I have a lot of music at home; enough to open a small record store. I listen to all sorts from jazz to punk to soul to reggae and even a bit of county and western. I’m a bit fussy though. I won’t listen to any old crud and I can also understand that the stuff that I like is not for everyone.
Here’s the thing. When I’m working, writing copy or coming up with ideas, my penchant is towards classical music. It sounds a bit snobbish I know, and I’m not actually a big fan of orchestral, but for me it helps having a bit of Bach in the background. The point is it doesn’t get in the way. There’s no musical hook to mess with your mind. It’s music that simply hangs gently in the air and encourages the mind to think. I play it softly, just so it breaks up the silence. I’ve been working like this since 1983 and it’s kind of stuck.
But I’ve also had to adapt. You see, for the last 15 years or so I’ve worked in a number of different studios where classical is not, nor ever will be, on the musical menu. Here, deep in the darkest corners of digital design the music is not light – but banging, body-shaking, progressive dance music that delivers the same kind of mental hammering the US government applies to terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay. And it’s loud. Loud enough to upset your digestive system. So much so account handlers in these studios have developed their own sign language – a semaphore based communication system that, by flapping their arms from side to side, enables them to review creative work while under extreme sound amplitude. Well, I think that’s what they are doing.
The weird thing is this. At my current workplace I’ve just been given the house DJ gig. Yes, as well as being responsible for the external light switch, I also play the tunes for the studio. I got this gig for no other reason than I’m seated next to the speakers. The brief is simple: Do not play anything depressing. Do not play anything too old. Do not play anything that’s slow.
Hmmmm. As most of my music is, old, slow and slightly depressing that’s quite tough. So I’m up against it. Needless to say, your thoughts on this matter are most welcome and any ideas for hot studio choons in the comments below please.