Friday Features: What Music Gets Your Creativity Flowing?

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find the music that your creativity needs! We all have types of music, songs, sounds, and playlists that get us into the artistic zone. And we wanted to see what tunes got our artists’ right brains ticking, so we asked a few Artist Shop owners: what music gets your creativity flowing? Check out their answers below and discover some new stuff to jam to!

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“Metal is my Co-Pilot” from BeanePod’s Artist Shop.

When I’m designing, I listen to non-vocal ambient/electronic music or, as my wife and kids say, “that creepy weird music”. It helps me focus tremendously and if I zone out enough I can pretend I’m designing on a space ship…in outer space even!


BeanePod | BeanePod’s Artist Shop
“ACDC – Back in Black” from Vó Maria’s Artist Shop.

I like heavy stuff, but Pink Floyd is my choice. Always inspiring.


Vó Maria | Vó Maria’s Artist Shop
“Very Steady and Threatening” from I Love Doodle’s Artist Shop.

I love playing Joe Hisaishi’s music! Especially those he composed for Studio Ghibli’s animation films.


I Love Doodle | I Love Doodle’s Artist Shop
“MTN LP…(Blue Variant)” from NDTank’s Artist Shop.

The music that works for me is always changing. This week it’s Mipso. I saw them live recently (along with Loudon Wainwright III which was very cool) and have had them on pretty heavy rotation the last few days along with Esme Patterson, Blitzen Trapper, River Whyless, Paul Simon, and First Aid Kit. I’ve also found lately that early jazz is just about perfect when I really need to focus.


NDTank | NDTank’s Artist Shop
“Starman” in Bulo’s Artist Shop.

Mostly David Bowie and Freddie Mercury with lyrics, and also as visual material. Two icons, two myths. They are always popular, always fashionable. And rock groups: Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Especially lyrics; Sometimes just a string, a single sentence, maybe even a single word. It could be a great design theme. And Daft Punk from the world of electronic music. It’s a really great sound; sparkling, inspiring with every aspect. And a slightly more defective sound: Portishead. A song that especially affects me: “Undenied.” 

Also, musical instruments and devices. You can see them in some designs. Guitars, speakers, turntables, vinyls, hi-fi systems, amplifiers, analogue devices, vintage audio systems. I love these kinds of things.


Bulo | Bulo’s Artist Shop
“Stop, Pause…and Play” by MindfulTees’ Artist Shop.

To get in the inspiration mood, silence then Cat Power! When on energetic execution mode, when ideas are clear, The Sundays! On long, very long projects, I stick with Bossa Nova.


Mindful Tee | Mindful Tee’s Artist Shop
“The Sound of Silence” from QBF’s Artist Shop.

Music is pretty much my main inspiration. I like to think I have pretty eclectic tastes in music, and often pick music to match my mood. It could be anything from ambient electronic to Folk music. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of psychedelic rock like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Uncle Acid. Which has probably crept into my work! I’ve had some excellent recommendations from @mathiole over the past year. Music really helps to keep me focused when I’m working. If I’m in silence, my mind kind of wonders!


Quick Brown Fox | QBF’s Artist Shop
“Soundscape” by Gamma-Ray.

I’m a big fan of all sorts indie/alternative bands, some of my favorites being Radiohead, The National, Interpol,  the Black Keys and Ty Segall. But when designing, I listen to chill electronic music and folk to help relax into a designing mood.


Grant Shepley (@Gamma-Ray) | Gamma Ray’s Artist Shop
“Sound Wave” from Ha’s Artist Shop.

Lately it’s been downtempo electronic music like Tycho, but faster heavier stuff like the Mars Volta has always been a go-to when I need to get in “the zone”.


Ha | Ha’s Artist Shop
“Dark Trilogy” from UNDGNDTV’s Artist Shop.

As you can see from the designs in my Artist Shop I’m kind of crazy about synthesizers, samplers and drum machines old and new. Most of the new music I listen to is via YouTube; I love to watch and listen to other musicians jamming on their synths. Channels like Modular on the Roof or Colin Benders are so inspirational and I could just listen to them for hours. I’ve recently fallen in love with the buchla music recordings and performances from Suzanne Ciani. Well worth checking out on YouTube! 


A lot of the music I listen to is music I grew up with, so the likes of DJ Shadow (“Endtroducing” was a huge musical influence on me), Radiohead, NWA, Boards of Canada, Public Enemy, The Stone Roses, Underworld. And of course oldies and classics like Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Bowie, etc. My guilty pleasure, though, is my ’80s playlist on Spotify. I’m a kid of the ’80s so I know all these songs inside out from compilation albums that used to play in the house and in the family car, especially on summer holidays around Europe. Favourite ’80s songs? “Digging your Scene” – The Blow Monkeys, “Borderline” – Madonna, “Enola Gay” – OMD, “The Chauffeur” – Duran Duran, “Hold Me Now” – Thomson Twins. The great thing about ’80s music is that it literally washes over me. I know the music inside out so I don’t analyze this music like I do to other music. In a way it probably helps me concentrate more on the design work I do. 



“Listen to the Nature” from Sinremite’s Artist Shop.

I listen to a lot. Basically I’m listening to music 24/7, mostly indie folk. I guess that if I have to choose one, this genre is my favorite. And I don’t have any special requirements to draw. If I like it, it works for me and I can create while listening to it.

Just to name some of my favorite bands: Wilco, Iron & Wine, Eels, Ryan Adams, Sufjan Stevens, Beatles (of course), Bowie (David, I miss you), Jack Johnson, Vampire Weekend, Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, Andrew Bird, Damien Jurado. From Spain I strongly recommend Pajaro Sunrise, I really love the music of this band. It’s a great inspiration to me


But, if I have to be more specific I think these three songs could be a good representation of what I listen to while I’m drawing: “Fresh Feeling” by Eels, “Kinda Fantastic” by Pajaro Sunrise, and “Calipso” by Francis White.


Sinremite | Sinremite’s Artist Shop

What music gets YOUR creativity flowing? Let us know in the comments!

Start your own Artist Shop now!

Featured image is “Bowie” by Montt.

CategoriesFun Stuff
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Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.