#SEOmusic: What’s the heaviest music you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

(image via undergroundwebworld.org)

Before I worked in digital, but after graduating university, I did a fair few jobs to pay the bills. Factories, kitchens, offices; you name it.

During that time, I got a horrible feeling, the kind that makes you feel the professional world just wasn’t cut out for you; being into “alternative” fashion and culture just ain’t down in the workplace.

The way I dress has pretty much been synonymous with my taste in music since I was 12 years old and realised I quite like angry bands with guitars. Even when I wear a suit and smarten up the odd hints of my personality and interests still shine through.

During almost every job I ever had prior to digital, the dreaded conversation about music would come up with colleagues sooner or later. Unfortunately, I can group almost every one those people I had said conversation with into three different stereotypes…

1. The ‘condescending curious’ one

“But what do you enjoy about that music? It just sounds like noise.”

2. The ‘tedious common ground’ one

“Oh man, I’m totally into Punk. I went to see Green Day at the O2 Arena a couple of years ago.”

3. The ‘outright dismissive’ one

“All that music is sh*t.”

Luckily, since landing on my feet in digital, I realise the world isn’t completely lost on me.

In my first agency job the MD was a Thrash and Prog fan in his younger years. In my second agency job we used to stick Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God on if we had the right mix of people in the office. And when I accepted the offer for my current job, via an email on my phone whilst at Temples festival, the Director of Search emailed me back saying “Have fun this weekend, I’m  jealous you get to see Sunn O))) and Will Haven.”

It also never fails to amaze me, as someone who regularly tweets about music on Twitter, how many people in the digital industry share common tastes in bands, artists and genres. Almost any time I tweet asking for new music recommendations, someone else working within digital will tweet back with some top suggestions. You only need to look at the #SEOmusic hashtag on Twitter to see how diverse the search industry’s music taste is.

My theory is being a newer industry mostly ran by and/or employing the younger generation means people are less traditional in the work place. That’s not to say there aren’t workplaces in other industries as open to individuality as digital, but in my experience I’ve struggled to encounter any.

Based on this, I decided to ask some fellow SEOs and connoisseurs in the darker side of music what the heaviest thing they listen to whilst at work is. If you’re looking for some listening ideas to melt your face off and punch your keyboard to whilst trawling though meta data today, you’ve come to the right place.

Enjoy…

Dan Callis

DanCallisZigTechnical Search Consultant at StrategiQ

Last.FM

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

I was going to say Admiral Angry, but Nicolas has mentioned them later on in this post. To avoid covering the same ground twice, I’m going to recommend the band I’ve been blasting most as of recent; Frontierer.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

They sound like Stray From The Path, if someone chucked them into a blender with some hot sauce and bricks, whilst listening to Dillinger Escape Plan.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Every now and then I feel the need to block out the world and get in the zone using music, but I’ll be honest; I tend not to use my headphones at work other than for the morning and evening commute.

I find music in itself a distraction as I usually end up focusing more on the tunes than the task at hand.

I prefer putting something on the office Spotify as background noise, but I have too much respect for my colleagues to force some of my heavier tastes onto them! If I do stick music on in the office it tends to be something really Emo, such as Jimmy Eats World, Weezer, the latest Pianos Become The Teeth record or something from the Big Scary Monsters back catalogue.

Recommended listening:

Frontierers – Bunsen

Nicholas Chimonas

Nicholas ChimonasHead of R&D at Page One Power

Twitter

 

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

I refuse to respond with only one selection so here are a few of my favourites, especially for technical SEO work.

Admiral Angry; the brain child of Daniel Krauss, who unfortunately died from cystic fibrosis at the age of 22. He possessed one of my favorite musical minds and listening to the patterns he weaves helps me focus. A fire to burn down the world” and “Fields” are two other drone projects linked below that were completed by his mates after his death.

Krallice; the guitar work transports my brain to another dimension and aids mathematics processing within my mind.

Liturgy; for the uniquely repetitive sequences of their percussion.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

All of these bands accelerate the processing capabilities of my consciousness.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Yes. A positive neuronal response to specifically structured shapes of sound aids higher-order cognitive ability.

