Playlist: 10 Songs Designer Dennis Karlsson Uses To Get Into A Creative Mindset

By Samantha Topp

The founder of Half Caste Creations put together a Gen.T Spotify playlist of the songs that get him in the creative zone

Tatler Asia

Like many others, Dennis Karlsson says music is key to unlocking his creativity.

“What I look for in a song is the vibrance and differences in the musical shapes produced by each musical component,” says the founder of design studio Half Caste Creations and concept store Nyaaarg. “The functions of each musical instrument all come together to paint a picture, and it's the same thing for us when we make something new."

“Often the starting point is something small and usually not significant, but as we add flavour and spice through blending many different facets and years of know-how, the idea grows into something more tangible,” he says. “In the end, it's totally different from what we had imagined it to be, or sometimes exactly what we had imagined!”

Here, Karlsson talks us through 10 songs he listens to when he wants to get into a creative mindset.

Listen to Dennis Karlsson's Creative Vibes playlist here

Rod Stewart, Do You Think I’m Sexy

I wasn’t sure whether I should add this song or not for different reasons. Was it too commercial? Is it too old? Is it still relevant? But when I hear this song today, it gives me a rush of groove and confidence and sets the right tone for the ideal attitude required for creation.

Air, La Femme D’Argent

This is one of the all-time classics in our design studio. It's got the right mix of vibe that grounds us to the simpler tones in life while also being very uplifting and airy—a sound that is most definitely still very fresh today.

Dr Lonnie Smith and George Benson, It's Changed

Always with his iconic gold turban, Dr Lonnie Smith's imaginative, funky soul-jazz is so clean and elegant it puts you through a cascading musical journey from start to finish. Listen to the end—and then listen to it again.

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Je t’aime Moi Non Plus

As beautiful, romantic, and sexual as this song is, what I like most about it is the collaboration between two lovers from totally different creative fields, but come together for the perfect blend in space and time to record this masterpiece.

William Onyeabor, Atomic Bomb

William Onyeabor is a pioneer in Nigerian experimental pop from the '70s and the father of electro afro-funk. I recommend you listen to all of his stuff. The way he blends a vast amount of genres with odd recording techniques and weird musical progressions is something that inspires us to follow in his footsteps to approach our creations in the same way.

Vis a Vis, Obi Agye Me Dofo

A musical journey that has the feels of a Thai luk thung band crossed with tribal and native sounds—mixed with synthesisers. It borrows from so many different genres, all within the pentatonic scale and with African soul. What's not to love?

The Spy From Cairo, Nafas

Reggae fused with starry Arabian nights, mixed to a very modern standard. Let this magic carpet ride fly you into the unknowns of the night.

Henri Mancini, Lujon

Romantic to the point where it forces you think with the heart, and therefore create with the heart too.

Kool and the Gang, Summer Madness

The perfect feel-good song that will inspire you to take action. It's both uplifting and settling at the same time.

Pink Floyd, Breathe (In The Air)

Take a moment to let this song be the background noise to your most primal and basic actions and thoughts. Let the song take you.

See other honourees from the Architecture & Design category of the Gen.T List 2019.

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