This week’s green theme on Lifework wouldn’t be complete without a nod to our favorite environmental lifestyle expert, Danny Seo. His new book Upcycling has inspired our creative sides, his eco-friendly Danny Seo home collection (found nationally at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods) is currently inspiring our every day, and now his Playlist is inspiring a much-needed dance break between work projects. Take a listen.
What do you listen to while you work? It depends. If I’m working away on something that’s totally work-related (we’re talking lengthy emails, reviewing contracts, doing selects from photo shoots) it needs to be dead quiet. But if I’m writing my syndicated column Do Just One Thing or the manuscript for a new book, I have to have music on. It drains out any distractions and lets me focus on the creative writing at hand.
My iTunes account tells me what I’ve been listening to a lot lately: tons of classical music (but traditional and more modern compositions from Philip Glass) and the whole album “Ivory Tower” from Gonzales is fantastic, too. I also found a lot of songs from the “September Issue” documentary to be fun to listen to. But I also have my fun music: I’m a closet Westlife fan, so I think I have all of their albums. And who does not love a little Madonna in their life, right?
How do you listen? I’m boring. I have a run-of-the-mill iPod with some noise cancellation headphones. I have a iPod docking station that can be a stereo, but I never, ever use it. I prefer to drown out the sounds completely in my head.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I get a lot of my inspiration for work and to clear the mind from runway shows. I sit there and watch all of them online—Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani, Ralph, DKNY, etc. It’s fascinating to watch the shows and see how they pair up music to the feel and look of their latest collections. There are never runway music notes for the shows, but thank God for active YouTube comments who figure out what it is and share the information. Usually, one or two good leads on iTunes will lead to more recommendations and finds.
Does music influence your work? Our new Danny Seo Kids line is a good example. I remember hearing the song “Over the Rainbow” when Etoys.com existed. It was such a heartfelt commercial with beautiful black/white imagery. The Hawaiian artist Israel “IZ” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole recorded it with a simple ukulele. The innocence of the song—a children’s song—was inspiration to create beautiful kids towels that were fun and spirited and that celebrated the youthful innocence of kids today.
We often want to design kids products to look like smaller version of grown-up things, but this reminds me kids don’t want to be dressed like adults, so we kept it young and totally different from our regular home products.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? The right response is probably some indie band or critically loved darling nobody has heard of, right? But in reality, I think the right and true answer is NKOTBSB—yep, the marriage of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. The reason is simple: I started my work when I was a teenager in 1989 when NKOTB was popular….then my work grew into lifestyle and books when BSB gained popularity (and even Kevin Richardson of the BSB ended up being a client at one point). And now, I’m all grown up with a business where these “boys” are now men and have found a way to retain their popularity without trying to grasp onto their childhood. So, yeah: NKOTBSB.
Sad Song, Blake Lewis
Destroy Everything You Touch, Ladytron
Knight Moves, Gonzales
Time to Pretend, MGMT
Don’t Forget About Me (When I’m Gone), Glass Tiger
Symphony No. 3, II, Philip Glass
Images: Amy Feezor