The 5th anniversary of the excellent Bristol Psych Fest is fast approaching, so to mark the occasion, W&H speak with Al Studer from Stolen Body Records.
W&H: This is the 5th year of Bristol Psych Fest, do you have anything special planned to celebrate?
Al: "This is the biggest festival we’ve done so far. 3 stages in 3 venues in the centre of town.
W&H: The Trinity seemed like the perfect venue for me, is there any reason for the change in location this year?
Al: "We needed a bigger capacity. Also the Trinity was absolutely amazing but we had to hire so much stuff in to have it how we wanted which was a lot of work to do in the morning. The weather helped a lot having the garden too but I just feel we had one year of good luck and it might not happen again."
W&H: It seems that the label (Stolen Body Records) is growing, with an ever increasing roster and slew of releases. Is this part of a grander design and how do you plan to grow the label in future?
Al: "Obviously I want the label to get as big as possible so that I can expose the bands to a wider audience. We’ve been working with more established bands who tour a lot at the moment which has really raised our profile."
W&H: Are you looking to have an artist or release that crosses over into the mainstream?
Al: "Im not actively looking for anything that might be deemed mainstream… if anything im looking the other way. Obviously if a band does well and the mainstream comes to them then all good but that whole part of the music industry is what I hate the most. Its all about money and selling your sole. I started my own label to avoid that world and if there's anything I do that helps destroy or even bother anyone that's creating this fake soles sucking mainstream music then I’m happy."
W&H: How do you go about finding artists to work with, they seem to come from all over the world?
Al: "Putting on shows, meeting them on tour, email, word of mouth. Everywhere."
W&H: Last year I was struck by how many of the bands I saw were operating in the heavier realms of psych (almost metal) and I wondered if this was coincidence? Do you give much thought for how bands will go together on the day?
Al: "I really like hard rock and heavier music so that's probably it. Psychedelic music is different to to what it is to most people I think. As for how the bands go together I spend months making sure the line up works but is also diversified. This one's taken me a long time to get right."
W&H: Will you be able to grow the festival whilst retaining that perfect festival vibe?
Al: "I hope so..."
W&H: Would you consider locations outside of Bristol to do this?
Al: "Not really as I want it to be a Bristol based thing. I am looking at any new spaces and also looking to change the name so its not called psych fest anymore too."
W&H: What makes for a good festival in your opinion and what makes for a successful one?
Al:"Good music, good vibes and good organisation."
W&H: You may not be doing this until the day you die but what are the chances of doing it until I do?
Al:"At the moment I’m doing one at a time. I don't know if their will be one next year or not at this stage!"
a href=<"https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/">Stolen Body Records online