Imagine a slow-motion scene from a movie without a soundtrack. You can’t, can you? That’s exactly how I feel when it comes to trading: I need some sort of music in the background. It can change my mood and I’ve always loved that about it. It can help me concentrate, it can cheer me up and sometimes it gets me out of sticky situations like “Damn, I lost that trade! Better double up on the next one.” Here’s a little story about my “relationship” with music, including my favorite 5 artists for trading.
My First “Trading Time” Band
My first “love” was Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters (I still consider it a masterpiece, because it is!). I don’t know how old I was when I first heard it but it made me discover the rest of Metallica’s music. By the time I was in high school I only listened to stuff like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Guns, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ugly Kid Joe, Rage Against The Machine and others from that category, with Metallica being top of the list.
By the time I was in college I had my bike, my leather jacket, my rock music, and zero interest in other genres. My taste in music was very straightforward: “Is it Rock? No? Then I don’t wanna listen to it.” Then along came Beth Gibbons, the lead singer of Portishead. After hearing the first song, I was hooked. From then on it was Rock and… this music. I had no idea it was Portishead at the time, I didn’t know in what genre they fit in, all I had was an audio cassette with nothing written on it. Yea, we had dial-up internet and audio cassettes back then; I couldn’t Shazam any song and find out its name and who plays it. Later I found out who played that beautiful music and the genre: Trip Hop. Knowing this opened the door for the likes of Massive Attack, Tricky and later Nightmares On Wax, Belleruche, Gare du Nord, all the stuff I never thought I’d listen to but glad I did.
Now I’m trading, writing and music are always playing in the background but because it is such a mood changer, I have to be careful what I listen to when trading. I can’t have Metallica blasting through my speakers when I’m trying to draw the best trend line or to understand what Draghi is talking about. So here are my 5 favorite artists or genres that I listen to when I trade or write:
It’s smooth, chill and literally Awesome I can concentrate with no problem when listening to it. If you want to hear them but don’t know where to start, you could try the song Glory Box but look for the live version, played at Roseland, NYC.
2. Nighmares On Wax
Electronic music, chillout, not a lot of vocals so it doesn’t distract me, even when I’m writing. One of my favorite albums is “In A Space Outta Sound” but “Carboot Soul” and “Smokers Delight” are a treat as well.
I find instrumental Jazz great for trading as long as you keep it down so it doesn’t become a distraction (that’s something I do, no matter what music I am listening to). As I’m writing this I’m listening to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five on a loop – I love that song and I definitely recommend it. If you’re in that “area”, make sure to check out Miles Davis, Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock.
4. Tom Waits
If you ever wondered what Cool means to me, well, that’s Tom Waits. I cannot describe his music (many have failed at it), so you’ll have to listen (and watch) for yourselves. But be careful, he is very hard to “digest” and it can become distracting while trading.
Although I still like Rock very much, this is my last choice when it comes to trading. All the banging, guitars and heavy vocals can be seriously distracting and be losing a trade while a dude is screaming angry stuff can trigger your revenge trading, so it’s better to stay away from this genre I think.
My taste in music has changed quite a lot over time but this is basically what I am listening to when trading or working. If I can find the right artist or the right genre for the mood I am in, then it helps me concentrate and it gets me in the zone. Oh and one more thing: music can save you money. If you are trading at home but the kids or neighbors are making too much noise and you’re thinking about renting an office, maybe it’s better to just buy a good pair of headphones. Slap those on and all the other noise is gone. Keep the rent money!