What Are You Listening To?

The Block Club office has two distinct noise levels: boisterous group chatter and complete silence. We work in an open office environment, which is perfect for creative collaboration, brainstorming and sharing ideas. But when the team needs to focus, you can often hear a pin drop as everyone puts on headphones to find personal focus.

But what exactly is everyone listening to under their Beats, Bose and earbuds? The team reveals which playlists and podcasts they turn up when they need to hunker down and work.

“I always end up on the H&M In Store Music playlist on Spotify. It’s the perfect mix of mid-to-uptempo beats that are energizing without being distracting. Unfortunately, it does create the urge to go shopping.” – Pat S., project manager

“I like to listen to downtempo music while I work. I’ve been a longtime fan of Majestic Casual’s YouTube channel, which has now transitioned onto Spotify. It’s great for drowning out the usual sounds of the office and staying focused.” – Dave, director of business development

“When I need to concentrate on my screen for long periods of time, I like to listen to something loud that I can shamelessly bop my head to so I can keep energized and keep the mid-afternoon burnout at bay (though my ears are paying for it so I don’t advocate this approach). I love classic surf rock, and follow a great playlist by Niels Jansen on Spotify that does the trick. Many of them are instrumentals so the distraction level is low and it helps keep me in an ultra-groovy command-C, command-Z flow.” – Julie, designer

“I enjoy the Mellow Dinner playlist on Spotify. It’s quiet in my ears, but provides plenty of warmth and soul for a comforting day of work.” – Ben, copywriter

“I’m a big fan of podcasts. Right now I am really into Reply All. One of my favorite episodes is The Time Traveler and the Hitman, which explains one of the internet’s funniest memes.” – Tim, designer

“Like so many others, I can’t listen to music with lyrics or podcasts while working, as it interferes with my ability to write. As a result, I find that I rarely have opportunity to discover new music. When I am working on something that doesn’t require writing, I rely on Pitchfork’s Best New Tracks and Best New Music 2015 playlists to discover new artists and new tracks from artists I like.” – Brandon, creative director

“When I have a block of office management / spreadsheet work (anything non-editorial, where language from my headphones won’t accidentally slip into a word document), I love to listen to WNYC’s Selected Shorts short fiction podcast. They recently hosted a beautiful reading of Michael Cunningham’s “White Angel”, an alternately delightful and heartbreaking coming-of-age story of two brothers growing up in 1970’s Cleveland. Oof.” – Margaret, editorial assistant

“I can’t listen to music with lyrics or podcasts while I’m working as I find it too distracting. As a result I’m usually listening to the latest set from my favorite DJ, John Digweed. John has put out a weekly mix every week since September in 2000. I’ve listened to them all and always look forward to the next set.” – Steve, project manager

Shows by John Digweed on Mixcloud

“A good friend of mine with an uncanny ability for pairing the perfect soundtrack to any situation always shares his playlists. His latest features a lot of great, upbeat reggae, world-music, soul, and indie tracks that are fun yet all share a creeping moodiness and chill, bittersweet vibe. It kind of feels like twilight on late summer day turned cool summer evening where you have to break out a sweater for the first time but you still leave the windows open and walk around barefoot. Perfect for keeping things chill when life gets hectic. Appropriately enough, it’s entitled JUST CALL ME “KOOL BREEZE”.” –Ryan, designer

“My go-to tunes for when I’m working is the Sigur Ros artist station on Spotify. Most of the music isn’t in English, so the lyrics don’t distract me, and the atmospheric sounds allows me to slow down and get work done in a normally faced-pace working environment.” – Grace, design intern

“Last week when Brandon and I were at the Ace in Palm Springs and there was a record player in our room with a selection of records from Amoeba Records in LA. Donna Summer, ‘Four Seasons of Love’ was at the top of the pile. I listened to it every day as I lounged around the room. A week later in Buffalo, I’m still listening to it. I’m actually listening to it right now.” – Patrick, principal