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View Full Version : What Music Do You Listen to While Writing?



CeDany
11-21-2013, 05:32 AM
Hello, sorry to bother, I know of people who listen to music while writing their books, novels, poems and short-stories.

The most recent and popular author who said this was Stephenie Meyers with her Twilight Saga.

I'll get started and you carry on below is that fine?

I listen to ELO playlists, Halloween Compilation on-line and sometimes I have either my MP3 with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink on it or drop a CD in my PC or finally a good DVD but not watching just listening.

But ELO's a favourite!

CeDany
BB

Undercover
11-21-2013, 05:37 AM
I like alternative rock in the background sometimes, mainly when I'm researching and surfing everything and anything about writing on the net. But when it comes to my novels, reading, revising, or just plain writing, total silence but the wind from an open window and the outside sounds.

Justin SR
11-21-2013, 06:51 AM
I like to throw my custom Pandora station on. It started out as Blues Traveler radio, but I've liked and disliked so much stuff that I get a really weird mix. Otherwise if it's a weekday I'll sometimes watch Sprotscenter with breakfast and just let the same episode play all day for background noise.

Leedwashere
11-21-2013, 06:53 AM
I have a small playlist on Grooveshark that helps keep me in the right frame of mind for my WIP. It's pretty cheesy, including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (a version featuring Yo-Yo Ma on the cello), Short Change Hero (by the Heavy), Prelude to War (from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica soundtrack), Suicide Mission (from Mass Effect 2), and Facade (From Jeckyll & Hyde) among others.

Anything that doesn't fit the narrow mold of songs which set the mental tone will only distract me, so I listen to these songs endlessly

kevinwaynewilliams
11-21-2013, 08:52 AM
Generally Spanish music, despite my Spanish being generally weak. I find it doesn't interfere with making word choices while writing in English. English language music does.

ZachJPayne
11-21-2013, 09:14 AM
Generally Spanish music, despite my Spanish being generally weak. I find it doesn't interfere with making word choices while writing in English. English language music does.

I've been having this problem myself, though since I have a basic understanding of most Romance languages, I've relegated myself to instrumental and orchestral pieces. Heh.

I miss Steph Meyer's playlists. Those were pretty cool.

vagough
11-21-2013, 03:47 PM
Most of the time, I don't have any music on. I get up early in the morning (4:30 or 5:00 or so) to write before Mr. vagough is up, so it's nice and quiet. And in the evening, he likes to read, so that's also a good writing time. (I set my laptop up in the dining room, so the living room and kitchen are pretty close by.)

But if Mr. vagough is up and listening to a recorded book or podcast on his iPad, then I'll pull out the ol' earbuds and start listening to classical music to blot out the voices. Some of my favorites are Bach's double violin concerti, Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, and Beethoven.

Undercover
11-21-2013, 04:34 PM
I miss Steph Meyer's playlists. Those were pretty cool.

You mean the Twilight soundtracks? I love those. I have a couple and listen to those a lot.

CeDany
11-21-2013, 10:20 PM
Super Massive Blackhole by Muse.

That's our favourite from the TS.

Interesting to see all of your varied choices.

Since the best time for me to write is in the night - I have trouble sleeping since my mind (& imagination) is most active at this time. Instead of fighting with my pillow, I put the buds in and type away.

I have trouble with violence so a dream the previous night (yes I end up sleeping around dawn LOL!) came and through years of practice, I recalled the whole scene upon waking, jotted down the particulars and today I'm laying it all down while watching (something kind of violent I guess - action) the four MI with TC - it's just flowing.

Typing here, playing my online game and chapter after chapter into my favourite document program.

That tune helps calling to battle...

CeDany
BB

Lisagh
11-22-2013, 06:29 AM
Mariana's Trench, Marilyn Manson, Eminem, lots of wind and snow storm sound tracks, and anything 80's.

I will listen to almost anything.

Chris_tine
12-09-2013, 02:08 PM
I am working on a sort of soundtrack to go with my novel, maybe not a song for each chapter but a list long enough to be listened while reading. It has a bit of everything as I normally like to listen to the radio, not so much for the latest top 40 hits but because of the mix of genres.

