During work hours, Royce Epstein focuses on materials and finishes at the architecture and interior design firm Kling Stubbins. After hours, she’s the lead singer and rhythm guitar player in not one, but two bands in the Philadelphia area. (How does she do it?) Turn up your speakers for a listen to her (not one, but two) music mixes in this week’s Playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? I started listening to Spotify after I got bored with Pandora. I am always genre-jumping depending on my mood and work load. I am a huge music junkie, always listening, collecting, reading, and writing about music. I have a somewhat specialized knowledge of certain periods in music, my favorite being British Post-Punk. I am also a huge ska fan, and I always listen to 60′s-era ska. So those are my go-to genres but I listen to lots of current indie rock, lots of classic rock, lots of garage, you name it. When I am doing research, I prefer more mellow music, but when I am writing specs I prefer tunes with more energy to keep me going, like The Ramones.
How do you listen? I listen to headphones on my iPod every day on the subway; I use that time to learn songs for my band. We started as a Go-Go’s tribute band, so I spend a lot of time learning the intricacies of each song on my way to work. Once I get to work and turn on my computer, I listen to Spotify. If I am working at home, then it’s more complicated because I have more choices and can crank up the volume. We have a vintage Bang and Olefsun turntable and a ton of records, so it’s fun to play them (but it’s annoying to have to get up and flip records while I am working). So I usually just load up the CD player or listen to Sirius satellite radio (my favorite stations are Little Steven’s Underground Garage, First Wave, XMU, and Classic Vinyl). I usually don’t listen to MP3s at home; I save that for time alone with my iPod.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? In addition to Spotify, I like Hype Machine, which catalogs MP3s posted by music blogs. But generally, I’m old-school and collect CDs and vinyl. I do buy from iTunes, but it’s not my preferred method of obtaining music. Digging in a record store is still one of my favorite things to do.
Does music influence your work? It doesn’t influence my design work as much as visual art does, but it keeps me company and is a wonderful companion—I couldn’t get through the day without it. It can help me adjust my mood to suit the tasks I am doing. Record cover art is also inspiring! I love graphic design and typography, so I am as equally interested in album art as much as the music.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? My musical taste was set very early, in 1979, when I was ten years old and heard “Rock Lobster” by The B-52′s for the first time. I was completely awestruck, threw away the Muppet Movie soundtrack I used to carry around on my portable Panasonic 8-track player, and never looked back. My older neighbor also taught me about New Wave and Punk. That was and still is a huge influence. I also know a ton of people who are in bands and into music, so we all share info, recommendations, etc. I go to a lot of shows as well; my boyfriend is a music promoter and we are always seeing bands. My band also meets other bands that we play with, so there is never a shortage of new music, or the desire to learn about older music. Another huge influence is the music scene in Philadelphia, which is really vibrant and thriving right now. We are so lucky to be a part of it.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Elvis Costello once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” So I don’t think I can answer that—it’s so complex and would change all the time. Some things can’t be captured in words.
Newly Released Stuff:
Miranda, Surfer Blood
Recharge & Revolt, The Raveonettes
I Love My Label, Wilco (cover of Nick Lowe)
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, J.C. Brooks & the Uptown Sound (cover of Wilco)
Valerie, Amy Winehouse
Cruel, St. Vincent
Roadrunner, The Modern Lovers
Crazy Rhythms, The Feelies
Do It Clean, Echo & the Bunnymen
Lost in the Supermarket, The Clash
Mind Your Own Business, Delta 5
Damaged Goods, Gang of Four
Going Underground, The Jam
Transmission, Joy Division
Echo Beach, Martha and the Muffins
The Beat, Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Typical Girls, The Slits