We already know the unstoppable force that is Evan Thomas Weiss. He cranks out some of the best music in the modern indie-emo scene like no other, whether it be under his own moniker Into It. Over It. or in other bands like Pet Symmetry or Their/They’re/There. Not only that, but also he’s a top-notch producer and 100% rad guy. And get this: he’s got his own record label, too. I had a chance to interview Evan about his label Storm Chasers and shed some light on it.
Q: Since the start of Storm Chasers in 2013, you’ve released a handful of excellent records. What goes into releasing albums as a label, especially with your touring schedule? Do you run it alone or with some other people?
A: There isn’t a ton that goes into it. My funds are limited and the time I can put into running a label is even more so. The operation is totally casual, and that’s the way I had always wanted to keep it since I had the idea for the label in 2003. Only within the last couple years have I been able to find the resources to put out a couple things a year. Vinyl only. The band’s keep their digital. Inspired by the DIY labels I grew up loving like Ebullition, Clean Plate, Level Plane, Caulfield and more. I run the label alone, but (because of my touring schedule) the company Hello Merch handles all of the shipping and nearly all of the storage.
Q: What made you want to start the label?
A: The idea came up in 2003. My friend Mike and I were playing in several bands and (at the time) had landed a couple steady jobs. We were interested in releasing screamo records from in (or around) the NJ/Philly scene we were involved in. As we were approaching the final stages of what was going to be our first release, everything fell apart between our relationship with the bands involved as well as our jobs. The idea was put on the back burner for nearly a decade. These days, Mike has a lot going on between his career and family, but I always had the name and aesthetic in the back of my mind. Glad it could finally come together.
Q: Do you choose the bands you want to release, or do they contact you?
A: I don’t think anyone really chooses either one. They have all come together pretty organically. I offered to release the Kittyhawk and Papermoons records because it didn’t seem like a vinyl release would ever happen. I (selfishly) wanted to own them on LP. The Pet Symmetry related stuff was all my idea from the start. The Sorority Noise release was born through working with Derrick at Broken World. We have been friends for going on 12 years. It’s overdue that we would get to collab. It’s all just friends making stuff together. It rules.
Q: Small-ish labels are popping up all the time, ones like yours, Sorry Girls Records, The Native Sound, Little League, and loads of others. I’ve even seen surprisingly young kids releasing their friends’ bands on tapes and CDs and digitally and calling themselves labels (which I suppose could sometimes be taken with a grain/heaping pile of salt). Did you or peers have any involvement in that kind of stuff back when you were cutting your teeth in bands like The Progress? It seems like the dominance of social media has really boosted that kind of thing in the last four or five years.
A: Totally. The first few Progress records were just released by buddies (Maroon Set, who did our first ep in 2002 was run by super homie PJ Bond) and that was all we knew. This was mostly pre-internet age of being able to instantly get something so easily. Now, I feel it’s much easier to be a part of something SUPER casual and still be able to make an impact. Have something to show for it. Be proud of a release even quicker than before.
Q: Do you watch Storm Chasers?
A: Nah. I don’t have cable unfortunately… or fortunately?
Q: Are you a hurricanes or tornados guy?
A: Neither. Tornadoes are actually my biggest fear. That’s kinda part of the name.
Q: You released Intersections on Storm Chasers and Triple Crown Records. What was your reasoning behind that? Would you re-release any of your older albums or music from bands like Their/They’re/There or Pet Symmetry?
A: Well, SC has done more Pet Symmetry releases (Tour CD / Dikembe split 7″) than any other band of mine. SC had little to do with Intersections, but Fred at Triple Crown was kind enough to allow me to include my logo as well as give it an SC catalog number. It’s nice to be able to allow the label to be another extension of myself.
Q: How does running Storm Chasers compare with your experience as a producer? You’ve worked with The Jazz June, Xerxes, and You Blew It!, but all of their records were released on different labels. Is that a conscious decision on your part, or is that something that the bands decided themselves?
A: Production work and the label are two things that are completely unrelated.
Q: How do you choose the color ways for the records?
A: Generally whatever suits the artwork.
Q: Who designs the shirts you have in Storm Chasers’ webstore?
A: The bands… Or whoever is designing the bands designs.
Q: Where do you see the label going? Do you want to keep it a “casual operation,” or would you want to make it something on a larger scale?
A: A hobby. 1 to 3 releases (or less) a year. Of all my endeavors, SC is the one that I think about the least. It is a great source of pride and excitement, but my true passion is making records as opposed to releasing them.
Q: If you could do something special for Record Store Day, what would be some ideas?
A: Knowing what kind of work goes into making RSD stuff, I would never want that kind of stress. I’ll let other people deal with that kinda thing. Part of what makes the label so special is that it can work based on personal/bands deadlines and that’s it. It keeps it fun and random. It keeps it simple. That’s all I can ask for.
Q: Is the logo a cut of chateaubriand?
A: Yes. Of course.
Q: Thanks a lot for doing this! I think a lot of your fans are really going to enjoy reading some more about Storm Chasers. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
A: Announcing my biggest release so far soon! Can’t wait to tell y’all! Oh, and get that Papermoons record. It’s fucking awesome.