PMA Podcast Transcript: Episode 34, Landings: Chris Hoff

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Ruby Que: Hello, Chris, this is Ruby. I'm a senior in PMA, and today I have with me Chris Hoff. Do you want to introduce yourself, Chris?

Chris Hoff: Hello, my name is Chris Hoff. What do you want me to say? How do you want me to introduce myself?

Ruby Que: What year are you?

Chris Hoff: Oh, okay. My name is Chris Hoff. I graduated, actually went to Cornell. 2002 was when I graduated and I am living in San Francisco, but I am here in Ithaca this semester doing a bunch of sound work.

Ruby Que: What do you do?

Chris Hoff: Well, I did, I come from the public radio world, so for, I don't know, 10 years in San Francisco, I worked on this local news show and in the radio world, I was a sound engineer, which means I took all of the recordings and sound that people would make out in the field and mix it together into a story, into a five-minute story about some Bay area news event. But I was a guy making all the musical choices and making all the edits and making the people sound good and right. Now that's what I did for 10 years. But I'm here doing this other thing, which is this live surround sound audio event where we have a space like this. It's like this, you come to a black box sort of a theater like a hundred people come. We set up eight big speakers around the audience and the audience sits in the middle of the speaker rig. We also have two subwoofers and we pass out eye masks, sleeping shades, so that you put them on, you can't see anything and you just, you basically listened for about sixty, seventy minutes to a bunch of sound, different sound that we're recording around campus. And the cool thing is that we can put it on all these eight speakers. They're all independently controlled, which means that I can have one sound coming out of the front, one coming out of the back, something else coming out of the side if I want, and we can move sound around this space. So it's a very sort of three-dimensional listening event. You don't look at anything for over an hour, which is also kind of cool, I think. No one looks at their phone for seventy minutes, which to me is pretty special. So that's what I do now.

Ruby Que: Do you want to talk a little bit about your podcast?

Chris Hoff: So, our show is called "The World According to Sound." And it started as a podcast, which was four or five years ago. Me and my collaborator, my associate named Sam, we were both in public radio for a long time and we were hanging out one day: I hadn't seen him for years, we randomly ran into each other on the street and we were just complaining and talking about our jobs and just about how, not boring, but just how after you kind of do the same thing for five years, just making the same stories, every story you make is four minutes long and it's just people talking about some issue and it's just people talking, talking, talking all the time on the radio and you just get burned out by that. And so we were both at this place of feeling burnt out and dissatisfied and we came up with this idea to make a show that isn't about people telling you things, but just about listening to a thing without language getting in the way. So we came up with this idea called "The World According to Sound," which is this ninety-minute podcast where we do talk a little bit, but really it's just about listening to one sound for fifty seconds. We give you some context and some information to make you want to listen and then we just play this cool sound mix on stereo, for headphones or for your car and you just sit with it. Our first episode was about these mud pots in Southern California. There's all this geothermal activity down there: geysers, sulfur and hot stuff coming out of the earth, and it goes through wet soil and it makes these sort of gurgly sounds, these different sort of gurgly and bloopy sounds and there's twenty different sounds there. We recorded them all and put them all together in this sort of montage and listen to mud coming out of the earth, which I mean it's amazing. It's really cool. It's using the medium of radio that is audio, and doing something just a little bit different than just interviews or just people telling you things. So that's the idea.

Ruby Que: That sounds very cool. What advice do you have for graduating students?

Chris Hoff: What advice do I have? That's such a hard question.

Ruby Que: What did you do in your last year?

