Young musician presses play on cassettes
Micah Visser wasn’t even alive when cassette tapes were at their most popular, but he’s releasing 50 of them to sell his newest tracks.
The 19-year-old Winnipeg singer-songwriter plays across the city accompanied by a four-piece band. The cassette launch for his latest album titled ok night will be at The Park Theatre on April 23.
Cassette tapes, which were used heavily in the 80s and 90s for music and books, are a novelty item for fans, according to Visser.
“I released my last album on CD and after a few months realized everyone was mostly listening to it on their computers and iPods anyway,” said Visser. “I decided that if people were mostly buying it to support me, I might as well have something collectible and interesting.”
Visser describes his sound as alt-folk and his songs combine stirring melodies with strong lyrics.
The ok night cassettes were a bestseller on Bandcamp for three weeks in a row, an accomplishment Visser chalks up to the small number of bands producing cassettes for their music these days.
In 2013, Sony discontinued the production of its cassette players and recorders from the market, but cassette players can still be found on Kijiji.ca or in cardboard boxes at garage sales.
But local record company Dub Ditch Picnic wants to bring back the plastic since they only release cassettes.
“Cassettes are always niche and a curiosity,” said Dub Ditch Picnic representative, Chris Jacques. “They appeal to certain segments of music fans — experimental, noise folks, black metal, punk rock — all these genres have long histories with cassettes and continue to do so.”
Jesse Hardie, a former Red River College culinary arts student and the drummer in emo/math rock group Sit Calm, said he thinks tapes might be the next comeback trend.
“If a band can sell cassettes and know that there is a market place for them within their community or scene, then all the power to them,” said Hardie. “Vinyls have made a huge comeback, so who knows what the future holds for cassettes.”
Visser said he hopes to sell out of cassettes, which were made in a small manufacturing plant in Montreal, at his launch.