I do try to listen to songs that help me to get into the mood of the scene that I might be working on. And although I am Spaniard, I normally do not listen to Spanish music at all. I find the lyrics many times too cheesy. :-P

Helix
12-09-2013, 02:13 PM
If I'm writing something set in Australia, it's Cold Chisel and other local bands of the 80s. At the moment, I'm working on something a little fantastical, so it's early Peter Gabriel (but post-Genesis).

Superbacon
12-10-2013, 01:16 AM
I've never listened to ELO while writing, but back in my World of Warcraft days there wasn't a minute that went by when I didn't have either ELO or Tom Petty crooning into my ear.

When it comes to writing, these days I tend not to listen to music.
When I was writing my first draft of my current project, I was listening to a bunch of classical stuff though. It's a fantasy novel, so I'd have regular classical compositions and some film soundtracks; the Dragonheart theme (which is beautiful it its own right) and the Lord of the Rings soundtracks.

I'm not sure of the effect these things have on the writing though. The LOTR soundtracks in particular are, for me, huge signifiers of all things to do with that particular story, and I think there are times, especially early on when you're trying to both find your own voice and the voice/tone/style of the project, that you don't want to be reminded every few minutes of a particular scene from another story.

But that's just me!

Pushingfordream
12-10-2013, 01:18 AM
I wish I could listen to music while writing, but my best writing comes in silence.

Birol
12-10-2013, 01:55 AM
It depends on what I'm writing and my mood. Right now, I'm listening to a recording of Tibetan Singing Bowls but the range runs the gambit from Country story songs to, well, Tibetan singing bowls, and hits pretty much everything in between. Sometimes, I listen to silence.

Rufus Coppertop
12-10-2013, 03:56 AM
I usually write in silence but if I do have music, it's pretty much always baroque organ or harpsichord.

RookieWriter
12-10-2013, 05:47 AM
I don't listen to any when I'm writing because I find it distracting. Before I start writing though sometimes I listen to hard rock as a way to get my mind fired up.

Velcro
12-10-2013, 09:11 AM
I usually listen to orchestral movie soundtracks. My current favorite is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It's great for spooky stories or sci-fi tales. Of course now I've listened to it so much I barely even hear it...it just becomes ambient noise as I type away.

oakbark
12-10-2013, 01:13 PM
Bongo Fury by Zappa and Beefheart
Waka Jawaka by Zappa
The Grand wazoo - Zappa's jazzy milestone
Early records by The Orb

Bush_moon
12-11-2013, 11:06 PM
Depends what subject i am writing about. For example WW2 is Vera Lynn, Evelynn Kunneke, Marlene Dietrich. Bosnia, is Safet isovic, P. Kazaliste, Bijleo Dugme. Africa, Fela Kuti and local music.

BM

John_Wiswell
12-11-2013, 11:29 PM
That's not a bother at all! It's a fascinating topic.

I'm the sort who cannot listen to music with English language lyrics. For deeply emotional or psychological fiction, I usually can't even have other languages in the music. Thus I rely highly on classical music like Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and movie and game soundtracks. Most recently I've been adoring Chris Christodoulou's Risk of Rain soundtrack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgCmmax-unE), which has so many subtle and evocative tracks. Uyami Hiroto and Akira Yamaoka did plenty of splendid work in this vein.

FionnJameson
12-13-2013, 10:29 AM
It depends on what I'm writing at the moment. Right now, I'm writing a historical romance so I'm listening to a lot of KOKIA, Origa, Celine Dion, and Leona Lewis. My last project, which was a bloody urban fantasy, I listened to a lot of heavy metal and goth rock. :)

Maxx B
12-14-2013, 03:11 AM
I'm in the no lyrics camp, I find them distracting. I'm listening to cello music whilst writing my current novel. When I get to action parts I switch to instrumental trance music, something with 100+ bpm

Trapjaw
02-06-2014, 04:33 PM
I'm a huge music fan, being a part-time musician, but I never listen to music while I write. I find it too distracting, as I inevitably get drawn into it as the drummer in me starts playing along to the beat of the song, and I start trying to work out the drum parts in my head, etc etc...

Kiiskinen
05-16-2014, 11:34 PM
Yay, a music thread! :D

Laura Marling, Jack Johnson, Agnes Obel, Rob Costlow, Van Morrison.. Organic, calm music is always good, and sets the mood perfectly for me.

