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?