Swordpaw Session S2:E5 — Haley Moley

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Haley Moley is a sometimes synth-driven, sometimes psychedelic 5-piece that has called the Swordpaw rehearsal and recording space at Oakwood Community Center their home since 2015. Season 2 of the Swordpaw Sessions series has so far featured bands who are not associated with the studio, and this Haley Moley set brings the series back to one of its own.

Photo by the band

Haley Moley is:

Jennifer Maher Coleman – Vocals/Keys
Andrea Kosek – Guitar/Keys
Mike Broomhead – Drums
Pat Thorpe – Bass
Paul Coleman – Guitar

Session credits:
AV Capture – Peter Lavery/Paul Coleman
AV Mix/Editing – Jennifer Maher Coleman/Paul Coleman

Paul Coleman has been primarily recording and producing the Swordpaw Sessions, and we asked him a few questions about the challenges of doing so for his own band.

You’ve recorded a total of 7 Swordpaw Sessions starting with the first episode featuring the Abyssmals in June 2019. This latest session finally showcases one of your own projects, Haley Moley. How was the experience different, having to manage audio and video recording as well as playing in the band?

Well, I’ve definitely managed to record Haley Moley in the past (Object Permanence EP) while playing. It’s always a challenge though and, in general, I prefer to have someone else hitting record and more importantly being an objective voice in the room. It really takes two different mindsets to do this and I’m never sure if I’m able to get my best as either a recordist or a musician when I do both at the same time. 

I should note that Peter Lavery from Front Biz/Bear Grass stepped in and definitely took a lot of the pressure off by being that objective voice! I honestly think that half of being a good recording engineer is being able to listen to a performance and give solid feedback to the people playing.

Talk about this set of three songs — do they represent work that will end up on an upcoming album? 

Two are definitely going to wind up on the album we’re working on! This particular set is actually a great cross-section of all of the writers in the band. Jen writes all of the lyrics, but we all have brought in music at one point or another. The first song, “Deep Silence”, was something that Andrea came in with when we tentatively started practicing again during the pandemic. It’s probably my favorite new track, though that distinction can shift from practice to practice. It really highlights how great a guitarist she is. The second track, “Everybody Wins” is a Pat track and originally started as a Wet Hotdog song that Pat thought might be a better fit for Haley Moley. It’s a great high energy track and is ridiculously fun to play. Recently, we’ve been leading off our practice with one of these two and it always gets things off on the right foot.  The last song is a Jen song called “Souvenirs” from our 2nd EP “Strikes Again”. Andrea’s been using a new keyboard that she’s been using in Pony in the Pancake for the last year and sonically, it revived the song for us. Also, Mike’s drumming on this song is always fantastic as he has a lot of space to really go to town on it. So yeah… this one’s a re-recording candidate for the album.

I should also mention Pat/Andrea’s work in Pony in the Pancake (another Swordpaw band) and their side project Wet Hotdog. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in the mixing of that one and it’s just great fun. Also I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jen’s and my side project, Architrave. We have a new record coming out 11/12, which we’ll be spamming the world with in the next month. We’re all busy!

BWHaleyMoley-PhotoByBenjGleeksman.jpg Photo by Benj Gleeksman

Photo by Benj Gleeksman

Anything new you’d like to tell us about Oakwood Community Center and the Swordpaw studio in terms of updates to the facilities and programming?

I’m definitely not an authority on the Oakwood side of things, but I know their food pantry work has been invaluable during the pandemic. I also know that they’re currently building a new walk-in cooler to deal more efficiently with perishables. 

Also during the pandemic, Oakwood Techniques was set up and started. Basically, it’s a music teaching program teaching kids the rudiments of how to make beats. Swordpaw isn’t directly involved in this, but we’ve opened our space for some of these classes. It’s important that we not just be a practice/recording space in a building that is for all intents and purposes a community space. 

We’re also looking to perhaps have a couple of concerts a year in Oakwood to benefit the programs there. Nathan Meltz of Machine Revival recently organized something outside our back door that was called “Oakpop”. It was a fun afternoon and we raised some cash for Oakwood. This may well serve as a template for these events.

What are your plans for future Swordpaw Sessions — are you booked out pretty far?

The last question is a good segue into this. It’s my hope that we can ultimately branch out with these sessions and make it go well beyond just bands I’m friends with or are directly affiliated with the space. I’d love for it to reflect the broader community in the area. That said, the direct answer is that I have a couple of bands in the pipeline that have reached out and want to do a session. I’m hoping I can start to get a few other folks from Swordpaw to capture these. I’d love to mix them, but I honestly don’t have the time to capture as many as I’d like to see. In my ideal, this would be a monthly thing. It’s turned out that I am averaging one every 3 months since I restarted it with Pony in the Pancake. Beyond that, there are no ambitions with this beyond documenting cool performances on no budget and very little time. 

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