Jazz works always, as well. Stanley Clarke, Miles Davis, James Brown.. there are plenty to choose from.

Deeply lyrical hip hop is a good source for inspiration too. The likes of Sadistik, Dessa, Sage Francis.. A guy called Bob42 makes great collection albums, and uploads great jazz-influenced songs on youtube, which is a good source.

Music is by far the most important thing for me, so I rarely do anything without it.

etherme
05-16-2014, 11:54 PM
First drafts I use 'old school metal' (Megadeth being a personal favorite)! Once I get into later drafts--and need to focus more--it's movie soundtracks. The music of Lost is excellent!

Meg02
05-18-2014, 09:20 AM
I'm in the no lyrics camp, I find them distracting.

Definitely agree. I alternate between classical piano music and the Amelie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. :D

Meg02
05-18-2014, 09:24 AM
Laura Marling, Jack Johnson, Agnes Obel, Rob Costlow, Van Morrison.. Organic, calm music is always good, and sets the mood perfectly for me.


Love your taste!

Fictional Cowboy
05-19-2014, 05:38 PM
The only time I listen to music as I'm writing is if music is playing in the scene I'm writing. Then I listen to whatever music the characters are listening to. (I pray no rap or hip-hop characters ever drop into my books!) Other than that, I love silence.

If I'm having trouble writing a scene, I find it helps to become a "method writer." For example, if the scene takes place in a shopping center, I head to the shopping center to write it. If it takes place in the kitchen of someone's home, I'll actually go to Ikea and sit in one of their model kitchens! It brings the scene to life for me.

I'm telling ya, like Hukt on Fonix, it werks fer me.

Other than that, my tastes in music are Hymns, Gospel, Big Band and Swing music of the 40's and 50's.

Snowstorm
05-19-2014, 06:08 PM
The poetry of Robert Burns put to music and sung. It's a 13-CD set. Magic!!!!!!

Cody Lane
05-19-2014, 06:53 PM
While I'm actually writing a like to listen to just instrumental stuff. I've got tons of songs from movie soundtracks and a lot of bands that do instrumental work. When I'm not writing, it's generally a bit of everything.

V.J. Allison
05-19-2014, 06:59 PM
I'm like others, the only things I can listen to is outside sounds or the cat walking across the floor most of the time when I'm actually writing.

The few times I listen to anything when I'm working, it's mostly Creed/Scott Stapp/Alter Bridge, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Warrant, and Whom Gods Destroy. :)

Wurm13
05-22-2014, 09:57 AM
My only music is the sound of the waves crashing into the distant reef, very soothing

scifi_boy2002
05-22-2014, 04:30 PM
New Age music. I write science fiction so I guess that makes sense.

Cody Lane
05-24-2014, 02:26 AM
First drafts I use 'old school metal' (Megadeth being a personal favorite)! Once I get into later drafts--and need to focus more--it's movie soundtracks. The music of Lost is excellent!

Oh man, I just bought a lot of music the Lost soundtracks, and the memories are flooding back! I've always been a firm believer that music pieces can make or break scenes, and Lost was always excellent in that regard.

Tonight At Dawn
06-11-2014, 04:39 AM
I listen to whatever the husband has playing in the background. Right now, its a newer band named PROTOMARTYR.

Typically, he plays anything like QUEEN, PEARL JAM, BADBADNOTGOOD, JIMMIES CHICKEN SHACK, and so on. Theres much more, but usually, I zone it all out

amillimiles
06-11-2014, 05:52 AM
I write fantasy, so I prefer instrumental stuff in a wide variety. Epic stuff, I like Two Steps From Hell, Clint Mansell (for a creepier effect), Hans Zimmer ...

Harry Gregson-Williams is great for cool battle scenes. Thomas Bergersen has wonderful music that inspires "magical" atmospheres.

As for lyrics, I like Imagine Dragons, Within Temptation, one or two Christina Perri, a few Carrie Underwood, one Lorde ... It really depends on how the lyrics fit to the novel I'm currently working on. :P

Amazonherb
06-13-2014, 02:42 PM
Hi ya

I love listening to music whilst I write, if I have a set thing in mind... Like a loss of someone close i'll mainly listen to classical, the stuff that really pulls at you, like barbers Adagio, fight scenes : I have various stuff, Ramstein, Manson, Song#2 from blur all sort of stuff that wants to get you about ND moving fast.

