When a Pittsburgher falls, the community is there to pick them up. This is evident in the way the music scene has rallied to help Steph Flati after the recent unexpected passing of her husband and bandmate, Jesse Flati. On Thursday, friends and fans are coming together for Dance for Jesse at Spirit, an event that will raise money to help Steph finish their latest album.
The Flatis made up The Lopez, a local electro-punk duo that has been a staple in the Pittsburgh music community for years. Besides the music, the pair is most notable for their DIY spirit and dedication to helping fellow artist and musicians. Recording engineer and friend of The Lopez Madeleine Campbell explained that over the past decade, The Flatis worked hard to set up shows for other people, organize festivals, DJ parties, and fundraisers, give touring musicians a place to stay, and generally just show up for others.
“I know how much they put into their music and the DIY Pittsburgh music community,” says Campbell.
In November 2016, The Lopez started recording an album that is now ready to be mastered and sent to press. Keeping the DIY mindset, Steph was prepared to pay for the process herself. But the Pittsburgh music scene wanted to chip in.
When Campbell told Steph about the event, The Lopez keyboardist was resistant at first.
“We’ve always done everything ourselves,” says Steph. “I don’t think anyone else should have to pay for our art or what we’re trying to put out there into the world.” But Campbell insisted that there are many people who wanted to help.
“To me, this event means showing up, giving back and letting them know they've touched a lot of people," says Campbell. "[Steph] would release this album on vinyl as planned no matter what. She did not ask for anyone to do this for her. A few friends decided to put this event together to give people an opportunity to offer her support, as she has given us, while celebrating and honoring Jesse's life.”
Campbell has been working with Steph to finish the album, taking the time to make sure it’s perfect. In fact, it’s been a collective effort. Local artist Lizzee Solomon designed the cover. One of The Lopez’s best friends who lives in Portland is designing the back cover. “A lot of people are going into the making and designing of the physical copy,” says Steph. “And there’s going to be a lot of surprises inside the record.”
Steph is ecstatic about the album, excited to start playing the songs, and overwhelmed in regard to the event.
“The Pittsburgh music community has just shown so much support, just this whole time,” says Steph. “I really want to thank everyone. I appreciate all the support and the love that I have felt from everyone here in Pittsburgh, it’s been huge and wonderful and helpful.”