A chat with Al Studer

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In every city there's a community constantly evolving. A community of music, or art or film making, or any creative outlet. Bristol is no different to any other city in that regard. From the depths of the smaller venues, houses and sorta shitty jobs, there's a garage scene growing of psych music. In this sense, psych is used as more of a blanket term as Bristols variety of music falling into this bracket is as diverse as you can get, but no matter how diverse it gets there's one guy who somewhat has a present in every rising band and his name is Al Studer. Studer can often be found at venues like The Crofters Rights, where if he's not playing in his gnarly three piece Yo No Se he's at the door selling merch and tickets, or at home working on his label Stolen Body Records whilst his kid Jr runs around hitting anything he can see with his favourite toy, a pair of drum sticks, and in his favourite t shirt, a Black Sabbath t shirt.

Al is currently working his ass off on Bristol Psych Fest which is coming round soon on 8th July. Amidst his busy schedule we caught up with the man to have a quick chat about the festival.

Hi Al. What have you been up to lately?

A lot. Working on the last bunch of releases before psych fest as well as planning the releases after psych fest. Also stressing out over psych fest as its been such a huge undertaking… It's gonna be an amazing day and we are planning everything so that it runs as smooth as possible and everyone can have fun. We just need to sell a hell of a lot of tickets to break even. Oh well!

So tell us about Psych Fest. What is it and how did it begin?

This is the fourth year of the festival. It started off as just an idea to fill a hole I thought was in the Bristol music scene. My idea of psych seems to be very different to a lot of people and a lot of the other festivals out there. I just wanted to have a psych fest that was how I thought they should be, which generally means not all the music is exactly psych, but at the same time psych is just rock n' roll really. We like to have a lot of bands you might not necessarily know but you should.

You’ve upgraded to Trinity this year. How are you feeling about that step up?

I'm feeling really, really good about the step up. A lot of planning has gone into it all. We’ve got two stages (we actually rented a stage for the upstairs room), garden area with DJs playing all day, a chill room, 2 bars, food stalls, a merch stand, sunshine, good times… You get the idea! A lot of stuff going on and a lot of music for people to get into.

Who are you looking forward to seeing this year and give us three acts we can’t miss.

I don't wanna be cliche and say I'm looking forward to it all, but I really am. Personally getting The Gories is massive. I'm a huge fan and this will be the first time I get to see them. My ace in the hole has got to be Ron Gallo. If you don't know him yet I highly recommend you check out his record Heavy Meta. His live shows look incredible and I really think he's gonna blow people away. My third act is gonna have to be Kill West. I have a record of theirs coming out on my label [Stolen Body Records] next week and I can't wait to catch up with them and see them live.

Where did your interest in Psych come from?

I’d have to say my love of music stems from my dad playing great records when I was a kid so it has to be him. Thanks Pops!

You also run a label called Stolen Body Records. What’s that about?

It's a Bristol based independent label releasing music I like. Most of it is rock n roll, psych, garage, whatever you wanna call it, but it's in no way tied down to that. I just released a Vinnum Sabbathi record which is a Mexican space doom record. I love doom so why not? It's my label, I can release whatever I like.

What local Bristol bands should we look out for?

Captain Süün, Edward Penfold, The Evil Usses and of course Yo No Se… There's a whole list I should write here but i'll keep it short.

Are there any exciting future plans for Psych Fest and Stolen Body Records?

We’ve got a lot of amazing shows planned till Christmas. As for the festival, let's see how this year goes. I'm already losing a crazy amount of money on this one and the stress has been pretty crazy. I know it'll be a great day and i'll do it again, but I think for a couple of months i'll try to stop thinking about it and then start again in September.

Make sure you check out Stolen Body Records and all the bands Al has mentioned. We can back Al up and say Psych Fest is going to be fucking awesome, so pick up a ticket to ensure that you're part of the fun. You can grab a ticket from here. Make sure you get down to The Crofters Rights, Bristol on 7th July to catch the opening party of psych fest which includes Captain Süün, Dr Chan, Agarimo, Umi, Ghost Car and Vinnum Sabbathi.