What do you listen to while you work? I listen to such a crazy variety of stuff while I work—one day, it will be guilty pleasure tunes from high school, then girl group stuff from the 50s, oldies mixes my Mom made, ambient instrumental stuff, or podcasts. There are a few bands that are always on rotation for me when I’m working—Violent Femmes, old Modest Mouse albums, Elliot Smith on mellow days, CCR on let’s-get-amped days. I actually watch a TON of TV when I work, mostly through Netflix watch instantly. I sometimes end up watching whole seasons in a day when I have a lot of stuff to do.
How do you listen? Mostly through headphones since I have studio mates who are into podcasts and silence. When I have my way or have the studio to myself, I listen out loud, mostly through my iMac. The only time I can’t really listen to music, movies, or TV when I’m working is when I’m answering emails or trying to figure out some weird technical code-y thing. I’m a pretty good multitasker, but I absolutely cannot write when music is on.
Do you have any favorite music websites? I have recently been really into rdio.com. I have a bunch of music on my main work computer, but since I have three computers and travel around a lot, it’s awesome to have a sort of cloud library of music and playlists. They don’t have everything on the site that I want to listen to at any given moment, but they do have A LOT and generally have all of my “craving” music on there—stuff like TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cool that I don’t plan on rebuying anytime soon.
Does music influence your work? I think sometimes it does, mostly just the mood of the music versus the mood of the piece I’m working on. There are a few direct examples though, my favorite being one of the daily drop caps which was made when I was listening to Mariah Carey.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Mostly through friends or from keeping an ear open when I’m in shops and coffee shops around Brooklyn. I’m sure there are a lot of baristas out there that have inadvertently turned me on to some bands. My friend Jason of theheadsofstate.com was one of my major music tastemakers after I got out of college and I still ask him about recommendations when I’m itching for some new music. I visit pitchfork.com occasionally, but soundfixrecords.com (a record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is really good at archiving their “best of” picks by genre. I usually end up picking up a few albums because of that.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? It would have to be something really perky and dance-y but a bit grungy or handmade feeling. Maybe a Violent Femmes song? It’s hard to pinpoint a precise song/band!
Banshee Beat, Animal Collective
7/4 (Shoreline), Broken Social Scene
Goods, Mates of State
With a Girl Like You, The Troggs
Why Can’t I Touch It, The Buzzcocks
Marquee Moon, Television
Kiss Off, Violent Femmes
Broke, Modest Mouse
Be My Baby, The Ronettes
Oh Yoko!, John Lennon
Yer So Bad, Tom Petty
All I Really Want to Do, Bob Dylan
Images: Jessica Hische