Gavin Strange

Aardman Animations

By day Gavin is a Senior Interactive Designer for Aardman Animations, By night; a Designer & Director going under the alias of ‘JamFactory’, indulging in all manner of passion projects! “Drummer of sorts, dancer of sorts, but above all, I’m a Dad”.

What role does music play in your everyday life as a creative?

A day without music is a strange day indeed. I’ve generally got music playing from the moment my day starts, I couldn’t live without it! I listen to it all day, every day, at work. If I have a lot of meetings on a particular day, I get withdrawal symptoms from not sitting at my desk, designing and listening to music – it’s such a part of my workflow!

I love the emotional power, the ‘hold’ that it has over me. It can bring back memories that have long been forgotten or it makes me think about things in a different way. I also love the energy music has as well – I love ‘heavy’ music, really loud stuff, and despite some of it literally sounding like noise, it’s the energy and passion that goes into making / playing it that really resonates with me.

I like all genres too, I happily hop between black metal to big band, indie rap to motown. As long as the music has got heart, soul and passion, I’m into it! I’ve been playing the drums for around 6 years now, and even though I’m terrible, I love the energy behind it, the physicality. That’s what goes music does I think, it makes you FEEL something!

Tell us about your playlist:

It was so hard to try and pick just a handful of tunes, but in the end I went with my gut and chose a bunch of tracks that are getting heavy rotation at the minute. They’re all rap tracks but there’s a big variety here; from the underground classic of KMD’s Sweet Premium Wine (Fun fact: ‘Zev Love X’ in KMD was the previous alter-ego of MF Doom) to the bombastic bass of Run The Jewel’s ‘Legend Has It’. There’s a solid representation of grime here too, from the godfather Wiley to the equally fresh Nadia Rose. There’s even a diss track by Bugzy Malone that stands alone as a great piece of music. There’s also ‘Target Practice’ by Sheffield MC Coco, which shows that great grime music is coming out of all areas of the UK.

I think that’s what’s always drawn me to rap music – the diversity. Different styles, different accents, different beats, different tones, different messages. Growing up as a little kid, listening to Wu Tang, Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg, it helped give me a world view far beyond my little city of Leicester in the middle of England, it told me about the different cultures and situations going on around the world.

That’s why the end track on this playlist is Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music, he’s talking about the almost god-like power of music and what it can do for people and communities.

“This is jazz, this is funk, this is soul, this is gospel
This is sanctified sick; this is player Pentecostal
This is church; front pew, amen, pulpit
What my people need and the opposite of bullshit”

That’s the power of music, and that’s why I love it.

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  1. Skwod – Nadia Rose
  2. Afraid of Us – Jonwayne, Zeroh
  3. 50 Grand – Devlin, Skepta
  4. Thieves/Kings – P.O.S
  5. Voltaire – Sims
  6. Can’t Go Wrong – Wiley
  7. Legend Has It – Run The Jewels
  8. WasteMan – Bugzy Malone
  9. Doug Stamper (feat. Hannibal Buress) – Open Mike Eagle, Hannibal Buress
  10. Target Practice – Coco
  11. Sweet Premium Wine – KMD
  12. House Of Bricks – Despot
  13. Memory Of Bombs – B. Dolan
  14. R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike