Monthly Archives: June 2012

SoundCloud Tea(m) Time with Peter Bourgon

Tea(m) Time comin’ atcha! Let’s welcome Peter Bourgon to the Berlin team! Listen to his audio “hello” and check out the full interview below:

Hi there! Thanks for the interview- can you say “hi” to everyone in your native language?


Where are you from?

I was born in Canada, but grew up in North Carolina. I guess that makes me culturally American, with the benefit of two passports.

How did you get introduced to SoundCloud?

Just surfing the web a couple years ago, I stumbled over the SoundCloud widget on some other aggregation site—maybe it was Reddit? I listened to a few sounds and was geekily impressed with the waveform player. At the time only a few content providers had embeddable widgets, and they were mostly big-name guys like YouTube, so I remember SoundCloud as being pretty bleeding-edge.

What do you do at SoundCloud?

I’m a developer, mostly working on the search and discovery features of SoundCloud right now.

What is your favorite sound?

I really dig simple electronic sounds, like pure sine waves, layered into complex pieces. There are a ton of artists who do this kind of work; one guy I like is Keith Fullerton Whitman, because he’s pretty deft at making his performances somehow… personal? (If not necessarily accessible.)

What sound do you hate?

No hate here! Well, maybe the sound of a beer bottle breaking in the bike lane.

If you had 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Prudent, unconventional, & good-natured.

What’s your favorite word?

I try not to have favorites, but I’m pretty positive on “Ambivalent” these days. I used it incorrectly for almost my entire life—until a year or two ago. Since I’ve learned the correct definition, I’ve found lots of things to be ambivalent about.

If you could say that you are passionate about anything, what would it be?

Lots of little things—running, tailoring, architecture, some art theory, piano and electronic music, some philosophy. Making friends with odd meters. Oh, and systems programming, natch.

Why do you think someone should apply to SoundCloud?

SoundCloud has the great fortune of having attracted a huge group of incredibly productive, talented and downright interesting people. My colleagues are probably my favorite part of the company. If you’re really remarkably good at what you do, and you want to be around other people who can say the same thing, SoundCloud may be the place for you.

What do you like most about Berlin?

Berlin is probably the best city in the world. (No offence intended to my colleagues in other places.) I think it’s got all the best things that come with living in a true metropolis—cultural events, a good variety of food, public transportation—without many of the drawbacks. It’s not overcrowded, there are tons of parks and green spaces, there’s an incredible cycling infrastructure, it’s not super expensive (so far…). And the music scene is, for me, completely incredible.

What are your favorite sounds on the cloud & why?

I went head-over-heels last year for this album, “Felt”, by a guy called Nils Frahm. It’s full of these incredibly lush piano-ambient-electronic compositions that were totally casual and unforced, but incredibly rich and detailed once you spent some time picking them apart. It was almost stupid: I would put it on repeat for an entire weekend. I found out much later that he’s actually a Berliner. The label he’s a part of is called Erased Tapes, and they’ve (naturally) got a SoundCloud account with some great stuff. Everything they do, I’m completely on board.

Do you have any fun facts or interesting stories you would like to share?

I was once attacked by a lion in Africa. He drew blood, but I lived to tell the story.

Where can we find you online?

SoundCloud: peterbourgon

SoundCloud SoundCloud Voices

SoundCloud Voices is a weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud. It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything! Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.


Here at SoundCloud we’re all about innovation, in every sense of the word. Our community is full of creators  breaking new ground in music, spoken word, and beyond. We’re proud to help support such creative minds, and we get excited and inspired watching other organizations foster similar creativity elsewhere.


One organization constantly working to encourage innovation in the journalistic space is the Knight Foundation. Dedicated to promoting quality journalism and innovative media, the Foundation has provided training for thousands of journalists around the world and has invested millions of dollars in supporting new journalism projects and technologies.

The Foundation is currently winding down one of their yearly Knight News Challenges. The Challenges invite innovators to submit proposals for projects aimed at changing the face of modern journalism.


