Stumpfest, the stoner-doom metal festival/party held annually in Portland OR has revealed this years fest will take place 4/23 – 4/25 and the early line-up of bands. Headliners for the weekend so far include northwestern doom greats YOB, Danva, Intronaut, as well as Portland locals Lord Dying, Sandrider, Author & Punisher, Graves At Sea, and Black Pussy. At least one more major band tba to close the Saturday night date. The fest will once again be held at Missisippi Studios, holding just under 400 people, so this makes it a very intimate one of a kind event, keeping with founder Rynne Stump’s goal of keeping the fest small and inexpensive as possible. Weekend passes are on sale now, as well as single day tickets. Last’s year’s fest sold out, so don’t sleep if you are considering going to this.
In 2015, the “fantastic amalgam of music, bro love and art” returns to Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon on April 23-25. Hosted by none other than the beloved Stump sisters, the three-day festival is more riff-filled, filthed-up and stacked than ever.
The headliner of Saturday, April 25th will be revealed in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, you can purchase three-day passes or tickets to the Thursday and Friday shows below:
Long-running West Virginia bred, instrumental stoner-rock missionaries Karma To Burn has just finally released their killer new album Arch Stanton (Faba Records) in the USA, after it was available overseas last summer. The tracks themselves are mini-epics of major proportions, and they cement everything you love about this groovin institution, yet pushes out their sound even more than before. To celebrate, the band has hit the road with like minded rockers Sierra on a tour that will see them criss-cross the US. Catching up with the band recently at Portland Oregon’s storied Hawthorne Theater, both bands were impressive. Even local opener Disenchanter caught our attention. Check out this photo set from the show courtesy of Curtiss Dunlap Photography. If you can’t make it out to a show, go pick up Arch Stanton, sit back, burn one and space out.
Corrosion of Conformity continues to mine away at our collective psyches, grooves crushing so hard as a power trio with their latest album IX (Candlelight). The band is out on the road supported by hardcore mainstays B’last, Brant Bjorkand The Low Desert Punk Band and Lord Dying; tearing up stage after stage, night after night. Ghost Cult’s Curtiss Dunlap caught this tour in Portland, OR, (minus B’last) at Dante’s. Check out his photos from the show:
We ventured to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for the European tour of Red Fang, The Shrine and Lord Dying. After the pretty awesome show Lord Dying gave at the Effenaar, I had the chance to have a little chat with these guys. As soon as I stepped into the backstage room the air was filled with scent of male deodorant, beer, and a little whiff of sweat. Some bandmembers were roaming around the hallway. I walked into the dressing room of Lord Dying, Erik Olson, Don Capuano, Rob Shaffer, and Chris Evans were chilling out after their show, and I had one of the most warm welcomes ever. I got a beer pushed into my hands and from there is where we started to chat a little.
Welcome to the warm middle-south of the Netherlands. How do you like the Netherlands so far and did you guys had the chance to check out the environment?
Well yeah, we have a bunch of dates in Holland still coming and Roadburn in on the list. We didn’t really have the time to check things out outside of the venue. But during Roadburn we do have some time to check out the town, we believe we have 2 or 3 days in between shows.
One simple question, I’ve see you have been in Belgium a few days back, do you like Dutch or Belgium beers more?
Uhh, we actually drink this (holds up a can of Jupiler)
Yep, that definitely is Belgian beer, let me write that down. Talking about Roadburn, on their site they called you guys “Cavemen Metal”. What do you guys think about that name?
Haha, yeah that is an awesome name, yeah we totally are cavemen with beards.
So is it because of the beards?
It is pretty much all about the beards indeed.
Lord Dying has a very distinct sound, is this a typical sound from Oregon?
In some way it is, we get inspiration from bands that play in your certain area so you hear some of the influences back in our music. We love to hang around with the folks from our area, that is why we are so happy to tour with Red Fang who are also from Oregon. It is just cool to make what you love to make, and that is what we do.
Is this a popular kind of genre in Oregon?
We have a great booming metal scene up there. We have a lot of doom bands and we have a lot of thrash bands. We don’t really try to fit in with all of them. We just try to experiment with the riffs and beats, we try to crossover in the styles without too much genre jumping and still being interesting to listen to.
You can definitely hear a lot of those influences in Lord Dying indeed. What are the key points to the music as you make it?
We all like different kinds of heavy music. It all comes together with the riffs. We all try to write it before and then we kind of try to put it in a song. We definitely take an influence from the sound that is coming from the pacific southwest. We try not to take everything to directly. We try to write our own thing. There isn’t really a thing that we specifically try to play we just do it.
Okay, so you don’t try, you guys just are?
Haha, Yeah you can put it like that indeed.
You had your debut album out for quite a while now, named Summon the Faithless (Relapse). You immediately earned your status in the US and in Europe. How did that happen? Most bands go by trial and error.
