What can we say? Our VMP team’s pretty spectacular, and we want you to meet them! Get to know the story of our Director of Classics and Country.
The soundtrack to his youth started while he rode in the back of his parent’s van. With his mom’s mélange of mixtapes, the tunes of Willie Nelson, Prince, Led Zeppelin and Carole King accompanied his family across town. At six, he spun his dad’s blue Greatest Hits record from The Beatles into oblivion while gearing up for a day of learning. Today, records are not just a backdrop to his life, they are the focal point of his career.
No matter the genre, album, instrument or voice, there were no boundaries to what sounds he and his family explored together. Now, when Storf starts work each day, he is able to live out the passions for music cultivated in the backseat of his mom’s car.
Andrew Winistorfer (better known as “Storf” or “Storfer” to the team) has fulfilled many roles at VMP. Starting as a guest writer for The Standard, he later joined the editorial team full-time, became senior editor, assumed the role of Director of Editorial, and is now, as of early 2021, the Director of Classics and Country.
From learning about love, life and music from William Bell himself, to getting paid to listen to and research some of the best records ever made, to being able to go to live shows and eat BBQ on the company’s dime, VMP has allowed Storf to develop his inherited appreciation for music and its impact.
“The context around the music can tell you so much, and can give you different snapshots of interesting people, interesting places and interesting times.”
Storf has always valued the meanings, both large and small, that music holds.
“The album is never just the album,” he said. “The context around the music can tell you so much, and can give you different snapshots of interesting people, interesting places and interesting times.”
His curiosity about musical stories began with The Beatles double LP that helped him get dressed each day. It was one of his father’s favorites. “Knowing that it was my dad’s favorite band… I remember, even then, trying to figure out: What does my dad like about this?” he said. His parents’ appreciation for music gave Storf a love for music far deeper than the song alone.
Today, understanding the narratives behind music is a pivotal part of Storf’s relationship to the art form. He continuously inspires the team as he incorporates it into his many roles at VMP. From writing liner notes, to actually choosing Records of the Month, Storf gives close care to what listeners will be able to learn and share after they dive into a VMP record.
In February, VMP launched our fourth Record of the Month track: VMP Country, a project Storf had badgered Cameron Schafer, CEO, about for years until it became a reality. He may not have admitted it as a teenager, but country is a genre Storf is passionate about and he believes “It deserves the same reverence that we give to jazz, and to blues, and to rock, and all of these genres we have a very deep history with as a company.” He played a key role in spearheading VMP Country and wants country records to receive the esteemed VMP treatment.
“[Country] deserves the same reverence that we give to jazz, and to blues, and to rock, and all of these genres we have a very deep history with as a company.”
Ultimately, Storf believes the new Track will be an opportunity for VMP and its members to push the boundaries of how country music is defined, coaxing audiences away from stereotypes attached to the genre. VMP Country will be an entry into broad and unfamiliar contexts of country music — across artists, time periods and places. As Director of Classics and Country at VMP, Storf takes his “responsibilities very seriously,” hoping to share the stories within vinyl records in interesting, ethical and meaningful ways.
It started in his childhood bedroom, wanting to understand what was so special about Paul, John, George and Ringo to his dad. Now, he’s tracing the line of Johnny Cash and what At Folsom Prison did for country music. In every step of his journey with VMP, Storf has shown just how vital music is to life and its milestones because, as he quotes Chuck Klosterman: “Without a soundtrack, human interaction is meaningless.”