8 Bits with Jess Garson!
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Brandon Minnick 2:03
And welcome back everybody to another episode of eight fits the show where we interview people to learn about the people behind the tech. I'm your host, Brandon Minnick. And with me as always is the amazing co host PJ Metz. PJ, how is your week? My weeks gone pretty good, even though it's been raining and cold in Florida, which are two things I never want to see in Florida. And so okay, like, it's
Pj Metz 2:29
I feel like when I say cold, people assume no, it's like 52 and freezing, and I hate it. Like, when it's in like 50s I'm like, I don't want to ride my bike. I don't want to go outside. And it's miserable. But
Brandon Minnick 2:47
yeah, it's it's funny, because I remember because I was born in New York, upstate New York. So we're really familiar with ice storms living on Lake Ontario and in the city of Rochester, and then moved to Florida. And yeah, used to when we first moved there would make fun of people. Because yeah, it's like 50. In Florida, people are putting on sweaters, whereas like, we're used to negative temperatures and snow days. And then yeah, your body totally adjusts and you get used to the heat. And so when 60 rolls around, you start putting on your jackets, and now I'm in Northern California where yeah, we'll get down to the 40s and wintertime it doesn't it doesn't snow here. But you know, when it gets into like, its 50s and sunny. That's work and I'm not saying the t shirt again.
Pj Metz 3:39
I'm not we are very, very, very cold.
Brandon Minnick 3:49
Feels good to be back. I I was absent for one of the first times last week I had to had to take a sick day. So thank you so much to Dr. G for filling in for me. Fairly last minute. Had a had a bit of a COVID Scare, or or just COVID
Pj Metz 4:12
COVID Scare by which we mean you probably had Cobra probably had
Brandon Minnick 4:17
COVID Yeah, I will say quick PSA. For anybody who hasn't gone through it yet. I had symptoms last week, but tested negative in three PCR tests over the term of a week. So the PCR test never said that I tested positive, but my wife did and we had in quarantine before she had symptoms. So I was definitely exposed to it had symptoms never got it. The doctors told me to treat it like like just like yeah, you probably got it. Just treat it like you do. So, yeah, just FYI. For everybody out there, you know, you can I guess negative three times I still feel crummy. But I mean, at the same time, I was also recently boosted. I got my booster with beating in January. So I was like, probably a week away from having the best possible immunity. And that's kind of my hunch for what happened is like, I got it, but not I wasn't shedding enough of the virus to maybe trigger the Yes,
Pj Metz 5:25
Brandon Minnick 5:28
I've no idea. But I felt he stepped in for me. That's right.
Pj Metz 5:33
We had a fun episode. Last week. We were talking to Raj all the way from the UK. And she was talking about security and marketing. And it's exciting because I always love when we have people who have like some different backgrounds or are not just the typical person that you're gonna see in computer science or in the developer world. And I gotta say, I feel like this week's guest fits that bill perfectly. We're going to talk all about how I met this week's guest that after we bring them on. But let's go ahead and introduce to the world everyone please welcome Jessica Garza. Wait, hold on, I did it wrong. I did it wrong. I did. Now I forgot. Brandon said I have to do the reggae horn whenever the guest comes in. His requirement y'all.
Jess Garson 6:27
Nice. I really want to sample the reggae horns. So I got
Pj Metz 6:31
email@example.com. Right. And I found a website that does this thing called mp3 ripping. And now I've got it. Jessica, welcome to the show. Welcome to eight bits. Thank you so much for being here. Um, how about we start with you telling the folks at home a little bit about yourself.
Jess Garson 6:54
So I'm Jess, I am a developer advocate at Twitter. Um, and for fun, I have a hobby. I make music with cologne, and I perform under the moniker massacre arson. I'm mostly in the live code scene in New York, which there is I think it's the coolest thing about New York. Well, I've code NYC and perform regularly with them. And then I also have been playing more noise shows, which has also been really fun because I make music with code and I sample myself screaming on top of it. And it tends to be pretty harsh. So I've been venturing more into the noise world as well, which is kind of how PJ and I met in like a weird reflection. On New York,
Pj Metz 7:51
it was an absolute combination of those things that led us together and and like the first thing that happened was, I make Twitter bots. It's kind of my thing. And, and by my thing, I mean it's the only coding I know how to do. And I was talking about a change that had been made to the process for getting what's called the Twitter developer account. And I was like a little frustrated by I'm like, downplaying it. I ranted about on Twitter. And Jessica is a Developer Advocate there. Uh, the NBN said, Hey, I'd love to talk to you about you know, your experience with this. This is something we're working on. And I want to make sure that it's going well. And I first off, this is my first interaction with a Developer Advocate Dev Rel person from a company for something I'm using. So this was a big step. For me. It was fantastic. But we got to talking. And we said, and I looked at your profile, and it said noise musician and I went, wait, you make noise music. So for everyone out there. noise music is exactly how it sounds. It is it is harsh noise, but it is musical creation. It is it is an art form. And the thing that most people might be familiar with that gets the closest is like Sonic Youth. Like, there's some discord and stuff they did. But it is very much like you said it is harsh. But those are that we immediately bonded over the fact that like I listen to some noise, and I enjoy noise and you're creating it. And I was like basically as soon as I can. Next time I'm in New York City. I'm looking it up because that's the kind of stuff I want to see.
