Friday 11 April 2014

Interview with Rynne Stump - Organizer of STUMPFEST Festival

Today I have been given the opportunity to interview the organizer of one of Portland, Oregon's finest upcoming Doom/Stoner Metal fest that is STUMPFEST. A self proclaimed – 3 day festival of “fantastic amalgam of music, bro love and art” - that has some brilliant bands this year – YOB, Red Fang, Trans Am, Lord Dying, Black Pussy, Diesto, NORSKA and Chron Goblin to name but a few.

Who is the person behind this awesome festival. It's today's guest – Rynne Stump. I thought I would catch up with Rynne to get the full lowdown on this awesome Stoner/Doom Festival and see what makes this hugely talented lady tick as she is person of many talents.

So lets get started...

Q1 – Hi, Rynne. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.
Doing pretty good, thank you! Thanks for interviewing me!
Q2 – Today's interview is mainly to talk about your brilliant festival – STUMPFEST. Can you give our readers a brief history on how the festival came about? What was the original idea behind it all?
I was active in Portland's music scene when I moved there in the early 2000s. Music is my life and there I felt such a strong bond in the musical community (that was no doubt in place well before I moved there). It is still thriving and growing! Portland is vibrating with life and creativity. So many talented artists and musicians in such a small place doing what they love and it shows! The quality of music there is second to none. People believe in their sound and craft it honestly from their heart and souls. They believe in their sound and with that is artistic integrity, which lends itself to musical transcendence that we as observers and participants get to tap into.
When I lived in Portland every night you could hear amazing bands and meet amazing people! Those times are a huge part of my life still and I love doing a show to celebrate this love. To bring everyone together again, new friends and old with a supercool vibe is also the main idea. STUMPFEST is about music, art, love, community, brotherhood and connection! Let's not forget FUN.
Q3 – How many STUMPFEST's have there been so far?
This will be the third STUMPFEST! I can hardly believe it!
Q4 – It's primarily focused on the Doom/Stoner Metal scene from Portland, Oregon over 3 action-packed days. Was that always the intention to feature bands from Portland's vibrant Hard Rock Scene?
The intention was to be able to see my friends and bands I love! Especially the ones I do not usually get to see often down here in LA.
LA isn't really known for its heavy music scene, is it? Which is sad that I have to drive to POMONA to see anything decent. One major reason why I intend on doing a biannual STUMPFEST, one in Portland in spring and one in LA in fall—all hinging on negotiations with a proper venue of course.
This year’s bill is unique to each night! That’s what is so cool about it; it’s not just one set of styles. It’s a total amalgam of all genres. I intend on keeping it this way, as I am a lover of all music, as long as it’s good music.
Q5 – It seems you have a killer line-up this year. Did you choose all the bands to perform yourself or do you have requests from family and friends on who they would like to perform.
I choose all of the bands, selfishly without question. I do ask the bands how they feel, though—it’s important to me that everyone be comfortable. I did receive quite a few requests this year, too, which rules! 98% of the bands on the bills I know really well and/or have worked with in some capacity in the past. There seems to be an instant connection with the ones that I don't know all that well. No band just gets added to the bill to fulfill space or whatever. There is direct intention for every band to be there.
Q6 – When I interviewed Red Fang last month they told me the festival is being held in a 300 capacity sized venue. WOW. That will be an intense and intimate show. Especially with YOB who I have seen in a similar environment in the UK.
Yes, Mississippi Studios is a very intimate venue. They have been amazing to us year after year. I enjoy the atmosphere and it provides for a more communal gathering. Moreover, the quality of sound is KEY and that place is amazing.
Q7 – Obviously a lot of hard work and planning is needed to plan this sort of festival. How long did it take you to arrange this year's festival?
I usually start early November. I cast the net wide with my band requests so that by the start of the new year I have a pretty good idea of the structure of each night or however many nights are needed. I have enlisted my amazing sister Sara in the process— she keeps me organized and beyond. My dear friend Cat Jones from Southern Cross PR has been a huge help this year with PR and press. Basically, there is NO way I could do this without them at this point. My friend Chantelle Hylton is a guiding light as well. She opened this door for me years back and has always been a huge force in STUMPFEST.
Q8 – How has the audience and bands’ reactions been to the festival?
It’s important to me that the audience feels included! They are the reason we can continue doing this year after year. I feel like we've accomplished that connectivity as the bro-love vibe gets more intense each year! I try to keep costs low so that we can keep ticket prices reasonable. I want everyone to be a part of this thing! After all, its OUR community and we are building something new that isn't based on contracts and B.S. its based on friendship and teamwork and connection. “Real connection, not pretend,” to quote my band leader Craig Elkins.
Q9 – How did you became involved with music overall? As I know you’re active in other areas of the music industry.
Music has always been my life! I started singing bluegrass with my father when I was 3 with my sister Sara. He had an extensive vinyl collection, too, and my house was filled with musicians all the time. My parents would have a huge Labor Day music festival at our house every year. I believe music is ingrained in my spirit from this.
