City Of The Weak

I recently got in touch with Stef with an F from City Of The Weak and had a great talk with her. We talked about the live show, the new album, the venue and what’s happening with the band. Among other things I learned that this talented new band is willing to do all the work it takes to get to the top where they deserve to be.
City Of The Weak band pic

Hi Stef, so what do you expect to get from tonights show in Tampa (the live show took place on April 9th, 2018)?
S: So, we expect to have a lot of fun and lots of great energy. There’s a lot of great bands on tonight. It’s a whole tour package with Echo Black, Scars Heal In Time and The Cruz Brothers. So, I believe it’s been our second or third time in Tampa. So it should be good.
Hence, you’ve been to Tampa before…
S: Ya, it’s been years. Probably 3 years. The last time we played here was 2015 at the Brass Mug.
Yes! That’s a great Venue.
S: Ya, I’ve never heard of the Blue Note, but it’s really awesome and I love the setup.
Yes, it’s nice and intimate.
S: Ya, I love really small venues. I played a lot of house shows when I was in a ska band. I really like the feeling of there’s 20 people it’s packed and there are cities where you’ll draw like 80 or 90 its insane. I wish I could play smaller venues all the time.
So, you prefer the smaller venues over the bigger ones?
S: Yes, definitely!
What’s the biggest venue you’ve done?
S: We did Toyota Stadium that’s a soccer stadium in Chicago. We also did Rock Fest, which is a big open field with stages setup. Same with Rock USA and Northern Invasion and we’re about to do Rocklahoma. We also did South by So What, which is in a baseball stadium. So we’ve done some big ones. Which I love those too. I mean if they are full and people are into it its great obviously. When is it not great!
Thus do you plan to get a permanent drummer?
S: Well, we have a permanent drummer! Rocky has been with us for 2 years now. He’s killing it and he’s awesome!
What’s going on with the full length album?
S: It’s going to come out in June and it’s called “Pulling Teeth” and we’re excited for it to come out. We wanted to put it out last year but we just put it off because we didn’t have the right team behind us at the time and we didn’t have the budget. Now we feel like it’s the right time.
How was it working with your producer Craig Owens?
S: It was amazing! Working with Craig, he’s my hero, so you know working with your hero is very intimidating. You don’t want to mess up and you’re very nervous. But as time went on he became a friend of ours and he pushed us really hard. It was tough he made us work really hard. We loved it; we loved every second of it. We want to be working hard. He pushed us out of our comfort zone, out of our box. It was amazing and I really feel like it stretched us and helped us as artists.
How were things during your recording and production?
S: It was great. We decided to go about things in a different route. Our first 2 records we just jammed in a room. We were really young and that’s kinda how most young bands start. You just jamming and you create with whatever sounds good. You like this riff, why don’t you jam on this and then we did our thing. Than as we matured, we decided to track first. Let’s start hearing back instead of just playing it live in a room and then for the first time going into the studio and tracking the parts one by one and then thinking “Huh I never heard it like this before”; the first time you’re hearing it put together in the studio. This time we went into the studio and tracked everything first. We wrote with demos and we passed them along to each other and what do you think about this. This way were actually hearing how it sounds on a track.
Do you have a Major label releasing your debut record?
S: We are not releasing through a label. We are working with a tech company, we’re working with a PR company and we have a really great team behind us. But we are not going the label route.
Hence, you’re going to do it independently then, right?
S: Of course, absolutely.
Do you feel more comfortable being on the road or in the studio?
S: I love being on the road. I feel more in my element on the road. I like the excitement of it. Being in the studio you kinda feel aa little boxed in. You’re in the same room doing the same thing. But at the same time you’re creating and that’s really really cool. On the road you’re not creating you’re just performing you’re art. I would say I’m built to be a touring musician. But I still love the studio.
Thus when you’re creating your songs, do you do that in the studio or do you do it on the road?
