We had the good fortune of connecting with Stef w/ an F and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stef w/ an F, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is obviously a very scary thing. No one likes to think that something they’ve invested their time or money in could potentially fail. But I like to think about each risk as it’s own potential reward / potential failure situation. I’m always a ‘worst case scenario” kind of person which really ensures that I’m prepared for any situation. “What’s the absolute WORST thing that could happen, & how do I make sure that doesn’t happen even if everything goes wrong?” Assessing the entire situation & trying to bring that risk of failure down, or at least being able to live with yourself if you do crash & burn, makes you feel so much more prepared to take on anything. I came from very little so to me taking risks just makes sense. When you have nothing to lose, what’s the worst that can truly happen? I know what it’s like to have nothing & be a nobody, & I’m determined to not go back to that. Even if my worst case scenario happens & I do, I know for sure I have inspired & will inspire many people along the way. No one makes it out of life alive, so I might as well go out with a bang knowing I took every risk I could.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Our art is in the form of an active rock band! I think the rock ‘n roll world is a bit more structured than it was 20-50 years ago, & I think our resistance to that structure sets us apart from others. I’m very proud that we have built something as an independent entity that has reached all corners of the world. We’ve received fan mail & web store orders from Japan, UK, Italy, various South American countries, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, & more! It wasn’t easy at all. It’s been very difficult, & I’m sure it will be difficult for a long time, as we still have a long way to go to get where we want to be. A big challenge in music is just making sure you’re working hard, working smart, following up with your connections, & being able to use rejection to push you forward. It takes time to hone in a routine that works for you & to feel like you can handle the insane workload. I want the world to know that I will never back down from my art & our message of overcoming challenges, & I want other people to be inspired by that so they can also have the life they truly want.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Overall, Lylo Swim Club is one of my favorites! It’s an outdoor pool with amazing, fresh craft cocktails & phenomenal Japanese / Hawaiian cuisine. I spend a ridiculous amount of time there when I’m not touring…
Rebel Lounge hosts Emo Nite Phx every couple Saturdays which I frequent, as well as lots of killer rock shows. It’s a small dive bar style music venue that feels like home to me, even though I just moved to Phoenix mid-2020 during the pandemic. It’s kind of the center of the rock / metal community in Phoenix as a whole, which I’m all about.
Nami is my favorite dessert stop: they are 100% vegan & have ice cream, pastries, & coffee. Can’t go wrong with that!
Pemberton is my newest discovery in downtown Phx: it’s an outdoor collective of food & beverage trucks that has everything from food/drink to art experiences to yoga. It’s meant to be a community space & it feels like a whole other world when you walk through it!
I live in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, & I personally just love taking walks around the neighborhood & discovering new places, outdoor events, & seeing the little bits of nature sprinkled throughout the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story in art & entrepreneurship started 23 years ago, so there is a LOT of people over the years who have provided stepping stones & helped me along my journey, especially when it comes to City of the Weak. One of the first people that comes to mind is our friend / mentor Lou Plaia. When City of the Weak was brand new as a band back in 2012, we traveled from Minneapolis, MN to Atlanta, GA to showcase at a conference called “Driven.” It was a panel of industry professionals that we were able to play in front of & get advice from. We were all teenagers, newly thrown together as a group, & we barely even knew each other at the time. We had never played a show with that lineup before, didn’t have a website or a single out, & we only had a crappy burned 3-track CD that we had wrapped in paper with a blurry black & white photo of us on the front. I remember Lou watched our showcase, told us we had great potential, & we had a blast hanging out with him throughout the conference. Turns out he was the founder of Reverbnation, & had previously been at Atlantic Records for years. He was so down to earth & made us feel empowered instead of inferior to the other artists, even though we were total amateurs at the time. We ended up staying in touch with him throughout the years, & he has definitely thrown us more opportunities than we deserve. He’s one of the few music industry people who truly care about the art & the artists. We feel very lucky to have someone like him in our corner, & are excited to see what comes next for his career as well.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0ZGGJhQr0zRqiIVhSAAsul?si=yBeMCuVGTTyEvgAp8rGfYw Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/city-of-the-weak/640236354 HXTEFUL Customs: https://www.hxteful.com/
Lauren Klinge Scott Lukes C. Evan Media Steve Porter