Balance, Design, Technology
March 9, 2011
What’s better than a playlist from a designer/musician? Check out this compilation from Matthew Thornton—co-owner of Armchair Studio and guitarist for the band Hawks & Doves.
What do you listen to while you work? I usually start the morning with Sesame Street (nothing beats that harmony between Bert & Ernie in their “Great Adventures” theme song). Then it’s on to NPR’s Morning Edition and usually I switch to John in the Morning on KEXP Seattle (streaming through iTunes) as soon as he starts. The afternoon is either listening to what I’m working on, or a lot of tangential playlisting. I usually have one strange 30-song playlist that makes sense to no one but me, and I listen to ad nauseum for about a week. Every time I get in the car with my wife remarks on how she’s “completely sick of this playlist,” and I’m always a bit surprised that she was even listening. I think the point is that music for me has a way not of being supplemental to my reality, but rather replaces a good deal of what I should be paying attention to.
How do you listen? I run everything through my Apogee One. iTunes, recording apps, the works. It sits on my desk in a little tripod stand, and it’s ready to listen to me whenever I have something to say. When recording, I listen out of that through my Sennheiser headphones (everyone needs a pair of good studio headphones). They put me inside the music, where speakers put the music near me. When I’m not using headphones, I had a custom cable made that lets me take the output of the Apogee One and run it through my Bose sound dock. Audiophiles will laugh, but I don’t care. Limited space, and sounds a a lot better than just about everything else that fits in my little apartment studio.
March 2, 2011
Nicole Block designs stationery from her home in Brooklyn, where she draws inspiration from the people, architecture, and culture around her. Also hanging with her in the big borough? Her daily coworker, two-year-old daughter Anna Jae, whose main work responsibilities are to keep Nic laughing, grounded, and hip to some of the latest musical guests on Sesame Street. Check out Nic’s (and Anna’s!) upbeat playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? I have a wide variety of music tastes, but I need to make sure when I’m working that nothing is too mellow. I work mostly late hours (8pm to 3am), so I need to stay awake! Mellow won’t do. I put away my Badly Drawn Boy, my Jack Johnson, some of my fave females, and I turn up the upbeat and happy. It ranges from Ben Folds to Classic R&B to 80′s music to current dance music. Complete with plenty of guilty pleasures to keep me singing and dancing in my chair.
How do you listen? Computer. If my family is still awake, I’ll pop in the headphones. But otherwise, I like to just use my computer as my sound system. If my computer is running really slow because of a large file or something, I might switch over to my phone.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Pandora all the way. I almost don’t listen to my own bought music anymore while I work, because I like a wide variety. So I have my Boy George radio station on Pandora, in a quick mix with my CeeLo and Ben Folds and Cake stations. Makes me smile.
Does music influence your work? I don’t know if it specifically influences my work, but I think my personality is easily reflected in both. I’m quirky. I have a good sense of humor, and I like to draw (no pun intended) from people and their quirks. So my music choices are quirky. I’m happy, I make [mostly] happy things, and my music while I work is happy. I am not an artist that pulls from hurt or anger, never have been, so my music is almost never moody or angry.
Who influences your musical taste? I do find that I don’t have as much music knowledge as I used to, since I work by myself and I’m with a two-year-old the majority of the time. Other than guests on Sesame Street, I don’t know that much about current music, and that doesn’t do much for my street cred! But my husband often comes home with something new, or my best friend may hound me on a new album for a while (yes, that’s how I found Florence and the Machine). And then there’s always Pandora, which really does help me out. I put in one band I know and love, and discover 30 more. It’s fabulous for us lonely parents!
What song or artist best represents the work you create? Oh my goodness! What a question! I’m not nearly cool enough to answer this one… OK, I’ve mentioned him a few times already, but I really identify with Ben Folds. Every album really speaks to me. He’s great at telling stories about regular people, stories that might make you laugh or cry or think, and the music that he writes for his lyrics is just amazing. His piano is fantastic; his voice is melodic but approachable… Ben Folds made me want to name my daughter Gracie after hearing his song (we came close—Anna means “grace”), and “The Luckiest” is the one my husband chose for our wedding song. He really hits on the minutia that makes life what it is. I feel like Ben Folds is to music how I long to be to illustration/stationery. I want to tell the smaller stories, the detailed one—the ones that strike a chord and make you smile and touch on real life.
