“An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint.” — Brian Eno
“There is no such thing as silence.” — John Cage
Hello. We’re Snacky Tunes.
For over a decade, we’ve talked to the world’s best chefs (on our podcast from HRN) about music: the songs that inspire them, the playlists that animate their dining rooms, the bands they’ve performed in themselves. We even wrote a book about it.
Recently, beyond the precisely curated playlists and music inspirations, we’ve been interested in the elemental, discrete sounds that punctuate a chef’s day-to-day environment: the low hum of vendors haggling at the morning farmers markets, the call and response from the kitchen pass, the percussive knife chops as vegetable are prepared, the low-roaring hiss of freshly minced garlic hitting a hot, well-oiled pan, the pitch-perfect crescendo sizzling of a divinely seared steak.
In this audio column for FLOOD, we’ll explore the ambient soundtrack of a life in the kitchen. These field recordings, gathered by chefs from all over the globe, grant us intimate access to the lives of acclaimed culinarians.
To dive deeper into the subject, we recommend Kyle Chayka’s The Longing for Less.
Serving Sound 1.5: Matchbook Distilling Co.
Sometimes the universe just connects you with people you feel you’ve known for a lifetime. Within the first moment of meeting, you know you’re destined to be forever friends. That’s how we feel about the good people at Matchbook Distilling Co. We’re quite sure we crossed paths in previous incarnations of our lives as babies, but have now met in full adulthood to revel in the magic of what’s being created within their community. Their creations are some of the most incredible things to pass our lips—we can’t encourage you enough to keep an eye on their limited drops.
For this month’s column, our guide is Chad Arnholt, who works in production and visuals for Matchbook Distilling Co. He’s a former barkeeper, a photographer, researcher, and distillery hand.
In Matchbook’s own words:
Matchbook Distilling Co. is an R+D facility dedicated to bespoke contract production of spirits that champion agriculture, anthropology, tradition and science. We think healthy, live soil produce the healthiest ingredients—and the healthiest ingredients produce the best flavor. We find endless inspiration in the history of how people have regarded spices, herbs, fruits, minerals—at once medicine, nourishment, perfume, and flavor. We’re fascinated by research into our flavorful natural world—as we are constantly honing our abilities to bottle it—a lifelike photo you can drink. Our limited releases are each a culmination of this R+D. While we might choose to go deeper with certain bottlings, releasing variants—each release will be unique—and once they’re gone, it’s hard to imagine how they might reappear again.
Hear the sounds of Chef’s kitchen below.
About Snacky Tunes
Broadcasting since 2009, the Snacky Tunes podcast has been a weekly exploration and conversation about the cultural convergence of music and food. Over the years, co-hosts and identical twins Greg Bresnitz and Darin Bresnitz, along with Snacky Tunes co-producer Khuong Phan, have interviewed acclaimed chefs, food writers, brewers, bakers, and restaurateurs, while also recording live in-studio sets from genre-spanning indie bands and musicians.
In addition to the podcast, they wrote a book about music’s influence on the culinary world (Snacky Tunes: Music is the Main Ingredient, Chefs and Their Music, Phaidon, 2020). And inspired by the book, they collaborated on a sustainable t-shirt series with EVERYBODY.WORLD, raising money for various Chef charities around the world.