Jess Garson 9:30
Yeah, so I feel like I should play Florida because, you know, to hang out with you.
Pj Metz 9:38
I can see some places where it would work. What would fit and we got some arts here. We got some arts here. Yeah. So let's talk about um, we're gonna we're, we're gonna get to some noise later on. We're gonna talk about we're gonna hear some hopefully that'd be awesome. But let's talk about your history. You are a senior developer advocate at Twitter. Yeah. How did you get into tech? Like, like, what's what's the road path that you took from? Like? Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work with electronics? Was it a hobby that turned into a career? Was it a job that turned into a hobby because because your hobby of making music with code is very closely connected with your with your job of working in tech. So what's that path look like? Take us through it.
Jess Garson 10:23
Yeah, um, so I, I actually have an untraditional background. So interesting thing about me, is I never wrote code until my late 20s at all. And so I got started, I come from DC or from the DC suburbs. And DC is kind of like a career town. It is like a company town for politics. So you know, I graduated from college, and I was like, What am I going to do? I'm going to work in politics. Like, that's what, that's what I'm gonna do. Like, there was no, like, I never really thought about it. Um, or like thought if like, it was right for me or anything like that. I just was like, Well, I graduated from college in 2007. And that's an election cycle. So I have to go out and move to Iowa. Like, I knew. This sounds insane, right. But like, at the time, I was like, oh, yeah, that's like, what I need to do. And it's all kind of gone as planned. And I did a couple of other campaigns. Washington State for Patty Murray, on the campaign there. And all of a sudden, some like messy data came into my life. And also like my staff from like that time, I used to, like manage staff that would do like voter outreach and things like that. And like one of my Oh,
Brandon Minnick 11:49
oh, no. troubles. Oh, yeah.
Jess Garson 11:57
And I found a lot of like, technical difficulties. My internet died, like right before. I was supposed to join this. And it can links from streaming issues. I live in New York, where I thought that there would be good internet. When I moved to New York. I was like, Yeah, New York. happens. And the internet's really good. But that was a myth. The internet is
Pj Metz 12:21
only only like a few parts of Manhattan have great internet. Everyone else. It's very fun for yourself.
Jess Garson 12:26
Yeah, that's true. Um, but yeah. Where did I leave off my story? My journey? You
Pj Metz 12:33
found some some data? Oh,
Jess Garson 12:34
yeah. Some like messy data, gaming, messy data? Yeah. And I had to write code to clean it up. And I go,
Pj Metz 12:43
Wait, it was, it was a necessity. It was like, Hey, we have this data. It's like all over the place in your life. That so they were like, someone needs to write code. And you were like, me
Jess Garson 12:54
looked at, like how much time it was gonna take me to do the task manually. And then I was like, There's got to be a better way. And I like googled it and wrote a Perl script. And was like, oh, yeah, like, I'm a wizard. I like real code, and it happen. And like, it made my thing happen. And like, you know, I am, I am invincible. Like, I just thought, like, I and like, to me, like, that was actually like transformational moment, because I never saw myself as a technical person. Like, I didn't think that I had a need to do that. I like didn't really think that that was available to me. And then, like, I did something that I thought was impossible. And like that, kind of like that was like the moment where I was like, damn, alright, like, if that's possible, like, what else can I do?
Pj Metz 13:36
That's exciting. I love it.
Jess Garson 13:39
Yeah. And then I also talked to like, one of my, like, former employees from that time period, and they were like, you know, you were, like, obsessed without data got into the database. And that was all you would talk about. And like, you really wanted to be able to, like, make reports, and like you like, and I was like, oh, yeah, you're right. That like was like a proto programmer thing. And then I'm up after that job working in like, the tech space of like politics. So I like got a job in tech support. As you do when you want to break into tech company that was like, dude, like email blasts and like, fundraising and stuff for progressive candidates and causes. I like part of that job. Like I like but like writing documentation and like helping people like, but I didn't really like it like they were like, and then like, ended up doing more data stuff. But like, like part of it, but like, my favorite thing to do is like writing code and talking about it. And I found this meetup in New York, I mean, in DC at the time where I was living.
Brandon Minnick 14:57
Pause for dinner.
Jess Garson 15:00
Pj Metz 15:02
Jess Garson 15:03
Okay, where did you were
Pj Metz 15:05
you were you found a group? And yeah,
Jess Garson 15:09
yeah. And it was free beginner friendly classes for women by women. And then I like had this community and I was like planning hackathons and like, writing code and talking about it weekly, um, when I Googled one, so like, it used to run this meetup called Hack and Talon DC, and it was like, five presenters, and each presenter have five minutes to present. And then five minutes for questions. And we would like time you but the problem is, is like, if you only have two presenters, and like, it doesn't really work, right? It basically meant that you always had to do something because like, that format only works if you have five presenters or like, six presenters. But if you only have like three or four, then like, you need more time because it's like 25 minutes. So you know that that format was really fun, but maybe doesn't set you up for success. But I one time Googled, like how to make music occurred. And I found Sonic Pi, and I, which is like the Ruby way of live coding. And it's like, a program that like, isn't like an IDE. And there's like, now this like really amazing woman, DJ Dave, that makes like, really awesome stuff with that. And she like plays big, like electronic festivals and stuff like that. And she's awesome. And she like, is really inspiring. But like, you could do so much with it. And I like basically like wrote code and kind of people and I'm like, this is really cool, but doesn't sound like me. And then I was like, what if I like, sample myself screaming on top of it like that would be really cool. And try to like book myself out like punk shows in DC because I was like in a punk band and like, was in that scene and like, people are like, Wait, like, you can't just like write code a party's like, you can't? What are you doing, and then I moved to New York to teach at NYU. And then by that point, I was like, a software engineer didn't really like that and feel fulfilled, quit my job got hired somehow, it'd be an adjunct at NYU to teach programming, which was like, really awesome. It's kind of in this like, weird spot where it was, like, moved to New York didn't really know what I was gonna do. And then I had coffee with somebody, and they're like, oh, there's an algorithm happening tonight.
