As creators, we seek inspiration from all places, and one of our biggest inspirations is music. Music energizes us, motivates us, makes us feel good, and is a key ingredient in our creative process. Whether we tune in to some Wu Tang, Depeche Mode, or the legendary Bruce Springsteen, music allows our minds to think in the abstract. Abstraction is an important component of big-picture thinking.


Our brainwaves are altered by listening to music; they roughly mimic the musical pulses. As Dr. Jeffrey Thompson of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research explains, this creates a dreamlike state in the mind that is closely tied with creative thought.

Creative thought and listening to music go beyond just brain chemistry. Music can also enable us to step away from the “here and now” and get into a more imaginative mindset.


To quote the infamous actor John Cleese, “Creativity isn’t easy; it takes practice”. We can be mindfully playful when we allow ourselves to be removed from constructed pressures (whether internal or environmental). Music helps us do exactly that.

Think of Sherlock Holmes having his a-ha moment while playing the violin. By putting on our headphones, we give ourselves the time and space for venturing outside the box. I’m surely guilty of turning up a good song, doing a seated chair dance, and getting into the design zone.


Our open office space makes it easy to collaborate, share, talk, and even take part in the occasional scooter race, but when we’re looking to focus, most of the crew plug in their headphones and get to work. Depending on what tasks we’re tackling, we may prefer the “rap god” Eminem, podcasts as ambient noise, or the sweet sound of silence. Perhaps because we’re located in the Pacific Northwest, we can also get down with a little raindrop background noise.

Since the headphones only reveal the occasional beat drop I decided to ask our team their preferred music app and what they’re listening to. Our favorite apps include Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Rdio, MySpace, Soundcloud, and Songza.

Here’s a few artists that tickle our musical fancies.

Headphones at work

  • William: Bruce Springsteen
  • Miranda: Lana del Rey / Rob Zombie
  • Joe Vernon: Brand New / Thrice / Eminem
  • Jason Lance: Bear Hands
  • Matt Malone: Yelawolf
  • Pete: Wavves
  • Nick: Depeche Mode
  • Ryan: Slaughterhouse
  • Clay: DJ Snake / Black Keys / Jurassic 5
  • Colten: Tokimonsta
  • Don: Ed Sheeran
  • Jeremy: Har Mar Superstar
  • Jessica: Diplo


Who in the what? Treat your ears to the not so official Gravitate Spotify playlist.

What do you listen to? Leave your recommendations as a comment.

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