Ismay, The TVD
First Date and Video Premiere, “When I Was Younger, I Cried”

“I fell in love with vinyl long before I ever used a record player.”

“It was high school in the 2000s, and I clung onto the aesthetic statement of having a record collection to show. Cat Stevens, The Band, Gregory Alan Isakov—it would take years before I was able to listen to those vinyl records. It’s not that I didn’t know the music, because I just bought those same albums on iTunes. But I listened without the connection between those physical pieces and the music on them. I had no access to a record player, and besides, I didn’t really know that it would be any different.

But when I dropped out of college, I spent some time in New Mexico, where my friend had a small a-frame house in a tiny town right where the Great Plains met the Rocky Mountains. Most of the living space was dedicated to records, and without internet or cell service, listening to records became the focal point of our days. I found that listening to the records from my walls on iTunes just wasn’t the same as experiencing vinyl in its fullness.

It was there in New Mexico that I grew a deep connection to music, and in particular for the records we had like Songs: Ohia, Michael Hurley, and Mata La Pena. I fell in love with this music that I would never have listened to just on a digital format. Some of these records couldn’t be found digitally at all. Moreover, I listened to what would normally be considered the in betweens. Those lesser known songs, silences underscored by needle scratch, and my favorite vinyl sound of all—the sound of music coming out of a record when the speakers weren’t on, just from the movement of the needle.

To me vinyl changes the way we experience time, and it engages us in a sort of anti-consumerism. You can’t count the times someone’s listened to your vinyl and upload the numbers online, you can’t just skip from song to song without engaging with the record player, and you can’t delete the record from your digital library or lose it when your computer crashes. The fact that you don’t need a computer to listen to music is somewhat revolutionary in the digital age.

These unique aspects of vinyl made me want to not only produce my records on vinyl, but also to put things on those vinyl records that you can’t find in digital formats. That’s why for my upcoming record Songs of Sonoma Mountain and for my last EP “Songs from a River,” I’ve put stories, sounds, and sometimes even songs that aren’t going to be online. If someone’s investing the time and space for a record I’ve made, I want them to feel a more tactile connection to the music. Just like I have been able to, I want them to hear something on that record that can’t be found somewhere else.

To me the point of vinyl isn’t really just the status of having a collection in your room, it isn’t really about taking a set of digital songs and putting them onto vinyl, and it isn’t about being able to interchange those songs with digital formats. To me, vinyl is about changing the way we experience sound, and providing a sense that there are magical experiences to be found, if we’re just able to find the space to discover them.”
Avery Hellman

Both thoughtful and haunting, the introspective “When I Was Younger, I Cried” is taken from Ismay’s forthcoming debut full-length release, Songs of Sonoma Mountain in stores February 2020—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: BRADLEY COX, GIANT EYE PHOTOGRAPHY

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