Music has always driven Dress Code, an award-winning design studio on Manhattan’s Lower East Side run by Andre Andreev and G. Dan Covert. After meeting at California College of the Arts, Andre and Dan both moved on to work at MTV in New York (check out their work for the VMAs here). They left in 2007 to start their studio, and now—in addition to the albums and merch they still design for friends in bands—they count MTV, Lightbox Theatre, CMT, and Belvedere Vodka among their clients. Andre and Dan told us a little about how music continues to influence and inspire them.
What do you listen to while you work? Andre: While I’m working, I usually like down-tempo stuff like dubstep or chop n’ screw. Nothing that’s too energetic or fast-paced. Dan: I am mostly into indie rock and some older rock and hip hop.
How do you listen? A: We all have headphones, but also have a sound system. D: At the office, I usually work with headphones on—one ear in and one ear out—so I can hear the phone and not be a total ass by blocking everyone out.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? A: On a daily basis, I check out nahright.com for mostly rap and hip hop. Whenever I want to stock up on some new mix tapes, I to go mixtapetorrent.com. Sometimes I check out voodoofunk.blogspot.com for these great West-African records, most of which are pretty hard to find. Most recently I found a blog of Bulgarian metal that I used to listen to as a kid, which is great because most of the early recordings were only on tape. D: Pitchfork, Pandora, Nodata, and Sordomusic.
Does music influence your work? D: Very much so. Music has been a huge influence in our work from the beginning. We started designing small runs of screen-printed posters, merch, and albums for our friends in college. After school, this helped us get jobs at MTV. And when we left to start Dress Code, we continued to design albums and merch for our friends’ bands, as well as starting to direct music videos.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? A: It’s mostly friends. I trust their taste when it comes to a genre. For instance, Jon sends me a lot of dance and electro; Matt sends me mostly southern rap; Shannon just sent me some dubstep. When I lived in Seattle, I used to listen to KEXP all the time; to this day, I still turn it on to hear some new eclectic mix. D: Most of my friends are really into music as well so I get a lot of recommendations from them. And my brother has always been a big influence on my musical taste. He has been in a ton of bands and has a great ear.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? A: This might sound like a joke, but I would say Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em. Why? He is young and naive, yet confident and successful. So many people hate on him, but he still turns out hits. His music production is totally DIY and stripped down—it reminds me of early punk when musicians barely knew how to play their instruments. There is an energy with him that I can associate with. D: ODB. Because there ain’t no father to his style.
Turn My Swag On, Soulja Boy
Hustlin’, Rick Ross
I Know Why, Gucci Mane
Straight Out The Rarri, Young Jeezy
I Got, Three 6 Mafia
Standing in the Kitchen, Yo Gotti
A Milli, Lil Wayne
Chevy a monsta, Rich Boy
So in Love, Shawty Lo
Growing Pains, Ludacris
Starring, Freelance Whales
Osaka Loop Line, Discovery
Two of Us, The Beatles
Hand Me Down Your Love, Hot Chip
Birds On Ice, Shook Ones
Beaches and Friends (Hey Champ Remix), French Horn Rebellion Vs. Database
Foreground, Grizzly Bear
Hayloft, Mother Mother
Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
I Don’t Wanna Hear It, Minor Threat
Transylvanian Candy Patrol, Savoir Adore
Images: Dress Code