Pj Metz 17:26
I'll go rave.
Jess Garson 17:28
And it was like an event where everybody writes code that makes sound and visuals. And they were like, You should go to that. And I did. And then I met all the people from there and became friends with everybody and start playing shows on my own. And yeah, live cut. algorri and learn about this amazing community. And then around that time, I was like, having lunch with somebody. I was like, I don't know what to do my career. Like, I don't know what to do. Like, I like don't really like being a software engineer. Because like, I just like the teaching aspect of it. Like I like talking about things. I like writing code on stages in front of humans. I like use products better, but I don't know, engineering them, like what do I do? That's developer advocacy. Immediately, like, I just started applying for developer advocacy jobs. And people were like, calling me back right away. And I was like, wait, I guess that's it. And then I got hired by Twitter pretty quickly thereafter.
Pj Metz 18:37
I can't imagine a better like position where it's like most of what I like about coding is like helping people code. And so then you become like an actual professor, like, like an adjunct professor, teaching coding. And so of course, Twitter was like, Oh, so you've been a developer? And you've taught Yes, absolutely. Please come over right now.
Jess Garson 18:59
Yeah. And then they were also like, Oh, my God, you like have this community that like we've never heard of, that's like a programming community. And you ran on dev that yo, and I was like, oh, yeah, cuz I just like really like writing and talking about things. And building like, that is what I like to do. And like, that's how I
Pj Metz 19:19
branded? That's exactly how you explained it to me first, and again, you did for a second. Okay. But that's, um, so So Brendan, that's how he described DevRel to me when he convinced me I should do this.
Brandon Minnick 19:31
Yeah, because it, I'd say, programming in general. And that's kind of one of our goals of this show is to break that stigma that like, you need to be good at math. And you need to be, you know, the best developer in the world or the smartest person in the world to be a good programmer. None of that's true, like the day to day stuff you do as a programmer. A lot of its administrative, you know, having conversations about planning. And then most of the The code you write is doesn't involve math. I know, we're, we're talking about algorithms here. But you don't necessarily need that today. And so yeah, when I was trying to convince PJ and Gladdy glad he did make the switch, as like, PJ, you'd be really good at this. Like, you're an amazing teacher, you're amazing public speaker. videos already really good at making videos and active in communities. And it was really cool. Yeah, to teach you a little bit of code and take off from there. Because now more people can benefit from your teaching.
Pj Metz 20:39
And really, they're benefiting from you in the long run. It's not random. I approxi, PJ, absolutely.
Jess Garson 20:47
And one of the things that like we talked about, like the first time that we spoke PJ, which like really resonates was like you were like, because we you had this issue. And you're like, I don't know, like, I just don't think about things in the way that other people think about them. And I'm a little bit slow. And I was like, That makes you such a good developer advocate. I think issues also like, I think that like for me, like not having it come to me easily actually helps me build more developer empathy, especially for like developers at different parts of their journey. And like, I don't know sometimes.
Brandon Minnick 21:23
I'll pick up from that. Yeah, cuz I, I agree with that so much, because I always anytime I'm teaching something, documenting something, I always think about, what what was it like when I learned it, like, what misconceptions that I have I was getting into it, or what mistakes that I make. And I want to make sure I cover those. And I've definitely gotten a lot of feedback from people will say a lot there. This feedback is certainly in the minority. But some people will be like, you know, you really made it too easy. Like this workshop, you gave all the answers. It's like, Yeah, cuz it's a workshop, and I want to teach you how to do it. I want to make sure you leave here with a working example that you can show off your friends and family. Whereas some people try to make it like a challenge. Like, yeah, step one. Publish your website. It's like I've ever done. Like,
Pj Metz 22:19
the rest of the aljur. All the rest.
Jess Garson 22:24
Yeah, and I think also, like, figuring out like, where in the steps things go wrong, I think is also like, a big part of it, which is like, you know, all the different places where something can break down, like, like posting a tweet, like, I can tell you all the different ways that it can fail. But yeah, also, like, sometimes I'll like meet developers, and they'll be like, oh, yeah, this thing happen. And like, I don't know why. And then like, sometimes I don't know why. And I like really, that journey of like, trying to get in their shoes and figure out exactly like, why that's happening.
