I had the pleasure of interviewing Steff Koeppen from Steff Koeppen and The Articles. She told me a bit about how they formed and what their pre-show rituals are like. Check out the interview down below!
Melisa Baykent: Hey! Would you guys mind introducing yourselves and what your role in the band is so SoftConcrete readers can know a little about you guys?
Steff Koeppen: My name is Steff and I play piano and sing. Tom Beech holds it down on the drums, Chris Pierce grooves on the bass, and Alexandra Tuggle plays the violin oh so beautifully.
MB: How did you all meet and when did you decide to form a band?
SK: We all came together at the very end of 2009. I met Tom through high school and was later introduced by former violinist (Ruth Hall) to Alex who lived nearby. Chris contacted me via Myspace when my headline read “looking for bass player.” We decided we all liked each other and…bam! The Articles were formed. I had played around AZ with friends for a year and a half prior to finally finding solid band members. How delightful to connect with such a talented group of musicians!
MB: Is there any specific message you try to convey through your music?
SK: I wouldn’t say there’s a specific message, we’re just making music and hoping people will enjoy what we enjoy making!
MB: Who or what inspired you to make music?
SK: I was initially inspired by a singer-songwriter named Brooke Waggoner out of Nashville as far as the instrumentation for the project. Other early influences of course include artists such as Eisley, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, Feist, Fiona Apple, etc. Nowadays, I’m listening to more old blues and jazz. Chris cites a handful of jazz-rock and funk from the 70’s, Tom is influenced by most things that he hears and considers himself like a sponge. Alongside Alex’s classical training, she is a loving Andrew Bird fan.
MB: You guys released ‘Stories You Can’t Tell’ in May, what song is your favorite and which means the most to you?
SK: We are all especially proud of “You’ll Be Fine.” I wrote the song after starting up jazz piano lessons (and while also nearing a break up). I think the song was arranged in a way that made it a little different from the rest.
MB: What’s the recording process usually like?
SK: I personally love being in the recording studio more than most places. Even with the exhausting early mornings and late nights, I think we all would agree that it’s exciting to see how things are coming together. We’re also able to employ ideas that aren’t always an option during a live performance. Take after take. It’s super frustrating when you have to keep trying for a good take when you’re having an off day, that’s for sure. Otherwise, it’s always really relaxed. “Stories You Can’t Tell” was recorded by Curtis Douglas, who became a good friend. We all just got to hang out and laugh between the actual recording, which made the experience a bundle of fun.
MB: Do you guys have any pre-show rituals that you do?
SK: Sometimes, Chris organizes a group huddle to get us hyped up. I drink tea. Alex and I make sure we know what each other are wearing. I think Chris and Tom secretly do the same.
MB: What are some goals you would like to achieve as a band?
SK: Right now, our goal is to get some tours set up, as well as to play some festivals and reach larger audiences.
MB: How does it feel when you’re on stage and performing to a crowd?
SK: It’s always fun being able to play for people, especially when the crowd is into it. The energy from the audience helps us play better and enjoy our set.
MB: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
SK: Check out “Stories You Can’t Tell” and come hang out at our live shows!
Facebook: Steff Koeppen and The Articles