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Mega Wand


Mega Wand is Mishal Hashmi (drums and vocals) & Rachel Levy (keyboards, computers and vocals)

Genre: Electro-Indie-Ghettotech

Geography: Echo Park, Los Angeles

I sat down with Rachel this week (via AIM, ain’t technology grand?) for a quick little Q&A sesh, she had me laughing the whole time with her quick wit (and typing- she challenged me to a type-off; I type one-finger with my head down, she can do like a thousand w.p.m.) and easy demeanor. So here’s how it went down (AIM speak is totally gnarly of course, so I took the liberty of cleaning it up a bit)…

JM: I’m loving the track OF BE to death, yo.

RL: Really? That was the first Mega Wand song.

JM: It’s really catchy, on the poppier side- shows that you can be refined.

RL: Thanks. It’s a bit watered-down, not hard enough to me- it’s too slow, we can’t play it live. But it shows some versatility, we definitely get kind of crazy- we always destroy Mishal‘s drumset!

JM: Wow! So what are your ages, how’d you meet, all that stuff?

RL: I’m 25 and Mishal‘s 24. We grew up together, so best friends. Been playing together for like 10-12 years?  Mega Wand is a new project, but we’ve always played together in whatever.

JM: What were some of those bands like?

RL: Stuck in a Rut (punk/hardcore), OLD Mega Wand circa 2004ish was purely a noise band and Jazzercise (elevator music).

JM: You had an elevator music band? That’s effin rad.

RL: It was short-lived, but truly rad.

JM: That’s both tragic and awesome- awesomely tragic!

RL: I know, right? Thus the basis of its appeal. And shit.

JM: Ha ha ha, thank you for adding the “and shit”!

RL: And here’s a “cute” fact- we’re both five feet or under.

JM: So what would you say your major influences would be? Musical and otherwise, that inspires you to create?

RL: Seeing any live performances always pump me up, but my first instrument was trumpet. So I listened to a lot of classical music and jazz. And then, let’s see- David Bowie, Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones… then tons of electronic like Ed Banger record guys.

JM: Trumpet? So a lot of Miles Davis?

RL: Yes, always down with the Miles. But seriously- we love music. That’s always the hardest question for me (about influences) so it’s usually a sucky answer. I love thrift store record shopping! What music is on your playlist these days?

JM: I’m completely loving Paavoharju, the new Beirut EPs, old school hip-hop (I’m sort of writing a retrospective on the whole genre because one of my friends complained I don’t cover enough rap on the site, he’s totally right) and this Tougher Than Tough compilation– it’s like a history of Jamaican music from 1958-1993.

RL: Nice! What if I wanted to tell you more music? Like The Beach Boys and The Brian Jonestown Massacre? Oh my god! You Know what I love? CLASSICAL GUITAR!

So then at this time, Mishal also IM’ed me (they share their MySpace account so they both have access to my screen name) and invited me out to pizza with The Mae Shi. I had to say sorry and that I’m in Oakland, but the flight to LA is only like 50 minutes. She said that I better hurry.

JM: So Mishal jusy IM’ed me- she said this interview is all you because she did the last one. So what do you do when not doing Mega Wand?

RL: I teach first grade at an independent school, it’s all about teaching the whole child. We take then on outdoor education trips, community service, all that sweet stuff.

JM: That’s awesome- so you got any miscellaneous quotations, socio-political agendas, anything like that you’d like to add?

RL: Nah man- we’re all about having fun with everyone and eating pizza. Just always enjoying life. And shit.

JM: Nice! thx thx superthx.

RL: super welx and super thx back to you!

We also talked a bit about the awesomeness of listening to jazz music in the rain, the euro-trashiness of Ladytron and my Ween phase of a few years ago. Here’s some choice tracks from the ladies of Mega Wand, who I’d like to thank again for their generosity and accessibility. And congratulations for being the first band on The Musicologists‘ new Bands On The Rise feature!

Mega Wand