Pj Metz 22:59
I think that's what developer advocacy is at its heart, whether whether you're evangelist advocate, REL, whatever it is, it's understanding what the developer has to do to use your product, right? So if you're at GitLab, like I am, and my community is students, and professors, I need to know what all students are going to encounter when they're trying to use Git lab. And git lab is huge. The first time I open git lab, and there was like, create a free account, I was like, Oh, I'll do it. And then it was like, Alright, get started. And I looked around, and I was like, What do you mean, I don't know what this is for? I didn't know.
Brandon Minnick 23:38
So I am overwhelmed. Yeah.
Pj Metz 23:41
So anything you can do to take them down to just wellmed at least, is a benefit. And just You're absolutely right. It is it is about knowing what those pitfalls are, because then you know exactly where they need help. And they need like to see where they're going next. And that's how you help them through. Because if they know what the next step is, then they don't need you.
Jess Garson 24:04
Right, exactly. And it's also like different audiences, and like different pitfalls that they're gonna encounter is also like one of the things that I'm becoming like a little bit more savvy on and just like, the more I talk to developers that are actually like using things, the more I'm like, oh, yeah, okay, that's what's happening.
Pj Metz 24:22
Brandon Minnick 24:24
And for anybody listening, you don't have to be a developer advocate or developer relations to do this. I found even before getting into this field, just as a senior engineer, mentoring teaching people on your team in your company. All these skills are also very, very useful. And you can leverage the same takeaways just for when somebody new joins your team, like how do you get them up and running? Do you have it documented, do you know configuration steps just to get their computer to be able to compile The code, right? Little things like that, like, the more you document, things like that, then the easier it is for the next person. And yeah, that's kind of something I've always taken with me in my career. Because also, what I found is if you ever want to leave a job, if you've already trained somebody to do that job, then it's a really easy transition when you go to your boss and say, I'm going to switch teams, because some managers are like, No, we can't do it without you. It's like, okay, yeah, I've already trained this person. Everything's documented, you'll be fine.
Pj Metz 25:33
Or it's Nope, I can't let you leave.
Brandon Minnick 25:37
And then you just quit. Cuz that's Yeah.
Pj Metz 25:42
You can't leave. Yes, I can.
Jess Garson 25:44
Yeah, the first thing that I did was like a deployment thing. Because like, it was like the steps to deploy, because I worked in this place. And I was like, so how do you deploy? And they were like, Oh, you have to, like, memorize this thing. And they were like, you have to, like, memorize how do you like, there's a lot of steps, I'm gonna go human error. Like, I can maybe do it like, right once. But like, I'm sorry, I just documented it. I was like, Alright, there's no documentation on this. And that was like, the first thing that I ever did. And and also, like, I don't know, mean, the workplace feel a little bit nicer. Because like that workplace in particular, like, didn't have anything documented. And I was always like, terrified to like, do the task to do. And so yeah, I think that's something that like, figuring out like, where you can step in, especially if like you work in a place where nothing is documented, like, you can help the future version of yourself.
Pj Metz 26:46
Man, yes, the future version of yourself. And new people are one in the same sometimes. You have no idea what you were going for.
Jess Garson 26:58
Or, sure, you was like, Oh, wait, how did I do that deployment? Like a month ago? Why was I doing why did I do it?
Pj Metz 27:05
Yep. Yep. Be nice. Awesome. And that's Brandon, you taught me that early on, when we were working on your new favorite poem, that website we made together and you were like, Hey, man, you better leave a comment here. You better say something about what this is doing. Especially as we were getting towards like the end of an episode. And it was like, alright, we need to wrap up, and you would always go, Okay, what did we do today? Write it down. So we know where we are. Cuz sometimes it would be a long time before we'd get back together again, and we'd look at the code and be like, what were we doing?
Brandon Minnick 27:38
Right, I always tell myself, like, Future Me will appreciate this. Yeah, just take the extra couple minutes. And, you know, even ever, once we even just, we purposely created an error. So like it would, the compiler would throw an error, just so that next time we jump back in the code, we try to compile like, Oh, that's right. This is where Oh, yeah. Just like there's no way I'm gonna remember this.
Pj Metz 28:07
So Jess, you say that, uh, your first thing you did was documentation? And then now you're at, you're at Twitter, what are you? What are you working on at Twitter? What is your what is your team? Or what are you as a developer advocate sort of focus on at Twitter?
Jess Garson 28:20
Yeah. Um, as of late very, very recently, I stepped into kind of a newer sort of project, where thinking about how to like, monetize developers more and like, how to reward developers and like, what types of things like motivate developers and like thinking about like, one of the coolest things about the Twitter API right now is that we have a whole community of opening libraries and tools to use the Twitter API with I know PJ, you and I talked about, I forgot which whether you were using but you are using one, two, right?
Pj Metz 28:53
I'm using what was I using? twit? Yeah, you
Jess Garson 28:57
were using twit? Like, there's tweepi. There's like, oh, there's like this whole ecosystem of really cool tools out there. And like, how do we reward those folks who are making really amazing things? And like, how do we like people who are making really awesome content like you VJ? Like, how to what, like, what motivates you? And like, how do we keep that happening? And I don't know, I'll say like, I've been thinking a lot about that. And then we recently last week launched something called Twitter toolbox, I'll put the link in and tools are basically things like bots or integrations that can help you improve your Twitter experience. And they're like, third party tools that folks are creating. And then if you are like, Oh my god, I make a tool. Even if it's a bot or like, something like that, like fat reader is one as long
Pj Metz 29:50
Yeah, February is great. Yeah.
