Co-workers at the NOOK share their productive music mix

Co-workers at the NOOK share their productive music mix

Have you ever felt like your brain was close to exploding thanks to an officemate's incessant replaying of '[insert that song you absolutely hate here]'?

Admit it, we all have. This is possibly why headphones have become rather essential for the modern-day worker.

Whether you're stuck at your office desk or free to plant a flag in your own little corner at a coffee shop, most of us prefer to escape the world and enter our own little bubbles with our favorite tunes. They help us stay focused and get pumped up for the task at hand. They reach out to pick up our mood and zap away the stress lingering in the creases of our foreheads.

But there are some places that curate tunes that will keep distractions to a minimum — like Bandwagon's new home at NOOK Co-Working Studio in Alabang.

Sure, nostalgia might hit when you realize your favorite Daft Punk song was actually sampled from a jazz fusion singer-songwriter or that a piece of a Fatboy Slim track that you can't get out of your head was from a '70s psychedelic soul act. But that moment will pass and you'll end up continue working with a smile on your face at their creative-friendly space.

Bandwagon sat down with NOOK's Managing Director Jullien Avondo and some co-workers who've set up camp at the Alabang space to talk about how music helps keep them focused to work on their next big project.


How do you come up with your playlists for NOOK?

I'm still coming up with it (laughs), but I'd given quite a bit of thought about it. For the most part, I like to play things that are not too familiar to people. That way, they don't get too distracted. I kinda want to keep the BPM (Beats Per Minute) [at] a decent pace, something kind of matches, ideally, everyone's workflow momentum.

And then I put in the playlist nostalgia pieces. [So] I like knowing what sounds are used for Diddy's records, 'cause it's a lot of things you've heard in the bar or the club, a lot of hip-hop songs, but the actual song they sampled with. That kinda sparks something like, "I've heard this before; I know this," and there's a serendipitous moment where they've already heard the song, but they haven't heard the original version.

Also Khruangbin, they're this instrumental trio and as I was saying, I like playing these more obscure music that keeps them from being completely distracted. Khruangbin, they do what they call Thai funk, which is relatively new. It's something familiar in terms of funk, but the melodic lines are different from standard western music.

How do you think music helps motivate or stifle productivity and creativity?

There's nothing wrong with silence, I think for the most part people are uncomfortable with silence, so for me, I kinda have to assume for a majority of people who like some background noise.

It motivates people because for one, the momentum, there's like a rhythm to it, so you'd want to move with the rhythm. You'd want to match that frequency. Also, I think we're conditioned as well to work with music. You see it in motivational workout commercials, music playing in the background. And it also sparks a little bit of creative diversity. If you haven't heard a certain sound or melody, I'm sure even if you're doing your brain farts or hit a blank wall, at least there's some color being generated from the sound. So you're not just sitting in blank space.

On the other side, I do know some people who prefer not to work with music, which is fine too. I guess that just means there's a lot going on in their mind, so they need a 100% concentration. Whereas the majority of us, we kind of need it to amplify what we're thinking about and it's only amplified through music.


JAMES listens to the Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Justin Timberlake

Apart from them being close to my high school days, they give you that vibe to get focused and be more creative. "


PAOLO listens to Jamiroquai, *NSYNC, Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots

I think they're just so familiar that, I don't even notice that they're playing. It also depends on my mood. Like, if it's a light day, it would be a boyband day. For the heavy grinds, that would be the rock day. Sometimes acid jazz would be mixed in between for breaks."


TUWI listens to Sex on Toast, Autotelic, Post Malone

They just sound good to me. I get into the beat and be able to work. It also pumps me up. It's kind of a rush of energy."


EMS listens to Linkin Park, Coldplay, Kodaline

It actually sets the mood most of the time. I don't get sleep. Actually, when I get sleepy, that's what I listen to."


KRISTINE listens to Hillsong Worship, Post Malone, John Mayer

It's relaxed, focused. When I'm stressed, I just listen to worship songs. When it's a bit stressful, John Mayer's always a good thing. When you're having fun, it's Post Malone."


Join Bandwagon Conversations at the Nook! You can be an aspiring music writer, a music blogger or just a curious soul. If you’re up for a talk on how to chronicle the happenings in local music, interview your favorite bands and review singles and albums, join some of the best music writers today for a cup of coffee on August 31, Saturday at 10:30 AM. Register here.

NOOK CoWorking Studio is at G/F Molito Complex 3 in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Find out more about your neighbourhood friendly co-working space here.


What's on your work playlist? Add your favorite tracks to work to in this collaborative playlist.