For me, working is about creating a good environment for the work to happen before sucking it in and doing something.
I’m certainly guilty of using this philosophy as an excuse to do nothing, but whenever I’m not, the place I usually start is with the music. Finding the right music to listen to while you type is tricky, but the radio app I’ve turned to over and over for cool background noise is Poolsuite FM.
Poolsuite FM, developed by Poolsuite, a company that has a line of sunscreen as its other main product, is designed to look like an early Mac app that somehow slipped into the present. Everything is green and gray, with pixelated line drawings of summer nights, sports car driving and swimming pools. If the 80s and CRTs never died – and indeed the taste for 70s and 80s music never died – this would be their app.
Beneath the thick layer of themes, Poolsuite FM offers a fairly simple Internet radio experience, doing just enough to make it worthwhile. There are multiple channels to choose from, basic playback controls (including the option to AirPlay to other speakers or displays), and the ability to tag songs you like for your own custom tracks channel.
The channel names should hint at the general tone here: there’s the classic Poolsuite FM, Friday Nite Heat, Baeleric Sundown, Indie Summer, Hangover Club and Tokyo Disco. The actual music selections range from Japanese urban pop to 80s dance tracks to remixes that straddle multiple genres. Almost everything is at least retro-inspired, in most cases chilly, and it all quite instantly captures a summery vibe that can make even the dullest of workdays bearable.
That’s really the thing about listening to music while you work. Yes, lyrics can often be distracting and music with less of them is usually easier to listen to, but the mood is just as important. Epic movie soundtracks can only get me this far (many thanks to Interstellar soundtrack), sometimes the music that makes me want to work the most is music that reminds me that summer is waiting for me when work is done.
Arguably you could achieve a similar effect on Spotify or Apple Music, and I don’t blame anyone who has ever figured out what works best for them with a custom playlist, but I appreciate being exposed to new music (especially remixes that might not be available on a major streaming service) and I like the option to set it and forget it. It’s a big part of my personal summer lifestyle.
In the end, my desires are simple: I just want a good vibe.
Poolsuite FM, from its music selection to its entire presentation, is good enough to fit in with that. And best of all, it’s just as accessible on my phone as it is on my laptop. Poolsuite FM has a great little iPhone app; there are plans to release an Android app; and possibly even an app for Playdate when the tiny handheld’s Bluetooth docking station launches at some point in the future. I can’t really think of a better aesthetic match.
During the summer, the greatest feeling work can give me is that it may actually end, and Poolsuite FM, of all the weird music apps and Pomodoro timers I’ve tried, brings me the closest . In the end, my desires are simple: I just want a good atmosphere.