Designer, bookbinder, and paper lover Emily Hamma Martin has her hands full. Not only does she offer design services and handmade paper goods through her design business, Orange Beautiful, but she is also in the middle of renovating and opening a new store in Chicago (check out her shop’s progress here). Between lighting installations and the sanding and polishing the store’s wooden floors, she took a minute to tell us how music plays a part in her creative process. (P.S. We’re noticing that a lot of our music profiles mention Pandora. What are you listening to?)
What do you listen to while you work? That all depends. If I’m doing production or printing—where there’s a lot of repetitive steps— I tend to listen to more upbeat music. I’m a huge fan of Kenna, and the band Metric, so those two are my go-to groups when I need to get a lot of work done. But my upbeat list also includes a lot of 80s and 90s music: Madonna, The Cardigans, Garbage, Kylie Minogue, and, well, Ace of Base. If I’m doing more computer-based work, like designing or correspondence—things that require more of concentration—then I’ll listen to something just a tad bit more laid back: Jem, The Bird and The Bee, or Kings of Convenience.
How do you listen? In the studio, I listen to music on my computer through a set of external Logitech speakers with a sub-woofer (which sounds great, but my downstairs neighbors might not like it so much).
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? In the last few months, I’ve switched over to listening to music almost exclusively on Pandora. I was going with the free X-amount of hours at first, but those ads were just too annoying. Oh, and the fact that I’d have to stop working every five to six songs to tell it that I was “still listening.” Now, I’m a paid subscriber (it’s like $12/year), and I can have constant music with the only interruption being that I want to change the channel.
Does music influence your work? Do you have an example? My immediate response to this question was “No, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t”—but then I realized that it has actually DIRECTLY affected my work. One of the designs from my first card line has a floral motif with the phrase “Miss You Much” on the front. That is a definitely paying homage to the Janet Jackson song of the same name, which I listened to endlessly when I was eleven years old.
I also have a holiday card that simply says “holiday…celebrate” on the front. Yep, that’s from Madonna’s “Holiday,” which came out when I was five. So, I guess succinct-yet-poignant lyrics not only stand the test of time, they also translate well into greeting cards.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical
taste? When I was 20, I studied abroad in Scotland at the Glasgow School of Art. I really came into a much greater appreciation for more unique music while I was there—a lot of which I still listen to today. The groups that I’ve continued to follow from my time there include Stereophonics, Gomez, and Travis, just to name a few.
Nowadays, pretty much all of my music recommendations come from my boyfriend, who writes, plays, and records his own music. He plays in a Chicago band called Absinthe & the Dirty Floors and also runs his own independent record label, Sidedown Audio. It’s hard not to find out about new music with him around. Many of our days off are spent walking to the local record store and looking for old vinyl, or buying the newest CD release.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? Justin Timberlake. He’s had a long career, starting at a very young age; has reinvented himself several times, while still remaining true to his talent; and he used to like Britney Spears.
Beautiful Life, Ace of Base
Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears
Love At First Sight, Kylie Minogue
All Good Things (Come To End) (Kaskade Remix), Nelly Furtado
Help, I’m Alive, Metric
Love Fool, The Cardigans
Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper
Your Love Is Black, Kaskade
Save Me, Jem
Images: Emily Martin