We can almost guarantee that this week’s Playlist-er has heard a lot of “No, not that Dustin Hoffman” in his lifetime. We’re also pretty sure that this Dustin Hoffman—a web designer and developer who just moved to NYC—has just delivered a song list of which his name twin would be proud.
What do you listen to while you work? As a stereotypical 15-year-old girl’s Tumblr might read, I have a very “eclectic taste” in music. I’m constantly being turned on to new artists, and as of late, I’ve been completely ignoring the tunes I used to be able to listen to on repeat for hours. While I’ve had the propensity to turn into a pretentious, spends-10-hours-on-Friday-night-organizing-his-iTunes audiophile, I’ve also managed to skirt the edge of hipster obscurity by reciting “have you heard of…” one too many times to my friends. While they still may have no idea who Arcade Fire is, I’ve found my own happy medium somewhere between Gaga and PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS. All to say—there’s a variety to the artists I could be submersing myself in while I work, and generally it’s entirely dependent on the mood I’m in and the work that needs doing. If I’m between curly braces as it were (programming something), I try and shy away from folk music and opt for something with a thick beat I can get into a groove with, or something fast and relentless. But when doing interface design work, or something more free-form I opt for something less electronic. When I really need to put my head down and get work done, I’ll often opt for a old favorite like Throw Me The Statue, The Killers, or Death Cab for Cutie.
How do you listen? When I’m at home, I’ll usually listen on my Logitech speakers, using 3.1 of 5.1 (that’s left, right, mid, and a subwoofer, nix the rear speakers). However, occasionally my under-neighbor will broom his ceiling in the wee hours of the night and I’ll turn to my trusty Klipsh S4 in-ear headphones, which I also use whenever I’m on the subway.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I use The Hype Machine to find awesome up-and-coming artists and to find out about new songs from artists I already love. I also happen to work for The Hype Machine, but I’d be using the service regardless. It’s really awesome and you should check it out if you’re unfamiliar.
I also follow a few Tumblr music blogs, one notable favorite being Justwatchthesky.com. I’ve also been watching Bandcamp.com lately for awesome new indie albums. I’m really excited to see the site grow—it hopefully will even replace Myspace one day as a place to go any listen to a fresh band’s work.
Does music influence your work? Sometimes I find myself typing to a particular beat, and one song comes to mind:.”Carneval” by Looptroop, which a fast-paced, smooth beat I can really write code to. But on a more visual note, my work does sometimes reflect patterns found in a song. The animation on my homepage (breefield.com) was inspired by Animal Collective’s “Peacebone.” Everything starts out completely crazy and random—just complete absurdity—but then as you let time pass, things start to sync up, patterns form, and the song falls into place. I wanted my new portfolio to feel the same way—technically chaotic but with a planned pattern. I think it does that nicely.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? I have a few good friends who know I’m always on the lookout for great new albums or artists. One friend in particular watches my Last.fm scrobbles and makes amazing recommendations based on a combination of influences, as opposed to “A and B are similar.” I’m always super impressed with her uncanny ability to know what I’m going to like even before I listen to it.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I wish I’d answered this question every six months for the last five years; it would better represent how I feel about my own work over time, and where it’s headed. I think that, at the beginning of 2010, I would have replied “The Shins,” and come June it would have changed to “Passion Pit.” But now I’m feeling pretty solid about “Lovesick Teenagers” by Bear in Heaven. I’m realizing how my personal projects can be a lot like a relationship based on infatuation. For the first few days, it’s all I can think about; I can’t sleep and I have trouble concentrating on the things I should be doing because my brain wants nothing more than to explore the inner workings of whatever vexes me at the time. But let a few weeks (sometimes months) pass by and I’ll find something more attractive to invest myself in. It’s all about taking a project to a place where you’re happy with it, and can let it rest on a plateau without driving it into the ground. Or as the song would say “land on the earth before we crash into the ground.”
Yucatan Gold, Throw Me The Statue
Lawn Knives, GOBBLE GOBBLE
Peacebone, Animal Collective
Trouble Hunters, Astronautalis
The Ghost Inside, Broken Bells
Orion’s Belt Buckle, Free The Robots
Gifted (Featuring Kanye West), N.A.S.A.
A New Error, Moderat
Air (BBC version), Delia Derbyshire
Images: Dustin Hoffman