Tone Talk with Carly Kraft of Coral Moons

Photo by Anindita Chakraborti
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My name is Carly Kraft, and I play in a Boston-based rock band called Coral Moons! My musical story is a little bit different than most, but I think it’s encouraging nonetheless. I was not your typical musician; I always loved to sing but growing up, my main focus was sports. Surprisingly, I did play the oboe growing up and throughout high school but was training for college soccer as my #1 priority. So I went to RIT (Rochester, NY) and fulfilled my destiny of playing college soccer and increasingly grew more interested in going to see live bands. It wasn’t until post-college that I stumbled across some great friends who happened to be musicians. They were the ones that really encouraged me to learn how to play guitar and write my own music.

As women, we carry this extra societal pressure surrounding age — we’re taught as young girls that the only way to be successful is to be young and beautiful and there is an expiration date on how long that success will last for. Good songwriting takes years, and I started that journey at 22 — I couldn’t feel more gracious to the people who led me there.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
Tone is the way your guitar resonates to the ear in a given environment. Personally, I’ve always loved dark guitars with humbuckers that are really bass-y — especially with some distortion of sorts; fuzz is my favorite. I think when I was just starting to play guitar, it was really easy for me to just want to add fuzz to everything — but I’ve appreciated so many other things while playing in a band. I play rhythm guitar, so for me, it’s usually about blending with my lead guitarist and creating clarity throughout the whole mix — which usually doesn’t mean fuzz and bass-y guitar.

What are your favorite tonewoods?
I don’t think I’ve owned enough different guitars to make an educated answer on that one.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
Currently, I’m playing an Ibanez vintage series guitar that’s a semi-hollow body with double humbuckers. I have a Blues Driver for some overdrive, a Voodoo Labs Tremolo, and an EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master for my reverb. It’s funny because the amp I have (Fender Blues Jr.) has the most gorgeous overdrive built into it. I simulate the same sound using my Blues Driver for accessibility of click, but it’s just not as good. I would love to be able to create a rig where I can turn on and off the overdrive to my amp during a live show.

What about strings?
Not picky! I usually just use the Ernie Ball green pack; sometimes I go for heavy bottoms!

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I think one of the biggest things we try to do in the studio is get guitar tones exactly how we want them during the recording process. We always hear nightmares of folks saying, “we can fix it in post” and we pretty much have the opposite mentality of that. We really want to capture that live sound, so we always always take the time to dial our sounds in so we don’t have to “do it in post.”

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
This is such a hard question! I don’t think I’ve fully mastered this yet. I do know that if we are playing an outdoor show with a bigger stage and sound system, usually more FX is better. If we’re playing a small intimate room sometimes, it’s really easy to overdo some of your pedals, specifically anything with overdrive or distortion. We’ve been playing some outdoor shows recently opening for our friends, Ripe, and we listen back to our recordings from the audience, and the reverb frequently got washed away, so we had to make some major adjustments there.

What does your practice consist of?
Ahhhh, practice. The very unfun part about music. Personally, I would rather sit at my guitar and just write music all day — getting myself to practice our set is always difficult for me but very much essential to feeling confident on stage. Usually, if I’m practicing for a specific gig, I’ll run the set playing to either the actual recording or to a metronome. A nice mix of both is always important for me. Also worth mentioning, I am a singer first and guitar player second; therefore, a lot of my practice is going to be how I can sing and play guitar comfortably enough to put on a good show. Practicing breath support while moving around the stage is always much harder than it looks and all of that takes practice.

Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to pick up the guitar and play?
Easily the guitar solo in “Midnight in Harlem”!!

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Don’t give up! Only compare yourself to your past self. Stay true to yourself and chase those dreams as hard as you can!

Connect with Coral Moons Band


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