Recommended listening:

Admiral Angry – Android

Sam Osborne

Sam OsborneTechnical SEO Specialist at Vertical Leap

Equilateral

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

The heaviest band that I listen to at work is Carnifex. When I need to block out every single distraction they provide driving riffs, chaotic drum beats and above everything else, a great selection of tracks to jam to.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

Driving guitars, heavy drum track and a growl above anything else.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

It has its place. My stable playlist consists of Metal (Lamb of God), Indie (Foo Fighters) and a wide range of funk and Soul music. In general this is enough but Carnifex and their unique style of carnage (plus other death metal bands) give me the concentration to do the heavy duty work on multi-million page websites.

Recommended listening:

Carnifex – A Winter For Remorse

Tony Randall

Tony Randall

Link Building Team Manager at Rizolt

Last.FM

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Heaviest band? That’s a tough one. I’m currently listening to Cursed at my desk while I write this, and earlier I was listening to Weekend Nachos, but I don’t want to talk about them. Whilst probably not anyone’s definition of “heavy” (although they have their moments), Sannhet has become my go-to when trying to be as productive as possible.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

Sannhet is an experimental, instrumental, post-rocky, black metal band from New York. They released a record called Revisionist earlier this year that blows my mind every time I listen to it. Incredible music and incredibly nice guys too. On top of that, they’re hands down the best band I saw live in 2015. The second song on Revisionist, “Lost Crown”, always gets me in the mood for kicking Google’s ass.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Listening to heavy music at work is the best. Especially when you listen to it out loud without headphones and you get to imagine what’s going through everyone’s mind as they walk by your office, such as “What the hell is Tony listening to today? It’s just a bunch of yelling.” So great.

I do find that it does help me be more productive. In my opinion, there are two different kinds of “heavy” and they’re both good for different things in my work flow. I find that the fast, energetic heavy stuff (Nails, Converge, etc.) is best when doing things that are more action-oriented (ie. outreach). Then there’s slow heavy (Bongripper, Black Boned Angel, etc) which I find best when trying to be creative (ie. strategising).

Recommended listening:

Sannhet – Lost Crown

Adam Read

Adam ReadData Analyst at Further

Twitter

 

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Too many to choose from so I’m going to go with my most listened to band this week; Megadeth.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

The riffs. All the riffs. Need I say more?

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

It depends what I’m doing. I can’t be listening to a mega tune when a task requires a lot of thought and attention because I just end up listening (and singing “A Tout Le Monde”) rather than concentrating.

Recommended listening:

Megadeth – Tornado Of Souls

Taylor Tomita

Tony TomitaSEO Specialist at Page One Power

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Generation of Vipers is probably the heaviest band I’ve listened to while doing SEO.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

They just rock hard. They incorporate incredibly heavy riffs into interesting song writing – causing me to want to smash my desk every time I am listening to them. Plus, their guitar player, Josh, has a Simms-Watts cab, which rules.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

I think that listening to heavy music can be incredibly good for being productive, but there is a time and place for it. For example. if I am trying to get through a bunch of emails, then heavy music is the way to go. However, if I am doing something more in-depth, like writing content, then I will generally listen to more laid-back music.

Recommended listening:

Generation of Vipers – Dark Matter

Oliver Mason

Oliver MasonFreelance Technical SEO Consultant

Last.FM

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

I’ve been playing a lot of Vektor at the moment after seeing them this weekend.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

They came out about the same time as the whole “Thrash revival” thing and got lumped in a bit unfairly. I think they push the limit of prog that I can stand, and are clearly into their Black Metal. They’re trying to do ‘Sci-fi Thrash’ and I think the succeed.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Sometimes. Slow to mid-paced stuff like Electric Wizard and Bolt Thrower work well for me for getting stuff done. I find it harder to concentrate as well with really frantic stuff, unless I’ve played it to death and know it inside out. When vocals are illegible your brain can give up trying to decipher them in the background (I think that’s what’s happening), which means it’s fine to have on in the background. A lot of heavy music has that going for it.

