Manchester in the spring: People are packing into the pub to listen to the night’s musical act, So Many Wizards. Performing in a city where they always dreamed of playing, the members found themselves completely absorbed in the moment as they watched the crowd begin to get rowdy. Eventually, they obligatorily helped a woman who had a bit too much to drink to a cab by way of piggyback.
Getting lost in the moment, dreaming and sharing this sense of community make So Many Wizards who they are and essentially culminate in the release of their dreamy debut album, “Warm Nothing.”
Originally a solo project created by UCLA alumnus Nima Kazerouni, So Many Wizards has evolved into a rocking foursome, consisting of fellow UCLA alumnus and drummer Erik Felix, bassist Geoff Geis and guitarist Melody Carillo. The band has established itself in the do-it-yourself music scene, which is characterized by the self-produced nature of the music, with “Warm Nothing.”
“I started playing out of my bedroom, and it was a very private thing. … (It was) very sensitive,” Kazerouni said.
Like most bands in the Los Angeles do-it-yourself music scene, Kazerouni began producing music in the confines of his home, a private and secluded space. As time went on, So Many Wizards naturally evolved and transformed to the band that it is today, but the same foundations of that bedroom still hold in the music.
So Many Wizards fits into its own genre of music called “dream pop.”
“(Our sound) wavers from the alternative, heavy-driving sound of The Cranberries to the very minimal kind of sound of the Marine Girls, (with) pop as the thread that holds it all together,” Kazerouni said. “I describe it as bedroom dream pop because I started playing out of my bedroom, and it was a very private thing.”
Ashley Jex, founder of JAXART Records, the label that signed So Many Wizards, said this euphoric quality of So Many Wizards’ music is what drew her to the band.
“These songs (on “˜Warm Nothing’) are kind of frenetic but at the same time very dreamy. It just feels like you are walking into someone else’s dream,” she said.
In order to successfully create that otherworldly atmosphere that Kazerouni compares to bands like Deerhunter and Beach House, the band members draw upon their former experiences to create music.
Kazerouni grew up in Iran during a tumultuous time of war and violence and, although he came to the United States as a child, the journey was long and treacherous, with repercussions that would affect his music and entire life.
“I was traumatized towards the end of it, and that led to night terrors as a child and (that changed) to OCD as an adolescent, which manifested into chronic anxiety in my 20s,” Kazerouni said.
“So it affected my whole life and it totally affects my music. … If I wasn’t playing music throughout those times, I don’t know what would have happened to me.”
Kazerouni said there is no direct influence he could pinpoint, but the experiences during his year-and-a-half journey to the United States, as well as his appreciation for his parents’ efforts, are always present in the back of his mind.
So Many Wizards’ music is not only influenced by Kazerouni’s past, but also the members’ everyday experiences, such as skateboarding or a trip to the beach, which provide the foundation for their LP.
“I hate to sound broad and general, but everything that happens in my daily life is inspiring and affects the music,” Kazerouni said.
Jex said “Warm Nothing” is a time capsule of what the band has been creating for years, but Kazerouni and Felix said the album embodies the feeling of being intensely absorbed in the moment.
“It’s the feeling of being lost in whatever you are doing and not really realizing that you are lost in that activity. (You) don’t worry about the past and future,” Kazerouni said.
With the release of this album, So Many Wizards has a few shows left this year.
While Kazerouni said more extensive touring is likely to begin next year, the band is still accessible to the musical community where it got its start.
Although they have seen success with their music, the members understand what it means to be part of this tight-knit musical scene. They demonstrate their appreciation for the support they have received by assisting the community that got them started.
Geis has numerous creative projects with other musicians in the community, while Kazerouni volunteers his time with other bands to create music or help shoot music videos.
Felix also volunteers and helps run shows at the well-known venue The Smell.
Jex says it’s who So Many Wizards are as genuine human beings that makes their music so accessible to others.
“They really support community, where all of us come out of bedrooms. … There is no pretension,” she said. “That’s what endears people to them and their music. They support so many people and it makes me want to support them in return.”