If I have no plan at all then I just hit random on the iPod and see where it takes me. Sometimes it works brilliantly sometimes, I get really weird stuff coming out of the old grey matter.

Jazen
06-14-2014, 08:00 PM
Depends on the mood of the scene I'm working on. It can range from classical piano pieces to rap music.

Marlys
06-14-2014, 08:25 PM
I used to put music on while I wrote, but quickly realized that I tuned it out completely. So I don't bother anymore.

Agent Cooper
06-14-2014, 08:51 PM
It does have an effect. Today I have listened to Moby - In This World over and over whilst trying to write a poem. I am 3/4 there. Will have to listen to it a couple more times after this rest.

BenPanced
06-15-2014, 02:40 AM
Usually it's something from my CD collection or one of two college radio stations (WMSE from Milwaukee and KUOM in the Twin Cities), but for my last project, I mostly listened to an 80's-themed iTunes station. Which didn't really help set the mood because the story's set in 1984-1985, and the station kept playing everything after 1985.

Simran
07-08-2014, 07:58 AM
I am usually listening to songs by Navin Kundra.

AllenC
07-08-2014, 12:03 PM
I would eventually listen to soft music, but I prefer to fall into the claws of insipiring silence.

Semi_Sweet
07-08-2014, 04:30 PM
I write between music interludes, I'll write, then quit for a few songs while I read over my work, and then carry on with the songs on pause, I listen to anything really.

Hellblazer
07-08-2014, 09:55 PM
Soundtracks, mostly. Or a playlist made up of mostly different artists featuring around 250 songs the last time I checked.

JetH7
07-09-2014, 03:48 AM
The same stuff I listen to at any other time, which is some of everything. I do find myself listening to a little more metal and punk rock though.

ladyillana
07-09-2014, 04:37 AM
Hello, sorry to bother, I know of people who listen to music while writing their books, novels, poems and short-stories.

The most recent and popular author who said this was Stephenie Meyers with her Twilight Saga.

I'll get started and you carry on below is that fine?

I listen to ELO playlists, Halloween Compilation on-line and sometimes I have either my MP3 with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink on it or drop a CD in my PC or finally a good DVD but not watching just listening.

But ELO's a favourite!

CeDany
BB
I have actually made a playlist for my work in progress with songs that might have a passing coincidental similarity with events or characters. It is interesting that certain of my characters seem to end up with multiple songs by the same artist. For example, for one of my characters all of his "theme songs" are works by Depeche Mode, another character has "themes" all done by Godsmack. Just having the playlist on helps me get in the mood for writing and if I'm writing from a certain POV I will just listen to the artist(s) that "goes with" the character.

Komic Brew
07-09-2014, 05:36 PM
One advice I read in "the animators survival kit", a classic book about animation, is that playing music while working slows you down. It was about animation alright, but after that I tried to write in silence and Bingo! My productivity tripled! Yes, tripled. It's much faster when you can hear your thoughts and theres' no external influence to make you lose focus.

Hellblazer
07-09-2014, 06:01 PM
Was able to get together a list of artists that my playlist is currently using:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Blue Oyster Cult, The Kills, Danger Mouse, The Flaming Lips, David Bowie, The Jam, Phosphorescent, Bright Eyes, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Vaccines, Half Moon Run, Woodkid, R.E.M, Camper Van Beethoven, Nina Simone, Biffy Clyro, The Clash, Iggy Pop, Rudimental, John Newman, Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, Rogue Wave, Stone Roses, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Imagine Dragons, Raconteurs, Kansas, Dan Auerbach, The Rolling Stones, The Lemonheads, My Chemical Romance, Fun., Bon Jovi, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Robert Johnson, Ashter Command, Gnarls Barkley, Kaiser Chiefs, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Who, Of Monsters and Men, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Don McClean, Gorillaz, Redlight King, Elvis Perkins, Crescendo, Aloe Blacc, Foo Fighters, Journey, Jimi Hendrix, The Human League, Mogwai, Casting Crowns, Wire, Talking Heads, Public Image Ltd., The Cars, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, Frankie Valelli & The Four Seasons, Eliott Smith, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Psychedelic Furs, Fever Ray, Mississippi John Hurt, Badfinger, Radical Face, Ben Howard, Jurassic 5, Kendric Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Junip, Snow Patrol, Foreinger, Depache Mode, Nirvana, Elvis Presley, Norman Greebaum, Stornaway, Har Mar Superstar, XTC, Dandy Livingstone, Bastille, Jack White, Editors, Temper Trap, Alex Clare, Mumford & Sons, Sun Kil Moon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lewis Watson, George Ezra, Avicii, Jake Bugg, Green Day, Elmore James,