Look. We have good friends that support us throughout. We work hard and earned our place, first local, then the US and now Europe. We take every opportunity to play, and it doesn’t matter how much it costs. And we had our very first show with Red Fang, who are also from our neighborhood. So we had a very good start.
It is pretty awesome you have friends that already have such credibility that can push you guys along.
Yeah, we were lucky on that part. And they are like really great dudes. We are really stoked to do this, and we have a lot of awesome bands from Portland.
So in a few weeks you are going to play Roadburn, how siked are you guys?
We are pumped! We got asked and we were like “Yeah of course”. It is 3 days after our tour is over, so we are already there. Why wouldn’t we play there! We love to play as much as we can.
There are a lot of bands that play this kind of style, how do you guys think you stand out in the crowd?
There are a lot of different kinds of genres we get compared with. For instance sludge. In our opinion sludge isn’t the good description of us, we accept it though. People like to put names on something. But we are more high energy and we write more pumped music.
I was looking at your show, and I agree with that feeling. I mean, you guys are fun to watch, the energy is splattering off the stage while you guys play. Do you feel that the same?
Well, yeah! It is fun to play and we try to give the audience everything we can. Obviously there is a lot of rad sludge bands out there. But we try to keep it interesting.
By the way, who is the Lord in your band name and why is he Dying?
It is about worshipping and bowing down. Fuck that! We don’t like to bow down. And we don’t like authority. So that is why the Lord is Dying.
If you would have to choose a band you could play with where you would go totally retard about, which one will it be?
Carp, they don’t exist anymore but yeah. They are pretty awesome. But we would love to play with Slayer of course, everybody would love to play with Slayer.
Another beer question, we love beer questions. How much beer do you guys think you have drunk after the tour is over?
Wow, do we have to answer this question in gallons? We don’t know, enough to float a ferry from the UK to Europe, we guess.
And for the final question. Where do you guys hope to be in 10 years from now?
Just playing riffs. Doing the same thing. Living the life. We’ll just see what is going to happen. We can’t live off it, but we hope to still be touring around. The goal is to be staying on the road all the time. We enjoy what we are doing. Every time when we get home, we want to get touring again. We call it after tour- depression.
After the interview with Lord Dying I went back to the venue to see Red Fang. It was a pretty awesome evening, you can read all about it in the review about this show. We had a blast on this energetic night.
Wherever I go, people bemoan the lack of any kind of scene anymore. First of all, I question how long some of these complainers have been around a scene at all, or tried themselves to build anything personally. It is certainly harder than ever to bring together bands and fans and keep it together. So, when we find people who are waving the flag hard for rock and metal, we single them out for praise. One such person is Rynne Stump. She runs the annual Stumpfest in Portland, OR and has growing it slowly into a killer weekend of bands, art, and community. This years’ fest is next weekend, April 24-27 at Mississippi Studios. It boasts a killer lineup of bands like Red Fang, YOB, Trans Am, Black Cobra, Norska, Lord Dying, Drunk Dad and more in an 300-person venue. We chatted with founder Rynne to get the scoop on how Stumpfest came to be and why it thrives.
We jumped into the questions asking about the history of the fest, so named for its founder and former Portland resident:
“I used to live in Portland in the early 2000s, and I used to do small jobs at this club called The Black Bird, where I met with my dear friend Chantell. She put me to work doing random jobs doing posters, doing the door there. She moved to a new club and she asked me to be her assistant. So I started booking the shows, made posters, and eventually ran my own nights. I started booking small shows, my birthday show, I started booking my friends’ bands together. That is kind of where it started to me.”
“I moved to Los Angeles, about ten years ago. I found it really hard to see heavy bands that I wanted to see play, that I had grown so accustomed to seeing in Portland. So it was hard for me to find a place to see my bands play without a venue. It was hard to have a scene in Los Angles for heavy music and it still is. Its and interesting place to be, a lot of people want to “make it big” here. A lot of people want to see heavy shows, but to see them really see them, you have to go to Pomona. And of the bands that are playing Stumpfest, aside from Red Fang and Trans AM, those two are kind of a known market. But a lot of these bands have trouble bringing in crowds, and have a hard time trying to find places to play. A few years back YOB went out with Tool, and the last night of the show, I thought, “This is ridiculous! Why don’t I put on a show?” And talked about it to YOB and said, “Why don’t you do this with me?”, and they said yes. So I booked it at Mississippi Studios, and they were more than happy to have us. They were very accommodating. They have great sound, which is why we continue to have it there. Their hospitality is second to none. They really enjoyed having us in their building. That is kind of the framework for it.”