NIC’S WORK PLAYLIST
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces, Ben Folds Five
Forget You, Cee Lo
(Night Time Is) The Right Time, Ray Charles
Stronger, Kanye West
Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears for Fears
Dog Days Are Over, Florence and the Machine
Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder
Just Like Heaven, The Cure
It’s OK, Cee Lo
Groove Is In the Heart, Deee-Lite
Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode
You Don’t Know Me, Ben Folds and Regina Spektor
Foundations, Kate Nash
Paper Planes, MIA
Images: Nicole Block
February 16, 2011
Let’s give it up for the accounting department: as soon as Rob Woodbridge, Herman Miller’s Financial Controller for the UK and Middle East, sent us a Playlist, we knew we’d have to post it immediately. Check out his diverse list of songs—a nod to what’s hot on the UK and European music scene at the moment. Thanks, Rob!
What do you listen to while you work? Being an accountant, the need to concentrate is obviously very important. Loud, upbeat music is therefore a definite no-no when I am at work. Some of my tasks need complete focus and I use music such as Cat Power, Federico Aubele, or The XX to help me get in the zone and block out office distractions. I then save the more upbeat music such as Two Door Cinema Club or Vampire Weekend for my journey home.
How do you listen? I use my standard-issue Apple headphones at my desk listening either through Spotify on my computer or my iPod. At home, I stream music through my Marantz stereo or listen through my iPod docking station if we’re outside entertaining in the summer months.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Spotify is my favorite method of streaming music. The “similar artists” feature is especially good for discovering new bands. My wife and I have two young children and their toys are slowly taking over our house. To help declutter, I’ve started buying MP3s instead of vinyl or CD format (something I never thought I would give up). Pitchfork is probably my most visited music website, although I’m always on the hunt—swedesplease.net is one recent find featuring the best in Scandinavian alternative music. US radio stations KCRW and KEXP also get their fair share of airtime.
Does music influence your work? I wouldn’t say that music influences my work, but certainly it can provide a good soundtrack and this is often dependant on the season. Summer evenings I will drive home listening to something from the record labels of Joe Gibbs or Studio One. In the winter, I normally resort to more familiar friends—Elliott Smith, Libertines, or The Walkmen often find themselves on the playlist.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? As well as hunting for music myself, I’ve always been surrounded by people with similar tastes in music or those opening my eyes to new sounds. Live music has been a passion and I have been going to festivals and gigs since I was a kid—indie, Scando pop, jazz, roots, hip-hop, bossa nova—anything goes, really. Being exposed to these diverse music tastes has meant my collection has become quite eclectic and there is a sound that suits all moods. I grew up in a house playing the likes of Johnny Cash and therefore the singer-songwriter has always been of significant appeal. I was lucky enough to see my all-time musical hero Elliott Smith play live in London a year or so before he died and I continue to follow musicians in the same vein such as Willy Mason, Ben Kweller, or Norwegian favorite Little Hands of Asphalt.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Wow—that’s a tough question. My work doesn’t really have a creative angle, but I would like to consider my outlook in the office as upbeat and optimistic. I would therefore chose something like Sweet Tides by Thievery Corporation or Mr. Guy by Sharon Bengamin. Both are guaranteed to lighten even the most heavy-going of days!
I Can Talk, Two Door Cinema Club
VCR, The XX
Oslo, Little Hands of Asphalt
En Cada Lugar, Federico Aubele
Mr. Guy, Sharon Bengamin
Boy with the Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian
Emily’s Heart, Jamie T
Don’t Look Back in to the Sun, The Libertines
We’re from Barcelona, I’m from Barcelona
Images: Rob Woodbridge
January 26, 2011
The work of industrial designer and media artist Stanley Ruiz reflects a raw yet modern aesthetic—resulting in folk-inspired objects that tell some sort of story about how they came to be. We think his Playlist does the same. Take a listen.
What do you listen to while you work? It usually depends on the time of day. In the morning, I usually listen to loud and fast songs from the likes of Minor Threat and At the Drive-In to keep me up and running. Midday, I settle for slower instrumental music, sometimes Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You. Evenings are tricky because my mood varies—sometimes I indulge in heavy, slow music by tuning to Black Sabbath, Sleep, or Om. I listen to a wide variety of music and it keeps me from getting bored. I also listen to a lot of folk/global music from Sublime Frequencies or the Smithsonian.
