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David Friday Fun: Meet Dave Haynes

For this Friday’s employee interview, we spoke to Dave Haynes, our business development guy in London. Although he’s stationed remotely in the UK, Dave’s presence is ever strong here in our Berlin office. Here’s what he has to say…

How did you come to work at SoundCloud?

I first linked up with SoundCloud just after it had launched in private beta. It was spring 2008 and in my spare time I was doing quite a bit of writing and was in the process of researching a piece on upcoming digital music services such as Songkick, Songza and of course SoundCloud. I was already a big fan of Eric’s (founder and CTO) as he’d been writing some super smart blog posts of his own that really summed up how I felt myself about the development of digital music. So it was really exciting to chat over Skype and hear all about SoundCloud’s future plans.

So anyway, I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but at some point I went over to Berlin to meet properly with both Eric and Alex and said that I’d love to try and help spread the word about SoundCloud. And things just went from there really. I’m extremely lucky in that I’m really passionate about what we do and get to work with such an amazing team of people!!

As an aside, some years prior to SoundCloud, I owned and ran a local record store and I remember over-ordering an album that Eric made as Forss, called Soulhack because I was a big fan of that too. I’m sure I still have at least two copies of the CD at home. Ha!

What do you do for SoundCloud?

My official job title is VP Business Development but for some reason I always cringe when I say it. Really it just means I get to speak to a lot of awesome people about why they should be using SoundCloud. This quite often means conversations with different people in the music industry, from labels to managers to media. But one of the things I love about SoundCloud is that I get to do all sorts of people about all sorts of things. There’s quite a bit more to what I do but I won’t bore you with the details!

Also, although I’m not a developer I started an event last year called Music Hack Day which I now help run. And in my spare time I put on an informal meetup called OpenMusicMedia where we invite guests down to lead conversations about innovation in the music industry. Both are very synergetic with what I do day to day at SoundCloud and mean I get to meet even more awesome people.

What’s it like working remotely from London?

There’s three of us in the office here now and we have an office in Old Street (dubbed Silicon Roundabout) that we share with Moo.com, Tweetdeck and some other cool web startups. It’s great actually. Although Berlin has an amazing music scene London is still the heart of the music industry in Europe. The nice thing is that I still get to visit Berlin HQ regularly to keep in sync with the rest of the team. But Alex and Eric have done such a great job of setting out a vision for what we do at SoundCloud that I can just wake up in the morning and somehow know what needs to get done that day.

What kind of music are you into?

Ha! I hate that question, I usually just tell people to check my Last.fm profile, but that probably doesn’t tell the whole story. Having worked in a record shop you have to listen to and appreciate a lot of different types of music. And I have crates and crates of vinyl which are now sadly tucked away in my loft. I find I do most of my music listening nowadays on my long commute into work or whilst behind my laptop which has probably changed my listening behaviors quite a bit. I like a lot of things like Nick Drake, Joanna Newsom, Kings Of Convenience, The Tallest Man on Earth, Iron & Wine, etc. to unwind. But I really enjoy a lot more glitchy, forward looking stuff like Four Tet, Caribou, Tunng and all the experimental shades of dubstep. I can’t stop listening to this track called ‘Puzzled’ recently:

At heart, I’m really a fan of music that is constantly innovating and fusing different elements of what has gone before. Although bizarrely, I’ve been secretly getting into a bit of metal recently, which I’ve never been into before, in any form. We’ve been working with quite a few metal acts and labels on SoundCloud so I’ve somehow formed this weird guilty addiction to the music. Some of the tracks have a really energy which I also find with electronic artists like Noisia. Perfect for getting work done :)

Are you a musician yourself?

I play the piano. I’m definitely not an expert but I find it really helps me relax. I absolutely love playing pieces by Dustin O’Halloran and Debussy (my attempts can be hear below) but I’ve also been learning a few pieces by Joanna Newsom that I found transcribed somewhere on the web. Here it is:

I wouldn’t call it being a musician, but I used to DJ a lot too when I ran a record label called Inspirit Music with my brother. Somehow I managed to get paid to play in clubs all round Europe for about two years and had a DJ mix compilation released on CD called InSoul Sessions. I also went into the studio and did a few remixes of tracks on our own catalogue too, but those were always co-produced with others. You can hear a few things on my SoundCloud profile. Seems like a long time ago now!

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Expert pianist or not, looks like you’ve got a future in piano performance ahead of you! Find Dave on Twitter at @haynes_dave and at his website here.

Have a nice weekend everyone!