Jess Garson 29:53
Um, and so yeah, that's one that is on the toolbox, but If you're like oh my god I make something that's cool too. You can actually apply as well at t.co/toolbox Apply
Pj Metz 30:11
I'm gonna go ahead and say that my Mountain Dew kickstart box should be in there for everyone to use so they can all scream at Mountain Dew about getting the sponsorship for sure.
Jess Garson 30:20
Also, maybe that's a word that you need is on Mountain Dew sponsorship. You also messaged me as well. Send me that joke. But yeah, we need to figure out like how to get more people the rewards that they want. Like maybe it's that we send you a box of Mountain Dew every like month.
Pj Metz 30:43
All right, whatever box you want. If I can actually get that Mountain Dew code red, not even. Actually, I do like it too. But literally, I've been drinking it on stream for those weekend. See this beautiful, orange and white can of kickstart orange mountain mango, do whatever. Even just smelling it.
Jess Garson 31:03
What is that?
Pj Metz 31:06
This is what I scream about all the time. It is a water based energy drink. And I started drinking it because it was $1 at the store that I was at. And it was cheaper than everything else. And I tasted it and it was heaven. And that's all I'm not saying anymore. You know why? Because they're not sponsoring me yet.
Jess Garson 31:28
I'm more of like a Baja Blast kind of person.
Pj Metz 31:32
What? We accept all kinds of Mountain Dew lovers in this show.
Brandon Minnick 31:40
I love it. There's there's a rift in my marriage, because my wife and I don't understand it. But it seems to be one of those products that you either love it or you hate it. Because anytime I bring it up to somebody, they either love it or don't drink it at all.
Pj Metz 31:59
It's strong feelings. Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 32:03
There's a blast. Seltzer coming out. Like it reminds me a Four Loko back in the day. And I thought that was illegal now so I don't know how they're getting away with illegal I could talk
Jess Garson 32:25
for a logo and now it's like, okay, but like
Pj Metz 32:28
I had to, like remove the caffeine from or not have as much caffeine in it. Yeah, it's still around. You can buy it for local if you really want to. And you can buy a red ball on the side. And it's the same but I was I was there I saw firsthand the dangers of Four Loko.
Jess Garson 32:45
The summer of 2014 was
Pj Metz 32:52
Facebook memories showed me two things. It was it was the night before it was like I've got Four Loko, Johnnie Walker and the next memory was what has happened to be in my friends. And I was like, that's about right.
Jess Garson 33:13
time thinking about like what, like the pandemic would be like early like lockdown times, like what everybody would have been doing.
Pj Metz 33:30
There would have been a lot of dropped pots and pans out a window instead of clapping for healthcare workers, they would have been hitting the ground for sure that's dangerous. talking so much about all this, and I feel like we got to take a second step back and go to our sponsors real quick. And let our sponsors do some talking the leading of for Loco is definitely a good idea. We'll be back in just one second y'all. Hi, if you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon and PJ. And we're here to talk to you about your product. And how it can help you in your life by to do whatever your product does. So if you're an avid listener of the show, or you watch us on Twitch, then you will know that your product your product is right for you.
It's great, it's such a good commercial. That's right y'all. If you are interested in having adspace here on eight bits, you can contest contact us at Hello at eight bits.tv Right Is that right? I say right.
Brandon Minnick 34:50
Yes, I'm just laughing because it's, it's you in the video and then we come back. Brace yourself about
Pj Metz 35:00
It's like that meme of Obama giving him a medal.
Brandon Minnick 35:06
He's like, What a great, what a great video we have there.
Pj Metz 35:11
I can't believe what a handsome spokesperson they got for that commercial.
Brandon Minnick 35:17
But email us at Hello at a pitstop TV, we'd love to hear about any sponsorships and happy to share it with all of our viewers.
Pj Metz 35:31
That's, that's, uh, I can't be the person coming out of that ad. I think you're gonna have to pick that up next time, Brandon. That's your job.
Brandon Minnick 35:44
Sir, I completely derailed our conversation with Baja Blast. Mountain Dude, you're listening. I'd love to give it a second chance. Opportunities.
Pj Metz 36:01
Great. So yeah, Jesse, you were telling us about how you got into tech, you're telling us about working at Twitter, what you're working on at Twitter and the toolbox, which is seems really neat. Because one of my favorite things about Twitter is the variety of ways that you can do stuff with it. Especially if you're learning to code. I can't say enough good things about getting your hands into an API or getting your hands on a rapper that's using that API, do it and have some fun with it. Um, let's pit and let's talk about your hobby. Let's talk more about noise.
Jess Garson 36:34
Yeah. Um, so yeah, let's talk about noise. For me, like learning into noise is actually kind of funny. As well, just like my joining into pack. I like, didn't do it when I was younger, like, I didn't really like rebel in that way until my like, 20s. To my late 20s, and I was in the DC punk scene, I had a punk band left that punk band just because I didn't really have the time to really do it as much as I would have liked. Um, and also, like, kind of got bored of the DC punk scene, like PJ and I were joking about this right before that, like, every band like sounds the same. And that, like, everything felt really formulaic. And I didn't want to follow up formula, like I just wanted to do like weird experimental stuff. They didn't know what that was gonna look like, like, I thought it was gonna be me in a synthesizer and screen.