“As the years have gone by, it has evolved into something that I didn’t have planned, and that is the magic comes from. The things that are happening at these shows that is super inspirational. Bonds are created, friendships are made, and I can’t take any of the credit for that. Bringing awesome people together, these like-minded quality human beings together under one roof. And it evolved into this larger thing, let’s put it that way. It’s great! I don’t know what happened that way. This year, I had no idea. I cast the net wide, and everyone said yes! (laughs) and I thought okaaaaaaaay. I thought maybe we’ll go back to one night, and we’ll party down. But it grew into this whole thing. All of the sudden, there were so many bands, I had to turn some down. So who knows what’s going to happen next year? I have no idea! (laughs)”
Looking at this awesome lineup of stoner rock, doom, other underground bands, this is what attracted our attention in the first place. We asked Rynne how she chooses the bands.
“I choose basically who I love. Usually, who I love to work with. I worked with Trans AM. I’ve worked with them before, that’s when I met them. Well over the years they have become dear friends of mine. Pretty much everyone of these bands on the bill have stayed at my home and have been my dear friends! (laughs) That was kind of the main idea and theme for me, was to have a show, where I could see all of my friends, so I could see them all at one time. I wanted to come up to Portland, get everybody together to have this, big party. That was the main theme. It has become the whole other thing, and I’m so stoked about it. I’m still kind of amazed at how it’s growing, and the interest that is brings. It’s kind of mind-blowing! The sky’s the limit, I suppose, at this point.”
Mississippi Studios is an intimate place holding about 300 and all of the the three-day passes are already sold out. We asked about the growth of the fest and what the future might hold:
“I wish that we could Livestream it or something like. How cool would that be, if we could actually get that set up sometime in the future. And that would bring a whole other cool element to the festival. Maybe next year. I want it to be reasonably priced. I know that bands are getting bigger. The lineup I want for next year, the one that is my wish for… I might have to raise the prices a little bit, but I hope not. I just don’t know. Every year is a new experience and I just kind of let it unfold as it happens.”
“I realized that bands are getting busy and everyone needs to be paid. Each year is an experience and Mississippi (Studios)…. I love. And I want to keep things intimate. That is one of the main elements of why I think that is why the festival is what it is, and why it is so connecting and fun. Since you are not drowning in a sea of people you can see all the musicians. I want you to feel by buying your ticket, what you have done by buying your ticket. I want people to be feeling what they have done, to maker this happen. It brought this cool vibe. I feel like spectators are able to feel a connection and be an integral part of it. That is what a community is. A community is everybody working together to create something amazing. Whether that be the survival of that said community. Not that Portland needs to survive. But why shouldn’t we do that? But in the hunter- gatherer perspective, why shouldn’t we do that? I want to bring that back into the scene.”
“I’m not into competition. I don’t claim to be an expert about music. I’m a music enthusiast. I love all forms of music! There’s hundreds of amazing bands that I’m sure I don’t know about. I don’t want to pretend I am a master at anything. I am a student, if anything. I love music! I play music. I sang bluegrass when I was a child. I love jazz fusion. I love country music. I write country music. Getting back to the point of community, everybody who plays Stumpfest just brings their “A” game. That feeling translates to everyone, incredibly. The show comes and it just elevates, and elevates and elevates. Everyone just gets super high, naturally off the energy. And that’s not me, that is the magic of it. I am lucky to be a part of this. I just curate it. I am able to curate something much larger than what I imagined. The artwork comes from one of my dear friends Gabriel Schaffer. Another friend of mine, Andrew Brando, who is a friend of mine from LA, helped contribute. Everyone Contributes. It’s not that I am shelling out money, getting everybody’s best work. We all come together because we are a family. Sure, I pay everyone and everyone seems to be satisfied at the end of the night. But some people are like “who cares?” Everyone is just having some beers and having some fun, hanging out, playing some music. It’s a celebration! (laughs)”
“I just want to connect the dots and get everyone working together. The artwork just keeps getting better and Gabriel is getting really excited. It’s so exciting. I’ve got Eric Roper working on a limited edition poster for this now. When in my wildest dreams could I get Eric Roper to work on this. He’s like a Roger Dean. It’s just incredible. It’s just incredible. I’m flattered by what’s happened, that people want to work with me, and want to do this, and want to be a part of it. It’s everybody’s. It’s not just mine. It’s for everybody.”
Contrary to popular belief, Portland didn’t show up on the cultural map yesterday, with a funny TV show lampooning its denizens. Portland has always been a big rock and metal town, as has the entire northwestern USA. Rynne gave us her take on why this town breeds cool bands, and high-minded folks who care about art:
“Well, let’s see… I mean the first time I ever went to Portland, I felt it. Perhaps it’s just a vibe there. Perhaps it’s the 45th Parallel. It’s a vibration. It was thriving well before I got there in 2001. It had already gone through, I mean in the 80s there was a huge jazz fusion boom with Jeff Lorber. Whether you like Jeff Lorber, and Jazz fusion or not, there has always been something about it. Whether it’s the water, the parallel, or I don’t know what. There is just a vibration. When you have a culture, a creative culture in a small area already there, and people want to moving there with like minds, you are creating a microcosm of this world of art. I have no idea why, but it just breeds there!”