Interview with Aaron Turner of Isis: Radiating Energy

Moving into a couple other things, just in general, working with, for example, Justin Broderick on Grey Machine as well as other collaborations, creating a lot of album art, as well as running Hydra Head, do you ever feel like you are burning the candle at like seven different ends?

Yeah, I’m having that problem right now actually (laughs). Most of the time, I’m very grateful for all the things that I’ve been able to do and for all the people that I’ve been able to collaborate with and for the fact that I’m not working an office job somewhere for someone else. But yeah, there are times where it can be slightly overwhelming, but I feel like these opportunities may not always be there. People’s willingness to investigate them may certainly wane over time so I figure while I have the energy to do it and while people have the willingness to listen to it and investigate it, I might as well just do the best I can to see all these things through.

You just opened a record store too, yeah?

Yeah, my participation in that has been pretty minimal. There’s four partners in the store and we all talked about the basic concept of what we felt the store should be and who we wanted to work there and what sort of music we collectively wanted to curate for the store but beyond that the nuts and bolts of it has definitely been left in the hands of other people.

So in a way you just wanted to curate a little place with what you would consider to be records worth buying?

Yeah, definitely. Mark, my partner at Hydra Head, and I have been talking about a store for years, but the two of us are so busy with so many other activities, we just didn’t feel like it was feasible for us to tackle that by ourselves. We came into contact with a couple other guys in the L.A. area who already had a well-functioning business and who had been through all the process of setting it up and dealing with the city and all the practical aspects of that and we felt like with their history in that regard and our, I don’t want to say expertise, but our experience in the realm of music, it would be a good combination of people to actually realize this, what was for a long time just sort of a backburner dream.

So, is it just sort of like a store full of records that you already own?

No, fortunately or unfortunately we’re getting a lot of stuff which we don’t own and are as a result buying. (laughs)

So you made a record store for yourself?

Yeah, and hopefully a lot of other like-minded individuals. We definitely selected a lot of what was in the store based on things that we like. We figured that that was a good starting point for the store, and we didn’t want to be the sort of, run-of-the-mill record store like a lot of what already exists. So considering how eclectic our tastes are, I think that actually worked to the benefit of the store and it seems like a lot of other people are, so far anyway, excited about that aspect of the store, the sort of personal, handpicked selection that we have. We did very much design the store based on what kind of store we would like to go to, and we didn’t really feel like there was another good way to go about it.

Well, yeah I guess you want to work with what you know.

Yeah, definitely and like I said there’s four different people involved so there’s different territory that’s covered in terms of our personal taste and the two people who are our main buyers in that they’ve also got a lot of stuff that is exclusive to them in terms of what they’re interested in. So it’s not like it’s this very narrow range of stuff.