Phew. I'm sure there's a few more. Most of the artists from the selection above were got from either the Spotify Mood playlists or from TV shows.

colombia1812
07-10-2014, 09:20 PM
I love to listen to Lord of the Rings soundtracks :)...

When I take break then I watch LOR scenes on You Tube.

Yes I'm a geek ;).

reiver33
07-13-2014, 03:09 AM
Just now its the Fargo TV series soundtrack.

SaraP
07-19-2014, 03:26 AM
I find it fascinating how so many people use soundtracks as background music when writing. :)

I listen to my fave bands/artists, simply because being familiar means I can tune them out - I know that sounds kind of counter-intuitive, but I did it that way for studying too, both school and college.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
07-21-2014, 02:22 AM
Because I write about the late teens and early 20s in America, I've found some great old sources of scratchy 1920s jazz and ragtime.

It's miraculous for really putting me in the mood. I think more 20s, and it comes out on paper.

AllisonBerry
07-21-2014, 07:56 AM
I'm weird in that I can't listen to music when I write! It distracts me or something, and I end up typing the words to the song instead of writing my own! Ha ha it's weird, I know!

Kameea
07-21-2014, 11:25 AM
Hello! When writing I mostly listen to Japanese songs and I usually listen to openings and endings of anime for action/battle scenes.

soho-syndrome
07-21-2014, 02:10 PM
I'm weird in that I can't listen to music when I write! It distracts me or something, and I end up typing the words to the song instead of writing my own! Ha ha it's weird, I know!

I can't either! I thought I was the only one and wondered if my saying so defeats the purpose of this thread lol. But yes, I need almost absolute silence when writing... even when I hear people talking outside my room I get distracted and it kinda throws me off my mojo :P

AlexRS
07-21-2014, 11:59 PM
Oddly enough, I tend to find fast paced electronic music or youtube nightcore videos to be pretty good listening when I'm writing essays for university. It's less a case of actually listening to it and more that it just makes good background music that I can mostly ignore.

cyanideenid
07-23-2014, 10:07 AM
I'm actually very specific about the music I listen to when I write. I can rarely tolerate lyrics, because I get too distracted and end up doing nothing.

I often have a craving for Brian Eno's Music for Airports, and Yo Yo Ma's Bach Suites. I basically enjoy calm, but engaging (think softly wistful here) ambient music.

Sometimes I even take a walk on the wild side and listen to bluegrass. :)

Heretothere
08-10-2014, 03:51 AM
For the past few weeks, I've been listening to Brad Paisley's "Wheelhouse" CD. Whereas, I usually, just throw it in, hit play and then log into my writing tasks at hand. And, when all the planets line up correctly, and it all goes so well, I find myself becoming oblivious to the music, while the minutes, words, sentences and paragraphs, clip by at a rapid succession.

Yet still, I'm sure, on a subconscious level, my spinning CD is propelling me forward, with inspiration from cool, cleaver, and thoughtfully written and sang lyrics.

Until, and only until, the final and most outstanding song comes across the airwaves, like a final farewell and a happy ending, all combined in one. Until, the next time, I start from the beginning all over again.

So, heck yeah, music moves me...

And as such, is always my not so silent writing partner. :) :)

Kayiin
08-10-2014, 08:04 PM
Goth stuff or old Japanese Visual Rock... that's what I'd like to listen to whilst I write. But for the most part relative silence is necessary. I don't get much of it around here, but I have some earplugs coming in the mail so there's hope.

