Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking to unlock creativity.
In this series, called Music Behind the Tech, we’ll be helping you get to know Rackspace employees, their stories and the relationship between the music they love and their work. We’ve even embedded their playlists at the bottom of each post. Rock on!
Jazz is one of the few unique American art forms and one that has influenced many genres that have followed. For Racker BJ Le Gras, it’s not simply a soundtrack to help him as he works on projects in the cloud, it is indeed a “universal language.”
In addition to being a Project Manager at Rackspace, BJ is also a DJ on our internal radio station known as K-RACK. He’s known as the Jazz Man where he infuses the radio waves with “smoothness” in the form of instrumental jazz, playing artists like trumpeter Chris Botti, flutist Althea Rene or the ensemble called Fourplay.
But his curation of jazz has gone beyond the studio. BJ recalled how he once helped out a Rackspace sales rep who was making a trip to Australia to visit a customer. The sales Racker had listened to BJ’s radio show and asked him to create a mixtape for the customer, half-a-world away, featuring the best of American jazz.
“I put together a playlist, I narrated the playlist and I introduced the artist in case they weren’t familiar with the artist,” BJ said. “I still have the playlist, it’s good music. It’s something the sales person hadn’t done before and I’m sure the customer was surprised they would get something like that.”
BJ came to Rackspace in 2012, where he began his journey as a project manager. In addition to becoming certified as a scrum master and getting his ITIL certification, he’s worked on a variety of internal and external projects that have included VMware and storage. Throughout all of it, he said it all comes down to one thing: helping to deliver Fanatical Support. And music is always in the background.
“When I’m at work and need to get things done, I put on a little jazz,” BJ told us. “When there’s music with lyrics, I’m divided on hearing the lyrics and focusing on what I need to create, so it disrupts the aesthetic experience I need to get work done.”
BJ’s Liner Notes
We end each of these profiles with some musical questions so you can get to know the Rackers a little bit better — here are BJ’s answers and his specialized playlist.
Over the ear headphones or ear buds? When I’m at my desk it’s in ear; when I’m at the studio it’s over the ear.
Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? I use Spotify to do my shows, but when I’m at my desk I use Pandora.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Neither.
Miles or Louis? A little of both.
Biggie or Tupac? Neither.
Johnny or Waylon? Waylon.
Best concert you’ve ever attended? [Didn’t have one]
Song get’s stuck in your head? Chuck Mangione’s Children of Sanchez
Stay tuned for our next Music Behind the Tech profile and visit Rackspace to find out more about our experts and the ways they’re helping customers tackle their toughest IT challenges. And whether you like smooth jazz or hard rock, if you’re looking to start your own career at Rackspace, be sure to apply online today.