We work in a pretty laid back environment and there is no better example of this than the music that is playing in the studio from 9am until the last artist leaves for the night. It isn’t unusual for someone from the Accounts or Media department to park at the main table with their laptop just to listen for a while.
As a group, the folks who work here in the Art Department at Current are nice people. We work hard. We play hard. We enjoy the occasional “That’s what she said” joke. (OK, more than occasionally.) But there are times when we can be a surly, standoffish lot. We work on tight deadlines and are under pressure everyday to be clever and creative. A big part of our job is to take criticism – and sometimes outright rejection – on a daily basis, and as hard as we might try to “be the shepherd,” there are rare occasions where you end up dealing with “the tyranny of evil men.”
What most people don’t realize is that you can gauge the mood of the Art Department by taking a second and listening to what music is playing in the studio before you come in and drop your “Advertising Emergency” on an unsuspecting artist. The play list is a fairly accurate barometer of the tone of the room and you can adjust your approach accordingly. Here’s a primer on what to expect, depending on what’s playing.
WFPK is playing – Things are busy in the studio…too busy to pick music.
80’s Music – The mood in the room is fairly light. We’re busy, but for the most part approachable, and you should be able to get pretty much whatever you are asking for, within reason. You’ll have your best luck with me, Dennis or Cathy. The decade didn’t rock hard enough for Donovan and Arica is too young to remember the 80’s.
Hair Band Rock – Chances are, you just missed the Best Video: “Cherry Pie” or “Here I Go Again” debate, we’re in a good mood and feeling pretty sassy. You are likely to get some good-natured grief, but it shouldn’t stop you from asking for pretty much anything. We’ll be revved up and working quickly.
Motorhead/Metallica/Rage Against the Machine – When things go harder than Guns N’ Roses, you should probably turn around and walk away. You are better off giving it a half an hour to see if the mood shifts.
Bobby Brown/New Edition/Michael Jackson – I’m probably DJ-ing and taking requests. Our Traffic Pixie Laura is a big fan of Bobby B and the King of Pop. I’d steer clear of Donovan. He’s not.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – This is your chance to get to Donovan. It’s his favorite band. And it should be your favorite band too. They rock.
Country Music – This doesn’t make it onto the play list very often in the studio. Country music can be pretty depressing and that’s the last thing we need. If you hear Johnny, Willie or Garth, talk to Arica. She likes both kinds of music: Country & Western.
Show Tunes – Dennis and I obviously have the studio to ourselves, because we would never try to get that past the rest of the department. A little Rogers & Hammerstein goes a long way with us and you could probably blackmail us into doing pretty much anything with this information.
ABBA – Someone has let Cathy pick the music. Whatever you need done should go straight to her desk. She should know better.
Yacht Rock – You know the groups: Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Toto and the King of Smooth, Kenny Loggins. I have likely asked for requests and been given the patented studio answer, “Just play something that doesn’t suck.”™ You say something like that, you deserve to listen to “Yamo Be There” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”
In all honesty, compared to many of the Art Departments I’ve worked in, we’re a very easy bunch to deal with. And hopefully these tips should make it that much easier.
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