The uninitiated should be forewarned: Sonos will turn you into a sound obsessive. The brand started back in 2002 by a bunch of music-loving engineering nerds, has grown into the premiere destination for home sound systems. You’ll find all of their incredible wares on display at the new Sonos flagship store in New York’s Soho neighborhood. The sprawling, thoughtfully designed space is the ultimate showcase for what a Sonos system can do for your home listening experience. Seven listening rooms are modeled after rooms in your home (obviously, we favored the kitchen) and kitted out with different speaker arrangements so you can experience what your favorite albums (our pick when we visited: Fleetwood Mac Tusk) sound like through a Sonos. Ahem, way better. Also not to be missed at the Sonos flagship: their version of the iconic wall of sound and a collection of out-of-print indie New York music ‘zines curated by Arthur Fournier. Hardcore music heads abound at Sonos so we couldn’t resist asking one, Dmitri Siegel, VP of global brand, to share his insights on the fine art of the dinner playlist, and curate his own.
“I like to play mainly instrumental music at dinner parties so the music mixes with the conversation. I usually start out with long tracks that build over five or six minutes. This allows people to settle in without any jarring transitions, and it makes it easy for everyone to get on the same plane even if they arrive a bit late.
I try to play unfamiliar music because it puts people in the mood to open up, but after maybe an hour I’ll drop in more recognizable things. It might be a song with a very recognizable sample like the Syliva Striplin song on this mix that most people know from Biggie’s “Get Money”, or a great cover like Donny Hathaway’s live version of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. The peak of this mix is probably Manu DiBnago’s “Soul Makossa”, which is a banger on its own but also brings to mind Michael Jackson and Rihanna because they both copped its refrain.
I know a lot of people who swear by playing abrasive “go home” music to get a party to wind down. I prefer just playing a few super-mellow songs that will either make people sleepy or in the mood to go home and get laid. They can sleep on the couch or out in the grass if they want, but by the time “Summer Madness” ends I’ll be in bed no matter what.”