Punk rock and basketball are the foundations of artist and songwriter The Guidance’s synth-infused sound which he has termed, “Future Grunge.” If weird comes to mind when envisioning this culture mash-up, that’s ok with him, a self-described performance artist who’s drawn to the weirdos of the world and inherently wants to speak to and empower them by bringing the odd duck freakshow to the mainstream. Like much performance art, what influences it’s making doesn’t necessarily reveal itself in the final product. That’s definitely the case with the material Pruett has created.
A melding of fun and darkness is a theme that’s weaved through Stefan’s life since he was a child who had to put an overly positive spin on a very negative life circumstance. Born with a congenital heart defect that required three open-heart surgeries and other procedures including a pacemaker, he grew up, ironically, in Carefree, AZ living a typical suburban childhood some would say was atypical of a child who had already been through so much, so young. “The heart condition is weirdly empowering,”. Not to sound cliché, but because of my condition and having a pacemaker, I felt like I was on the clock literally. I felt I had no other choice but to be positive, be fearless about living life and imbue that into my music.” HIs initial passion wasn’t music, but basketball, which he played and watched religiously through his teen years. “Basketball’s what actually got me into music,” The Guidance says. “I used to watch a lot of highlight videos—big dunks, great plays—set to music. If I wasn’t able to play at a high level- I wanted to create the soundtrack to the game I loved.” In the beginning, The Guidance’s personal soundtrack was straight up punk rock—Dischord Records stuff and bands like Crass, Operation Ivy and Fugazi. It took a reformed punk friend to introduce him to the 80s New Wave sound that would change his life. At first he resisted, but when he finally listened to some artists his friend recommended, he was hooked. “I’m definitely inspired by bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, New Order, Kraftwerk and Talking Heads”.
That heavy 80’s inspiration led to the synth-heavy sound of his own music, which in turn led to Pruett finding his natural baritone voice that only adds to his materials retro feel. While vintage synths—which he collects–create the sonic landscape for the songs on his initial solo work, He still wanted the visceral feel of his punk origins to be present in his performance on record and on stage. For him, being that person doesn’t mean abandoning the darkness, but using it to add to the fun. Dance, think, let go and feel with all your heart—whether it’s broken or not. More than anything, that’s what The Guidance has brought with his debut set of songs. And that’s the message he sends to anyone who hears his music. Dance, think, let go and feel with all your heart.