How do you listen? My desktop computer is hooked to a low-end speaker system. The sound is kind of lo-fi, but hey, that’s how I like it! In the studio I can plug in my iPod onto a dock…an iPod with Altec Lansing earphones would get me through most of my day—on the subway, etc.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Sometimes I listen to Pandora, which is kind of nice depending on the station you set up. However, I noticed that sometimes the same songs are playing over and over again! For getting updated on music/gigs/bands, I check out ohmyrockness and Brooklyn Vegan. To get my avant garde fix, I go to UbuWeb.
Does music influence your work? Yes, it does. Growing up, I was heavily into punk and hardcore music, scenes that are based on the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic. Somehow that’s how I approach my designing—to make do with what’s available and make something and try to be independent as much as possible. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind receiving some funding for my projects!
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Most of the music I listen to is from way back—like Black Sabbath and bands that they influenced (like Sleep, that eventually reincarnated as Om). So it’s like a family tree of sound. Sometimes when I listen to a random track in Pandora and like it, I then search for that band. I also go to see bands play live, which is the best way to experience music. My musical taste has evolved over the years, and I can’t pinpoint any particular person to blame for it but myself. Now I can listen to Operation Ivy and right after that, a flamenco tune from Paco De Lucia, or a Gamelan ensemble from Bali, and not feel guilty about it.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I would have to say the Japanese noise-rock band Ruins. They are raw, loud, tight, and just crazy! They are more like a concept band—most of their songs are about ruins, artifacts, and archaeological sites like the Stonehenge. I think that’s how I see my own designing as well.
Arcarsenal, At the Drive-in
Snowblind, Black Sabbath
Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead, Om
Loomer, My Bloody Valentine
Meeting of the Spirits, Mahavishnu Orchestra
Death That Sleeps in Them, Jonas Hellborg, Buckethead, Michael Shrieve
Your Hand in Mine, Explosions in The Sky
Just Like Heaven, The Cure
Can’t Find My Way Home, Blind Faith
Images: Stanley Ruiz and Tammy David
January 19, 2011
How does jack-of-all-trades Sophie Donelson reward herself as she writes from her Cobble Hill, Brooklyn home? Find out in our latest playlist from this design writer (look for her in mags like House Beautiful), lifestyle-brand consultant, and EditorTV host for The Editor At Large.
What do you listen to while you work? Nothing! I’ve never been capable of listening to music while I write, but thankfully, I also spend a lot of my day brainstorming, researching, and reporting, all of which I can do while listening to music. Hip-hop and electronic tracks are mainstays, but I also love Motown, reggae and indie bands. It’s actually music videos that I obsess about all day. I watch them as a reward, lIke, OK, if I write this lead, I get to watch the new Kanye video. They usually rev me up enough to finish my work and move on to more fun things.
How do you listen? My MacBook Pro speakers or Bose sound dock and, when I’m out and about, an iPod Nano with an obnoxious shiny pink case.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Not really—iTunes by default for music, and Vimeo for music vids.
Does music influence your work? When I was in high school I wrote a poem influenced by Juliana Hatfield’s “Spin the Bottle” from the Reality Bites soundtrack. It was a relationship allegory in which my boyfriend and I were balls on a pool table. How terrible is that? Today I’m inspired by lyricism, I play certain Lil Wayne or Kanye West tracks over and over again because every listen reveals another layer of rhymes or references. I’m consistently inspired by the transgressive ways vocabulary is used in rap. Who isn’t at least a little amused the first time you hear Kanye rhyme esophagus with sarcophagus? That said, I have a pretty high tolerance for crude rap lyrics.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Blogs, Twitter, and via my husband, Greg, and my bf Matty, both of whom actively seek fresh songs, and sometimes even my favorite spin instructor, who is prone to leading the occasional all-Led Zeppelin or all-Stevie Wonder ride. I rely on The Awl contributor Dave Bry for a steady stream of rap and hip-hop videos, including from Southern artists I’d never otherwise run into. I Listen to Everything is a great resource, too. The author is the daughter of rock star astrologist Susan Miller, which I find super cool.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? On a good day, my career is like Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On“—fast-paced and multi-faceted, with quiet, meditative verses and a wildly accelerated chorus.
