Meet a Blogger: Weekly Tape Deck
Introducing Meet a Blogger, a new feature wherein we chat with some of our favorite bloggers about our respective love for blogs. The blogosphere houses some of the most creative minds in the world, and we aim to highlight as many of them as we can. It’s a fascinating sub-culture, and Meet a Blogger looks to further enrich our readers of its overall necessity.
With that said, enjoy our first segment below, a 1-on-1 with blog-father Ryan Ellis of Weekly Tape Deck:
When and why did you start Weekly Tape Deck?
Strangely enough, I actually didn’t start WTD, my buddy Nate created it in 2009 as an outlet for his friends to see what he was jamming, he would literally make weekly mixtapes. I came in 2 months after it started and it took off into a full-fledged blog. We were given a local radio show and a spot with Altered Zones—it was a great opportunity for us. The last two years I’ve been really the only person posting. I’ve been a part of Weekly Tape Deck because I find it to be therapeutic in a way. Also, the community within blogging has helped keep me going as well.
Were you a fan of music blogs pre-Weekly Tape Deck?
I’ve been a fan of music blogs since the boom in 2005. The original music blogs forever changed the musical landscape and set all our musical taste buds on a course that is still playing out today. Gorilla vs. Bear, Aquarium Drunkard, and My Old Kentucky Blog were the early blogs I was reading. Regn Youth was one I read as well, but it has long since gone by the wayside.
Can you remember your first post? What did you write about?
Oh man. I’m not sure if I care to go back and look, it could be anything. I recall one of the early posts was for the Sic Alps song “l. mansion”, which was a collaboration with Ty Segall—still a great song.
Are you shocked with the popularity of Weekly Tape Deck? Did you ever imagine yourself starting a successful label &/or writing for one of the first blog collectives?
I wouldn’t say that I’m shocked; I suppose everyone appreciates being recognized for something. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly skilled, but I like music and people trust my tastes. Is that a skill? I’m not sure. I’ve always just tried to keep WTD strictly as a positive outlet for music I am passionate about. If I’ve helped a few artists get the recognition they deserve then that’s what I find truly meaningful. As far as the label and Altered Zones, all that is just extra. I had never anticipated that posting about music would influence my life that much; the friends and colleagues and opportunities that have come from it are all incredibly special.
Speaking of labels, how did you get hooked up with Gorilla vs. Bear and Forest Family Recs?
I’m not sure how we initiated the conversation but I know Chris (GVB) has linked us a few times, and we were both Dallas blogs on a similar mission, so it made sense. I found it amazing that I was going to be putting out tangible musical products with someone who has influenced my musical tastes so much since my early 20s.
Check out their label here.
What are your thoughts on the current state of music blogs? Do you think they’ve lost any relevance?
To me, blogs are measured in their meaningfulness to writers and readers, not by how much they write or how often or how quickly they post a new song. Poignancy of words goes a long way. I’ve tried to be poignant in most posts I’ve written for the site, and I hope I’ve succeeded. My goal in writing, as I’ve seen it, has always been to set the reader on a path, thoughtfully pointing them in a direction to find their own reasons to like the song I’m posting.
When searching for a quality music blog, what do you look for?
Much of what I said previously, poignancy of words. Having similar tastes to me helps but it’s not necessary. As if they were something like a friend suggesting bands to me in a casual, organic conversation—nothing intense.
Do you ever see yourself retiring Weekly Tape Deck?
I’ll be honest, I’ve considered it. I don’t think I could, and if I did, I would just create another blog entity with the same purpose, so there is hardly a point. I don’t post as often as I like but after many years you start to look at the blog as something you have to nurture and keep alive. It becomes your baby. I couldn’t just let Weekly Tape Deck die.
Your blog has been kicking and screaming for a long time now. What are some of your favorite finds of all time?
Youth Lagoon and Purity Ring are a couple that I’m happy to have helped along their journey. Real Estate. Angel Olsen is quite special. Anything from Ryan Howe or Zak Mering. Dead Gaze, Dent May, Bass Drum of Death, and anyone involved in Cats Purring. Cloud Busy/Ice Cream Shout are still very under-appreciated in my opinion; and clearly White Fence, who we’ve posted about more than any other band.
What are some of your favorite finds of late?
I’m digging Jakob Skøtt, Daytona, anything //TENSE// puts out and the Wizard Oz record that came out earlier this year. Daughn Gibson is great. Gap Dream put out one of my favorite records of the year.
Do you have a favorite music blog? What site(s) do you visit on a regular basis?
Many of the blogs we became friends with or read early on have died, and many have gone on to be pillars of music. Some of these listed are officially dead, some are on indefinite hiatus:
No Pain in Pop
Gorilla vs Bear
Chocolate Bobka (RIP)
Delicious Scopitone (RIP)
No Modest Bear (RIP)
The Decibel Tolls (RIP)
No Fear of Pop
Smoke, Don’t Smoke
Stadiums and Shrines
20 Jazz Funk Greats
Id Reverberations (RIP)
The Finest Kiss
All, Everyone, United
And lastly, what advice would you give to new music bloggers?
Don’t stretch your tastes, if you don’t like something don’t write about it, try not to talk about it on twitter—use your blog and voice as a positive outlet for music and people will recognize it. By the same token, if you like a band, write about it regardless if it is “in vogue” or not. Even if it came out a month ago, even if it’s been posted everywhere, there are always those who have yet to be exposed.
And lastly, Ryan was nice enough to send over some old Weekly Tape Deck logos and show posters. Scroll through the pile, below: