What Are You Listening To?
"I'm going to think back to this summer and dance…"
Matthew, 29, film producer
What kind of films do you produce?
We shoot psychedelic comedies that deal with the end of the world.
We're shooting one right now with Dan Fogler. It's called Don Peyote.
So does music come in to your film-production job? Do you get to choose the soundtrack?
Yeah, we have all the say. Right now we're using a lot of dub-step, techno, some hard beats mixed with some minimal.
What were you just listening to?
Bassnectar. It's dub-step, and you should check them out if you don't know them. I have them on Pandora, so right now I'm listening to a song called "Churn of the Century." It's a random mix.
Listen: Bassnectar – "Churn of the Century"
Were you excited that it came on?
Yeah, I had to flip through for a bit.
What are some other albums coming out or that came out that you were excited for this year?
I really mostly listen to dub-step, some post-punk, some rock, and some blues. Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Wire. My favorite Joy Division song is "Digital." "Atmosphere" is good too, and "Isolation."
What's the best live show you've been to lately?
Probably BP Fallon. I saw him at the Escape To New York Festival a couple weeks ago, and he was brilliant. It's spoken word mixed with this guy just thrashing on the bass.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to play the cello.
Very classy. Do you have any guilty pleasures on your iPod?
Not really. I mostly have what everyone's given me. I lost all my music — it all got wiped out in a hard-drive crash.
Did it feel like losing a child?
It was much worse than losing a child. I got into a really bad car accident when I was sixteen, and the only thing I was concerned about while the car was catching on fire were my mix tapes.
If you were making a mix tape for a girl you liked, what would be on it?
Depends on what girl.
For you? I like Radiohead a lot, but maybe The Beatles — "Norwegian Wood." Some Modest Mouse, Postal Service, Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" would be good.
Listen: Bob Dylan – "Lay Lady Lay"
I like this tape. What's a band that you despise?
I don't think anyone should stop making music; it's a form of expression. As long as it hits one person, as long as it strikes a note or a chord, it's worth it, and they should keep doing it.
Han, 22, grad student
So you just started at NYU?
Yeah, I go to grad school. I'm starting my master's right now.
Welcome. How are you liking the city so far?
I like it — it's chill. I just finished my undergrad at Brown, and now I'm here. I'm studying music business.
Nice! So what are you listening to?
My own beats, actually.
What kind of music is it?
It's kind of electro, house, a little hip-hop influence.
You just sit around in the park, blissed out to your own beats?
Pretty much. I'm kind of trying to figure out how to do street performance. I think I need a permit.
If you do anything with an amp, you need a permit.
Well, I'm also a DJ, so I was thinking of like, combining a live band with electro or something.
You're a DJ? What are the hottest tracks to drop at the club?
Right now I like Avichi, Deadmau5, and Afrojack, always. I love music, and I try to find cool music from all around the world.
Listen: Afrojack – "Doing it Right"
What do you like other than electronica?
I love hip-hop, and I love pop music.
What's a song that you can't play when you're DJing because it will clear out the dance floor?
I try to stay open to all music, especially when I'm involved creatively music as well.
So you're not against dropping some "Friday" by Rebecca Black?
I don't know that song, but I'd be down to drop it if she's good.
She's not, but I'm trying to get you to be less diplomatic.
I don't play top-forty music — only remixes. If people already have it, there's not point for me to play it for them. I like finding the new stuff to introduce to people.
What artist would you be a groupie for?
Deadmau5. I am his groupie. I follow him on Facebook, which is enough groupie for me.
Have you made your own mask yet?
I'm thinking about it. But I don't want to straight out copy him.
There some theatrics with electronica now. You could wear a space suit.
I know some people at Parsons — I'm open to collaborating on fashion. Maybe some T-shirts.
If you were to crib an artist's style, who would it be?
Pretty Lights. He is sick. He's the best. I mean, that's a new thing. I don't know if Americans dig the electro like Europeans — Americans are more rooted in hip-hop — but Pretty Lights is the perfect hybrid of electro and hip-hop.
When you look back on this summer ten years from now, what's one song you're going to remember?
"Some Chords" by Deadmau5. I'm going to think back and dance.
Listen: Deadmau5 – "Some Chords"
Julia, 18, student
Welcome to New York! What classes are you taking?
Italian, statistics, cultures and contexts, and I'm taking a Jonathan Safran Foer seminar.
I'm jealous. What are you listening to?
I'm listening to "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes.
Listen: The Ronettes – "Be My Baby"
Do you like a lot of older music?
I do. I like Frank Sinatra, and a lot of Motown, and Sam Cooke.
What's your favorite Sam Cooke song?
Oh, that's tough. I like "Cupid" — I know it's kind of lame, but it's one of my favorites.
What does older music have that artists these days don't have?
I guess back then you really had to be talented in order to be an acclaimed musician.
Is there any modern musician who comes close to old blue eyes?
I don't know if anyone can compare to Sinatra, but in terms of talent, I hate to say it, but Lady Gaga.
What did you think of her performance at the VMAs?
I thought it was interesting. She's very innovative.
Did you hear she actually wore a prosthetic penis for the entire show?
I didn't hear that, but I'm not surprised. She's very dedicated.
What's your summer song?
I've been listening to a lot of French music lately, and I really like Edith Piaf. I can't pronounce any of her songs, because I don't speak French.
Yes! I love that one. That's the one.
Listen: Edith Piaf – "Milord"
Do you like Serge Gainsbourg?
I haven't listened to him, but I should check him out.
He's a trip. What's a guilty-pleasure song of yours?
There's this Enrique Iglesias one called "Hero."
He has that other one, what's it called? "I'm Gonna Fuck You Tonight?"
I like that one too!
Would you be a groupie for Enrique?