The Home Office Music Rituals of
Topo Designs

Lifework

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Unless you’ve been living under a Rocky Mountain, you’ve probably seen a lot of Topo Designs over the last year or two. Mark Hansen, along with fellow adventurer Jedd Rose, created the backpack and apparel company to satisfy their obsession for the perfect gear. Together they produce beguiling products, made in the United States, that hit the sweet spot between great aesthetics and smart functionality. Here’s the music Playlist that fills Mark’s workplace. Lend an ear.

What do you listen to while you work?
In the office we have a bit of a music ritual. Early mornings tend to be fairly mellow, picked by whoever comes in first. Then, at 10am we tune in via iTunes radio to the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show. That lasts until 1pm and we usually go the duration — unless the guest in the last hour is driving us crazy. At 1pm we go into a rotation and we usually get a bit loud from 1 – 3pm while we’re trying to get a bunch of shipping done before the UPS pickup.

How do you listen?
We listen through iTunes via Airplay, connected to a fairly vintage thrift store find Yamaha receiver, connected to some old, but very nice Infinity speakers. It’s a handy system because we can all connect via iTunes or Spotify, etc. When I really need to focus and get a lot done, I’ve got a pair of Aiaiai TMA-1 headphones I’ll put on to shut out distractions.

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Do you have any favorite music websites/providers?
“Favorite” might be a stretch, but we do listen to Spotify in the afternoons a fair amount.  And naturally, we keep an eye on Pitchfork and the usual locations.

Does music influence your work?
I tend to think music influences everything but it’s often in a behind-the-scenes way. More directly, I know that if we have a lot of shipping to do, some A Place to Bury Strangers might be just what we need to make it go fast.

Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste?
Most of our new music is introduced via a collection of friends around the country on a small music email list. Usually once a week someone on the list sends out a new band for us to check out. It’s a mix of folk, so we end up with rap to sad-sack music and everything in between.

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One of many Topo Designs outdoor gear bags; the Mountain Briefcase is designed for laptop toting types who are apt to leave the office for the hills.


Do you have Herman Miller pieces in your studio, home, or office?
In my house I’ve got a Nelson Platform Bench and an Aluminum Group Lounge Chair. My daughter usually capitalizes the lounger (“it spins well!”) but my longtime favorite is the bench. Simple, clean, classic. 

[My partner] Jedd has a few more pieces at his place, he has an Eames Lounge Chair in leather — and I’m not convinced he ever sits anywhere else. His dog, Pinto, is usually found on the Ottoman. He has an Aluminum Group Lounge Chair as well — he found both his and mine at a local vintage shop.

Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist is... on a black leather Eames Chaise. It starts off slow so you can relax a bit, and then about the time you doze off it picks up — at which point, no more sitting. That means it’s time to get up and move. 

Mark’s Playlist:
1. Life’s a Beach, Django Django
2. One More Time, Psychic Ills
3. Don’t You Forget It, Allah-Las
4. Love Vigilantes, New Order
5. Let the Day Begin, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (“The original by The Call (his dad) was great, too.”)
6. Borrowed Time, Parquet Courts
7. Build, Destroy, Rebuild, Hanni El Khatib
8. Electric, The Men
9. Anxiety’s Door, Merchandise
10. You Are the One, A Place to Bury Strangers

(Images: Mark Hansen)

Republished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Jamie Latendresse.