-ismist Recordings started in August of 1992 (under the name -ism Recordings") when founder Dan Schlissel expanded his interest from booking bands at the University of Nebraska to releasing records for those bands. The first address of the label was Schlissel's dorm room at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The name came from a conversation between Mercy Rule drummer Ron Albertson and Schlissel. The name was to be "In Spite of Myself," but Albertson suggested calling it -ism, which would stand for all the different forms of art and thought. The name was immediately adopted.
The label released a number of recordings by local punk artists. In August of 1996, -ism had to change it's name to -ismist Recordings, which stands for, "In Spite of Myself, In Spite of Them" because someone had already trademarked "-ism".
In later years distribution problems caused the -ismist's most promising act, Slipknot, to drop the label, which made Schlissel rethink the direction of the label. After moving to Minneapolis, Schlissel began to focus on comedy recordings, eventually spinning the comedy label Stand Up Records
off of -ismist's fledgling comedy branch.