Introducing: Izzy Heltai’s “Day Plan”

A track from the Western Massachusetts singer-songwriter, plus an essay about it by the artist himself.

The other day I tried to make conversation with the woman at the bakery down the street from where I live and realized I hadn’t spoken to another person in two days. I was just trying to be friendly, but I think I overwhelmed her with my nonsensical barrage of questions. At this point in the pandemic, I’ve lost both my filter and my ability to small talk. 

I guess I’m trying to say that most days have been blending together for me lately. 

I live alone in a comically tiny apartment in Western Massachusetts. It’s small enough that, if I’m not careful, my pedometer could track me as low as 600 steps at the end of the day. 

I wanted “Day Plan” to feel like just another day. “Go on get going with your day plan” starts the song and ends the song, summing up the monotony I’ve been experiencing. Day to day, I oscillate between pure joy in the isolation I have, and utter hopelessness and uncertainty about the future.

Most days I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t know what’s next. Some days, though, I feel so present, productive, creatively fulfilled and on top of the world.

I think if i were to put it simply, this song is just about trying my best.

We were incredibly intentional with the production of this song. I wanted a tight sound. Something that felt like a vibey song from a ‘70s rock band while still highlighting the folk influences of my songwriting. Referencing Andy Shauf, we wanted to keep the arrangement simple while being meticulous  about the tone, sound, and placement of every instrument. Getting the snare just right was pretty important. I’ve been obsessed with snare tones recently. I also needed the piano to sound “just like a Ben Folds song.”

I made this video driving on one of my favorite roads. Route 2 is the most scenic way to get across Massachusetts. Stretching from Boston to the Berkshires, it gets you across the state passing through the most quintessential looking New England towns. I grew up in Boston and I was living in the Berkshires for about four years, so I’d driven this highway dozens of times. I’ve been having a hard time feeling a sense of self most days. That feeling motivated me to showcase the place that makes me feel most at home in the backdrop of this video.

— Izzy Heltai

(Photo Credit: Emma Kate Rothernberg-Ware)

If aliens came to earth, Izzy Heltai would describe his debut album, Father, to them this way: “There are frequencies that are going to feel like clanking, that maybe you’ll enjoy sonically. There are words strung together to sound nice. They are about an important human trajectory when one goes from a child to a slightly more serious child called an adult.”

Izzy works primarily in his friend Andy Cass’s studio in Williamsburg, MA, where he recorded the entirety of his debut album Father and his new singles. Izzy plays acoustic guitar and sings on his recordings. He is joined by Garrett Salazar on drums, Andy Cass on bass, and Micah Katz-Zeiger on everything else. Izzy’s producer, Max Shakun (Parsonsfield), lovingly coins Micah as their swiss army knife, “because he plays literally everything else”. Since Father was released in September 2020, Izzy has moved from a folk sound to a blend of pop, indie, and classic rock.

He resides in a valley, in Western Massachusetts, in a town called Easthampton. He lives alone, and is not in a relationship. He loves biking and most of his time is focused on work and making drum loops in his bedroom.

(Photo Credit: Emma Kate Rothenberg-Ware)