Chris Hoff: Oh, in my last year of school? I mean, I recognize that my way of living isn't the best way or the only way to go. But things did work out. My last year, I studied classics, which is in the arts and sciences, which is a humanity, which is also extremely impractical as far as getting a job. It's useless in a direct way, but very useful in indirect ways. But I had no actual direction. I wasn't a business major going to go get a job in business, whatever that means. I didn't study economics and wasn't going to go get a job in banking. I could do whatever I want and my only interest at the time, when I was twenty-two, was to actually try living in a different culture. So I had learned German. That was the living language that I learned here as opposed to the two dead languages that you learn as a classics person: Greek and Latin, you have to learn. But nobody actually speaks ancient Greek of course, or Latin. But I learned German and that's obviously still a language people speak. So I decided to go there: I found this program. Honestly all the things that happened: me getting into radio, or me going to Germany when I was twenty-two, and then I got into radio when I was twenty-six, all those things came from some sort of temporary, I won't say passion, but a temporary strong interest in leaving the country. Then I got into audio when I was in Germany. I had a strong interest in learning this whole audio world and I just followed those. You know what I mean? I just listened to those things. You know, for a few years in Germany I was doing nothing really. Like it was cheap to live there, but I was just doing stupid jobs. I was translating stuff, and I taught a little bit and did some stupid jobs. So I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but then this one interest came along two years after doing nothing and I just went with it. And then I found somebody back in San Francisco. That's where I'm from, San Francisco, and I met somebody in San Francisco who was in radio, got in touch with them. I moved back and learned how to do radio with them and just kept listening to that thing that actually excited me. That's such a crapshoot, right? Cause you don't know when it's going to come or what's even going to interest you. I went years with being disinterested in a lot of things, but you know, you keep living and at some point something's going to hit ya. That's kind of shitty advice, right? That's not even advice.

Ruby Que: Where in Germany?

Chris Hoff: I was in Weimar for one year, which is a small town right in the middle, and then three years in Berlin. Why, do you know Weimar?

Ruby Que: I know the Weimar Republic.

Chris Hoff: Yeah, that's right. It was the seat of government for ten years or whatever that was. I forget how long.

Ruby Que: That's really cool. I'm also thinking about moving to Berlin, but it's very expensive and it's impossible to find housing.

Chris Hoff: Is it? Is it expensive? Berlin's expensive now? Cause it was dirt cheap. It was nothing when I live there. But I moved there in 2003 so that's a long time ago. But I was paying two hundred euros to live in a really cool district. It was stupid cheap.

Ruby Que: Which district?

Chris Hoff: Friedrichshain. That was up and coming when I moved there. But now it's totally over, it's rich.

Ruby Que: Yeah. It's super gentrified. Cool bars. A lot of cool clubs. People love to hang out there. But it's extra expensive. My friend who studied abroad in Berlin was living around there and he's said it's impossible to find housing and then you have to have a credit record and a bunch of documents.

Chris Hoff: Oh man. So the good days are over for that city.

Ruby Que: Yeah. But Prague is still dirt cheap.

Chris Hoff: It's a harder language though, I think. Czech is harder than German.

Ruby Que: Czech sounds like Russian. Have you ever thought about doing languages on your podcast?

Chris Hoff: I mean we have done segments that touch on language, but it's always language as sound, not language as content conveyor. We did a thing on this phenomenon called idioglossia, which means specific language, specific tongue, literally. There are these two girls back in the eighties in Los Angeles who are identical twins, and were raised in a weird way. Their parents neglected them. They were raised by their German grandmother, but they ended up developing this language that only they could understand. So the two twins could speak to each other in this language, in this idioglossia but no one else could understand them. There's a recording of it, you can hear them talking to each other and playing. So again, nobody in the world can understand what they're saying, but you can hear them talking like they're communicating. And so that was like the episode, it was about language as again just listening to the language and nobody understanding it. It's still language.

Ruby Que: That's a good point. I was reading about how if you don't hear a certain sound for a long time when you're a baby, your brain just kind of loses that sound. Because my native language is Cantonese: I grew up in Hong Kong and I feel that there are certain sounds in Spanish or English that I just can't pronounce or even distinguish.

Chris Hoff: Yeah, right. I mean it's the same for me then too. There's probably things in Cantonese that I couldn't really say because I've never heard that sound.

Ruby Que: Yeah. But I think there are specific sounds in languages that are just so hard to convey in other languages. So maybe you can compile all of those. Like the H in French. I could never say it. I tried to learn French, I just couldn't.

Chris Hoff: Yeah. And there's like those weird vowel sounds in German that a lot of Americans can't really say.

