definite: there will be flying brooms in the Gryffindors video.
LN: So what’s next for Not Literally? Game of Thrones?
Ginny: Yes! We want to release our Game of Thrones parody around the time when the next season starts. So we will probably be working on that at the same time as Gryffindors. It requires a lot of costuming, so it’s going to take a lot of prep work.
Dana: We are going to do a mini-Kickstarter for that, just because we have seven elaborate costumes.
Ginny: One thing that we can tell you – I will be playing Khal Drogo in one of the scenes.
LN: That is amazing. [Editor’s Note: Ginny is tiny, which makes this casting all the more wonderful.]
Dana: Another thing that we’re working on is a three song EP of wizard doo-wop. We’ll also be making one video to go along with the EP. We’re hoping to have that finished up and released around the winter holidays.
Ginny: In terms of other future plans, we are going to bringing Ask Hogwarts back for a second season sometime soon.
LN: Exciting! So to wrap it up: name your favorite musician or group.
Dana: That’s a mean question.
LN: Oh yes, it is a mean question.
Dana: I have this habit of putting the entire Maroon 5 discography on repeat.
Ginny: She has to do that with headphones in. Right now, I would say Regina Spektor or Tally Hall.
Dana: Yeah, I’m going to go with right now, Maroon 5. But every time I go into the kitchen to cook, I put on motown.
LN: Very inspirational. And now another difficult question: favorite Harry Potter character?
Dana: [After a long pause] We should be able to answer this faster. We were just at a con, somebody could have sprung this question on us.
LN: The great thing about LeakyCon is that nobody would mind if you don’t have a fast answer!
Ginny: Yeah, that’s true.
Dana: Neville or Molly. I’m a mommy. Well, not an actual mom, but I tend to get “mama-bear” protective over people. I’m very much a Molly. And Matt Lewis won puberty.
Ginny: It feels cliché to pick one of the trio, but I’ve always really identified with Hermione. She has things that she is really passionate about that everybody else thinks are dumb, and she doesn’t care. She continues to be passionate about learning and reading, even though everyone around her is making fun of her for it. I like her because I would rather sit at home and read rather than go to a party. And I think that Hermione has sort of made it ok to be comfortable with that.
LN: Thank you so much, ladies. It was wonderful talking to you both!
Not Literally shared some exclusive info with us: there will definitely be flying brooms in Gryffindors, Ginny will be appearing as Khal Drogo, and their upcoming EP will be wizard doo-wop! If you’d like to learn more about Not Literally, check out their website and find them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for their upcoming Hunger Games parody and as always, stay close to LeakyNews for updates.