SOPHIE’S (VIDEO) PLAYLIST
Bang Bang Bang, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl
I’m Not Your Toy, La Roux
Let Me Know, Róisín Murphy
Any Which Way, Scissor Sisters
Paper Romance, Groove Armada
Wonderful Life, Hurts
We No Speak Americano, Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP
Dancing On My Own, Robyn
Moloko, Familiar Feeling
Kim and Jesse, M83
Images: Sophie Donelson
January 12, 2011
We first noticed the unique hand-knotted rugs of Amy Helfand at ICFF—and were really excited when she agreed to create a Playlist for us. Read on for this Red Hook, Brooklyn-based artist’s take on the tunes that keep her humming.
What do you listen to while you work? I listen to a variety of things depending on what I’m doing. If I’m up and around, making art, or working on sculpture in my studio it tends to be louder, and if I’m sitting at the computer, it tends to be more mellow. I’d say I have varied tastes, which run from the Avett Brothers and Led Zeppelin to Regina Spektor, Will Oldham, and the White Stripes. I often tune in through the Web to radio stations like WNCW in NC and WMVY on Martha’s Vineyard.
How do you listen? I most often listen through the computer speakers.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I’ve recently been listening to sugarinthegourd.com, which is an old-time music Web radio station.
Does music influence your work? Sometimes it does. I have a piece called “Ragged Wandering” (image below) that had its roots in a song called “Left on Laura, Left on Lisa” by the Avett Brothers.
Where do you find music recommendations? Mostly from friends and family. My brother-in-law is a great collector of Americana and alt-country, and I’ve discovered quite a few bands through him. Other friends listen to different genres that I wouldn’t usually go for, but now do—I have a friend who knows practically every country song ever written, and my husband teaches high school, so he is up on what his students are listening to. I also listen to the radio a fair bit, so I hear things there.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? This is a hard question! I’d say it would have to be earthy and lyrical but with Technicolor, out-there moments. Interesting…I think I am a “sampler,” so to speak—an apprehender of images. Maybe someone in the pop music world who does this is Beck or Moby, but I wouldn’t necessarily associate my work with them at first thought.
Ten Thousand Words, The Avett Brothers
Missing One, Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons
Jokerman, Bob Dylan
Airstream Driver, Gomez
Slim Slow Slider, Van Morrison
This Will Take Time, Jim Avett
Oh No, KaiserCartel
Persuasion, Richard Thompson
To Ohio, The Low Anthem
The Calculation, Regina Spektor
Dirty Boulevard, Lou Reed
Images: Amy Helfand
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
December 22, 2010
With a two-year-old son at home and another little one on the way, freelance magazine writer and InStyle contributor Elizabeth Jenkins is on always the move—most recently from the room she used to call her office (which is becoming her son’s new bedroom) to an armoire in the master bedroom that will now serve as her new workspace. Find out what this busy Los Angeles up-and-comer listens to as she crafts stories about interior design, weddings, celebrities, and entertaining for the likes of Redbook, Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food Network Magazine, AisleDash.com, Sunset, and more.
What do you listen to while you work? Unless I’m exhausted and need waking up, I typically put on my “Mellow Mix,” which contains songs by a wide range of artists from Leonard Cohen to Natalie Merchant. All of the tunes have become familiar enough that I can tune them out so they don’t distract me. If the song is too poppy—or peppy, for that matter—I’ll find myself singing along, which isn’t ideal when I’m trying to write.
How do you listen? If my two-year-old is sleeping (which is when I get most of my work done!), I will put in my earphones and listen on my iPod. But if he’s at preschool or at the park with my husband, I’ll go ahead and turn on our teeny-tiny iPod dock that I bought years ago in a Manhattan mall before a trip to the Cayman Islands. (We wanted to be able to listen to music while we sat on our patio drinking island libations and it was the best $75 I ever spent!)
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I sometimes find the iTunes library slow, so if I am trying to figure out the name of a song or who sings it, I usually Google it first and get a chance to listen to a part of the song that way. I also build playlists on both playlist.com and mixpod.com for AisleDash.com (AOL’s wedding website), so I’ve found that those are both good places to listen to favorite tunes.
Does music influence your work? I find songwriting inspiring. I respect artists—particularly country artists, who often tug at the heartstrings in their ballads or come up with a super-clever rhyming line for their livelier tunes. I think Brad Paisley’s lyrics are the wittiest in all of country music (How funny is “Online”?), but I also love the powerful words on the Dixie Chicks last record (“Long Way Around”) and on folk singer Charlotte Kendrick’s album (“North of New York”).