Ruby Que: Yeah. And the rolling sound in Spanish. I can't do that.

Chris Hoff: Yeah. That's a good idea. Thanks. I'll write that one down.

Ruby Que: Moving on, what are the things you did outside of class that you were excited about? Like any extracurriculars.

Chris Hoff: In my four years at Cornell? No, I didn't do a ton of stuff. I worked ten hours a week for money.

Ruby Que: Where did you work?

Chris Hoff: First two years I worked at Balch dining hall. They had a dining hall back then in the women's, it was a women's residency, right? Yeah. There was a dining hall there that I know they could—

Ruby Que: Men could work there?

Chris Hoff: I mean, I could, I'm a man and they let me work there. I couldn't live there. But studying is obviously a lot of your time in class. And then I was working 10 hours every week. Then I also had this job with the Greek epigraphy project, which is now defunct. I would proofread scans; this is a long time ago. They would scan all of these tomes of Greek inscriptions, from old Italian and German scholarly books. The whole point was that they're trying to digitize everything and they had to do it, you know, page by page with a scanner, which would scan the Greek. But there would often be mistakes. So somebody had to proofread or copy edit, I guess: is that the better term? That the scan was done correctly. So I would have the book with all the Greek inscriptions and I would make sure that the thing on the computer was the same as on the page. It was rather monotonous work. So I would do it for two hours at a time. That was the most I could do and then I'd go crazy. I'd do that like five days a week.

Ruby Que: Why would there be a difference between the scan and—?

Chris Hoff: Because scanning ancient Greek, it has all these diacritical marks. It just wasn't perfect all the time. Like the technology at the time was better for doing the Roman alphabet. But not the ancient Greek alphabet or the Greek alphabet for that matter; it's the same. So there’d just be mistakes, not all the time, but there's enough that I had to be exact because it's not useful if a word is spelled wrong. When people go to search for that word, they wouldn't find it anywhere. Anyway, the point is that also took a lot of time and the first year, I played club soccer. I was kind of a soccer player and I always played intramurals, but I played the club team, and we would travel for games. That was too much time for me, so I quit after my freshman year. I always played the intramural soccer season, which was in September and October. I had a few good friends. We would always pull in a team together. A coed team typically. That was always really fun... Jesus, what, I mean—

Ruby Que: If you can't remember it, it's probably not that interesting.

Chris Hoff: Just give me one second. I mean, no, as far as organized activities, no, I didn't do a ton. I wasn't in a ton of like actual organizations.

Ruby Que: Okay.

Chris Hoff: So that's another crappy answer. I'm sorry.

Ruby Que: No, no, no, no, no, no, you're fine. Did you do anything that accelerated your career?

Chris Hoff: Well, my present career working in audio and in radio I would say no, but clearly learning German was, was pivotal, that's the wrong word, but it was a very important thing because I wouldn't have gone to Germany otherwise. And if I didn't go to Germany I wouldn't have gotten into audio.

Ruby Que: It's consequential.

Chris Hoff: Yeah, it was totally, learning German was a consequential move. Again, it's indirect, but I really don't think I would have gotten into radio had I not gone to Germany because I met some people there and you know, that's how that happened. But again, that wasn't a point in, you know, there's no plan. Like I got into audio later in life, had nothing to do with, I don't think it had anything to do with school. You know what I mean? But that's like the whole deal, right? That's how the humanities works. How many people are English majors who then get jobs in writing or something; this is so rarely the case that you get a job directly related. I don't know to what degree studying the diverse stuff that I did made me more open of a person, both intellectually and it's curiosity speaking. I kind of believe it did, you know? That's sort of a general answer but I kind of think it did. Just being exposed to a bunch of different stuff. I don't know, in my twenties I was not a closed-off person, curiosity speaking. I was very open, to all kinds of things. So I think that's what let me really get into this audio world that I had never known anything about until I just stumbled into it when I was twenty-two, twenty-three after I left Cornell.

Ruby Que: That's amazing. Actually, I liked that a lot cause every time I hear people say, “Yeah I did this and that, and that led me to a design that...”

