Stef Chura Talks Messes, The Hilarity that is Weed Dating Apps, and Cognitive Dissonance

Meredith Schneider

photo by Arvida Byström

With the recent release of her 11-track stunner of an album, Detroit’s Stef Chura is hands down experiencing a wave of popularity. And it’s no wonder why, as every single track on the album evokes a particular adrenaline-pumping garage punk sound that just makes us want to party. Check the album out in its entirety below, and then stick around for our quick hit interview with Stef Chura herself!

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What was the first song or record you ever listened to, and who introduced it to you?

OH BOY ~ I have very fond memories of these albums in my childhood: Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories – Tails, Counting Crows – August and Everything After, Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, The Offspring – Smash. These were all my Mom’s CD’s. I have a pretty photographic memory for the lyrics sheet I followed along HRDCORE.

Did that first musical memory lend itself to your taste and influence for your own music now?
Honestly, I would describe all the music I make now as derivative from all of those albums.
When did you decide to pursue music? Was there an “a-ha” moment?
Yeah I mean I kind of had to hit rock bottom in this really dark way before I was like ~ HEY I guess I have to dive in. But it’s been so worth it. I basically had a series of events lead me to the question ~ “What would I be disappointed in if I died today and I hadn’t accomplished?” No one ever offered me a deal or told me I was special or really lifted me up in a way where there was a specific path to expedite this process.
You’ve been a staple of the Michigan DIY scene for quite some time. How do you feel your sound – and your approach to music – has changed over the years?
The sound has changed a lot since I’ve been playing with my current drummer Ryan Clancy. I think having a solid drummer makes a HUGE difference. “Your only as good as your drummer” is true!
The sound has tightened up and my singing has improved a lot and become much more confidant.
 
Messes has so many incredible gems on it. (“Spotted Gold” and “Becoming Shadows” are two personal favs.) What inspired your approach to this release?
Well I feel like with a lot of projects first albums they tend to be kind of a collection or best of all the songs the band or songwriter has written. For me this was more like that than a concept album. We originally had 14 songs we were recordings but only 11 made it! For me even thought a couple of songs on the album are older I didn’t feel good about moving on from them until they were properly recorded.
What do you want people to take away from this album?
I mean I worked really hard on it and as long as people appreciate the songs or it moves them in some way or another that’s all I want. This album wasn’t flippant or on accident in any way.

The “Spotted Gold” video is so vibrant and – as unamused as everyone seems 😉 – and wanted to know what the pre-and post-production process was like on that? How did it come to be? Any fun anecdotes from set?
 
My Friend Ambar Navarro kind of forced me to go to LA to shoot this video. I am SO glad she did we ended up working with her friend Fidel Ruiz-Healy who had like a small movie crew (that was a surprise) because he was in LA shooting something else. We shot all the band stuff one day and all of the “gimmicks” where done another day when we weren’t even there. I was REALLY surprised to see how it turned out since we weren’t there for that part of the shoot.
As far as anecdotes go I forced Sean Solomon to lend me all that gear. Clancy (my drummer) downloaded a weed dating app just so he could have some girl deliver him pot.
What’s your favorite part about live performance? Least favorite?
I kind of have some sort of cognitive dissonance about performing live. Part of me really enjoys it and feels comfortable. The other part of me is like “Why am I doing this?” or “I can’t believe people like watching bands” (i’ll think that while I’m singing). I’m not as nervous as I used to be so I don’t know what I would say is my least favorite thing right now.
Do you have any tricks for life on the road, by the way?
I’m newly obsessed with murder mystery podcasts. I’d say getting as much personal space as you can on tour helps a lot! Sanity can be kind of lost after awhile.
What’s up next? 
We are leaving to tour with SAD13 on March 7th! We head south for SXSW and then come back up on the east coast/through Canada!
Anything else you’d like to add?
 
Check out our tour dates to see if we are in your city soon! stefchura.net 😉
___
Messes is available now.

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