Stef Chura’s debut studio album, Messes, is born of her years of experience playing around the Detroit, Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state-nearly 20 times. “Right when it starts to feel like home / It’s time to go,” she sings literally on its opening cut, “Slow Motion,” a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and aband on. Chura calls her music “emotional collage,” eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favor of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.
1: i’m left hand ed
2: i’m allergic to wasps
3: my parents are chiropractors
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
This sounds cheesy but the first thing that comes to mind is Kurt Cobain… I had a ton of pictures of him in my locker in jr high. He might have been my jesus…
2. How and when did you get into making music?
When I was 13 my dad showed me how to play basic chords on the guitar. Then I got a bunch of tabs online, printed them off and put them in a binder. I went to a boarding school when i was 14 and returned 4 months later. When I came back I started writing songs on guitar. I used to love the Counting Crows as a child and I knew all of the words to “August and Everything After” as well as Lisa Loeb/Nine stories – “Tails” please think of that anytime anyone tries to categorize me as “cool”
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Metallica – the black album
Nirvana – nevermind
Elliot Smith – either/or
Cat Power – free
Love – forever changes
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Ready for it? — Techno! The best way I can associate with Berlin is the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. People are constantly comparing Berlin to Detroit and I am very curious to find out what it’s really like.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The Natural Food Patch. It’s in Ferndale. I go here everyday because I have foodstamps and they sell all kinds of dirty vegetables there, chai, bean burritos…
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would do ceramics. Here is some of the work I did in early college:
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
For christmas last year I bought my mom 3 CD’s – Big Thief “Masterpiece”, Angel Olsen “My Woman” and Weyes Blood “Front Row Seat to Earth”
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Detroit Che, Tegan and Sara
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I opened a festival that Solange played in Detroit called MOPOP Wand WOW that was an AMAZING AMAZING show. Something to definetly strive for. She is truly an artist… it’s not just the songs it’s the outfits, the choreography, the stage set up. And not just the dancers, EVERYone is dancing – drums, bass, guitar.. the whole lot. Unforgettable.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Not very important. Electricity seems needed. Otherwise I just write stuff with an acoustic guitar. Although I use my phone to record myself.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My brother is two years younger than me and owns a restaurant in New Orleans called Wakin Bakin. I’m calling him right now so I can give you a very specific answer:
“Tell them your brother never learned to feel. And also he is excited about it”
To listen :