In Support Of The Art is a feature which runs on Fridays. Each entry focuses on a different musician and his very own collection of vinyl records, along with what’s currently going on with their music. If you’re a musician who’d like to get involved, you can email us at email@example.com. For this week’s entry, we spoke with Evan Weiss, the man behind Into It. Over It. and a member of Stay Ahead Of The Weather. Weiss recently performed in the Acoustic Basement on Warped Tour and will be embarking on a European tour in August. Feature photo credited to Jon Weiner.
We’ve had an incredibly warm summer and I noticed from a tweet you sent out that you were worried about your records while on Warped Tour. Did the collection survive the blistering temperatures we’ve been having?
My relationship with my record collection is like that of a mother and her child… it’s borderline creepy. When I found out the temperatures in Chicago this summer had been exceeding 100 degrees and my AC hadn’t been turned on the entire time, I started to bite my nails thinking about it. However, I came home, pulled some assorted stuff off the shelf that would have been in the most direct/punishing sunlight and everything was fine.
And from what I’ve read, your collection is pretty impressive. What are we looking at in terms of numbers and how do you go about sorting and storing your records?
I’m currently at over a walls worth of stuff in a 13×12 foot bedroom. The collection grows everyday, so it’s tough to keep track. Plus, I’m willing to guess about 10% of the collection is currently at my girlfriend’s apartment (stuff I have come home with on recent tours).
We’re moving into a new place on August 1st, and I’m waiting until then to reorganize and alphabetize. It’s pretty disorganized now because I tour so often and come home with hundreds of things at a time. The collection will be sorted between rock/pop/punk/metal and r&b/soul/jazz/hip-hop. Both collections are growing at rapidly different paces. I have to keep it sorted (mildly) by genre.
With such a large selection of vinyl, I assume that you put a big emphasis on the care of the records. For fellow collectors out there, do you have any tips to share when it comes to keeping them in good shape?
I stick to the simple stuff. Keep out of heat, keep out of moisture and store upright. I try and keep everything in plastic sleeves. I don’t store my records “DJ Style” which is where the record can just come out of the jacket without removing the dust sleeve… does that make sense? I’ve never had to explain that before.
I also keep a soft towel/chamois handy to clean things that might need a dusting.
Lets rewind now to when you first started getting into vinyl. Was there a specific person or release which introduced you to the format?
I grew up in a home where I was exposed to punk rock, new wave and vinyl since I was born. I would go downstairs and put on The Police’s “Zendatta Manyatta” or Peter Gabriel’s “So.” I would hang out down there and keep flipping the records over and over. I was exposed at such a early age that it was never something new.
However, the first record I bought with my own money wasn’t until I was 12 or 13. I had just recently discovered emo (which I actually found through grunge… Nirvana and Sunny Day Real Estate were on the same record label, Sub Pop) so I would make regular trips to the local CD store (called Tunes) to buy new things with my allowance. They had a copy of that split 7″ with The Promise Ring and Texas Is The Reason. That was it. By the time I got to my freshman year and discovered the Gern Blandsten and Ebullition Records catalogs, it was game on.
Since that introduction, I think it’s safe to say that the habit stuck for you. What has it been about records that’s kept you collecting throughout the years, especially when so many are just creating a digital collection?
What kept me going with records is the habitual tradition…the routine.. going to the store and picking something up… coming home and opening it up… the smell… sitting down and putting on Side A. Reading along with the lyrics. Examining the artwork. Making it an event. That’s what kept me going. You don’t get that experience with digital or CD in the same way. Plus vinyl just SOUNDS better. It FEELS better. Nearly all of your senses are functioning. It’s excellent.
As for collecting tendencies… I’m not so much a color variant or limited color record collector. The only thing i get a little nutso on is that I typically like to own originals or first pressings. Doesn’t have to be the rarest color.
And of course, a popular answer to that question is the reported difference in sound quality. Some describe a warmth to vinyl, while others imagine the music having more “space to breathe.” Personally, how would you describe the differences and when your own music is pressed to vinyl, do you see a noticeable change?
On some records, no. But on a couple (namely IIOI/KOJI.. the split LP I did with KOJI) you can really hear the songs open up. It’s unbelievable how much different the record sounds when played in the intended medium as opposed to its digital release.
