Finding cohesion amongst chaos, Stef Chura’s second full length album embraces itself as a startlingly bold and striking work. Comprised of a dozen distinct tracks, Midnight comes out today via Saddle Creek Records with producer Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest aiding as joint collaborator for the record. “It was a really cool growing experience for me. I had never collaborated with anyone and I really trusted Will, he has a sense for how songs go. Everything followed really naturally in the studio and the process was really easy. I learned a lot […] and went out of my comfort zone in many ways”, recounts Chura as she gradually eased into loosening the reins of control and learned to trust the process.
Stepping outside of her boundaries, she gained insight into tools and instrumentation to help hone in her strengths and flexibility as a musician. When asked further about the collaborative undertaking, Chura describes some unexpected challenges; “I sent [Toledo] probably like 25 demos and he picked a certain number and some of the other ones we mashed the songs together or utilized pieces from other demos. I was not into that at first, I was like “what are you doing?”, she laughs. Throughout the recording, Chura learned that working with her songs to have them stand apart is ultimately the principle goal rather than having them adhere to an initial and preconceived meaning attached to them. “I don’t think what my songs mean to me probably translates to anyone else”, she states, and not having to attach them to a specific storyline changed the way she entered the recordings, gaining confidence and depth along the way.
Compared to her initial 2017 debut, Messes, Chura still found innovation in working among disorder, but also found new ground in stability and with her skills when it comes to writing and arranging. “In a way, getting to really flesh out the songs really brought that tension out in a more creative way. It’s still there, but it gets to express itself differently”, Chura speaks of the process. In her recent single for “Scream”, Chura contrasts the duality of oneself, envisioning how we believe ourselves to be versus how we come across to other people, often a reflection of our loneliness and anger. Directed by Ambar Navarro, the music video utilizes nostalgic offerings of overhead projectors and red markers, lunch milk cartons and post-class make-outs, rendering that angst and isolation all too familiar from memories of our high school days.
Often spoken about as a drifter, she points out that she’s never actually up and left the state of Michigan or her hometowns of Ypsilanti and Detroit. “I think I’ve moved around an adequate amount for someone in their early 20’s. There were a couple years where I moved around a little too much but I never moved away.” During those unfixed periods she recalls living in apartments with plastic furniture, moving several times during those years to apartments that were cheaper or nicer and living on month to month leases. “It was indecisiveness that has haunted me my whole life but I feel like I’m starting to understand it a little more and feel more confident in my choices. I do find like if I move it does have an affect on my writing. Sometimes I won’t write for the first couple of months because I need to settle in”, says Chura.
You can catch Stef Chura with special guests French Vanilla in the following cities starting July 5th.
Fri. July 5 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Sat. July 6 – Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx
Sun. July 7 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Mon. July 8 – Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo
Tue. July 9 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Fri. July 12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
Sat. July 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
Mon. July 15 – Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Tue. July 16 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
Wed. July 17 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Fri. July 19 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Sat. July 20 – Houston, TX @ The Satellite
Sun. July 21 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
Mon. July 22 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Thu. July 25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Fri. July 26 – San Diego, CA @ Sodabar
Sat. July 27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
Sun. July 28 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
Tue. July 30 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Wed. July 31 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Thu. Aug. 1 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Fri. Aug. 2 – Spokane, WA @ Lucky You Lounge
Sat. Aug. 3 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Mon. Aug. 5 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Tue. Aug. 6 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Wed. Aug. 7 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb
Fri. Aug. 9 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. Aug. 10 – Milwaukee, WI @ Backroom at Colectivo
— Words by Trish Connelly