Pj Metz 37:36
So like a, that happens a lot in music scenes, this sort of like homogeneity that comes out of it, a lot of bands start sounding really similar. And like, this is something that's like, Well, I mean, blink 182 has a lyric, playing in punk clubs, still part of the same punk bands. And that's what happens with a lot of art scenes is because everyone finds the thing that works. And they love it. And it's how we're expressing ourselves. But then it all starts to feel kind of the same. So what? So you have this musical background? Right? And you were like, Well, okay, I'm going to do something different. I want to do something interesting. And you were saying, synthesizer, vocals, some screaming? And then you end up. You said, basically, you fell into programming really? And then you told us earlier, you found through the, what was it called a algorithm? Yeah, I
Jess Garson 38:30
found the algorithm seen. And yeah, at the time, like my first show was, like, literally, like how I would sample myself was I would like, open up audacity, and like, scream into my, a USB microphone, and like, sample that and just, like, drop the file in. And like, like, like, there was one time that I like, forgot to put like, the slash in front of users. And someone, like yelled it out to me.
Pj Metz 38:56
They were like, Why code reviewing you during your show?
Jess Garson 39:01
happened sometimes, like, especially because like, I show my errors, so like, sometimes I'll be like, really stuck on some things. Like, I'm trying to do like a lot of things all at once. And like, like, one time, I was doing like a Twitch stream, and somebody was like, this is what's happening. And that's like, I love it. Like, I feel really safe. Because, like, you know, you see something you say something and like, I think that just means that you have like a community of people that are there with you have your back and like that's amazing.
Pj Metz 39:29
It's fantastic. So, um, is there is it possible? I know we were trying to do this to some technical sharing earlier. I don't know if you can do it live or not? I don't know if we've got that capability. We're gonna try.
Jess Garson 39:41
It's gonna work. We're gonna try something. It's gonna be kind of experimental. I brought up my second computer during the break. So I think I'm going to try to join on my second computer. Well, we're just going to try this live. I have no idea if this is going to work. Okay, so you know That, like, honestly, like this is like one of the things we were talking about earlier is like one of my favorite things about like, because it's an experimental medium, I'm having some problems with my computer. I've had internet issues, some other stuff, like, but one of the things I love is like, it isn't experimental medium and like, weird stuff happens. And like, it's okay. Like, it's okay to have errors. It's okay to like, not know if it's gonna work. Like that's, like part of the fun and like, I used to be, like really intimidated when I first joined the scene. And then I think I was gonna start earlier, but like, I went to see little data plays like one of the biggest names in the like, live coding world, and his computer, like crashed and like, they were like, 10 people trying to figure out like, what happened. Um, and I was like, oh, like, that happens to me, like, and then I was playing in England, the person who made hails like, like a clip before him. And then I was like, Oh, my God, like, he's gonna be awesome. He's computer crashed like six times, like, while he was playing the show. And I was like, Okay, if that happens to them, like, my computer could crash too. And like, that's okay. And like, I feel like that's like, what makes it feel like really?
Pj Metz 41:11
It's fantastic. When you can find
Jess Garson 41:14
that they're like, their instruments are going to work. I have no idea. Like
Pj Metz 41:22
imagine like going out with like a guitar. And like, the neck just like melts and you're like, oh, that's never happened before. I don't know why. If we can help, it
Brandon Minnick 41:32
must be bad Wi Fi causing my guitar neck. It's basically the equivalent.
Pj Metz 41:39
No one in the crowd is like, you need to plug into the Ethernet to keep your guitar neck from.
Jess Garson 41:49
So my other computer is having some issues loading because yeah, I haven't I have another idea PJ, I'm gonna, I'm gonna email you a song. You choose which side and I'm just gonna tell you some top some song titles. And you can make a decision. Okay. Spooky is number one. Also audience feel figured out like if you're in it as well. Corners of disorder.
Brandon Minnick 42:17
That's a cool name.
Jess Garson 42:19
Yeah, it might be the title track, although I'm not 100% Sure. If that's gonna be the title track. Um, so yeah, if you have any ideas of what should be here, not like I'm in the process. Um, or maybe one that's like screen free. Which is my signature. I mean, I think there's some lightweight screaming. I'm NY SE.
Pj Metz 42:47
York Stock Exchange. Okay, so and why is he
Jess Garson 42:54
and I asked, he does have a good story behind it.
Pj Metz 42:56
I mean, I was corners of disorder sounds like just as a title of a song sounds cool.
Jess Garson 43:03
Alright, I'm gonna email you corners of disorder. Yeah. Alright, so
Pj Metz 43:07
we're gonna be listening to corners of disorder after you get the email. This this is officially my journey into actually being a shock jock because now I'm actually doing music. Not live show too. I've got this. And like with a reggae horn, I'm halfway there. So that's good. So good.
Jess Garson 43:31
Also, finding your email is like the next thing.
Brandon Minnick 43:38
You could sell it, send it to Hello at eight bits.tv.
Pj Metz 43:46
TV says Perfect. Alright. Just like you can. You can email us music, or you can email us request to be the advertiser on the next episode.