A great example of a past Knight News Challenge finalist is Blank on Blank, a project that preserves, restores, and reshapes old, unheard interviews. The project takes hours of conversations journalist have recorded with notable figures, and reshapes the raw audio into fantastic and engaging pieces.

Here’s one interview they recovered and produced of Bono, talking about the time he spent with his father during his final days.

Blank on  Blank is currently running a campaign to collect 30 interviews in 30 days, as well as raise funding to take their amazing project even further! You can find out more and support the project on their Kickstarter page.


We’re also currently watching a contender in one of this year’s Knight News Challenges: The Data Show is the brain-child of veteran radio-journalist Andrea Seabrook and author/researcher Clay Johnson.

While most journalists identify interesting stories and then collect information on the issue, The Data Show will tell stories driven by data already collected, turning many conventional journalistic practices on their head.

We’re itching to hear the stories they produce, but for now you can check out Clay Johnson’s SoundCloud page to listen to interviews he’s done on data, information consumption and beyond.

Pretty cool, right? We think so too! You can find out more about all of this round’s Knight News Challenge proposals here.

If you are interested in trying out SoundCloud as a spoken word podcast platform, you can sign up for via this form. Successful candidates will be emailed with further details.

David Tea(m) Time with Josh Devins

It is Friday, that means it is time for our weekly employee interview series that we have dubbed “Tea(m) Time”! Today, help me welcome Canadian Josh Devins to our team in Berlin! First, listen to his audio “hello” below and continue down the page for more!

Hi there! Thanks for the interview – can you say “hi” to everyone in your native language

Where are you from?
Vancouver, Canada

How did you get introduced to SoundCloud?
My first introduction to SoundCloud was actually through the intrepid David Noël. When my wife and I moved to Berlin in the winter of 2008 we met David at a Tumblr meetup and through a mutual friend. It wasn’t long after that everyone in Berlin was talking about this hot little startup!

What do you do at SoundCloud?
I’m a Software Engineer working on search, spam detection, data, drawing on whiteboards, waving my arms around and so on.

What is your favorite sound?
I’m pretty biased, but at the moment my favourite sound is my daughter laughing. There’s nothing quite like hearing someone laugh, especially your own kids.

What sound do you hate?
Busses! It’s mostly all of the hissing and the constant engine noise. I think I lived too close to busy streets sometimes and it drove me mad!

What’s your favorite word?
I’m not sure I’ve ever actually thought about it. But my favourite German word is probably Niederlassungserlaubnis. Just rolls off the tongue!

How is it working at such an international and diverse office?
Pretty fun actually! For the most part you don’t notice it. But I love accents and there’s certainly a lot of those around here. I also like food, so anytime someone brings “international” food in, win!

If you could say that you are passionate about anything, what would it be?
The list is pretty long, but I’ll pick something at random, so let’s go with skiing. It’s definitely my longest standing sport passion.

Why do you think someone should apply to SoundCloud?
It’s a chance to do something challenging with a relatively small team, at a global scale, in an environment that is welcoming and fun. What more could you ask for?!

What do you like most about Berlin?
For such a big city, Berlin has a really great pace and quality of life. It’s a great place to raise kids, soak up some European culture and generally have a good life.

What are your favorite sounds on the ‘cloud ?
I really love hearing environmental recordings, things like birds chirping, city sounds (except busses), that sort of thing. I always find that it’s like the difference between reading a book and watching the movie — I get to imagine what the other senses might experience for that scene instead of just being shown.

I’m also a fan of CBC Radio One from back home in Canada. They have some great radio shows including “Quirks and Quarks”. It’s a radio show about science and technology and is presented in a very friendly manner with interviews with subject matter experts.

As for music, I discovered Mighty Oaks on SoundCloud when I saw former SoundClouder Ian Hooper do a set at the SoundCloud office.

Do you have any fun facts you would like to share?
I was born on the day that Wayne Gretzky was drafted to the Edmonton Oilers, which is also my birthplace! Hockey fans will know what I’m talking about.

Where can we find you on the interwebz?

Twitter: @joshdevins
SoundCloud: joshdevins