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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s senior debuts self-made EP, “Songs to Sleep to”

Dylan Judge ’20 chose an acoustic vibe for his first EP. PHOTO: Mitchell Shields ’22

While listening to “Songs to Sleep to,” a new EP by Dylan Judge ’20, who creates music under the name Isaac Bay, one might find themselves drifting off. And that’s exactly what Judge said he wants, as he built that concept of calm and soothing sounds into the project.

Judge centered his EP off of what he liked to listen to when he himself wanted to call it a day and drift off to sleep.

“I was thinking to myself, it would be cool if I started making songs that fit those themes,” Judge said.

“Songs to Sleep to” is a short but sweet take on the slip of consciousness. It’s the result of the build-up and eventual burst of creativity during Judge’s winter break. To accompany his music, Judge said he derived his stage name from his full name, Dylan Isaac Bay Judge. All of the songs are original demos with the exception of “Melancholy Hill,” which was originally written by the Gorillaz (“On Melancholy Hill”).

“I just wanted to make a song and try to see how much I could get done within three weeks of time that fit [my idea],” Judge said.

“Songs to Sleep to” was always bouncing around Judge’s mind, but he never knew how to make it happen. He said it was some of his friends, like Lindsey Richardson ’20, who inspired him to make the EP.

Richardson felt that an EP would be easier to manage as a first project.

“I figured it would be an easier way for him to get his music out there,” Richardson said. “It’s just been so cool seeing people sharing his stuff on their social media because it’s helped him get his name, talent and work out there.”

Richardson met Judge through Phi Sigma Pi (PSP), St. Joe’s only co-ed honor fraternity. After becoming his “Big” and eventual friend, Richardson realized early on that Judge’s music was different than music she had heard before.

“I think he has such a unique sound,” Richardson said. “I really hope that it gains popularity and gets his name out there because he has a special talent.”

Music has always been a part of Judge’s life. He recalled being forced to take piano lessons in first grade when he would “rather run around and be stupid.” He eventually began to mess around with the features on his music editing software.

“My mom would always joke, ‘You didn’t get it from my side,’” Judge said. “I would ask, ‘Did anyone ever try and do music?’ and the universal answer was ‘no.’”

Years later, after spending hours strumming his way across a guitar, watching masterclasses on how to mix music and then tinkering his way through music producing software, Judge created ‘Songs to Sleep to.’

“[With] the idea ‘Songs to Sleep to,’ I felt like I should do the songs I actually fall asleep to and then try to make something of my own based off of listening to those things,” Judge said.

Riley Gayton ’21 is a member of St. Joe’s co-ed a cappella group, Hawkappella, and met Judge through the group. Since meeting Judge, Gayton said she knew he had a project just waiting to happen. For her, it was only a matter of time before she could press play and listen.

“Since we first started becoming friends, he talked about wanting to put out his own stuff all the time and moving somewhere he could make it all happen,” Gayton said. “Throughout the day, he would be like, ‘Oh I was brushing my teeth and I came up with this really great lyric, but I don’t know how to set it to music.”

Drawing off of influences including Jack Johnson, Cigarettes After Sex and Bon Iver, Judge wanted listeners to be able to hear all of the moving parts: his voice, a guitar and a synthesizer.

“In ‘By Your Side,’ I have me singing a little [phrase] that goes back and forth [across] the ears,” Judge said. “I wrote the whole song intending to have that one moment. That’s how I did every single one.”

Judge said that “raw” sound was not easy to create. Mixing the EP himself, Judge had to rely on a mic from Amazon, a malfunctioning computer and GarageBand to achieve the sound he wanted.

“If you have just a little sound in a vocal sound, it has to get scrapped and you start again,” Judge said. “That aspect [was difficult], but it was really fulfilling.”

Until Judge constructs his next EP, he plans on posting periodic covers of songs on Instagram (@isaacbaymusic). Considering Judge came across his synthesizer and inspiration just days before recording “Melancholy Hill,” he’s going to let the theme of his next EP come to him the same way this EP did.

“It really was thrown together all impromptu,” Judge said. “Now that I got that synthesizer I really want to use it.”

‘Songs to Sleep to’ is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify.

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