January 7, 2007

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Moe’s Haven presents Manchester
Stark Park, Adam Sandler, Bob Baines and Hippo appear in Matt Farley’s songs
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

They’ve produced an astonishing number of albums but no one has really given Moe’s Haven a good listening. Yet that hasn’t stopped them from making music.

“We’ve had 22 albums with very little success. Nobody really listens to us. Partly because we’re just constantly writing music and not really performing anywhere. Plus, we’ve got a lot of material and a lot of it’s pretty bad,” Matt Farley said.

Moe’s Haven is Farley on vocals and piano and Tom Scalzo, of Massachusetts, on guitar. These two, who met in their early college days, take the meaning of dedication beyond its normal definition.

Fulfilling a plan to record 30 minutes of music every day, they’ve produced an album for each month of the year. Which means they’ve created 365 tracks and 12 albums for 2006, each titled after the month it was released.

Farley and Scalzo both put in their pens when it comes to writing the lyrics and music.

“It’s exhausting, as you can imagine. We subscribe to the theory that if you write a thousand songs, maybe five of them will be good, so we write several thousands of songs,” Farley said.

The month of September brought, for the first time, some recognition to the witty and comedic musical duo. Stemming from a song based on the Queen City (one of those 30-minute daily excursions), they decided to make September’s release all about Manchester’s oddities and specialties.

The album, September: in Manchvegas, with various creatively humorous tracks all about the Queen City, such as “Never Go to Stark Park After Dark” and “The Red Arrow Diner” or “Adam Sandler Visits ManchVegas” has even gotten snippets of air time on WGIR.

“It’s targeted to a specific group of people. I’m making music for the [people of Manchester], rather than making music for the world that no one will listen to anyway. This way, maybe, at least Manchester will listen to it,” Farley said.

Farley even managed to get a copy of the album into the hands of former mayor Bob Baines. There’s also a track on the album dedicated to Baines, “Bring Back Bob Baines,” but whether or not Baines took the time to listen to it, Farley doesn’t know.

“I hope he’s listened to it. I just can’t believe he lost [the election]. I really think what I said on the album is exactly what happened — everyone just figured he was going to win, so they didn’t go out and vote for him,” Farley said.

Yet, Farley, who isn’t from Manchester originally, feels thas a fresh perspective on the city.

“Maybe it’s good to have an outsider’s view. If you grew up here, you end up taking things for granted. You don’t realize the quirky, fun parts about the city because it becomes so familiar to you,” Farley said.

Living in downtown Manchester, Farley spends a lot of time walking around and checking out all those “quirky” and “funny” things about the city. He said that when something strikes him as “funny” or “weird” he keeps it in his mind for future material.

After 22 albums and little recognition, Moe’s Haven will be taking a little hiatus from the record-releasing aspect of things. Farley’s home studio will still get plenty of use but the public won’t be getting in on the action.

“We set up this plan that we’ll keep on recording music but we just won’t let people listen to the music, not that they want to anyway. But, maybe if we say they can’t listen to it, then they’ll want to,” Farley said.

All the albums produced by Moe’s Haven are available for downloading and purchase through iTunes. Farley and Scalzo get 60 percent of all purchases from the Web site. According to Farley, the checks they get from iTunes every month are about enough to buy a pizza, not including a tip.

Moechester
Who: Moe’s Haven, founders of Motern Music
What: Album dedicated to the Queen City, September: in Manchvegas
For more info: Go to moeshaven.com or go to iTunes.com for sample tracks.