What kind of audio setup are you working with?
I’m using my family inherited aluminum Yamaha P750 direct drive table. I’ve been using Ortofon needles, but I’m really ready to step up my table game. My amp is an integrated Cambridge Azur 651 with matching preamp. My headphones are Grado SR225’s, which really came to life when I broke them in.
As far as speakers go, I’ve gone through several speaker sets to find one that I think sounds best. Oddly, my favorite so far are a nameless matching set of trashpicked 12″ speakers. Go figure.
Lets take a deeper look into your collection. What are some of those pieces which you could never get rid of, no matter the circumstance?
I don’t plan on selling my collection unless I would ever absolutely have to. Truly though, the only things I could never sell were the parts of my collection that were gifts.
Are there any records in your collection that you remember having a particularly hard time locating?
The only things I’m having a hard time locating are things I haven’t found yet. Haha. However, unless I was gift giving, I would never buy records on eBay or using internet search tools. One of the most fun aspects of record collecting (for me anyway) is the search. It’s the digging and digging… Coming up with surprises. I don’t sweat the search. I just LOVE the find.
What are some record pressings that you regret missing out on?
Mostly things I was just too young to catch the first time around. Very little regret. Life is suffering. We can’t all be in our teens before 1982.
Is there anything you’re currently on the hunt for?
Any Blue Note stuff dating before the Liberty reissues. A few gift ideas. Always on the hunt for 9’0s indie/emo/rock stuff. This list is huge. I’m an equal opportunity hunter/buyer. No genre gets left behind.
Since you tour quite a bit, there has to be some record stores that stand out above the rest. What are some of your personal favorites that you’ve been to while on the road?
Oh god yes. Here is a short list of some of my all time favorites…
Long In The Tooth (Philadelphia, PA)
Redscroll Records (Wallingford, CT)
Double Decker (Allentown, PA)
Reckless Records Wicker Park (Chicago, IL)
Underdog Records (Cologne, Germany)
Celebrated Summer (Baltimore, MD)
Beautiful World Syndicate (Philadelphia, PA)
Size Records (Oklahoma City, OK)
Now it seems like Into It. Over It. is almost always working its way to vinyl, whether it be through Topshelf or No Sleep. Is that something you personally push for, or is it something you leave up to the label?
This is something I always push for. I was somehow able to convince 5 labels and 6 bands to be part of a split 7″ project with me. All of the 7″ records were spread over a year long release schedule and all limited to 500. I had to coordinate the entire project. I’m very hands on with everything involving a vinyl release. So far there are… I think 11 vinyl releases for Into It. Over It. and 2 for another band that I play in called Stay Ahead Of The Weather. I also have more than a few planned for the upcoming year, IIOI and otherwise.
When it comes to those vinyl releases, are you a traditionalist in terms of presentation and packaging? Or in other words, could you see yourself trying out a unique, or as some would say, gimmick pressing?
SAOTW just released a split 6″. It was originally going to be a 5″ record, but the songs were just a little too long. I like gimmick pressings and fun approaches to vinyl. The technology is there. Utilize it. I don’t think it’s necessary for every release, but it can definitely make for something fun if the resources are there.
Have there been any interesting pressings that you’ve either purchased or read about that make you want to try something a little out of the box?
Oh, totally. My buddy Anthony just had coffee grounds pressed into his record. I think that’s brilliant. I’ll be looking into exploring some weirder stuff coming up. My favorite new thing though is that they can press records using your ashes. You know… after you die. I’ve thought about it…
Now speaking of what’s ahead for the future, you’ve got some tour dates set up in Europe. How excited are you to travel overseas and play some music?
This will be my 5th time in two years. Pretty excited to ride around Euroland with some close friends. Also seeing some countries I’ve never seen before (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Portugal). It should be great!
I also noticed that you’ve been writing quite a bit. Are you working toward a full length or do you have a different project on the slate next?
I have been working on some new stuff in the 8 or 9 days since I’ve been home. We’ll see where the new songs go. I gotta write em first! Haha.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us and happy hunting my friend!
No sweat! This was one of the most fun interviews I’ve done in a long time! Thanks guys!