Next weekend, Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon, plays host to the three-night Stumpfest IV. The festival, organized by Rynne Stump, has become a staple of the Pacific Northwest’s fertile heavy underground, and this year is no different. Headlined by familiar names from the region like Danava, YOB, Big Business, Lord Dying and Sandrider, its reach has only expanded in its years of operation, and with a near-infinite supply of heavy acts to choose from in the Pacific Northwest at the moment — oh wait, six new bands just formed right this second — there seems to be no shortage of fodder for Stump and her compatriots to show their dedication to the cause. With Norska, Sons of Huns, Graves at Sea, Muscle and Marrow, and others on the bill, Stumpfest IV retains a commitment both geographic and stylistic, and its admirable mission has earned it increasing acclaim each year.
Now eight months pregnant and looking forward to the birth of her first son, Stump somehow found time between final fest preparations and packing a hospital bag to answer The Obelisk Questionnaire, and her efforts are appreciated. Enjoy:
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Rynne Stump
How did you come to do what you do?
A lot of doing what the hell I wanted and not listening to other people or caring what people thought of me too much. Making my own decisions in life gave me the courage to take risks and be accountable for myself and my mistakes. Following my heart got me where I am and I wouldn’t change one damn bit of it. Of course it helped having parents and sisters who support me and accept my attitude. My father was a musician and he taught me music, how to listen to it, the language of harmony, and how to sing and perform. My mother taught me how to craft, create and to work hard. To not give up no matter what was against us. To never, ever let someone’s opinion of me affect who I really am inside.
Most importantly, if you are raised to be yourself and supported to be your unique self you will have your own life to be proud of no matter what!
Describe your first musical memory.
My dad waking me up out of bed when I was super tiny to listen to a record. I wish I remembered which record that was. He said to me, “Listen to the bass! Listen to the guitar! Hear that harmony, Zipper?” Then he took me outside to gaze upon the moon. This happened regularly in my house in my first years of life.
Also, performing at the Southern Indiana bluegrass festival Bean Blossom with my dad and sister Sara in my diapers that is a pretty intense first musical memory.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
There are too many to count! In addition to putting on Stumpfest every year, I am also a musician. Some of my best musical memories come from performing with my band leader Craig Elkins. To me, communication on a musical level is absolute! The energy, connection and elevation can take you beyond the moon! Plus, we just harmonize like angels together and we laugh at ourselves constantly. Song birding it up with Craig is the BEST!
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
Daily, our beliefs are tested all the time. How we recover from this defines our character and strengthens our bond to our own spirituality.
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
Artistic progression is the higher evolution of ourselves and our souls. Through it, we can lead others toward their own elevated states of being and influence a positive reaction.
How do you define success?
Finding the happiness in all things. Attaining grounded, self-assured happiness allows us to know ourselves better, laugh at ourselves, forgive and love ourselves. When we do this we can connect fully with others and to do positive things for the universe. That is success in my eye. The idea of Stumpfest was to gather old friends together to do just that, and we have seen success every year.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
Everything we see shapes us; our experience, our perspectives, our minds, who we are and who we become. Although things we see can harm our fragile egos we can take every experience and make ourselves better from the exposure. I am thankful for psychedelics, which help us to see things in multidimensional perspectives. They open our minds beyond the plane of consciousness that we operate in daily and further connect us to ourselves, others and the great unknown.
There was one time I saw a bum masturbating on the side of the road and I could probably live without that.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
My partner Danny Carey and I are creating life right now inside of me. I’m eight months pregnant, and that was always top on my list… to create the human form is the ultimate! Also, making my own record. Committing and immersing myself totally to the struggle of that inward path is a huge, frightening goal for me.
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
The birth of my son in June. I cannot wait to meet the product of Mr. Carey and myself. I bet he is going to be hilarious!