Recommended listening:

Vektor – Oblivion

Pete Handley

Pete HandleySEO Consultant

Last.FM

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Wolfmother is probably the heaviest band that I listen to regularly whilst doing SEO work. I suspect that they’ll be pretty “light” compared to a lot of what other people suggest for this post and I do listen to bits and bobs in the heavier spectrum too, but its not my normal first genre of choice for SEO tasks.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

It reminds me of complaints that we used to get when I worked at HMV and we were playing them in the store at the time. I remember one hungover Christmas period Sunday morning playing it at full volume at an attempt to blast out the cobwebs from the rest of the team and getting some scared looks from the customers. Sadly the manager wasn’t too impressed and probably replaced it with James Blunt, but we had it on a few times when he wasn’t around.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Sometimes. I find the music that helps me be productive and stay focussed varies massively dependent on my mood and surroundings, whether I’m listening to music on a rubbish tinny speaker, through a decent soundsystem or through headphones. The music I need to focus also varies depending on the type of work that I’m doing.

I find that heavier music works well for making me write faster, as my fingers pick up the rhythm in the song and really help me to thrash out a report or bit of content.

I don’t find it that good for helping me to focus when looking heavily at data. Maybe my head is moving around too much to focus on the numbers and try make sense from them.

Recommended listening:

Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief

Mark Cook

Mark CookHead of Digital at Selesti

Blog

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

I think the title would quite possibly go to Lamb of God. While there’s probably a small catalogue of dirt I’ve listened to that you could classify as ‘heavier’, these guys made the playlist quite a few times.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

To be 100% honest, I don’t really listen to them anymore! What I did enjoy about them most was the reminder of a rather superb Donnington Download Festival in 2007 I attended. For me, I think it’s important to have this kind of antithesis to what you’re doing on a daily basis as it’s pretty easy to start to drown in what you to at the office – very few people feel like themselves after spending a few hours going through spreadsheets!

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

I think that entirely depends on the person and for me at least, the task. Personally, if I need to do something creative like work on a strategy, then I prefer quiet(er) music and I sit down and really get my head into it. However, the reality of most jobs means there are usually some mundane tasks that can’t be automated and you just have to be done. This is where heavier music really keeps me alive! I find heavier music more mentally engaging, so it can occupy a bit more of my mind while I can get on with the job at hand.

Recommended listening:

Lamb of God – Black Label

Al Moghadam

Al MoghadamContent Marketing Executive at Koozai

Big Town Boppers

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Mastodon, especially pre-The Hunter.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

The meandering storytelling, through the medium of sludge metal. I love how technically proficient each member of Mastodon is and how entire albums can be based on one story. And they seem to just fart out a riff and stick it in the middle of a track, where most bands would develop it into a whole song. That’s confident prog writing, right there. Oh and the relentless, oppressive moments of doom-laden beef.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

I think so. It’s hypnotic. Like white noise. My uncle used to study with his radio tuned to static, because the white noise helped him focus and drown out distraction. I find I have the same thing – but with the complex, near-noise of heavy music instead. Industrial metal has that rhythmic, tribal element going for it too. Try smashing out a spreadsheet to some Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson – welcome to Productivity City!

Recommended listening:

Mastodon – Ol’e Nessie

Mark Hannant

Mark HannantHead of Search at Further

Mixcloud

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

It’s not quite a band but more an experimental sound which the music science folks at focus@will have provided. It covers very, fast hardcore techno which is boosts cognitive ability! It’s intense, but it works! If I had to pick a traditional band in terms of intensity it would have to be The Chemical Brothers.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

The Chem’s fast beats with psychedelic sonics help replicate movement and it’s great for focusing down. Oh they do have a particularly good album called Further, which is an added bonus!

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

Repetitive pure sounding beats, preferably without minimal lyrics are fantastic for focusing on work. I’m sure drum and bass is scientifically proven to boost productivity!

You need also consider the feel good factor music provides, as increasing mood is just as important as staying focused. So picking your favourites makes perfect sense.

