Tell Us: The Music You Can’t Create Without

Music has a different meaning for all of us, but for many – especially those working to create – it can be extremely inspiring. Curious as to what bands the true talents turn on for instant inspiration, I asked five Threadless artists to name their must-have music to cue instant ideas. Read on to find out (and listen to!) their faves!

When I started working on Threadless projects, I listened to a lot of Radiohead & Björk. These days, I like to listen to electro music while I’m working, such as Moderat, Modeselektor, Siriusmo, Caribou, James Holden, and Boards of Canada. My most recent favorite album is Sauvage, from a French producer called Fakear. ‘Lune Rousse’ is a perfect song for me. As I often work late, electro music is good to keep me awake! When I want to listen to some classical music, I often play Debussy, Satie, or Rameau. Baroque music like Scarlatti or Vivaldi is also very good to clear my mind and inspire me.” Florent Bodart, aka Speakerine


“My illustrations emerge little by little, like loose images, so I need to organize them. I tend to use song lyrics or feelings I get by some melodies to arrange these thoughts. Sometimes I also use music as a creative incentive, to help me get intp the mood of the work I’’m about to do. For example, when I’’m doing something related to science fiction, I listen to Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares, Mind.In.A.Box… if it’’s something more playful, I’d rather listen to Bjork, Zoe Keating, Buckethead, or El Trio de Omar Rodriguez Lopez.… Other than that, while creating, I normally listen to Depeche Mode, Opeth, and Tool. Any playlist I make will always have something from those three bands.” Rafael Pereira, aka Hafaell

“I normally listen to the radio on my phone when creating my illustrations, so the music is mixed up between pop and alternative. Punk/grunge rock is certainly a no-no for me. I enjoy local Indonesian stations such as Prambors and MadamaBudi Satria Kwan, aka Radiomode

My favorite original soundtracks are from fantasy films, like The Lord of the Rings, and computer game soundtracks, such as Assassin’s Creed and Dragon Age. Soundtracks are instrumental and relaxing most of the time, so they inspire me for my art. If I really need to concentrate, I like to listen to classic jazz or Ravi Shankar (an Indian musician and famous sitar player).” Anna-Maria Jung, aka queenmob

“I tend to listen to more relaxed songs (like ‘Africa’, by Toto) when doing regular work or commissions, and more manic and fast paced-songs (by artists like We Came as Romans) while working on more experimental pieces. However, I often end up turning it off when I am finalizing an image and need to concentrate.” Aaron Jay, aka randyotter3000

“The Sound of Silence” by John Tibbott

I have to admit that I’m a lover of silence. I live in a quiet town, away from the noise of the city which I find unsupportable! I usually don’t like to listen to music while working, I prefer to hear just the flow of thought and the sound of what surrounds me. I always found this the best way to work, and I put myself in this state for any kind of project!” Elia Colombo, aka gebe

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Marina Maria

Marina Maria is a freelance journalist from Brazil who can't draw, but loves to talk about those who can. She is obsessed about food and videos of tiny hamsters eating tiny things.