Chris Hoff: Yeah, that's not how it worked for me. Well, I mean it does eventually, right? Because then I did get an internship at a radio station. Then there was a progression, you know what I mean? There is, but even getting to what "The World According to Sound" was that wasn't planned. You know, that just came out of, really it came out of dissatisfaction. And that's always been the main instigator in my life. Like the two big, not two, but maybe the two sort of biggest moments of change and positive change in my life came out of an intense period. We are talking like at least a year of feeling really dissatisfied and aimless, and frankly bored. Out of that came these big changes that have led to a lot of fulfillment. So, I don't know. You can't fake boredom. You just are or you aren't, you know.

Ruby Que: Yeah.

Chris Hoff: I don't know what else to say here. I haven't really thought about this stuff in a while, so it's kind of an interesting exercise for me.

Ruby Que: Are you having an existential crisis?

Chris Hoff: No, no, no, I feel good. I might not be as articulate as I would want to be, but I'm trying.

Ruby Que: Okay. What are some key decisions, I guess learning German, you kind of touched upon that. What's the first thing you ever made in your field? And the small steps you took to get where you're at.

Chris Hoff: This doesn't have to do with, with my study, with my undergraduate?

Ruby Que: No, no.

Chris Hoff: There's two things. When I was twenty, really when I was twenty-three, is when I got into the radio thing. And that just came out of this really intense friendship with this guy who was ten years older than I was. So I was twenty-three, he must've been thirty-three and he was also American. So this is in my Weimar days in Germany, and there was, it's a small town, it's a German university there: it's a Bauhaus university and there are very few Americans in that town. You know, very few. But I met this one guy who was studying something at the university and he was ten years older than me and we discovered that we like the same kind of obscure American music, which is really weird to find another American first of all, in a small town. Not only that, somebody who likes the same not super well-known bands or just musicians. So we really bonded over that. And then I had this idea to do a radio show at the university's radio station about "Oh my God, we know this really cool American music and Germans love American music, but all they like are kind of familiar, sort of crappy pop stuff. There's a ton more out there. We should, you know, in our magnanimous spirit we should educate the Germans to real American music." This was the idea. A little pompous, right? It's like a twenty-three-year-old. So we made that happen. We knew somebody at the radio station and we did this for a whole semester, me and my buddy. I think it was every other week, and it was just so much fun to make. I had never done it before and it was so cool. We'd play music and just talk about it, and talk about stuff in our lives, American things that were happening that Germans might find interesting. So that was just so awesome. And so then, I am getting to the thing that we made, it's not the radio show. Then I moved. I finished my thing in Weimar and I moved to Berlin, but we remained friends and we're also thinking: "Oh God, wait, we don't want to stop doing this radio show. There's something there. There's something cool we should keep doing with it." And so it was at that time, 2003, that was like the beginning of this whole notion of podcasts, that you could like make audio, stick it somewhere on the internet, and people could then download it, which is basically just what a podcast is. Right. So we thought, okay, we'll do that. We had a MiniDisc recorder. I don't even know if you know what that is; it's like this thing before digital, it would record digitally but on tape it was like an old disc, like a floppy, it's like a cassette tape. It's not a cassette tape. Anyway, it's this thing before digital recorders and after tape recorders, is this thing in the middle called a MiniDisc recorder. So we had this and two sh**ty microphones and we would take turns visiting each other. He would come up to Berlin or I'd go down to Weimar and we'd just walk around town and record stuff. And then at some point we sit down in a cafe or in a park and like record our conversation for an hour, and out of all that material, we then make an episode of our, which was a radio show and is now a podcast. It was called "The Casual Arts Cast," the casual arts. I don't want to tell you why, it's a story why, there was a reason for it—

Ruby Que: But tell me.

Chris Hoff: Well, from this hip-hop guy that I really liked, I think it was Red Man? No, who was it? Masta ACE had this album called what, I think Disposable Arts? Okay. I think this guy Masta ACE, this is nineties, mid-nineties, late nineties hip hop. And I really liked that, I liked that idea and then I thought, well, our show's supposed to be two buddies hanging out. So it's casual. So it's not the disposable arts, but it's the casual arts. That's a stupid story. It's a bad origin story for a name. But that was the deal.

