We had the good fortune of connecting with Boyd Sweeney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Boyd, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I believe that my success as a musician is due, in part, to the relationships I have built with those in my community and the culture of acceptance and positivity that I value and foster. The venue owners, staff, and guests that we are privileged to perform for, as well as my incredible bandmates, know that they will always be treated with respect and kindness. We just happen to also put on a great show!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The Moldy Figs is Colorado Springs’ premier swing dance band. We are advocates of jazz and swing music of the 1930’s and 40’s and specialize in performing music for various forms of swing dance, including, but not limited to East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop. Over the past 5 years, we have shared our passion for swing music and dance with our community to help build a thriving swing dance scene right here in Colorado Springs. It has been such a thrill to see this band grow as much as we have and I am humbled, and sometimes in disbelief, at the opportunities we have been given. The Moldy Figs have been heard at some of Colorado Springs’ finest venues such as The Broadmoor, The ENT Center, Epiphany, and Motif, as well as on air at Jazz 93.5. We even got to perform for a TED event! The Figs have been the house band for the Wednesday night swing dances at The Loft since 2017. The Loft is truly our home away from home. Our dances are an absolute blast, in part due to our ‘Theme Nights’. Past themes have included a 1950’s Ice Cream Social, 1940’s WWII Era Ball, ‘Neon Swing’ Night (with black-lights and glowsticks), and our incredibly popular annual Halloween and Christmas dances. Our next theme night is a Pajama Party which I am very excited about! Sometimes it’s fun to just get silly.
My musical journey, as I call it, has been wonderful but it has not always been easy. I started college in 2004 as a music major, focusing primarily on guitar but after only a year and a half, I flunked out. I spent the next 5 years working odd jobs, gigging with rock bands, busking in Old Colorado City in Fort Collins, and at one point hopped from couch to couch, when I was able to, while living out of my car (which did not have a working engine). Eventually, I realized being a musician did not have to mean being a “struggling musician” so I took the first steps that would eventually lead me to where I am today and went back to college.
I enrolled at CSU-Pueblo (for the second time) in 2009, only this time, as a clarinet major. I had wanted to be a school band director for as long as I can remember and decided it made more sense to focus on a woodwind instrument if I was going to be teaching band. This single decision was one of the best choices I have made in my life. Over the next 4 years, I spent every waking minute working towards learning the clarinet and digesting everything about music theory and composition that I could. Although at this time I was studying classical repertoire, I was lucky to have local jazz legend, Brad Eastin, as my teacher and mentor. He was the first person to support me in my desire to learn about jazz and swing music and allowed me to compose original compositions for CSU’S top jazz band. The band even performed one of my pieces at the Greeley Jazz Festival. If it were not for Brad Eastin and his encouragement, I can honestly say I would not be the musician and educator I am today.
I began teaching middle school band, choir, jazz history, and general music in 2013 and over the past decade I have dedicated my life to using my career as a musician to inspire my students at both Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning and The Colorado Springs Conservatory, just like I have been inspired by those who came before me. I am delighted to be able to say that I live a truly happy life. I spend my mornings teaching wonderful kids how we can use music to build our character; my evenings consist of spending quality time with the woman I love and our fur babies; and at night I am performing the music I love with some of my best friends (who just happen to be some of Colorado’s most talented musicians.) I will always be grateful for the journey I have been on. Through my experiences and the people I have encountered along the way, I have learned that dedication, hard work, compassion for others, and an unrelenting passion for life (and music) can take you places you never dreamed possible. Sometimes, all it takes is a step in the right direction and the support of your community, friends, and loved ones.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a dear friend visiting Colorado Springs, there are so many local gems I would introduce them to. Of course, I would spend most of our week together listening to live music at our amazing venues. For a grand spectacle, I would have them join me at Epiphany, truly Colorado Springs’ hottest music venue. If they were in the mood for a unique eating experience, we would head down to COATI. A night of dancing would obviously be spent at The Loft on Wednesday night. For a more intimate setting we would sneak over to The Fifty Niner or Blue at Red Gravy to enjoy the ambiance of their speakeasy vibe. Finally, we would have to check out The Wild Goose Meeting House for jazz, drinks, and my favorite…nachos!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to the amazing venue owners in Colorado Springs who support live music, jazz, and swing. Especially, Uriah Werner (The Loft), Russ Ware (The Wild Goose Meeting House and Epiphany), and Ren Thorpe (COATI) for giving so many of us musicians a space to share our love of music and dance. I would also like to give a shoutout to my incredible bandmates. My appreciation, admiration, and love for you is boundless.
Other: For booking information email: email@example.com