Jess Garson 43:57
Yeah, you normally live couldn't go into my music folder. Now I'm like, I
Pj Metz 44:09
I need to open up the right window. So I can open our email Brandon. Oh, oops, there we go. Because I only have it in my it's all like well, like we'll show it all off. You can see my login and everything. A reminder for those of you in the audience who are not familiar with noise, music, it is discordant. It is purposefully a little bit harsh. It is noise. If this is not a something you're going to be hearing on pop radio. It's not the type of music that you're gonna sit around and like be like, it's beautiful, but there's an expression there and that's why I love it. I listen to some noise like a weasel Walter and there's a Japanese noise band from I think the 80s called the ghetto Gay, gay, gay, gay. And they are a wild band. They do from Five second, covers of, well, not just this, but what I heard them from was five second covers of famous songs. So there'll be like, they'll do baby kinky, like my fire, but it's five seconds of noise, and then it's over. And it's it's fantastic stuff that stuff makes me so happy. But again, it's
Brandon Minnick 45:22
Pj Metz 45:25
It's so early noise, and I think Jess would know better. But it's really to do with like, experimenting with what sound can be like, even if you look at like, composers like John Cage, he did weird stuff with most considered classical music. Because they were saying, Look, if if music is a type of noise, what if we just made the noise, like John Cage had a song that's called four minutes, 33 seconds. And it's just silence. It's nothing. And I was actually talking to my students about this when I was a high school teacher. I was like, it's an expression of something. The performance of a gym, that John Cage piece that's just silence is, instead of sounds that the musicians make it is now the sounds of the room. And that becomes the performance because when there's no sound, your your ears start to reach out for anything. And you otherwise wouldn't hear. So it's, it's so there's always been music experimentation, like John Cage is doing stuff in the 60s.
Jess Garson 46:35
Yeah, yeah. And that's like, it's kind of changed a lot as well since then. And I just think you should have an email, by the way, if I were to do something, but I sent her a comp. Because my upload speeds of course, because my internet is being weird, aren't awesome. And then while we play that I'm going to experiment with like, seeing if I can, like join the stream as me so like, there's a lot of like, to maybe there'll be some live stuff, but we'll see what happens. You got it.
Pj Metz 47:02
I am looking looking looking right now.
Jess Garson 47:05
And it's firstname.lastname@example.org Yes.
Brandon Minnick 47:09
Yep. Should be numeral eight
Jess Garson 47:12
numeral. Okay. Yeah, we're gonna play core. This is like the world premiere I think of order for it was on a comp once. There is like a newer version that has like a bass at the end and more screams because like, who doesn't like more screams? Right? Yeah, but this is like the older version.
Pj Metz 47:33
I'm gonna start it I'm currently I should be sharing my computer sound naturally because but I have these black hole because I'm on a Mac. I'm gonna hit play. Let me turn off this background chill background.
Jess Garson 47:44
It's gonna start with a screen by the way so everyone knows.
Pj Metz 48:30
Just I am loving this, this is amazing. Oh my god. So like, it's not in like a is it informed? What time signature is it?
Jess Garson 48:39
Um, I think the BPM on that is one indeed.
Pj Metz 48:42
So wow, that's fast. Because it feels it feels like there's a lot going on at once. But there's a there's a cyclical nature to it all to, to each individual piece. Like the screen is there on its own cycle. The music is on its own cycle.
Jess Garson 49:00
So through string length, which is like really fun, because all the strings are different, like so basically, the way that it works that each sound maps to a letter of the alphabet, and then all of my like, so. All of my strings, like I played different strings all at the same time. And they're all at different lengths. And so that's how I do poly rhythms or string line, which is like really fun.
Pj Metz 49:26
That's amazing. So what what programming language are you writing these in?
Jess Garson 49:31
Yeah, so I use three different programming languages for various different vibes. Um, so that is like intense classic massacre. I think about it. Like I before I went into the studio, where I recorded that I had like this like, almost like manifesto of sorts for like, I had like different like different phases of Metallica. So that was classic Metallica, and that's like loud and aggressive. And then I do like more droney stuff in Ruby. on Sonic Pi these days, and that's like more chill, but like also kind of aggressive in its own way and like more ambient, but like, kind of more drawn like, and then intitle cycles I do, which is like the Haskell wrapper for supercollider. And they're all wrappers for different languages, another programming language called supercollider, and there's actually a Python talk where I talk all about, like how to get started. If you're like, interested in
Pj Metz 50:27
wait, you have a PI CON talk about coding music. Yeah, we need to link it, we have to link it right now. That's fantastic. Because again, this is this is a, a fantastic and fun way of, of doing your its work because it's tech and it's coding. But it's like a very expressive way of doing it. And this is not something that everyone knows is out there. And so to show more people that is out there, it's fantastic. Oh, my gosh,
Brandon Minnick 51:01
I agree. And I will say, it wasn't what I expected. Because when you said it starts with screaming in my head, I was thinking of like, what, I don't know if this is the actual term for but I always called it screamo music where it's kind of like heavy metal rock and the singer doesn't really sing anymore. Just like yeah, guttural screams into the microphone. That's a great. No, right. Yeah, I love Yen's in the comments is that he left? It's a turntable emoji cat turntable emoji.