Where do you find music recommendations? My husband, who loves listening to country radio (L.A.’s 105.1), and tells me when he hears a great new song. I also subscribe to “Entertainment Weekly,” “People,” “The New York Times,” and the “The Los Angeles Times” (in addition to about 15 other magazines), and find those four outlets have the best artist profiles and music reviews. I often compare the reviews in EW and People. (If both critics rave, then I’m likely to either buy the whole CD or download a few select songs. I often go months between iTunes purchases, so instead, I have a music wishlist on Amazon.com and I put all of the recommended albums there—with notes to help jog my memory—and then when I have time, I purchase the album off of Amazon or buy a few songs on iTunes.) Since I ask deejays, bands, and music supervisors to create 10-song playlists for AisleDash.com, and then listen to each song online, I often end up purchasing a bunch of the songs they’ve recommended. So far I think I trust Los Angeles deejay Lee Dyson’s musical tastes the most. Thanks to him, I spent a quick $15 on iTunes! Oh, and I can’t forget my dear friend from college, Jill Hare, who has incredible taste in music and often burns CDs for me for my birthday or Christmas. She introduced me to Charlotte Kendrick most recently.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I don’t think it would be fair to compare my work to an established musician. Since I’m still young and relatively new to the magazine industry (6 years now), I would consider myself more of an up-and-coming artist than an established one. I hope that like most up-and-comers, my writing is continually evolving and improving with each project.
31 Today, Aimee Mann
Sweet Pea, Amos Lee
Puddle of Grace, Amy Jo Johnson
Keep Holding On, Avril Lavigne
Displaced, Azure Ray
The Luckiest, Ben Folds
Let Go, Charlotte Kendrick
A Long December, Counting Crows
The Blower’s Daughter, Damien Rice
Babylon, David Gray
Landslide, Dixie Chicks
Such Great Heights, Iron & Wine
Star Mile, Joshua Radin
San Andreas Fault, Natalie Merchant
Sentimental Heart, She & Him
Images: Elizabeth Jenkins
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
December 15, 2010
We’ve featured the witty, thought-provoking objects of Brooklyn-based Colleen & Eric before, and got curious about the music that inspires them. Take a look at the music that has gotten a lot of airtime in the home studio/shop of designers Colleen and Eric Whiteley as they’ve been developing their budding business over the last year.
What do you listen to while you work? Eric: I’ve worked for years for an amazing furniture maker who has taught me everything I know about woodworking. His motto is “All soul, all the time.” After five years of hearing old school R&B and Motown for eight hours a day, it’s really rubbed off on me. When there’s serious work to be done, I like to listen to something that has a great groove and I’ve heard a million times. It lets me concentrate on what I’m working on, and really makes the time fly. Colleen: Mondays I usually listen to podcasts of programs that aired over the weekend to start my day off. I especially enjoy Radiolab—Jad and Robert can make even tapeworms seem amazing. After that, music in almost all its forms makes up the rest of my day.
How do you listen? Eric: Colleen and I got Android phones about a year ago, and we’ve found tons of apps for music, like Pandora and Grooveshark. It kind of blows my mind that we can be anywhere, and get any music we feel like. There’s always a way to plug the phone into whatever speaker system is available. On the other end of technology’s timeline, we also recently set up a Technics turntable, and listen to all the classic records Colleen has collected over the years. What’s great is, we’re just in time for the return of vinyl, and all the new releases that come with mp3 downloads, too. The ritual of choosing a record, dropping the needle on it, and flipping to side two does make the music more special somehow.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Colleen: Our good friend Vicky (her husband Thomas MacLean built our amazing website) introduced us to Grooveshark.com. It has an endless selection of music that you can pull from to create playlists or just find someone who like similar music and listen to their mixes. 8tracks is kinda rad, too—people post “mixtapes” that you can listen to. Eric: You get a lot of personality in the playlist that way, and we hear lots of music we never would have found otherwise.
Does music influence your work? Eric: There’s a collaborative element to our Flock of Birds. We designed them, but the owner decides how to fit the flock to their space. Giving up some control of the final design is akin to jazz music—the same song is different each time it’s performed. Same with Flock of Birds—no two sets are going to look alike.
