This week we want to introduce you to Amélie Anglade! Listen to here audio interview below and continue down the blog if you would like to learn more! Don’t forget to say “Hi” in the comments. (Photo by: Thomas Bonte)
Thanks! I am part of the newly created Music Information Retrieval (MIR) team. Our role is to build tools to automatically analyse the audio content of the files (music but also non-music) that are uploaded to SoundCloud, and then automatically classify, tag and characterize them. No humans involved, the machines are doing the listening if you want. So in a sense we are “the magicians in the background” teaching the machine how to do that. No I’m just kidding, there is nothing magical about what we do, it is just a mix of Digital Signal Processing and Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence. I love it because even though I have been working on designing and developing such techniques for the past 5 years mostly in academia, it’s a whole new challenge for me to make them scale up to the size of the large SoundCloud database but also to the large variety of sounds we host.
Where are you from originally and how was relocation for you?
I am French but because I have lived in 6 countries (France, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Spain and now Germany) in the past 6 years I don’t have a clear answer when asked where I come from. I guess because these countries incidentally are all European, Europe is probably the best answer. Relocation has been super easy, mainly thanks to awesome people at SoundCloud (Miqua and Erik) that helped me with pretty much everything, sending me links to websites where to find flats, telling me all about the administrative things to do, etc. Within 2 weeks I was a perfect German resident with a fantastic flat in my favorite neighbourhood of Berlin.
What are your favorite things to do in Berlin so far and what do you like about the city?
I am still in discovery mode, there are tons of places I still need and want to visit. I’ve instantaneously fallen in love with Prenzlauer Berg, the neighbourhood where I live so I have been exploring it in detail. My favorite activities are wandering around the markets (such as Kollwitzplatz farmers market and Mauerpark flea market) and chilling out in cafes. I am very excited to be living again in a big city with lots of concerts to go to as well (and I have been eagerly checking my Songkickconcert tracker). I had been missing that from my life in London. So one of the first things I did was to book tickets to go see Placebo when they were playing in Berlin earlier this month.
How were you introduced to SoundCloud?
Contrary to most people I did not discover SoundCloud while looking for some sounds or music. My first encounter with SoundCloud was a purely technical one if I can say it like that. I was introduced to SoundCloud and some of the SoundCloud developers at the very first Music Hack Day in London in July 2009. As it was taking place not very far away from our lab, some of my colleagues from the Centre for Digital Musicat Queen Mary, University of London and I registered out of curiosity. I had so much fun and I loved so much the whole idea of programming music apps with fellow music and computer geeks over a week-end that I am now addicted to Music Hack Days and have already attended 5 of them. And that’s probably something I share with a lot of the people at SoundCloud, as you can always see so many of them at such events.
What do you like most about being a part of the SoundCloud team?
The SoundCloud team is just brilliant! Everyone seems to be so talented and very professional and in the same time very open to new ideas, constantly questioning current approaches and eventually learning and designing new ones. Furthermore it’s amazing to see how the rest of the SoundCloud team is enthusiastic about what our MIR team is about. We keep getting super useful and interesting questions, feedback, suggestions, and audio examples to test our algorithms from all other teams, that’s awesome!
What are your favorite sounds you have found while scouring SoundCloud?
I am very fond of the weekly audio recapsyou and Ed (NED) put together. And I am not saying that to be nice, it’s the best and quickest way to keep track of all the stuff you guys in the community team dig out of SoundCloud. Plus you sound so awkward, I love it!Otherwise my favorite artist of all times, Emilie Simon, a French electro-pop singer is on SoundCloud:
I wish she was posting more stuff there though. Her SoundCloud page only contains recent things relative to her last album that is in a completely new style. Personally I am a huge fan of her debuts so basically her 3 first albums including the soundtrack she made for the movie “La Marche de l’Empereur” (the original version of “March of the Penguins”).
My favorite band this time, Sigur Rós, does a more extensive use of SoundCloud, posting all sorts of bonus tracks, lives and even manipulations of their tracks:
Finally, do you have any fun facts that we should know about?
Well I have a couple of anecdotes for you. Some years ago (when I was still an undergrad student) I was doing an internship at Sony in Paris. One day as I arrived at the office early in the morning (around 10a.m.) one guy in the corridor stopped me and started talking to me in English: “Hello, I’m Peter”. The trouble is at that time I was far from being fluent in English so I just politely reply “Hello, I’m Amélie” trying to not engage in conversation even though the guy looked very friendly. Additionally I was not sure why he was there and was thinking that as an intern it was probably none of my business. A few hours later I learned from my colleagues that it was Peter Gabriel! 0_o
I also have a passion for Antarctica (yes the continent). My online nickname (utstikkar) comes from that (look at a map of Antarctica, you’ll find it). I think maybe one day I’ll find the courage to take a year off and go there to work with scientists during the long austral winter (I’m sure they need computer scientists there!).