What do you do?
I’m Ian, and I’m a product designer at Spotify in NYC. More specifically I lead up design on a team called Creator, focused on building tools and features for artists and the music industry. It’s super exciting and challenging serving an industry in transition. But I love music, so it’s kind of a dream job!
What else should we know about you?
I also do music production and songwriting on the side, and have just started a studio based in Greenpoint. www.okstudio.co We’ve just got the space and will be building out in the next few months so we’re kind of in stealth mode right now. But watch this space.
What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I was born and grew up in Northwest London, in a small suburb called Northwood. After college I moved central to Hackney and started my career working at various London design agencies, before moving to the states 3 years ago.
Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
I love the pace of life here, it really is another level. Plus the fact the city is so densely packed makes it much easier to move around than London, which in turn changes the whole social scene of the city. I definitely feel in London that people live inside enclaves they never emerge from, it’s much more fluid here in NYC.
The thing that frustrates me the most; why does the subway have to be so damn filthy? Every time I return to London I’m amazed at how clean public spaces/transport is compared to NYC. And after you get over the sexy grittyness of NY, it’s just like, clean it please, this is horrible.
How can the two cities better engage with each other?
I actually feel like there’s pretty fluid exchange between the two cities. I’m more interested in how cultural hubs like London/NYC can engage with provincial places around them. I first moved to SF when I arrived in the states and found myself cut off from global culture in a way. I think a lot of these big hubs are more connected to each other than they are the rest of the country that surrounds them.
Favorite NYC secret spot:
The Glasserie. At the very northern tip of Greenpoint (my hood), you’ll find this Mediterranean/Middle Eastern experimental restaurant. The food is just insanely good and they do all you can eat brunch too. It’s amazing, and I’d seriously put it down as one of the best restaurants in the city. *****
Favourite London secret spot:
Oh man, it’s been a while to be honest. But I used to love the places along the canal in Islington/Hackney. Check out Towpath for great food and canal-side drinking.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
The answer to this changes all the time, but right now I’d probably say between Lisbon and London. Lisbon is having such a great boom at the moment, with a bunch of investment and new tech businesses opening up. Property there is also beautiful and super cheap, and, well, it’s sunny. What more can you want?
In flight entertainment:
What’s playing in your headphones right now?
An emerging artist called Jessy Lanza from Canada. This track especially just captures something about this moment in music for me. Love the beat too!
And what are you currently reading?
I’m reading How Music Works by David Byrne, in which the Talking Heads frontman explains, well, how music works. It’s brilliant, and I also recommend his other book, Bicycle Diaries, where he rides a bike around cities on his world tour and talks about politics, history etc.