Colleen: Music definitely influences our work. When you hear an amazing album, let’s say Bjork’s “Medúlla”—all a cappella, but it sounds like there’s dozens of different instruments—it’s another art form that challenges you to push your concepts and aesthetic.
Where do you find music recommendations? Colleen: Most often I hear about music through friends so I guess our friends influence our musical taste. While listening to 8tracks, I’ve heard music that I really like and end up buying the album—like Mumford and Sons.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Eric: I really like Four Tet’s music. He samples strange noises, cuts them apart just to be assembled backwards, and layers dissonant tempos together. Yet somehow, the music is beautiful. I love that concept in design, too—playing the beautiful against the ugly or ordinary. Droog does that a lot, and Achille Castiglioni’s Mezzadro tractor-seat stool is a great example. I like to think the wing nut in our Hold On Tight shelf does the same thing. Colleen: David Byrne—he’s a huge inspiration! I was fortunate enough to go to the opening of Playing the Building at The Battery Maritime Building where he played the building (thanks Liz!). I love how he combines all forms of art.
COLEEN AND ERIC’S PLAYLIST
New York, I Love You But Your Bringing Me Down, LCD Soundsystem
This Must Be the Place, Talking Heads
Triumph of a Heart, Bjork
The Greatest, Cat Power
My Angel Rocks Back and Forth, Four Tet
La Vie En Rose, Louis Armstrong
P.Y.T., Michael Jackson
Tezeta (Nostalgia), Mulatu Astatke
Young Americans, David Bowie
Mercy Mercy, The Rolling Stones
Nothin’ From Nothin’, Billy Preston
The Distance, Cake
Let Spring Decide, Chromix
Images: Colleen & Eric
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
November 24, 2010
After spending his day as a senior designer at Pix Design in New York City, Ricky Ferrer uses his free time on recently rediscovered passion: printmaking. In addition to a few freelance stationery projects, he’s been whipping up wedding invitations—and is even working on creating his own. Get a glimpse at the songs that are currently filling this groom-to-be’s playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? I listen to a lot of music and a few different podcasts (as well as the occasional “book on tape”). I like listening to music that’s “in season.” With autumn here and winter around the corner, I have started listing to a lot more folk, singer/songwriter, and introspective types of music. Duke Ellington is great this time of year.
How do you listen? We have speakers around our office that are hooked up to an Apple Airport. I can play music wirelessly through my iTunes. I took it even one step further and downloaded theRemote app on my iPhone, so I can even control what’s playing when I’m away from my desk. I also use headphones for the podcasts and books or when I need to buckle down and focus on what I’m doing.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Pitchfork, All Music, and NPR’s All Songs Considered are my go-to sources for reading about current music and music history. All Songs is currently running a 24-hour stream of every song they’ve played on the show for the past 10 years. It’s pretty amazing. Hype Machine is great for streaming tracks and testing out new artists. I used to be forced to go to the artist’s MySpace page, but find that site to be really ugly and hard to use (sorry, MySpace users!). I also just signed up for Last.fm, which is great for OCD people like myself to track every song ever played.
Does music influence your work? As much as I love music, I don’t think it influences me as much as, say, album covers do. Although I think it’s important to absorb as much of the arts like fashion, art, and design as possible. The collective consciousness can be very influential and knowing what is out there is crucial.
Where do you find music recommendations? I find most of my music from All Songs. I also check a few blogs regularly to find new music. I just stumbled upon The Perfect Five, a blog that posts five songs every week covering categories like Classic, Remix, and Covers. I’m a little obsessive about discovering new music (and have been since I was a teenager) so scouring the Internet is a common pastime. I also enjoy discovering older music just as much as more contemporary stuff. I use Shazam often when I’m out and have used it to find new music at a bar, shopping, or even on commercials.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I would have to say the Magnetic Fields. I like my work to be conceptual, clever, and always something different. It should get the idea across, but should have a little wink and a nod in there as well.
Billie Holiday, Warpaint
Cut and Run, Electrelane
Innudir Skinni, Ólöf Arnalds
Perfidia, Xavier Cugat
Life Magazine, Cold Cave
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Holland, 1945, Neutral Milk Hotel
Icebound Storm, Laura Veirs
My Baby, Julia Stone
Swan Song, Giant Drag
Siboney, Connie Francis
Images: Ricky Ferrer