Recommended listening:

The Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar

Richard Shove

Richard ShoveGroup Organic Performance Manager at Buyagift

Last.FM

Twitter

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Good question! I guess it depends how you define heavy. I generally think of heavy in terms of sound, more than lyrical content, by which I mean loud, heavily distorted guitars and drums beat within in an inch of their lives, of course matched with a good old death growl. Decapitated and Meshuggah are the first bands that come to mind when I think of the heaviest artists I listen to.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

Both have a similar sound and are made up of incredibly talented musicians. I love that their music and sound varies so much from the normal, particularly in terms of rhythm. Rather than just crazy fast picking, they make their heavy sound in different ways and the timings are always spot on. Perhaps sounds a little pretentious, so don’t get me wrong, I love more traditional metal styles too, but true talent should always be appreciated.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

I listen to a lot of various genres and generally like the heaviest/darker artists in any. I also love some genres of dance, mostly drum and bass and hardcore, which also have heavy elements to them. I find heavy music focuses my mind, the rhythm of the music keeps me spurred on. I’m regularly found nodding my head at my desk, which helps to keep my focus. I think a death growl helps too, because you can’t actually understand the lyrical content, so the words won’t put you off your trail of thought!

Recommended listening:

Decapitated – Spheres of Madness

Meshuggah – Bleed

Stephen Kenwright

Stephen KenwrightDirector of Search at Branded3

Twitter

 

What’s quite possibly the heaviest band/artist you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

Generally the playlist revolves around hardcore, black metal and drone, but the band I always keep going back to as the “heaviest” is Celtic Frost. Regularly listen to everything from the first few proto-black thrash albums (and further back to Hellhammer) all the way through to Monotheist – the first truly heavy album I ever heard, and still the heaviest. Including Cold Lake, which is actually pretty good.

What do you enjoy most about this particular band/artist?

Everything about the Frost is instantly recognisable, from the earth shaking guitar tone to Tom G Warrior’s infamous “OOH”.

Do you feel heavy music is good for being productive and staying focused?

I actually think that the more challenging the music you’re listening to is, the easier it is to properly focus on what you’re doing. Constant blasting or massive drones are good for work – it becomes more difficult with big groovy riffs that can snap you out of it.

Black metal is perfect for working, particularly the more Burzumic brand of hypnotic tremolo riffing. Loud/quiet dynamics don’t work for concentration, in my opinion.

Recommended listening:

Celtic Frost – A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh

You’ve got this far?!

Great stuff.

Feel like all of the above aren’t heavy enough? Want to throw your own suggestions for heavy SEO listening? Or perhaps you just want to tell us our collective music taste is crap?! Feel free to do so below in the comments.

\m/

Callis

Technical Search Consultant at StrategiQ
Dan Callis has been working in SEO since 2011. He also does a bit of freelance video work. Outside of supporting ITFC, playing in a crappy Punk band and skateboarding his life long ambition is still to grow up to be a Ghostbuster.

15 thoughts on “#SEOmusic: What’s the heaviest music you’ve listened to whilst doing SEO?

  1. Aww man, what an awesome idea for a post.

    A few of mine are:

    – And So I Watch You From Afar
    – …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
    – Fucked Up
    – Oceansize
    – Royal Blood
    – Turbowolf

    Also, not a traditionally ‘heavy’ band, but I recently re-discovered Primus’ “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” and it makes me want to headbang at my desk.

    P.S. You should turn this post’s suggestions into a Spotify playlist (if you haven’t done so already)… 🙂

    1. I bloody love ASIWYFA. I saw them in a tiny 100-capacity floor venue in Portsmouth a few times back in the day. Their first UK tour was with a band called LaFaro who are also well worth checking out 🙂

      1. YES! LaFaro. I remember them. I must’ve seen them on that tour (in Cardiff) as I saw LaFaro then as well. Their debut album’s on Spotify I think – I still listen to it every now and again, it’s cracking.

    1. Seeing them again in Norwich in February, although I saw them in an 80 capacity basement venue a few years back which was mad. My mate’s band Palm Reader are on support on the February tour, worth a listen:

  2. I hadn’t heard Frontierer until right now, and this rips.

    Reminds me of A Plea For Purging, which reminds me of a younger, better me. haha.

    Thank for doing this, Dan. Let’s do this more often & compile a very spooky list.

    Cheers!

    1. Purple is killer – great follow up to Yellow & Green (which for all its hits, had a fair few misses for me). I kinda love the journey their sound has gone on since the days of Rays on Pinion. Feels like it’s arrived at this perfect point of beautiful and heavy. But still like to return to the crushing sludge of their old selves once in a while.

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