The Ultimate Playlist

Written By Rich Thomas | Photographed by Monica Orozco

Keeping up with new music is a full-time job. That’s why Clark Dinnison scours the internet to compile and deliver new mixes straight to your inbox—via Noon Pacific—every Monday at noon. Clark’s curated weekly mixtape of the best songs handpicked from the best music blogs currently goes out to more than 200,000 subscribers. We joined him at his studio to listen in.

How do you curate the 10 tracks that go on any given mix?

“There could be a Kanye track, the next one could be from James Vincent McMorrow, and the next one is someone you’ve never heard of. I think that’s important. It’s subjective, of course, because it’s what I’m choosing, but it also says, ‘This track is on par with Kanye, so at least give it a listen.’ I think the problem with blogs is that it’s someone’s voice writing a subjective review. Just because you read some text, you might not press play—which I don’t think is fair.”

What influenced your aesthetic?

“My dad had an old record player in the basement, and me and my brothers’ first memory is of The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album. That has been the stand-alone record that’s influenced me, but I grew up discovering new artists. My brothers would always share music, whether it was making mix tapes on cassette or burning CDs. I wanted to translate those tangible things to digital.”

Tell us about your journey in creating Noon Pacific…

“I’d moved down to California from Washington, and part of that move was inspired by surf culture and a love for water. So I moved into this spot in Hermosa. There was a view of the ocean, and I could just sit there and listen to music. At the time I was working for a tech company and learning to code websites. One day I was making a playlist on Spotify or something and trying to come up with a name. It was noon and it was a beautiful day out, and I started thinking, ‘What’s wrong with blogs?’ There are subjective reviews, which cause me to not play tracks. The experience sucks. You have to scroll down forever just to find certain songs. It’s an embedded player, so it’s ugly. All the blogs look like WordPress. So I tried to take all those components and package up a mix tape and deliver it at a certain time so people would expect it—almost like a little Christmas present. I was doing the digging for people and delivering music to them in a beautiful package. As of today we’re driving 10 times as many plays as the blogs. A guy from Republic Records told me that he’d rather have his song featured on the Top 10 of Noon Pacific than any blog out there.”

What’s the ultimate goal?

“I think the goal is to be the face of new music across all the different verticals and lifestyle brands, whether it’s coffee or T-shirts or a vinyl release. You know those Now Music compilations? If we could be that for up-and-coming music, that would be cool. We’re even working on a concept for dinner parties. Just being everywhere but still intimate and personal.”

Something that feels cool but inclusive as opposed to exclusive.

“Exactly. Something that a 17-year-old could listen to but also something my parents would be into.”

Sign up for handpicked music at noonpacific.com.