PoP! Interviews Debs and Errol – The Cutest Act in Nerd Music

There’s no shortage of nerd music these days. Nerdapalooza just celebrated the entire Nerdcore genre. There’s more to the geek tune scene than rap, though, as is evident by Canadian Filk duo Debs and Errol, the most adorable act in geek music you’re ever likely to find.


PoP! – Let’s get the obligatory interview nonsense out of the way, shall we? How did you two crazy kids meet?

Errol: Debs and I met in 2007 when we both did National Novel Writing Month. It was then that I learned she had quite the Disney Princess voice and I asked her to sing a song with me. This was, of course, four years before Debs & Errol became a thing! I didn’t take songwriting that seriously though, until she pulled me into February Album Writing Month a couple of years after that. 😀 And then I started writing more and more songs, a lot of them geeky!

Debs: In early 2011, a mutual friend of ours sent out an email looking for musical acts to appear in a showcase produced by his geek theatre company, Monkeyman Productions. Errol and I thought it would be cool to combine forces. We were pretty much assuming it would be a one-time thing but to our surprise, people really enjoyed it, so here we are!

PoP! – Was it a concentrated effort to become the most adorable act in nerd music, or did things just work out that way?

Errol: I think Debs is adorable and I’m just along for the ride. One thing that we do keep conscious about is being as G-rated as we can though! My children, without me forcing them to, love our music, and I want to make sure they can consume anything we create! ^_^

Debs: Errol is one of those people who is basically happy all the time. Seriously. One day on the way to work he texted me to tell me that smelling breakfast food on the subway made him happy. He has a childlike love for things, and for performing in general that definitely comes across when we are on-stage. It’s kind of infectious.

PoP! – Since I believe in doing at least the minimum amount of research before I do an interview, I learned that your first album (Songs in the Key of Geek) was nominated for an Aurora Award for “Best Fan Filk.” Two things: one, congratulations! Two: what’s a “filk?” I’m going to assume it’s Canadian until I learn otherwise.

Debs: Thank you! Hahahaha! Wow. Umm….I’m going to let Errol tackle this one.

Errol: Oh great, leave one of the most hotly debated definitions in that community up to me. Filk is a term for Sci/Fi and Fantasy folk music. That’s it at the simplest definition. But it encompasses more than that. It’s a community. When Debs & Errol have a gig at a convention, we are there to perform. When Debs & Errol have a gig at a filk convention, we are there to share so that hopefully others can join in and even cover our songs at other filk conventions! Ugh, why was I tasked with this definition? This is hard!

Debs: There are several filk conventions in Canada, the United States, Britian and Germany! It’s a welcoming community that accepts and encourages you wherever you are at, musically. It’s a warm, safe place to be.

CAD_0Final_600PoP! – The new album, CTRL+ALT+DUETS is parody songs. Why the shift away from wholly original songs?

Debs: We like doing both! As Errol mentioned earlier, our very first songs together were actually parodies, “A Virtual World” and “My Partner’s a Nerd”. We barely knew each other at that point but he did know that I loved singing Disney music so he lured me in.

Songs in the Key of Geek took us almost a year to make, but Errol and I had each been writing original songs for several years by that point so we had a lot of material to draw on. We knew that a second original album would take more time because we’d almost be starting from scratch as far as writing goes.

Errol: We aren’t starting from scratch! We have at least three or four songs!! Heck, more than that in fact!

Debs: They’ve all been written since the first album though. You know what I mean 😛

Errol: No, I never know what you mean. ^_^

Debs: Anyway, we wanted to release something new this year and we had a collection of these poor, neglected parodies that people seemed to love, so it just made sense!

PoP! – Do you have a favorite song? Or is it like picking a favorite kid?

Errol: On the EP, wow, I don’t know. I know my least favourite, and that’s “C64”! *LAUGH* It’s only because it’s me singing and I prefer Debs and I or just Debs. 😀 Although I like her harmonies on that, and the C64 sax solo. That’s awesome. The one, admittedly, that evokes the most emotion probably is “Falling Quickly”. That’s… silly of me.

Debs: Well, Tetris can be highly emotional! The truth is that I haven’t listened to the EP a heck of a lot yet because I’m a huge perfectionist and I’m afraid of discovering something I don’t like. 😀 I think last week my answer was “Tribbles”. Today, my favourite on the EP is “A Virtual World”, just for nostalgia’s sake.

Errol: Ya, that’s true, my preferences change based on the week. One thing that makes me happy is that when I talk to other people, they have different favourites. That reassures me about the EP!

PoP! – As if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s a daily web comic on DebsAndErrol.com. What can folks expect when they inevitably add it to their daily web rounds?

Errol: Comics where the dialogue isn’t edited? ^_^

Debs: Hey! Your typos are funny!

Errol’s been doing the comic since Debs & Errol started. I thought he was crazy then and I still think he’s crazy. The comic chronicles our life as a band. Often, that involves Errol being obtuse and me being exasperated. It was just the two of us at first but the cast of characters has grown to include my mom, Errol’s other creative partners and many of our geeky friends. I think we must have about 20 characters now?   

Errol: Making it daily was a dumb idea. During NaNoWriMo, I also do another daily comic called the NaNoToons [http://nanotoons.net]. So that means, during November, I have two. Good grief.

PoP! – Lastly, where can people go to find you online?

Errol: Oh wow, there are so many places to find us, I just sign up for any social media place I find. However, we regularly update:

Homepage: [http://debsanderrol.com]

Twitter: [http://www.twitter.com/debsanderrol]

Facebook: [http://www.facebook.com/debsanderrol]

Music: [http://debsanderrol.bandcamp.com]

YouTube: [http://www.youtube.com/user/DebsAndErrol]

Debs: Tweeting. So much tweeting.

Big thanks to Debs and Errol for taking the time to talk to us both here, and on last week’s PanelsOnPages.com PoP! Cast. We’ve embedded the album for your listening pleasure, but go ahead and buy it. Don’t be a jerk about it. They’re good people.


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Who ARE these people!?

Lee Rodriguez is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Panels On Pages. He is also a freelance graphic and web designer, action figure customizer, swell guy, and an awesome dad.

I'm even on Google+... Kind of.

Comments (2)

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  1. After listening to their new album, I have to say that it’s some of the most well-produced geek parody music out there today, and the lyrics are clever as hell.

    I also totally forgot that I mentioned them a year ago in a geeky Christmas music list. http://panelsonpages.com/?p=58205 “AT-ATs in the Snow” is a delightful song from their first album.

  2. Tito says:

    Really enjoyed the album. So did Jenn. Her favorite song is My Partners a Nerd because 🙂

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