Ruby Que: I like it.

Chris Hoff: Anyway, so the point is making the podcasts. So this is the first time where I would be out in the world recording audio, put the audio in an editing software on a computer and then mess around with it. You know, edited it, put music in, use some of the ambient sound that we recorded and put that in, and we just did all this. We've taught ourselves how to do it. But that whole process of making that thing; we would do one every two weeks or something like that. That's what got me into it. It was super awesome to be able to make a finished product just by yourself, or in this case me and my buddy James, and make something that actually sounds good that wasn't stupid, and sounded kind of professional. It didn't sound hackneyed and we had enough skills that the levels and volumes weren't totally different, and we could actually make an edit that sounded proper. Making a thing that sounded good was kind of addicting and that was the thing. I was like: "Oh, there's something here and not many people are doing this." This is, again, in 2003. Who's making podcasts? No one's doing it. So that was like the thing that made me really want to get into it, that whole process. Did I answer that question? I kind of forgot the question. Something about the thing I made?

Ruby Que: That's perfect. Is there anything you'd do differently in your life?

Chris Hoff: That I would do differently?

Ruby Que: Yeah.

Chris Hoff: Jesus. That is psychologically penetrating.

Ruby Que: Yeah. We're trying to mine your trauma.

Chris Hoff: We're talking about, can I, do we need to, can I be more specific? Can we be more in a work slash professional context?

Ruby Que: Yeah.

Chris Hoff: Or in any, something that I would want to like change? Basically you're asking me: What's my biggest regret? That's a big question to ask a person. I don't know if I know you that well enough. No, no, no. I feel like I do. I can answer it. I might need a second. Yeah, I'll think about it. Okay. I don't know if these silences...

Ruby Que: Who are your mentors and how did they help you? I guess that guy you were talking about?

Chris Hoff: My friend? Kind of, but, I mean he's 10 years older than me and he was more established, but I wouldn't say mentor. Our relationship was always more as equals. Even though, yeah, no, he was, you have some, but I didn't look up to... Professionally it's clear there's this guy, you know, the first two people, the first sort of job, I had in audio was in San Francisco at this radio station called KALW, which is a small public radio station, and very non-commercial and rather experimental. There's two people who started the news department there: Ben Trefny and Holly Kernan. They were clearly the most decisive people in my professional development and they just started this thing kind of out of nothing. They got a bunch of rich people in Silicon Valley to give them some money to start this radio news program. And like a year into it is when I got there, and they gave me a job after six months of training and warning stuff. But they're both really good at what they did, and they were just so supportive and generous. Everybody around them was as well, but they set the tone for this environment that was so... That was also what really kept me in the whole audio game was how good the people in it are. Like again, I'm only speaking about public radio, and I don't know every station. It's really different at KQBD which is a bigger San Francisco radio station. It's nice there too, but it's a lot bigger and not as homey. But the station I was at, KALW, the people were so just smart, talented, and loving, really just loving and caring. So maybe it was many mentors, but really just like being around people who are smart and caring. It was huge for me. Also because I don't think, on the outset, I'm the most loving type. It takes me some time to soften up a little bit, and to have people just to then be so, from the outset, so warm, kind of made me want to be like that as well, which I think is really good just as a person, but like in a work environment. I think that's a really good trait to have. Just not defensive and to treat your work with care and love. Anyway, it's a little rambley. I'm sorry.

Ruby Que: No, that's beautiful.

Chris Hoff: Oh, thank you.

Ruby Que: That's really important, to feel loved.

Chris Hoff: Yeah, I agree.

Ruby Que: Where do you want to go from here? Or like where do you see yourself in five years?

