First-Year Student Brings His Band to the Battle, Feb. 26

By schwartzsa | February 25, 2011

Jonathan Cooney ’14 has already recorded two EPs and played in the company of several nationally touring acts on some of the most popular stages in the Northeast. This weekend, his band, The Pleasure, will add Arcadia University’s Stiteler Auditorium to its list of venues conquered, going head to head against four bands for the privilege of playing at Spring Fling’s Woodstock.

Growing up in Wilmington, Del., Cooney says he was always a singer, but it wasn’t until former bassist Drew Hoffman caught his performance at a high school talent show in February 2009 that he became “a proper vocalist.” Guitarists Sam Barry and Sean Williams and drummer Elliott Sidell invited Cooney to add his voice into The Pleasure’s mix.

Cooney listens to a wide range of music, everything from pop punk and hardcore to mellow acoustic sets. He emulates William Beckett of The Academy Is… and he reveres the tracks of The Kooks, Closure in Moscow, Mumford & Sons, Algernon Cadwallader, and Your Best Friend.

“‘Sunflowers’ is the song fans know us for,” says Cooney. “But I think my favorite of our songs is a new one that we just finished tentatively called ‘Red Clay Sunday,’ because it’s a little bit different from our other songs while staying true to our sound. Plus, it’s so much fun to play it as a brand new song.”

Cooney doesn’t operate under the illusion that success comes easily. On a regular basis, he commutes from Glenside to Wilmington to practice with the band. His advice to burgeoning musicians is to keep a path of creativity open between all pursuits.

“The desire that carries me back home to the band is the same one that fuels my schoolwork, which in turn influences my writing material that I bring to the band. The key to balancing college with a music career is to find whatever ways you can to make them influence each other positively.”

Listen for “Red Clay Sunday” and the rest of the The Pleasure’s set as the band competes in Battle of the Bands, Feb. 26. at 8 p.m. in Stiteler Auditorium in Murphy Hall.

Photo by Brian Ecklund ’14