What do you do?
Owner of Soundsnap. Its a sound effects and music loops website I founded in 2007. What do I do there? I suppose I ‘play the orchestra’.
What else should we know about you?
When I was nine, my cousin and his friends who were 15 at the time, bullied me into learning the words from The Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ because their band’s singer was sick. I sang it… in a really high-pitched voice. But I think that day influenced my life somehow. I spent every afternoon in a studio as a teenager and got into the music industry, releasing some EPs in Germany and England between 1999 and 2005. But after Napster and Kazaa, the record industry took a nosedive and lost a bit of its cool.. (Thanks Sean Parker!).
I then fell in love with the Internet. It captured the same revolutionary and DIY nature that punk rock used to have for me. So in 2007, I gathered some sound effects and music loops and put them online for free. And that was the start of Soundsnap.
What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I moved to London when I was 18. Best place in the world for that period of 2000-2005, especially East London! It was a magical time in Shoreditch, everyone was doing creative stuff and knew each other. Keziah Jones lived upstairs from me and Banksy would paint all over the area, he hadn’t published books and entered galleries yet. You would borrow a camera from some filmmaker down the road and lend your keyboard to someone else for a gig. If you knew the manager at the bar, they would lock the door and the party continued till the am. Best move I ever made though was to move to NY in 2011 and haven’t looked back.
Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
I can’t really say that I‘m 100% true Londoner or true New Yorker (even though I‘ve spent all my adult life in those two cities). But going back to London from NY, I noticed that the bacon tastes weird. Londoners are great at forming lines (‘queues’). The medium-size pop-corn is for one person, not for a family of four. You can order a salad without kale.
How can New York and London better engage with each other?
London needs to embrace NY’s 24-hour lifestyle: bars open late, subways running etc. and also speed up a little (there’s no such thing as ‘London minute’).
NY should import DJs and a couple of pubs from London.
Other than that, lets shift timezones a litte: New York one hour ahead and London one hour behind so we can collaborate easier with colleagues in both places. Finally, lets connect the two cities with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and make the trip one hour long.
Favorite NYC secret spot:
The Bagel Store – My second best spot is a little known bagel paradise on Metropolitan; because they have the freshest stuff in town.
But I won’t tell you my number one secret spot, cause I want to keep it a secret.
Favourite London secret spot:
Gary’s Place. It was a secret, illegal spot on Kingsland road that started out of the apartment of east London night scene legend Gary Fairfull.
You would enter into a huge loft directly through an elevator door. They served great drinks and people were well dressed. It was sort of a speakeasy, there was a large lounge and a room with a bed and there were always interesting things happening; legal and illegal. It only lasted for a few months and then it moved to a different place and the vibe changed.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would LOVE to live in Paris, but only in theory. In practice, I wouldn’t last a week. You need to wear a super tight leather jacket and quote Guy Debord and that can get exhausting.
In flight entertainment:
What’s playing in your headphones right now?
Jaco Pastorius – Portrait of Tracy
And what are you currently reading?
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software