S: We try to write on the road but we don’t have enough time. We try to keep a grueling schedule. Basically we have radio and press at 8 am or 9 am and tonight we won’t get out of here until midnight. Then we head straight to Orlando because we have a filming at noon. We have to have hair and makeup done; we have to be showered and ready to sing at noon. Then we have to play tomorrow night. So, we have 2 or 3 days off this entire 30 day run. So we don’t have time to write. Especially as a band we don’t hire a crew to do everything. So the guys do the load in and load out. I do the media and tour management. I’m working closely with Doug from New Ocean Media just to make everything as easy as possible for us. Therefore we usually write when we’re at home between tours. In our apartments. Then in the studio we do the pre-production.
What expectations do you have for your debut album coming out?
S: We hope it does well and it gets on the charts. At the end of the day it’s not about numbers or charting it’s about the fans, it’s about the people that have been following us for years, it’s about new people that haven’t heard of us before. I just want people to hear it.
You’ve covered Incubus’s song “Pardon Me”. A lot of new bands want to make it on the strength of their own material and you certainly have. How come at this point you decided to cover a song and why that song?
S: That song I feel is so much more relevant today than it’s ever been. So, I think it’s the lyrical content that is really important to us and we didn’t want to cover a song that everybody has done. Like if you go to a bar and there’s a cover band you know they play “Enter Sandman” or “Crazy Train”. We wanted to do something out of the box. Incubus is a very different band they rely on their own style, their own thing. I feel like they are not the second of anything. They are the first Incubus. I felt like we could take the song and put our own spin on it, cuz it is such a great song. It actually turned out better than I thought it was going to be. We went into the studio and said lets do something different and we really liked it. Lets put some money behind it, lets push it, let’s get some press. Because we thought if we are that in love with it other people would be too.
Was there a moment in time where you thought this is what I want to be doing? What was it? What triggered it?
S: There wasn’t really a moment. There were lots a little moments. It wasn’t like I’m dropping everything to be an artist. Like when I was in kindergarten, my teacher would let me sit in the corner and make books. I loved to write, I loved to create, and I loved making these books. I would take construction paper and make that the book ends and take yarn and a three hole punch and make these books. I would get my pen or pencil and I would write, write, write, make whatever story it was. Then color with crayons or colored pencils. I loved illustrating and bringing to life my vision my art, the stories that I had in my head through images and words. So, I think the love for art was always there even as a child. But as I got older the stories turned to music. The books went to poetry. Then the poetry went to writing lyrics. Once I started learning instruments it went off from there. It was never a doubt of maybe I shouldn’t do this.
Thus you always knew you were going to be an artist?
S: Oh absolutely!
What does the future hold for City Of The Weak?
S: More touring. We always want to tour. We are into touring. Some bands are more publishing side, some are studio side. We are very much into touring. It’s a tough climate, some bands shy away from touring. Its tough. Especially building a band from nothing. It’s hard but we just love it. So, more touring, the record. We just shot a music video before we left. So, we rented out an airport for it. We went big for it. It’s going to be great.
What’s the video for?
S: It’s for a brand new single that’s coing to come out with the record.
It seems that you’ve focused more on the band’s live performance over the last few years. Why is that?
S: That’s how you gain new fans. In this age of technology a lot of new bands focus on their digital press. That’s good you need to have a focus on that but there is this live element of going and being present in all these different cities. Being at these different venues and playing with these other bands. Having people get a buzz and talking about you. You can’t really buy that exposure of just normal people saying “I saw this amazing band”. Having that personal recommendation of someone saying check out this awesome band or having them live stream it on their Facebook. Word of mouth is so strong. Some bands don’t think about that. They just think about lets do an ad or digital is just fine. It is really great but being live, present and face to face is just irreplaceable.
How did you come up with the name City Of The Weak?
S: Individually we are all weak but together we are strong. If Brent or Cody were to go off and do a side project we would be weaker but together we are strong. Are strength is in our communities. So we are a “city of the weak”.