Chris Hoff: You know what, I actually hope, and this just developed in the last two months: so, I've been here since August, and it's November now. I've been here for almost three months working on this project, on this new sound show for Cornell. And both me and my associate Sam, we've just met so many great people here, and people in this Cornell sound community and we've done really great work in only three months and we feel like there's so much more we can do. We actually want to be here for a little while. This would be our hope. I don't know if it's possible, or I don't know if it's going to happen, but we're trying to figure out a way to stay here for longer. I don't know how long, but definitely longer than just one semester. There's just a lot more that we could do. And again, the people we've met are so great and people also seem to like us. So there's some professors who are going to vouch for us, and we're trying to figure out a way that we could stay here for longer. So honestly I see, to answer your question more directly, in the next, whatever, three years, I see Sam and I, not working in public radio anymore, or if so, very tangentially, but really doing work in Ithaca at Cornell for some time and making more of these live events, making more stuff for these very specific multichannel speaker arrays and just doing... We come from the public radio world, but we want to take that training and put it in this... I don't know what it is. It's a more experimental world. There's a lot more to do and not many people are doing it. Especially coming from where we came from. Nobody in public radio is trying these kinds of things, and we think our work would actually really improve the public radio world, which we think is very important. We both like it, but we're both, like I said earlier, very dissatisfied with a lot of public radio, but we think our stuff could push it into a more experiential medium instead of it just being this pure journalistic, factual medium. I think people need to experience things and you can't do that always just by telling stories. I think you need to use the medium in a much different and better way.

Ruby Que: That's wonderful.

Chris Hoff: Are there more questions?

Ruby Que: Yeah, there are a lot more questions.

Chris Hoff: A lot more? Oh my God. I might not have anything else good to say. We can try.

Ruby Que: No, this is really important. I also want to know this. How do you get paid? Or how much do you care about money?

Chris Hoff: Oh yeah, that's difficult. That's a good question. When I started I got paid extremely little. That's not something that I advocate... It's kind of bullshit. But yeah, when I first started, when I actually got my first job in radio, it was part time and it gave me, this is in ’90... No, excuse me, 2008, and for a while I was working maybe three days a week and I got paid $2,000 a month. Which in San Francisco is a joke.

Ruby Que: Did you live with your family?

Chris Hoff: No, I got lucky and I found a cheap room in an apartment with two other people at the time. Rent was low, but I also, for the first two to three years, I had another stupid job that I worked 20 to 30 hours a week and that paid me more. So yeah. So at the beginning, you know, I don't know what I made in a year, it wasn't a ton, it couldn't have been more than $40,000 in a year. But working a lot—and half of that working on a job I didn't care about. And even after... Public radio world, it takes a long time to make actual money. After many years I was finally making okay money. But no, I never saw myself as ever actually making a lot of money. So this isn't shattering my worldview. Like I've always, you know, I never thought I would make a lot, so I've always lived accordingly. I just don't have much stuff. Like that's been my answer. Obviously rent and food and all that is a thing, but I don't... I don't even have a car. Most people need one, but you don't, you learn in the city. You know what I mean? So I just, I live pretty minimally. That said, my answer is not for everybody, but that's how I've been able to do it. But yeah, no, it's not great. I don't know. Maybe now I know, it's changing like a little bit. I'm never going to be rich, but it's not so... It's more comfortable now. I just have a lot of experience and there's a lot of money in podcasting so if somebody wants to hire me to make something for them and I can charge, now, a decent amount, but that's also lucky because podcasts are hot right now and if it's not hot then that won't be there. And I kind of even want to do that, so I'll do that, but I'll charge somebody like a hundred bucks an hour ’cause I want to do it. But if they have to give me a lot of money if they want me to do it, but otherwise, yeah. But we're just like doing our work, doing our like sound work, me and Sam. I mean we're doing okay now, but that's been also... We've gotten money from this blind organization in San Francisco. We have to be creative in how... No one's just going to give you money often, you know what I mean? Or going to give you a job. You have to convince people that your work is worthwhile to them and then have them fund you. So we're doing all this work about the blind community, and of course our work is in sound, and we're doing this thing that's really paying attention to sonic environments, which is kind of made for the blind, visually impaired community. So we partnered up with them and they gave us a bunch of money last year. So things like that is how we're making it work. But it's not super straight forward all the time.

Ruby Que: I'm just starting to get paid for video work.

Chris Hoff: Oh nice.

