Today we’d like to introduce you to Wes Hoffman.
Hi Wes, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Music has always been a part of my life. My mom started teaching my sisters and I how to play piano at a young age. When I was about 12 or 13, I took an interest in guitar. My mom had one collecting dust in the corner of my parents bedroom. One day I opened it up and started learning some chords.
Around that same time, I heard MxPx on a sampler CD. That was my entry point to punk rock. The aggressive vocals, fast pace, and meaningful lyrics instantly connected with me. From then on an I was hooked on all things punk and its ideals.
I played in bands off an on when I was younger – most notably The Livingston Project and The Citation in the early 2000’s. I started writing music again around 2015 and started “Wes Hoffman and Friends” when I met Justin Unterseh in 2017.
During the pandemic, as I was going through some significant life changes, I began writing some very personal music. I did not want this music to fall on deaf ears or have no on hear it. I was going to put as much time and energy behind promoting the music, as I did creating it. Though my songs were getting national attention in underground pop punk and punk rock circles, I was not getting much traction in my hometown of St. Louis. There was no platform to get the word out about punk music or shows.
I went on a long walk and fleshed out the idea for 314 Punk. Creating a promotional platform for punk rock in St. Louis is something we’ve needed for a while. It’s a way to promote everything happening in the punk scene, and not just my music. I truly believe we rise by lifting others, and that’s what I wanted to do with 314 Punk.
314 Punk was originally an Instagram page, but it’s since become a podcast and concert promotion tool. We are now booking shows and showing up at community events, selling merch and podcasting live with bands and people within the community.
As for those songs that were written during the beginning stages, they have definitely been heard in St. Louis and beyond, as Wes Hoffman and Friends will his the road multiple times in 2022 and will be opening up for FEAR on July 23rd at Red Flag with Bastard Squad.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
I’m a very positive person. I believe we create our realities through how we view the world. Yes, life has obstacles, and it’s very challenging at times. Life itself can be tough. I’m always trying to look for the lesson, though. Though I’m very optimistic, sometimes my mind can get the best of me, and I think no one cares or is paying attention. I’ll stop if I ever get to a point where I’m not passionate about what I’m doing. In those moments, I still do the things I’m focused on and pursue my goals because I want to – that keeps me going. So far, my music and 314 Punk have gradually succeeded. The small wins along the way – getting a hold for a show, an opportunity to open a sick show, helping a band book a show, sharing a new podcast, etc. that help along the way. I also believe consistency is key. We have ton consistently keep showing up in order to build something. It doesn’t happen overnight. Obstacles and challenges are sometimes just part of the process.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m very proud of my band’s work in the last couple of years. At the beginning of 2021, I sent the guys in my band a strategy and plan of action with all the things I wanted to do with our band – release an EP, do weekends of touring, open for legendary bands, and play at least one festival. This year, all those things either have happened or are on the calendar, waiting to happen.
I’m also very proud of the state of the punk scene in St. Louis right now. So many good bands have been around for a while, like The Disappeared, Bastard Squad, Better Days, and new ones just starting out Dialogue, Tom Thanks, and The Chandelier Swing. I’m happy to be able to shine a light on what’s happening here in the punk scene and let people know about it.
Something I feel that sets me apart from others is my consistency and strive for excellence. I don’t want to put something out that is subpar. With music, I want to be able to hand something to someone (CD, cassette, or link to my music) and be extremely proud of it, knowing it’s the best I could do with what I had. Like my work with 314 Punk, I want the podcasts to be great. For the shows I book, I want them to be great lineups with beautiful marketing materials. I’m not a designer, so I find other talented people to work with on things I don’t have expertise in. I feel the more people work on something, the bigger and better it becomes.
Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Putting yourself out there is always a risk as you’re susceptible to other people’s opinions, views, and criticism. If you want to build something, there will always be financial risk and investment. In the past, I’ve quit my job and went all in on building a business and being self-employed. Now, I feel I’ve learned from that experience. Though I kept that business up and running for 5 years, I’m a little brighter about approaching risk. I’ll often ask myself, “If I don’t get a return on this investment, what’s the worst that will happen?” I also feel my experience as a business owner has helped me in that decision-making and risk-taking.
- Website: weshoffman.bandcamp.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/314punk instagram.com/wesleyhoffman
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weshoffmanandfriends
- Twitter: twitter.com/wesleyhoffman
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwKtoxvBMXzZe3leBRQCXPw
- Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0miL7GmMySX4jXKhwmbnFC
Large stage photo – Chris Bauer Crowd hand raising photo – Cory Miller Acoustic Guitar photo – Lisa Carrico Podcasting photo – Lisa Carrico