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The Anti-mix by Jason Smith

While other blogs are releasing playlists by professional musicians, we thought it might be more interesting to highlight the tastes of people in the media and advertising industry. There’s something about people who work in media. Most of us here at The New LoFi work in media, advertising or production and we’ve found that a disproportionate amount of people in the industry have incredible taste when it comes to music. We’re all really just closet musicians.

So far, we’ve featured mixes from a French graphic designer, an English strategist, and a New York based photographer. This week we traveled to London to meet up with Design Director, Jason Smith.

TNLF: You are a Design Director. What does that mean to you?

JS: It means using my knowledge, my past, my skills and my influence to steer clients towards making something better. And to help pull up younger designers. That’s the best part about this job. Guiding young people.

TNLF: What’s a typical day working in your office like?

JS: Get in at 9am and go into meetings for most of the morning. Then it is headphones on so I can concentrate on my work. In the afternoon, there’s a lot of reviewing and making sure everything is as good as it can be. And then yeah, normally last to leave.

TNLF: What are the kind of projects you love working on?

JS: I like working on brand work at the moment. Identities. Dissecting brands and learning how they work. Then putting it back together in a structured way that is more beautiful and more organized. And that’s something that does take time to learn. Sometimes the solution is quick, but in my experience it takes time.

TNLF: Is there a specific project that really stands out?

JS: I think one of the projects I’m happiest with, is the ten year anniversary project for Ai Records. The process, the work, the result — it all came together really nicely.

Album artwork for the 10th anniversary of Ai Records

TNLF: Projects you hate working on?

JS: That’s an interesting question. Any project where there isn’t a proper brief. When things become reactive and a bit panicky. When it’s: ‘can you just do that.’ You need to take a step back and find out why something is being done. If it’s just reactive you aren’t considering why you are doing what you are doing. That’s dangerous because you don’t know where you are going and that can ruin the outcome.

Oh and working for free. I hate working for free. I don’t have time to do that any more.

::laughs::

TNLF: Who are the designers that you are taking inspiration from right now? Who’s at the top of their game in this industry?

JS: I like the work Sascha Lobe is doing for Pentagram. He’s pushing stuff in an interesting direction for them.

I loved the stuff that Tobias Gremmler did for the Bjork tour.

And I love the Swiss Posters page on Instagram.

Tobias Gremmler’s video for Bjork

TNLF: Is music an important element in your working process?

JS: Definitely. Music can help you focus. It can also shut you off. It can change your mood, it just really focuses you. Put a decent pair of headphones on you can escape. It sets you up before you go to work as well. My commute is pretty stressful at the moment so it’s good to just put on my headphones and slip away.

TNLF: Let’s talk about your mix. You’ve created sort of an anti-mix. You’ve given our listener a list of songs that you’ve been listening to. Not a playlist. Not a prescribed order of listening to those songs. Just a list of songs. And you want the listener to mix them the way they’d like. Preferably at random.

JS: Basically. I’ve got lots of records. Which sometimes makes it difficult to listen to. I have iPods with catalogues of music based on a period of time that I’m grabbing that music. And on iPods, the music can always travel around with you. You should always have music with you. When the iPod fills up I get a new iPod and the old one goes into the drawer. It’s an archive for that period.

With this mix, I’ve always wanted to represent a compilation of the top music from all of those iPods. I edited the list down to the tracks that had longevity — the ones that still sound good today. I don’t really have playlists, I always listen to music on random. So I wanted other people to listen to it the same way.

The collection of old iPods and disused iPhones that Smith uses to collect his music
The collection of old iPods and disused iPhones that Smith uses to collect his music

TNLF: What do you want people to feel when they hear this mix. How do you want people to listen to it?

JS: I want people to listen to this loud. Whether it’s on decent headphone or on a decent sound system at home. I want people to actually put aside some time to actually listen music that they’ve never heard of before. There are definitely some tracks on their that are difficult to listen to… but music should be like that. Sometimes music can make you anxious or scared. Or warm and fuzzy. I believe someone has made that music so you should push yourself to listen to it. I feel the same way about design.

You should really open your eyes and open your ears to stuff that you might not necessarily have found on your own. Hopefully that’s what this ‘mix’ will do.

———

In order to stay true to the format, we are doing things a little bit differently for this mix. Because Jason hopes you will listen to this collection of songs at random, we are opening submissions up to you, the listener. We’d like you to listen to it on random, or mix it yourself and send it back to us. Any mixes submitted with the following songs will be included here. If you are interested in making a mix, email us at superfresh@thenewlofi.com and we will send you the tracks.