#WFH Diaries: Justin Kooy of Sound Lounge

As confinement continues in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Justin Kooy of New York audio-post-production company Sound Lounge.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Justin Kooy, mixer at Sound Lounge by day, sports enthusiast by night.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

My home in suburban New Jersey, with my wife and two kids.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I have a small audio studio setup in my finished basement. There was a lot of tech involved in getting it up and running, but since that got all ironed out, it has been smooth sailing. My basement also doubles as a playroom, gym, casino, bar and lounge. Fully equipped with some TVs and video games, shuffleboard, darts, slot machines, a Peloton, and booze. Oh, and toys, lots of toys. Sound Lounge Zoom meetings in my pajamas are my favorite part, though.

Describe your socializing strategy.

There is definitely a strategy involved here. Using the Houseparty app to play games with friends. This weekend we are going to have virtual beer pong. Trying to relive those college days virtually. Also, a lot of texting GIFs and memes to friends for laughs. Mostly inside jokes, just remembering the days when we were actually allowed to be in the same room. And of course, waving to people who walk by.

How are you dealing with childcare?

My wife has been in charge of the distance learning. I couldn't do it without her. The kids are 8 and 5. They would both normally be in school all day, getting ready to plan for summer camp this time of year. Their schedule changes a bit every day, because we can't have indoor gym class right above me while I'm in a mixing session.

What are you reading?

Besides the news? Email has me pretty tapped out when it comes to reading these days. Sad, but true.  

What are you watching?

I'm saving an hour and a half on commuting, so I'm using that time to stay up late and catch up on the DVR. Right now, I'm really into Better Call Saul. I’ve also been watching The Masked Singer with the kids, which I am now addicted to. (FYI—I guessed T-Pain as the winner last season. My money is on the Turtle this season, but I have yet to figure out who it is.) Oh, and Lego Masters. Who doesn't like Lego and Will Arnett? My kids are so impressed that I have worked with him.

What are you listening to?

Not much, to be honest. I always listened to a lot of music on my commutes, but since that has gone away for the moment, I haven't listened to much. They do have some great playlists on the Peloton though, so I get my ’90s rock rides in to get my fill.

How are you staying fit?

Peloton. I happened to get one earlier this year and I’m so glad I did. It's been amazing. I was an early-morning rider before quarantine and had a 60-day streak going—I even got a virtual medal! But now that I'm home more, I tend to ride later in the day. Harder to get motivated, but the rides seem easier, actually.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Peloton strikes again. That and stocks. I find stocks and studying charts fascinating.

Any tips for getting necessities?

I'm a Virgo, so I always have a stockpile of necessities. I really lucked out in that way. Before all of this went down, I honestly had around 75 rolls of toilet paper, 30 mega-rolls of paper towels, and 15 boxes of tissues. I’ve also been doing some curbside pickups. Those are always an adventure. At Best Buy, they were doing the Macarena in front of the store.

An awkward moment since all this started.

My kids decided to come downstairs and misbehave right before I was about to do a test with a voiceover talent and my mic was open. *Face palm*

Best work email you got since all this started.

"Happy Hour at 6 p.m.!”

An aha! moment since all this started.

I was always jealous of people who got to "work from home,” but I do miss the office, I do miss my coworkers, and I do miss being face-to-face with clients. A mix session alone in the basement is not nearly as much fun as a room full of clients—and lets not forget, a BIG lunch!

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I honestly don't know. I think some places will get back to normal sooner than others. I think it will take a little longer here, living in New Jersey and working in Manhattan. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and roll with it as best I can.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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