How does music fit into the work and process of Andy Johnson, founder of Seattle-based Ample Furniture? Find out in this week’s Playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? I enjoy some variety, but most of what I like to hear when working would qualify as indie rock. Occasionally some blues or upbeat jazz. Rarely classical. Never any classic rock. I tend toward music that is relatively new (at least to me) vs. old favorites.
How do you listen? I work mainly from two locations – my home office, and my workshop. At home, since I’m usually the only one there, I listen aloud – and loud – through the Tivoli radio in my office, or the stereo in the living room, or sometimes both simultaneously for a wall of sound throughout the house. The workshop is challenging because of the noise of the machines and the ear protection I wear. When the machines are running, I have to crank the stereo waaaaaaay up to hear anything at all. Even then, all I really hear is the beat or a bit of the melody. But if it’s a song I know, that’s enough.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? When I’m not listening to KEXP, I use Rdio, a streaming music service. I have also tried Rhapsody and MOG but I prefer the Rdio user interface. Actually, “prefer” may be the wrong word. It’s just the least bad of the three.
Does music influence your work? Simply put, for me, music is energy. It keeps me going throughout the day. Without it, I would get a lot less done.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Here in Seattle, we are fortunate to have the greatest radio station on the planet: KEXP. KEXP is a local, independent, listener-supported station that plays a huge variety of music dictated by the DJs themselves (and listener requests). Pretty much all the new music I discover is through KEXP. Some of it is new to me, but much of it is truly new, truly fantastic, and not getting airtime anywhere else. Without KEXP, my life would be pretty dull.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? I aspire to be just like a really great DJ at club, who reads the audience and finds a mix of music that gets the house rocking. With Ample, design-wise, I’m not necessarily trying to do something totally new. I’m trying to give people what they want, to make modernism accessible, to use a variety of influences to create something infectious, irresistible.
Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist: The Eames Soft Pad Management Chair with a white frame and Pearl MCL leather. It is critical to have a base that rolls and spins because this music will get you dancing in your chair.
1. Clear Eye Clouded Mind, Nada Surf
2. Doors Unlocked and Open, Death Cab for Cutie
3. Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J
4. Mountains Sound, Of Monsters and Men
5. Show Me, Mint Royale
6. Kids, MGMT
7. Strange Overtones, David Byrne & Brian Eno
8. Daft Punk is Playing at My House, LCD Soundsystem
9. Midnight City, M83
10. Houdini, Foster the People
11. Lisztomania (Alex Metric Remix), Phoenix
Photos: Andy Johnson, AmpleFurniture.com