Seriously I can't even usually ignore boring instrumental stuff when I hear it. :(

Fullon_v4.0
08-10-2014, 08:54 PM
Hello! When writing I mostly listen to Japanese songs and I usually listen to openings and endings of anime for action/battle scenes.

This, as well as dance/house sets. It fits well because I like to keep stories flowing at a quick and snappy pace. Usually Todd Edwards' music because it isn't like "rave" speed, but just bouncy enough to keep me typing.

noorilhuda
08-20-2014, 11:25 PM
Bach, Beethoven

Unhappy
08-22-2014, 06:09 PM
I need absolute silence.

tianaluthien
08-22-2014, 11:16 PM
Depends on the piece, depends on the day. Sometimes post-rock, sometimes classical, rarely anything with words. The right piece of music (on loop, frequently), helps me really get into the flow when the words are stuck.

And sometimes, when the day itself has been too noisy, I need total silence.

snowpea
08-22-2014, 11:38 PM
a little bit of everything. It depends on the character's personality or the mood of the scene. a lot of punk, rock.

Chase
08-23-2014, 01:33 AM
:Shrug: Who knew favorite writing music would be of international concern? :D

indwig
08-25-2014, 07:14 PM
I like instrumental songs, or ones in a foreign language, so I can't start singing along to the lyrics and distract myself. And other times, I'll need silence because what I've written makes no sense and I'll correct it by reading it aloud.

Heretothere
08-26-2014, 03:09 AM
What I can't listen to is the radio. As, the commercials annoy me so much, that I have to get up and throw on a CD.

ssbittner
08-26-2014, 08:28 AM
It depends on what I'm writing. So I have a lot of Pandora One channels dedicated to various moods.

Thuro
08-26-2014, 08:44 AM
I have a small playlist on Grooveshark that helps keep me in the right frame of mind for my WIP. It's pretty cheesy, including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (a version featuring Yo-Yo Ma on the cello), Short Change Hero (by the Heavy), Prelude to War (from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica soundtrack), Suicide Mission (from Mass Effect 2), and Facade (From Jeckyll & Hyde) among others.

Anything that doesn't fit the narrow mold of songs which set the mental tone will only distract me, so I listen to these songs endlessly

This playlist is a win.

Heretothere
08-29-2014, 01:48 AM
I just read in "On Writing" by Stephen King, that he likes to listen to hard-rock stuff, AC/DC, Guns 'n Roses, and Matallica.

cat_named_easter
01-23-2015, 02:19 AM
Movie soundtracks - there are some really awesome playlists on youtube that I just have on a loop. Also recently I played the whole Interstellar soundtrack - it's amazing.

corishoe
01-23-2015, 09:54 AM
Honestly, I find it difficult to listen to music *while* I'm writing, but sometimes when I'm not in the mood to get to work, I'll take a few minutes to listen to the type stuff that pumps me up. Usually that means Green Day, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco... bands along those lines... :D

CuddlyClementine
01-23-2015, 06:41 PM
I have to listen to a very specific playlist, otherwise it just distracts me. Very chilled, usually with vocal chops or other weird stuff.

Stuff like:
Pink Medicine - Bearson
Oh Wonder - Shark
Jaymes Young - Northern Lights
Matt Easton - Live Life
Sangam & Cholombian - Shelter Me

Bryan Methods
01-23-2015, 09:18 PM
I put my music on random play...so I'll get prog epics, psytrance, Vocaloid songs, rap, samba-reggae, gypsy punk...whatever pops up. The funny thing is I know I'm in 'the zone' when I have no idea what I've listened to for the last hour or two!

Dannyher
01-29-2015, 12:21 PM
I am not listening to the music while writing. It is quite distracting

Euphoric Mania
01-29-2015, 02:30 PM
Often I will listen to movie tracks, or techno-like stuff, or classic rock. Have them on in the background, and might even listen to single songs or whole albums on repeat. They act as a way to fill up the void in my brain which might otherwise be filled with distracting chaff, and some surprisingly inspired ideas pop up when listening to some kinds of music.

I think my most recent idea came to me on a night time walk while listening to ACDC's Thunderstruck... Back in Black might have had some influence in there as well, along with Spoiling for a Fight. I usually skip through albums until a track catches my fancy. Then I run with it like it's a pair of scissors.