In Conversation with: STUMP London

    As diverse and vibrant as it is, London’s a hard place when it comes to starting a new event series. With multiple events happening at the same time in one weekend, putting a new event out there takes dedication and professionalism.

    In the span of one year, the team behind STUMP London managed to put themselves on the map, as one of the best events showcasing minimal-techno in the city. And it is no surprise why. When entering a STUMP party, you get a feeling of belonging to a family, as everybody’s joyfulness vibrates across the venue in sync with the music.

    A monthly event, taking place in venues across the city and with carefully curated bookings, it brings some of the best names in the industry. From Laylla Dane, Sepp and U-More to Vincentiulian, Arapu, Gescu, Barac and Raresh, music of the highest quality is one of the most important things for the organisers. In addition, with Cally, Chrissy Hope, Thierry and Vlad Custura being as loved by the crowd as any headliner, STUMP’s strongest asset are without doubt its talented residents.

    In light of their coming anniversary, Trommel had the opportunity to talk to two of STUMP’s organisers and founders.

    How did you decide you wanted to start organising Stump?

    Thierry: I have been DJing for many years, and was always actively engaged with event management, running my own party called Enthral, as well as working for established events such as Art of Dark and Home. Me, Cally and Marius just got to work more and more often together. Cally has also been DJiing all around for many years and has had great releases on big labels. Marius was also involved with many underground events and pretty much knows everyone within our scene. Marius eventually suggested that we would make a great team and should create our own party. Vlad joined the team a few months later. He was a good friend and was an ideal added team member to share the growing work load. But obviously we all have a similar vision, hard working approach and taste towards a certain sound and have been relentlessly partying for a very long time together.

    Vlad: Well I’ve always wanted to organize my own parties (this dates to a few years back), but I’ve never had the guts to go ahead with it by myself. I started my own label a couple of years ago but the process took so long and there was so much hassle involved, that by the time I had the record out I was kind of put off by it. Everyone knows each other from going out partying, and I’ve been lucky to be friends with Cally, Thierry and Marius for a good couple of years before we started on this journey. They started off Stump almost a year ago and I joined six months later. Looking back at what we have achieved in this past year, I can honestly say I’m very proud of us as a team and of all the good things we made possible in such a small space of time.

    How did you decide on the name Stump?

    Thierry: We were all making random lists until I came up with Stump, which I found in one of my favourite Audio Technology book called ‘Mixing with your mind’ and was related to drums processing. Its definition sounded just perfect and can be visualised from a few different angles. Stump is the part of the tree left protruding from the ground after the tree as fallen, direct natural link to the Underground; It also means supporting a cause in a political speech, and we all know how strongly our scene care about this music; A funny one is that it also mean to walk heavily or clumsily (after hours!).The beauty of it is how the flyer design grew so naturally from this word.

    Every time we’ve been to a Stump party we’ve had this feeling of being part of a family. Is that something you were aiming for?

    Vlad: London as a city plays a very big part in this. Because there are endless parties going on every single weekend, sometimes in midweek as well, you tend to see the same faces more and more often leading to strong friendships and relationships – it’s easier to bond with a person that has similar interests like yourself and luckily for us there are lots of people in London that are into the music we promote. Of course you want your crowd to be as friendly and connected with each other as much as possible but most of that is down to this beautiful city we all live in.

    Thierry: Well this is amazing to actually hear such comment. Of course we were aiming for this but it’s also very difficult to achieve. I guess we built up the event organically and gradually with music and artists we truly care about. Many of our friends who are as equally passionate came along as our crowd and gave us a lot of support in the process. Yes, there is a family feel coming through this, but I would simply say that the community within this scene usually has strong bonds, and it’s very much what London is about too.

    You guys are big supporters of the Romanian DJs here in London. Are you planning to make what many call the “Romanian Sound” more of a regular presence here?

    Thierry: The Romanian sound is already well established in London. I think its been about 4-5 years that they made themselves known over here. I still remember the early Noi Doi or Herodot playing for Rejam back in 2012. Stump has simply a certain way to put this sound forward by pushing long sets and making sure that all artists can express themselves in the best possible way.

    Vlad:  Like Thierry said the “Romanian Sound” is well established in London and has been for quite a long period of time mostly because of Sunwaves and Ar:pi:ar. I remember going to Fabric 8 years ago and if you would mention to someone that you are Romanian, people would give you funny looks. Nowadays you say that you are Romanian, and the first thing they say is Sunwaves and how much they love the festival. Between the 4 of us, we have a pretty similar taste in music and we are trying to push that in our line-ups. We had in the past and we will have in the future non Romanian DJs with a similar style of music that we promote.

    The parties have been a big success, especially recently. We noticed you’ve been doing events in Romania as well, with one last month in Craiova. How did you decide to do it there?

    Vlad: We had one in Craiova last year and one this year, Cally being from Craiova and still having friends in the city, it was quite easy to do a party there. We also have one in Mallorca on 20 of May with Gescu, Cally, Vlad Custura and Thierry right after our anniversary. We have loads of ideas and we get approached about parties and collaborations all of the time, trying to find a suitable city for us is harder than it seems. At the moment we are focused on London and trying to take Stump to the next level, after we achieve that we can turn our attention abroad.

    Thierry: This is easy. Vlad, Marius, and Cally are Romanian so taking the project back home was very natural. We are clearly planning on taking the event abroad more anyway.

    Your one-year anniversary is coming up in May! Can you tell us a bit more about that? Barac b2b Gescu is going to be one to remember.

    Vlad: I have heard those two play together so many times and every time they were so good together, we said we need to have them play for us in this formula for our anniversary. We had both playing by themselves in the past and both parties where successful, so having them play together for our anniversary will be very special. East End Dubs was on our radar for quite a while now, so we are happy to have him on the line up as well.  We have Herodot all-day long for our after party and then we fly to Mallorca for a few days in the sun, relaxing after that intense weekend.

    Thierry: Barac and Gescu have been both extremely supportive throughout establishing ourselves as an event. Having them b2b just made sense. East End Dubs will top up the line up nicely with his chunkier rolling sound. All four residents will be playing too so this will be a really cool night for the whole team to celebrate. We also booked Herodot to play an extended set for our after hours. He was our first guest in Hackney Wick last year so this is the cherry on top of the cake. Then we are flying straight to Mallorca to finish it up. It will be one to remember no doubt.

    Finally, any news or plans you could disclose to us for the rest of this year?

    Vlad:  I have my birthday celebration at the end of June with Nima Gorji and Lizz and apart for that we don’t have anything 100% confirmed just yet so we can’t say anything at the moment. We can only say that we are planning big things for the end of the year, so hopefully they will be fulfilled.

    Thierry: One that makes us very happy is Cally joining the Sunrise agency. Then we have an event planned in June with Nima Gorji, and now working on very, very interesting events for the end of the year but this is still way too early to talk about. We are very focused and have so many ideas that we would like to develop. But we’re taking it one step (or two) at a time.

    In light of this interview, it is more certain than ever that STUMP is here to stay. Attracting more and more attention from the London crowd, as well as internationally-with events already happening in Romania and forthcoming in Spain- it portrays a successful future for the event and its organisers. Until we can see whether this is true, we are surely looking forward to the 19th of May’s birthday celebrations.

    RA –

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    Photos by Lee Arucci

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