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What We Listen to in the Studio

We’ve always been big fan of listening to music in the studio, especially while drawing. There’s something nice about having your favorite tunes playing in the background to help you get in the zone.

We have a lot of music loaded up on our studio computer, compiled from the last 15 or so years, but more often than not these days we play albums directly on Spotify (even the free service is fantastic, despite the occasional ads—that’s what the mute button is for!) and occasionally Pandora.

Here are our four main categories of music to play in the studio, with some of our favorite examples…

Original Movie Scores

We LOVE movies, and by extension, movie soundtracks. They’re perfect to listen to when you’re really getting deep into a composition!

Suggested listening:
John Williams — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hook, Jurassic Park, the original Indiana Jones trilogy
Alexandre Desplat — Fantastic Mr. Fox, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Monuments Men
Hans Zimmer — Pirates of the Caribbean and the Curse of the Black Pearl, Man of Steel, Sherlock Holmes
James Newton Howard — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Hunger Games
Danny Elfman — Beetlejuice
Vangelis — Chariots of Fire

Disney/Pixar Soundtracks

We make no effort to hide that we’re Disney and Pixar superfans, and our studio listening reflects that—hence, Disney/Pixar gets its own category! We’ve listened to our collection so often, for so long, that we’ve got pretty much all of them memorized.

Here are some of our favorites:
The Sherman Brothers — Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book
Randy Newman — Toy Story, Monsters Inc.
Alan Menken — The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Tangled
Other classics — Alice in Wonderland


Joel has recently gotten on so hard of a jazz kick that it’s pretty much exclusively what’s been playing all year. The sounds we’re hearing most often are from the bebop/hard bop era of the 40’s and 50’s.

Favorite albums so far:
Charlie Parker — The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings
Cannonball Adderley — Somethin’ Else
Dexter Gordon — Go!
John Coltrane — Blue Train
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers — Moanin’
Charles Mingus — Ah Um

80’s Music

This is our go-to music category when it’s crunch time on a deadline, especially when we have to work really late and we need something singable to keep us going! Sometimes we’ll play an album from a John Hughes movie, or simply set Pandora loose.

Depending on the night, we may go power ballad-style with Journey or new wave/synthpop with DEVO, Depeche Mode, or A-Ha.

What’s some of your favorite music to play in the studio? Leave your suggestions in the comments!



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