catalogtree is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Amsterdam. Their work is instantly recognizable for its complexity and exceptional clarity; a combination not easily achieved. Their ability to compress large amounts of data into these gorgeous infographics is unparalleled. Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross are the designers behind catalogtree and I had the pleasure to ask them a few questions before I left for Tokyo. Their answers and some example work after the jump.
What were your goals when you initially set up shop?
We never really set up shop and in a way this is our goal. To not have a shop and be amateurs at what we do. Right now we’re working on a 232 meter long radio antenna and are building a crystal radio to receive a local pirate station. We have never done this before and have no idea if this project will succeed.
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About a month ago I got to see Chaz Bundick play as his solo act Toro Y Moi, I sent it to Scott and we’ve been both hooked to his new album Causers Of This ever since. Below is a few question I asked him about everything from his blog which seems to have shrunk a bit since I was last there to what he’d be doing if he wasn’t doing music.
ISO50: First, your new album “Causers Of This” that just came out will be in our best of 2010 without a doubt but I read that you’ll be releasing 2 records this year, is this true? If so, can we expect more of this loveliness style wise?
TYM: Yeah, the plan is to do two records. This one is going to sound more songwriter based and non-electronic. The goal we’re shooting for is to have it out by August…
ISO50: I went to your blog, you have some great photos, can you tell us a little bit about them and what people are seeing on your blog? Is it a bit of the initimate and fun side of you?
TYM: Thanks. A lot of the photos are of my friends. It’s fun, I love taking pictures of people but I’m getting more into more inanimate photos and odd still lifes.
ISO50: Your from South Carolina[i’ve never been there] and I see that your pretty fashionable for a guy (I admire a good pair of eyewear), is there something that the rest of the world doesn’t know about South Carolina in music and the young people? Does the clothing world at all interest you? Any good thrifting there?
TYM: Well, i had to say one thing, it’s be that, us, south carolinians don’t all live in the backwoods. The thrifting is great down here. But, really a lot of trends, whether it be fashion, music, or art, spreads majorly because of internet theses days.
ISO50: I saw you play live in Brooklyn, you really look like you have a ton of fun on stage like a natural, does that come from anything like an old band or performing before?
TYM: I’ve played in bands since i was 15. I’m just getting use to being on stage by myself, but i’m willing to be embarassed and learn from my mistakes…
ISO50: Would you share any advice on production techniques and what synths you use or dream of owning?
TYM: hmmmm, proly stay away from direct lines when recording, sounds gross and flat. a dream synth? anything from Realistic.
ISO50: To put it bluntly, I hear “heavy melodic avant pop” early Max Tundra meets “I wanna make people move” 50’s and 80’s pop in the best way possible when I hear your music, can you share what records shaped your sound?
TYM: Most likely Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and Donuts by J Dilla.
5 quick questions:
ISO50: Something your fans might not know about you: I dont shower often.
ISO50: Dream gig (location, mood, show opener or closer): SNL and zach galifianakis as the host.
ISO50: Favorite new band you’ve heard: Cloud Nothings
ISO50: If you weren’t doing music, where would you like to work: DDEESSIIGGNN
ISO50: Share a childhood memory that might relate to your music: Seeing my dad dressed in heavy winter clothing.
Toro Y Moi Blog
Toro Y Moi Facebook
Toro Y Moi Twitter
Thom Yorke remix of Doom? sounds great right? well it is, I do love Doom over some big strings and dusty kicks or movie and TV soundtracks but this remix is a nice get away with a fitting haunted feel.
I haven’t heard anything as exact as Dilla Donuts than this Jay Electronica cut but I also don’t listen to much hip hop besides dipping back in more J Dilla or Stones Throw signings. A really hype track, i’m not putting it down at all, i’ve had it on repeat all week.
You may recognize the name Jogger from Daedelus’ Friends Of Friends label or his random appears on labes like Mush or Ninja Tune but I just found him thru Eliot Lipp and Leo123’s side project Dark Party, i’ve never heard the original but if its anything like this remix then i’m in love.
I downloaded this really funny exclusive 10+ minute interview of Mux Mool on Percussion Lab, he talks about his upcoming album, what he samples, how he spends his downtime, and his drawings that you can find on his Flickr, some of this is pretty NSFW.
Create Digital Music has posted an excellent interview with Paul Frindle. Frindle was one of the people at the center of the digital revolution in audio recording; he worked on SSL G-Series Console, was “part of the team that broke the “damnable black art” of digital conversion”, founded Oxford Digital (whose EQ plugin I still use extensively), and developed the application the Sony OXF-R3 Console. It’s a pretty technical article but it highlights how creativity and genius can combine to fundamentally change an art form.
Some producers and musicians these days lament the shift to digital saying that analog will always be better than digital. I tend to agree with that statement — particularly when it comes to synthesis — but the move to digital has made the process of production so much more efficient and accessible that it’s hard to argue against it. Digital audio has opened the doors of the music industry to anyone with a computer and made artists of people who might not have had access otherwise. Although I have spent many years trying to shift my process into the analog domain, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get a start in music if it weren’t for the ability to record digitally.
So here’s to Paul Frindle and everyone like him who paved the way for a revolution in music, because whether we’re making music or enjoying it, we all owe these pioneers a debt of gratitude.
Late last year I had to pleasure of interviewing Danny, Marieke and Erwin of Experimental Jetset. Founded in 1997 and based in Amsterdam, Experimental Jetset is one of the most exciting and highly regarded studios working today. They create exceptionally beautiful work; immediately recognizable for its top notch quality and unique remixing of modernist principles and stylings. Their global renown continues to soar– most recently thanks to their part in Helvetica and the extreme popularity of their (now re-released) John&Paul&Ringo&George shirts.
A quick perusal of their website can easily turn into hours as you browse through their catalog of work and read their comprehensive descriptions of each project. In these descriptions, and especially in interviews, the depth of their reflection is astounding. They take great care to consider every perspective — whether it be a report of one of their own projects, or an answer to a seemingly basic interview prompt — their ability to discuss Design and work is as remarkable as it is fascinating. What follows is our discussion from November 2009. Enjoy!
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I did an interview for the excellent Grain Edit blog recently and they’ve posted it up today. We covered a lot of ground from coffee shops and design to music production. There’s also a couple bonus shots of the studio in there. Check it out at the link below.
Grain Edit ISO50 Interview →
I did an interview with Norway National Radio while I was there last week. It’s brief and you’ll have to speak Norwegian to understand most of it. They seemed to focus in on the political aspects of our conversation, most of the questions centered around the role of graphic design in American politics in the wake of the 2008 elections. Also, I had a cold so that’s why I sound like I just inhaled 3 packs of Camels.
On a side note, check out that logo! Love it.
NRK Radio Norway – Scott Hansen Interview
Non-Format is one of the most exciting studios working today. Comprised of Kjell Ekhorn (Norwegian) and Jon Forss (British), Non-Format is known for an exceptionally innovative approach to typography and a fresh, boundary-smashing graphic style. Clients such as Nike, Coca Cola and The New York Times have all tapped the studio’s award winning and internationally acclaimed design talent. Operating on two continents, Non-Format is based in Oslo, Norway and Minneapolis, USA.
One of my first assignments at design school was to bring in some books that I found inspiring. As I had just started the program, I didn’t really have much to show for myself, and I distinctly remember arriving that day to see that around 3/4 of the class had all brought the same book: Non-Format’s Love Song. The extent of their influence on the field of design became immediately clear to me. Since then I’ve kept a close watch on the studio and am always excited to see what they’ve been working on. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Jon and Kjell and our exchange is after the jump.
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