Pj Metz 51:43
Perfect. I found your talk at HP icon Cleveland 2019. And I just dropped the link in our chat for y'all. I'm making music with Python supercollider and Fox dot.
Jess Garson 51:59
I think we're gonna try something. Um, I think there should be another version of me. Yeah, just TV that's like, we're gonna see if this works. I have no idea if this is going to so. So like, I'm going to share my screen that's gonna be a minute of inception or no, that's me. That's me. Okay, cool. Now I found the right button to press. Alright. So let's just I have no idea. This is gonna work by the way. So I'm gonna turn on what I'm doing right now. Is I'm turning on Fox. Ah, we're gonna see. And is this muted? Let's just double check. My hands are sweaty. So yes, listening
Brandon Minnick 52:39
along in the podcast, Jess is sharing her screen. Looks like we're in the atom code editor. We have some code on the screen. And she's coming shortly.
Jess Garson 52:55
Maybe it's like coming. Um, I don't know. Music. It's coming. has stopped. Okay, cool. Yeah. So this is like, despite doing this like a million times. I hear a faint man.
Pj Metz 53:11
There's an echo now.
She just muted her. I think her main computer and I definitely heard of music. I definitely heard something happening.
Brandon Minnick 53:28
Yeah, I heard some some drums. Oh, yeah.
Pj Metz 53:34
So she with Foxtrot, she's typing a string. And she was telling us earlier, the string creates a sound. Each letter is a different sound. And so she's layering these things right now.
Brandon Minnick 53:48
Yeah, it's funny to read the code because like the code says play, and then she has added a string and the string is S, G, S, S, capital C, capital C, capital C, F, lowercase p, lowercase b, if you just looked at it would seem like complete nonsense. But yeah, when you think about it in terms of characters and letters are sounds. She's building music is code.
Pj Metz 54:19
Yeah. And that's and that's what's like, again, that's what I find interesting about the noise scene is that these things and these, these ways of stretching, music as an experience are really really, really unique and interesting and fun. Like you're experimenting, you're trying to do something interesting. And you are saying, Okay, this is what music is defined as, but it can also be this and like what we heard earlier was absolutely music.
Brandon Minnick 54:48
Yeah, I was just thinking, you know, we were talking earlier about people new to coding and getting into it. What a better way to start like if you're already into music Learn how to code a little bit. And then that can take off from there. Learn a couple lines of code here. You google some things and copy pasting from Stack Overflow to get some things working over there. Next thing No, you're a developer.
Jess Garson 55:16
Yeah. And then the other thing is like, that's how I learned Ruby. Like, as a Python programmer, and now I'm like, oh, that's like the GU that's like what I do when I make my loops like, and like, it's just like, a really fun way. And then also, like, even if you don't know anything, like, I really like weird in discord and sounds. So like, the first time that I did it, I was like, oh, yeah, yeah.
Pj Metz 55:38
I like, right.
Jess Garson 55:39
Yeah. And like, I remember following a tutorial to like, do something. And I was like, oh, no, like that weird thing that I'm doing. That's what I want to do. And like, because like I really liked like, repeating like vocals and things like that. I'm glad that we got something working, I was a little bit nervous that nothing would work. So. And I think that's also like, part of it is like the journey of like, making it work every single time and every weird venue with every weird condition. Like it just like, people keep inviting me to play places. And like, it's really awesome to like, get to know really amazing people to get to know who's doing it to like, talk about, like, I've learned so much about concurrency, because that's like, what's making all this happen? Just through the like, live coding scene where like, I don't think that I would learn about that any other place.
Pj Metz 56:25
It's great. I just posted a video of you at algo. Wave back in December. You performing with Zach crawl? Yeah, in the chat, if y'all want to check out a live performance. I'm just I'm so stoked. Like, from from me. Doing what I usually do on Twitter, which is yell at Brands I'm submitting you is exactly the best possible situation I could have hoped to get out of this. You were just talking about how important it is to like, like, like getting there and having mistakes and difficulties and things to overcome. And that's part of the fun of music. I feel like that translates to developing as well and translates to working in tech as well. You know, it's, you're gonna find mistakes, you're gonna have troubles and there's gonna be difficulties but like part of that leads to you figuring out the best way to do it. Like you didn't learn Ruby until you started using it in your music. And now you know, Ruby, like, it's fantastic. I love it. This is such a great friggin podcast, Brandon.
Brandon Minnick 57:30
Yes, and, Jess, we only have a couple minutes left. We'd certainly love to have you on again. We can show off more of this. More of the songs more of the live
Jess Garson 57:41
thing. I buy a sponsored ad when I like have any
Brandon Minnick 57:46
drops. Absolutely. But for the folks listening who want to tune in, check out your latest album. Where can they find you on the internet? Yeah,
Jess Garson 58:00
Twitter's probably has a Twitter play? Twitter Jessica Garzon? Yeah, find me on the internet. So also if you make anything with the Twitter API, or try programming and music or like anything like that, come and talk to me Um, and yeah.
Brandon Minnick 58:21
That's right and and tweet your thoughts at just about Baja Blast Mountain Dew. Elser, let us know how it is. Just thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for joining us for another episode. We'll see you next time on eight bits.