When I moved to Portland in early 2000s I hooked up with Chantelle Hylton, who ran Blackbird Booking. She and I became close and she gave me odd jobs at first, like running posters and random door gigs. Soon after she moved to Berbati's Pan and asked me to become her assistant; There I worked production and booked some gigs. I met a lot of amazing people who are still dear friends! Chantelle is a huge reason why I do Stumpfest. From there I met my boyfriend, Danny Carey. That set me in a completely new direction and on a wild adventure! Now I do an Internet radio show called the Children of Saturn Monday nights, I am a printer, I also shoot underwater photography and some band photography for TOOL amongst a flurry other things. Mainly I'm with a man who lives and breathes music! I am immersed in it and we see everything! I love jazz fusion now and a lot of music I was never really exposed to before.
Q10 – Is music a big passion or part of your life? As you're involved with The Children Of Saturn. How did that show come about?
The Children Of Saturn began as an idea for a magazine, something I could print and use to knit my friends together. Eventually I was offered a radio show by Radio 23 in Portland. I used that as the medium instead! It's been so fun to interview people like David Yow and Joe Barrissi! Having dudes that have created some of my favorite inspirational albums come on the show and play music that inspires them is unreal. Also, to see that we are all connected by music is the key and I LOVE to sit and play records.
Q11 – I am a huge fan of the Portland Doom/Stoner/Sludge Metal music scene. There are too many too mention. What are your thoughts on the music scene there as it's producing some killer bands?
As far as I know Portland has been doing that since well before I moved there in 2001. It’s just a magical place with people who believe in their sound, how they sound and their artistic integrity.
Q12 – Which bands are you most looking forward in seeing at Stumpfest this year? Or is this too hard of a question to answer?
it is most definitely a difficult question because I chose all of them! I’m excited to see bands I have not yet, like Ancient Warlocks, Drunk Dad, Honduran and Life Coach with Jon Theodore of Queens Of The Stone Age! However, bands like TRANS AM, RED FAND and YOB that are just insanely talented, huge and awesome live in such an intimate venue is rather tickling to me.
Q13 – I have checked out your excellent website, The Stump Factory. WOW. You have some beautiful photographs on there. I know photography is another passion of yours. How did you become involved with that as you have taken some excellent pictures there?
Thank you. Actually photography did not come to me as my idea. I started scuba diving about five years ago with my best friend Camella Grace, who is an incredible photographer. She urged me to do an underwater photography course with her in Bonaire. One day I saw some squid and starting shooting like mad and that was it. Now I’m hooked.
Q14 – When did you start your own musical journey? Which bands and musicians do you currently listen to now? Any particular faves?
My musical journey began at birth with my father. He forced his varied taste in music on us! I listen to all of it. I love all music as long as it's good. I totally love old progressive rock, I love good jazz fusion and particularly good drummers!
Q15 - What things do you love most from the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene?
I love the humble supportive community most of all. I find that within any community there are inevitable downsides, part of being a human I suppose. However, I really feel the supportive nature of this scene is one of its greatest strengths.
Q16 – If you could change anything within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Scene. What would it be and the reasons why.
I would like to aid in making Los Angeles a more metal/doom/stoner friendly place for bands to play. I want to sort that out with a biannual STUMPFEST, spring in Portland and fall in LA, thus giving more bands opportunities to be heard live around here.
Q17 – If you could provide any advice on someone wanting to start their own music festival. What would that be.
Assemble your crew and care a lot about them. Be honest and don't be afraid to bust your ass for bands because so much of this is making people happy to play, happy to create an stoked to be there. Of course, it helps to know the business a little and have a bunch of great friends that contribute to that.
Q18 - We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Do you have any cool records in your collection?
I have Neil Merryweather’s Space Rangers that I am listening to right now as we speak. It kicks major ass. I have the best colored ISIS vinyl collection any girl could dream of and I have my coveted TOOL Lateralus picture disk with my name written in it and a special heart from my D.C. in the wax. I also have a red wax copy of Aja by Steely Dan, which is also in my top 10 bands of all time. There are more but…I could be here forever.
Q19 – Obviously you're quite an expert at putting gigs and festivals together. If you could put together your ultimate festival line up. Which bands would you include? They can be from any time period.
Wait a minute, I could be here all night…. I’m a huge Stones fan so I would say the '72 version of the stones, Zeppelin, Zappa with Bozzio, Gong, Magma, Sleep, Yob, Judas Priest with Simon Phillips on drums, ISIS, The Euroboys, King Crimson with Adrian Belew, Sir Lord Baltimore and FLOOR….that sounds good to me for now. This was an entirely unfair question by the way.
Q20 – Well Rynne, Thanks for doing this interview. Best of luck with the festival. Makes me wish I was in Portland for those 3 days. Can you tell our readers what to expect from this year's festival?
A fucking good time!
All the Best Rynne. Best of luck. Keep up the excellent work. Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for arranging this interview.

Written by Steve Howe