The Naming of Things

Fascinating article about the product naming industry {new york times}:

He administered a questionnaire to 150 Stanford and Berkeley students, asking them questions like: Which sounds faster, “fip” or “fop”? Leben found a consensus. “Fip” was faster than “fop.” Why? Because of the way the sounds were generated in the mouth, Leben says. “Fip” feels lighter and faster because the vocal tract is open only a small amount. There is less acoustic substance for “fip” than there is for “fop,” the pronunciation of which causes the jaw to drop and the tongue to lower, creating a heavier, more powerful sound.

Reminds me of this episode from the Startup podcast, How to Name Your Company, in which business partners Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talk with friends, family, and professional namers to come up with a name for their new podcasting company.

Spoon’s Mashup Songwriting Process

Spoon’s Britt Daniels had a recent interview about his new album, love of Kroll show and the promo for the new album—Vinyl Gratification—which encourages people to shop in indie record stores.

He also talks about the songwriting process, which involves playing songs in the style of other artists during practice to get a feel for where they should go:

We got together maybe five or six times for maybe three or four or five days apiece before we started recording and there were a lot of times where nothing came of it. Or we would play these games to sort of spur us to come up with music, and they were fun games but maybe they didn’t necessarily work. And then sometimes we knew we had a song, like “Rainy Taxi” was a song we had from pretty early on. I knew the words were good and the melody was good but we didn’t know how we would play it.

So we played it first, we called it minor-Kinks; it was sort of like a minor-chord Kinks song, and then we did Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man,” and then we did sort of like a death metal sort of version which was really cool, and so we recorded that version, and we thought this is all really good except the drums and bass are too of that genre, so lets erase those, re-record those and keep everything else, and then that’s how we kinda got the song, as it stands.

From Britt Daniel: “Buying records in record stores is cool!” {salon}