Monthly Archives: July 2010

David Friday Fun: Interview with Roel

For this Friday’s interview, meet Roel van der Ven!



Hailing from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Roel is part of the amazing front-end team responsible for developing the great interface that propelled SoundCloud to the…well, clouds.

How did you come to work at SoundCloud?

Oooh, long story. To make it short: I’ve been doing web-related work for a long time now. After school, I completed a graduation internship at Last.fm in London. Back in Amsterdam, where I’m from, I was freelancing and helped organize some conferences (and a Music Hackday!). We put on Music & Bits, a conference about music & technology. In the midst of contacting cool people to speak at the conference, I met Alex & Eric, the CEOs of Soundcloud.

I then moved to Berlin with 3 friends to start our own company: Your Neighbours. We did some very cool projects while working for a variety of clients. But being a small company has complications. For big projects, you have to hire other people, which means I had to take on project manager responsibilities.  Being the middle man frustrated me – I ended up spending all day talking on the phone and sending emails. I learned a lot, but not the stuff I wanted to learn. So I decided to find a place where I could grow and learn in my field of interest. When I asked Alex and Eric for a lead, it turned out a lot better than I expected!

What do you do for SoundCloud?

I’m responsible for front-end development, which is basically the stuff you see in your browser. Katharina, our lead designer, creates the graphics, the look, and feel; and I turn that into something your browser understands. I do what comes after the design: make the site faster, load better, and behave better in your browser. It’s pretty exciting working on the interface of a product which is used by so many many people.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Working on an awesome product. We’re basically building the future of music here. Also, the team is incredible. People before me said this too, but I must agree. It’s such a pleasure working with this bunch of talented and motivated maniacs, incredible.

What kind of music are you into?

Hah, that’s hard to explain. It ranges from indie to electro, contemporary classic to balkan, whatever resonates the results of passion I guess. Berlin is supposed to be the city of techno, but I can get the shivers for example from singer/songwriter Fink, check it out:

Are you a musician yourself?

Not really – I used to play the guitar but I abandoned music-making because I got sucked into working too much. Music seems to get back on my track every time, so I definitely will pick it up again any time soon. I brought my guitar to Berlin, only have to get me some new strings!

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Thanks, Roel. Follow him on Twitter at @roelven and check out his website here. Have a nice weekend everyone, and see you on Monday in August! Time flies, doesn’t it?

Dave Music Hack Day needs your music!

As you might know from reading this blog, SoundCloud have been big supporters and instigators of Music Hack Day, since the first ever event in London just over a year ago.

The goal of Music Hack Day is to bring developers, designers, hackers and music geeks together to build the next generation of music applications in just 24hrs. Web apps, mobile, software, hardware, art… anything goes as long as it’s music related. After a tour of the world, Music Hack Day is back in London, this time at The O2 Bubble, on September 4/5th.

But even if you’re not a developer or hacker you can still get involved. At a previous Music Hack Day event in Amsterdam Edial and Kamiel from YourNeighbours decided to spend their time putting together an animation to sum up what the event was all about. But there’s just one thing missing… music! And that’s where you come in.

Music Hack Day from Your Neighbours on Vimeo.

We’re looking for a track to be the official theme for Music Hack Day. Here’s how:

1) Make (or edit) your track to be 60 seconds long
2) Any style goes, as long it fits with the video nicely
3) Make your sure your track is under a non-commercial Creative Commons license when you upload
4) Submit your track to the Music Hack Day dropbox on SoundCloud
5) Deadline is next Friday (6th August)

Send me your track

David The Sounds of Your Favorite Products

It is great to see so many music gear makers on SoundCloud, uploading sound examples in order to let the the world hear their products. Of course, the wooden panels and impressive feature lists are nice, but in the end, how your new plugin or pedal actually sounds is what really counts.

Here are some examples of how SoundCloud can be used for showcasing music products:

  • Moog have created an album for showing off the capabilities of the Moog Guitar. The tracks are embedded on their website and since Moog have all their product sounds in the cloud, they can easily post them to their Facebook page as well.  There is also a SoundCloud group for tracks made with Moog gear.

  • Ableton have created a custom player that matches the design of their website. They are also using SoundCloud for hosting their Summer Music Challenge.
  • Elektron have also built a custom player for their website and uploaded a lot of sounds made with their drum and synth machines.
  • The renowned magazine Sound On Sound upload all their podcasts as well as recordings for their product reviews. The latest example is the AKG Perception 820 mic.
  • When Create Digital Music took a look at the new Reaktor version, they concluded “This story doesn’t make as much sense silent, so Jonathan has whipped up a quick sound demo…” and uploaded the sound file to their account.
  • Another way of showing what a product can do is to let some artists use it for creating tracks and then release the result. This is what Retronyms did and the result is called Outer Spaces.

We are welcoming all product makers to the cloud and hope to see more sound examples as well as creative new ways for showcasing products! If you are a product maker wondering how you could use SoundCloud, check out our blog posts tagged 101 and how-to.