Paul Pensom: how does your studio sound?

In his latest column on life as an independent designer, Paul Pensom muses on the role that music plays in the studio, and the impact it can have on your creativity

It’s Wednesday afternoon. I’m sitting here, poised to write this month’s column. There’s a track on in the background, as usual in our studio, and it’s got me thinking about the role music plays in creative environments.

In my experience studios have always had a musical accompaniment. I’ve sometimes found this inspirational — Oasis’s coruscating Definitely Maybe promo blasting from the i–D turntable back in ’94 — and sometimes downright irritating, but it’s seldom possible to be neutral about the selection. Muzak it most certainly is not.

This is because whenever you gather two or more creative souls in one place, one-upmanship inevitably ensues, and the eternal riposte “yeah, but I much prefer their early stuff” will be heard echoing through the halls. Pretentious? Of course, but many an affected selection has led me to the sunny grasslands of new musical discovery, so I’m not knocking it.