How We Listen is an interview series where we interview artists and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.
Who are you?
Where are you based?
Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m the founder of Byta https://byta.com
What are you listening to?
New Skee Mask, Cloud Nothings and Daniel Avery LPs. New Mary Lattimore is beautiful. Plus a little Gill Scott Heron and as always some early Guided By Voices for good measure. Been revisiting Palace Music again recently, since Drag City records are now on streaming services. Honestly though, still listen to Ride The Lightning a least once or twice a week.
How do you find new music?
Via friends, like it always has been but now it happens online. I found out about Rolling Coastal Blackouts via @wichitarecs insta. Lots of Facebook. Used to like Spotify’s Discover Weekly but that got pretty predictable pretty fast. Four Tet’s playlist is exceptional. Plus always try to remember to scan Mix Mag’s “Best New Techno”. Jay from Sloan’s “the Jaylist” too.
I still check records via local promoter’s gig listings a fair amount. If I hear about a new record or band I Youtube it first. If I am going to check something out digitally I prefer the visual element instead of Spotify (only service I subscribe to) which gives me zero vibe around the band/artist. Even if I can’t hold it in my hand I still want some sort of visual context.
I still check P4K reviews but purely for the score and solely out of habit. I read longform articles about music but never reviews. Used to buy and read Sonic Magazine here in Sweden but not sure if they even publish the physical magazine anymore? Good Spotify playlists though.
What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
My stereo and records have been in storage since 2016 so I listen 100% digitally. I ripped then sold all my CDs back in London anyway so when someone gave me a CD last year and I had no idea what to do with it.
Have not bought a record in a record store in years. Plus, no record player means no mail order vinyl either sadly.
Where do you do most of your music listening?
When I was a radio plugger it was pretty easy to listen to music 8-10 hours a day. For some reason now I can’t seem to listen when I work. So pretty much exclusively listen to music when walking. Aside from when I am watching live stuff Youtube.
How do find and listen to pre-release music?
My artist and label friends send me a lot of early records via Byta, PR types usually via Byta or other “watermark promo services”. Otherwise, I’m not in a rush to hear everything right away so generally happy to wait until it’s on Spotify.
What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Listening only digitally it’s pretty noticeable how ephemeral everything actually is now. Most of the time it’s not a problem but other times it has weird effects. For example someone passed me a private Soundcloud link of that last Ariel Pink record and I remember liking one track in particular but didn’t register the name. Cut to listening to the album on Spotify and slowly realising that song disappeared at some point. Was it on the private streaming link but then not on the actual release or did it get pull off Spotify after release?! Either way I can’t find the private listening link again so it’s like the song never existed! One point in favour of physical advances, or ripping a stream depending on how you see things.
I basically only use iTunes to listen to the odd record I own though which doesn’t exist on Spotify, say a couple of Built To Spill albums or Dre’s The Chronic.
How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Short answer is I can’t keep track. I stream anything I receive via Byta because I can actually find it in my account. Seems all the downloads (Watermark Services, Dropbox, WeTransfer) I receive get moved to a folder to be added to iTunes at some point in time yet which never comes.
I like deleting my Spotify app and re-downloading things again over time to avoid listening to the same records over and over. I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally,
Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally.