Amid busy work schedules and parenting a 4-year-old, Ohio State College of Pharmacy academic counselor Katie Watkins and her husband, Pat, have released their second EP as indie-pop duo The Halamays.
The official release of “EP 2” will be celebrated Sept. 23 at Ace of Cups, when The Halamays play in support of Canadian indie bands, Tops and Faith Healer.
The Halamays’ second EP was a long time coming, the couple said. It was built bit-by-bit through the past few years in spare time between work and raising their 4-year-old son, Sean.
“Three of the songs on this EP we’ve had for years,” Pat said. “They’re things we’ve just tinkered with in the basement and we finally just sort of buckled down into trying to finish out two other songs.”
The couple said they took a weekend away from work and parenting to focus on their music, and were able to write two completely new songs, as well as recording others.
“It was just one of those things where we needed the time and the energy to focus [and] just get it done,” Katie said.
Before they were The Halamays, the Watkins’s performed together as an acoustic-folk duo called Katie & Pat, when Pat would play guitar over songs that Katie had written. After playing as an acoustic duo for a few years, they eventually decided to drop the folk gig and switch to creating songs that sounded more “indie pop.”
Back in college, Katie worked at Finders Records, an independent music store in Bowling Green, Ohio, where the pair went to school. The duo’s name change pays homage to her old boss whose last name was Halamay.
“We [said], ‘Well, let’s kind of retire this [acoustic folk] stuff and start over,’” Katie said. “So we left everything, we didn’t take any songs with us or anything, we just kind of started over and reinvented ourselves.”
The Halamays found it easier to book gigs as an indie-pop duo, but over the years, especially after becoming parents, The Halamays realized they didn’t have as much time to commit to music as they used to.
“I feel like every show we’ve played, more and more people have been coming out, so it’s been this slow build,” Katie said. “We used to be able to play a show a month, or whatever, in Chicago, and now it’s maybe every two months … we go back into hiding and come back, but it’s been great to still be able to do it.”
All in all, the couple is just happy to be able to still play music together and play live occasionally. Their personal lives have evolved over the years, and the goals they had for their musical projects in their 20s have become considerably more casual.
“If we had a goal, it would be to kind of just continue to be a presence in the Columbus scene, and also offer support and be there for other local artists,” Pat said. “We really love doing that, and we’re finally getting to a place in our personal lives where we’re able to do it more again.”