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Paige Koehler expands her network at PB’s Garage Mahal

PB rehearsal studio expands into resource hub

Paige Koehler has no plans to move out of this Garage. - Image by Photo by Cole Herauf, provided by Paige Koehler
Paige Koehler has no plans to move out of this Garage.

Ocean Beach singer-songwriter Paige Koehler kept things in the city when it came to recording her debut EP, Sorry I’m Late. “My EP was recorded at [Kearny Mesa's] Defiant Robot Studios in 2019-2020,” she says. “I worked with a whole team of local musicians from bands like MDRN HSTRY, Boostive, and Coral Bells; and then local engineers, artists, and creatives who are nearly all local to San Diego.”

“My favorite song is 'Patience.' It wasn’t supposed to be on the record, but then quarantine happened and I suddenly had a ton of free time to record and spend on music. I recorded most of it in my closet and then had my friend play drums over at Studio West. It ended up being one of my favorite songs, because it was just made out of boredom and turned out to be something positive in a time where you had to fight really hard to keep positive.”

Her most important revelation in recent years, though, was her discovery of the Garage Mahal practice space, and the services offered under Mahal honcho Jesse Orlando. She was playing the Pacific Beach Farmers Market when Orlando slipped his business card into her guitar case and invited her to do a live session.

“The Garage Mahal started as a practice space for Jesse and his band MDRN HSTRY,” Koehler explains. “They wanted to network and bring the music scene closer together, so they started to do live sessions with local bands. Each band has to bring some kind of memorabilia to hang on the wall, so the garage is filled with a bunch of San Diego artifacts from the music scene. It now has turned into home base for countless impromptu jams and just a general hub for the best local bands around.” 

Because of that, “Garage Mahal has now transformed into something of a booking network for the local San Diego music scene. Because of the tremendous network they built filming their live sessions, they now have a portfolio of bands that they book throughout different venues in San Diego. During the pandemic, they partnered with Studio West to live stream local artists from the Casbah. Now that everything is opening back up, they’ve partnered with local wine company Revolt to put on a summer tour featuring musicians nearly every week.”

Koehler says the contacts made and the confidence gained through Garage Mahal helped her expand her music network “tenfold.” She’s made connections jamming with musicians from all around town while at the Garage, as well as playing at and/or supporting gigs booked through the venue.

“The Garage has taught me that networking is everything. But also that networking doesn’t have to be done in a disingenuous way. It can just be showing your face at a new band’s show, or introducing yourself to ask them about their writing process. Just showing support to bands and musicians you respect is the most powerful way to stay consistent and is the easiest way to learn ways to improve your own live shows.”

Does an act need to have rehearsal space at the Garage to benefit from its programs? “No. Although the Garage is home to several local San Diego bands, there’s always room to expand the network and support that they’ve created.”

Asked about future plans, she says, “The Garage Mahal will continue to partner with local venues to book shows. They’re also going to start filming sessions for a major broadcasting network and are thinking of putting together a festival in the coming years. As for me, I will continue to rehearse at the Garage, and am heading back into the studio next month to start recording a new project.”

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Paige Koehler has no plans to move out of this Garage. - Image by Photo by Cole Herauf, provided by Paige Koehler
Paige Koehler has no plans to move out of this Garage.

Ocean Beach singer-songwriter Paige Koehler kept things in the city when it came to recording her debut EP, Sorry I’m Late. “My EP was recorded at [Kearny Mesa's] Defiant Robot Studios in 2019-2020,” she says. “I worked with a whole team of local musicians from bands like MDRN HSTRY, Boostive, and Coral Bells; and then local engineers, artists, and creatives who are nearly all local to San Diego.”

“My favorite song is 'Patience.' It wasn’t supposed to be on the record, but then quarantine happened and I suddenly had a ton of free time to record and spend on music. I recorded most of it in my closet and then had my friend play drums over at Studio West. It ended up being one of my favorite songs, because it was just made out of boredom and turned out to be something positive in a time where you had to fight really hard to keep positive.”

Her most important revelation in recent years, though, was her discovery of the Garage Mahal practice space, and the services offered under Mahal honcho Jesse Orlando. She was playing the Pacific Beach Farmers Market when Orlando slipped his business card into her guitar case and invited her to do a live session.

“The Garage Mahal started as a practice space for Jesse and his band MDRN HSTRY,” Koehler explains. “They wanted to network and bring the music scene closer together, so they started to do live sessions with local bands. Each band has to bring some kind of memorabilia to hang on the wall, so the garage is filled with a bunch of San Diego artifacts from the music scene. It now has turned into home base for countless impromptu jams and just a general hub for the best local bands around.” 

Because of that, “Garage Mahal has now transformed into something of a booking network for the local San Diego music scene. Because of the tremendous network they built filming their live sessions, they now have a portfolio of bands that they book throughout different venues in San Diego. During the pandemic, they partnered with Studio West to live stream local artists from the Casbah. Now that everything is opening back up, they’ve partnered with local wine company Revolt to put on a summer tour featuring musicians nearly every week.”

Koehler says the contacts made and the confidence gained through Garage Mahal helped her expand her music network “tenfold.” She’s made connections jamming with musicians from all around town while at the Garage, as well as playing at and/or supporting gigs booked through the venue.

“The Garage has taught me that networking is everything. But also that networking doesn’t have to be done in a disingenuous way. It can just be showing your face at a new band’s show, or introducing yourself to ask them about their writing process. Just showing support to bands and musicians you respect is the most powerful way to stay consistent and is the easiest way to learn ways to improve your own live shows.”

Does an act need to have rehearsal space at the Garage to benefit from its programs? “No. Although the Garage is home to several local San Diego bands, there’s always room to expand the network and support that they’ve created.”

Asked about future plans, she says, “The Garage Mahal will continue to partner with local venues to book shows. They’re also going to start filming sessions for a major broadcasting network and are thinking of putting together a festival in the coming years. As for me, I will continue to rehearse at the Garage, and am heading back into the studio next month to start recording a new project.”

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