Ruby Que: Yeah, it's actually really nice because I've been doing so much freelance work just for exposure.

Chris Hoff: Yeah, no, yeah, yeah.

Ruby Que: But then this year I'm editing a documentary, I'm getting paid $20 an hour, and it makes me really happy. It's not that much money, but...

Chris Hoff: Yeah, no, that's awesome. That's actually pretty good. I mean, yeah. And it'll just keep going up, the more experienced you get. It's always just a question of experience, you know, not just that but also then because the more experience you have the better you're going to be, and people are going to see that and it'll go from $20 to $40 to, you know, whatever. That's how that kind of goes.

Ruby Que: Yeah. Also coming from my filmmaking background, I feel like I see everything very visually. So I'm interested in how you perceive the world. Do you see things sonically?

Chris Hoff: Oh, how do I see things?

Ruby Que: Yeah. How do you... If you have something to tell, do you think of it sonically or do you... Does it matter?

Chris Hoff: No, it does. It just kind of two different things: Your day to day life and there's that, but then there's: "Oh, if I want to communicate things to people." Right? Which is different from your day to day. I find just walking about town, you have to shut it off. That sound thing is so weird because you can't... It's hard to like plug your ear, you know, you can't block sound out in a way that you can with vision. I can just close my eyes and get rid of visual stimulus, but I can't really do that with my ears. So I feel like if I was really attuned all the time, I'd probably go crazy. I think if you're... Like right now, we're in this super soundproof space, but there's this air duct going on to the front left, which was by the door. And there's probably, I mean there's very little going on in here.

Ruby Que: I never noticed it.

Chris Hoff: Yeah. But you might hear it on the recording. So imagine this—This room is fine, but imagine if you're walking down the street, there's just so much going on that if you're in sound mode all the time, I think you would just go crazy. But I am able to shut that off. I can not pay attention, but I can also pay attention. But the point is I can go back and forth. But as far as like the other thing... What was the other part of the question, like how... Do I think?

Ruby Que: Yeah.

Chris Hoff: Yeah. So, I mean yeah, it is a... ’Cause that's the stuff that I make. I don't make stuff with visuals, right. So I don't really know how I would make stuff with pictures in mind. It's just not what I can do. But yeah, when it comes to wanting to express or communicate something to somebody... That is clearly a thing that I have so much more familiarity and intimacy with, my head goes there. It would go to what types of sounds would evoke whatever it is that I want to convey. I don't really know how to answer the question better.

Ruby Que: No, I think that's perfect.

Chris Hoff: I don't have a better answer, but no, I'm not like some... Maybe ask me that again in another 15 years if I'm still doing this, I probably would have a different answer.

Ruby Que: How much of it do you think depends on talent? How much of it is talent and how much of it is just working hard?

Chris Hoff: Well there's not just... There's another category: There's talent, there's working hard, and then there's luck. Then there's even a fourth maybe: There's also just, I don't know what you'd call... Being thoughtful. So hard work is hard work, but you also have to have good ideas. You can't just, you need to have the idea first in order to work on the thing. Right. So it doesn't... Yeah, forget that. Let's just say it is talent and hard work. I dunno. Talent's probably kind of small. I haven't thought about it. Maybe 20%... 20% talent I'd say. And the other, the rest is all that other stuff... Yeah. Hard work is part of that. Of course. Yeah. Obviously, I mean like right now... This whole semester we've been working a ton, a ton, a ton, and yet that's... You can't get around that. You'll never get around, putting time in, you know? Maybe some people do, I don't know. No, but I don't, I have to spend a lot of time to make a thing not be shitty.

Ruby Que: Okay. Let's go back to your biggest regret.

Chris Hoff: Oh, that's the one that I haven't answered, and then we'll be done. What time is it?

Ruby Que: Oh my God, yes. I actually have to go.

Chris Hoff: We'll do the big regret some other time. Do you want to do an, is there an ending you want to do? You could just end on, on an answer. We wouldn't need an ending. I'm just thinking. Do you want me to say anything else?

Ruby Que: Thank you, Chris!

Chris Hoff: Yeah, sure.