Meet Brandon: Murfie’s New Help Desk Manager!

This is Kayla writing this post! This month marks my fourth year at Murfie. First of all—wow, that’s exciting! Secondly—wow, things have really changed!

I began working in Operations, ripping discs and handling downloads. My previous experience in radio made me fit to create and host the Murfie Podcast. From there, I started doing more social media and PR for the company. And naturally, that’s where my role took off. I had been running the Murfie Help Desk too, but now it’s time to hand off that role to a qualified candidate, so that I can zero in on the social side of things.

And that qualified candidate is without a doubt Brandon. I went to the higher-ups with confidence that Brandon cared about the individual needs of members enough to be a great person for the job. However….can he really fill MY shoes? I had to ask him a few questions to put him on the spot. :)

K: Tell everyone a bit about yourself!

B: I am 21 years old and was born in Madison, WI. I’ve lived in Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. before moving back here. My hobbies include playing guitar and saxophone, painting, and enjoying video games. My favorite place to travel is the woods of British Columbia—so serene! My favorite music is electronic, classical, classic rock, and indie.

K: What do you like about working at Murfie?

B: For me, the best part about working at Murfie is discovering new music! I’ve come across LOADS of albums, either through co-workers or just browsing members’ shops, that have greatly broadened my horizons musically.

K: Why are you a good fit to run our Help Desk?

B: I’m a good fit to run our help desk because I specialize in Operations, which means I can facilitate the problem-solving process. Plus, I truly care about the needs of our members….I love the site as much as they do!

K: So, do you think you can fill my shoes? 

B: Yes! You have shown me the ropes, and I’m ready to help our members get the very best in customer support!

Brandon is ready to help with all your Murfie needs—contact him through our Help Desk and say hello! :) 

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Murfie may be an internet-based company, but there’s a group of real peeps who work here (super-cool peeps, may I add!), all currently living around the Madison area. It’s our team of developers here at Murfie who are responsible for building the features on our site: everything from Wishlists and the album pages to the Android app and more. You can meet one of these folks today:

ZACH FOSTER

Where are you from? > I’m from a little town about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee called Cedarburg. It’s a quaint little town with a rustic main street. At some point, in some magazine or something, it was said to be number three on the top tourist attractions in Wisconsin, but though it’s cute, it’s not that cute.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’ve been working at Murfie since August of 2011. I originally started as an Ops member, but gained enough knowledge to move into a developer role. I’ve been developing for almost a year now, and I absolutely love it.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > My favorite part of the job is my group of coworkers. I love having really motivated and creative people around me, and every day, Murfie employees are doing awesome things around Madison. Our gang is making Madison a better community, while making Murfie a better company. There’s nothing like good people.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Since I was gifted roughly 500 discs, my collection is a mess. That being said, it’s full of some of my favorites, artists like: Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and The National. I drift heavily into the Folk/Indie/Americana side, songs with good lyrics and peaceful, spare melodies.

Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Oddly enough, this is an easy question for me, I’ll give you three, two of which I already mentioned: Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and Bob Dylan. You’d be surprised by how similar they all are.

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be any why? > Definitely Dylan, but it would have to be when he was just getting started releasing albums, around when he released the self-titled. I don’t think I am interested in anything he’d have to say, but boy, I would love to hear him speak.

Are you a Beyoncé fan? > I went through a phase because I grew up with a sister three years older than me. That’s all I can reveal.

What album are you really digging right now? > Volcano Choir‘s Repave. I think “Comrade”, the third track, is etching itself onto my plaque of all time favorites.

Do you have any pets? > I do. I have two turtles who were given to me by Tyler, another sMurf, and I have a 1-year-old kitten named Matilda. She’s quite the little bundle.

What is your favorite food? > Curry. 4 stars.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Too many things. I’m not good at sitting still and doing nothing. My current obsessions are exercising, watching Miyazaki films, and reading. I’m working on a couple side projects, including a social app for new parents and their children, and a developer bootcamp for others interested in obtaining job skills that one may not learn in school.

Now you know more about Zach, someone who does a lot for Murfie! Behind the scenes, we have a lot going on here!

Halloween at Murfie!

It’s Halloweeeen time! Even though it’s not the 31st, it’s safe to say that many folks will be celebrating the year’s spookiest holiday this weekend.

Our staffers have some great Halloween album picks for you, along with great stories to share (with pictures)!

Hey pumpkin!

Name: Gao
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Thriller (by Michael Jackson) has always been a favorite. In fact, my family did the Thriller dance at my sister’s wedding reception.
Best Halloween costume ever: My sisters made me a dinosaur costume one year. They even built a tail! I stomped around and called myself Gaozilla.
What I plan to dress up as this year: This is the first year I’ve bought a costume and didn’t make it. I’ll be a pirate. ARGH!

Name: Jeff
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Scream, Dracula, Scream! by Rocket from the Crypt.
Best Halloween costume ever: Andy Warhol (really sad I don’t have a picture).
What I plan to dress up as this year: Washed up, out of shape Justin Bieber.

Scary!

Name: Daniella
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman.
Best Halloween costume ever: Nerd costumes have included Companion Cube (from Portal), Cthulhu, Harry Potter, and more nerdiness…
What I plan to dress up as this year: This year I’m going as Lumpy Space Princess (assuming I can find myself a purple beehive wig).

Goodnight moon!

Name: Tiffany
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde.
Best Halloween costume ever: It’s a toss-up between Poison Ivy, Medusa, and a dead woman. I don’t have a digital picture of any of those, but I’ve got a picture of my costume as the Moon a few years back.
What I plan to dress up as this year: Not sure yet. And even if I knew, I never reveal my costumes before Halloween.

Name: Zach
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Scary Sound Effects (because I remember ripping it).
Best Halloween costume ever: Rorschach because I have a mask with an ink blot that warps because of the temperature of your breathing vs. the cold air.
What I plan to dress up as this year: I’ll probably hand out candy.

What a ghoul…

Name: John
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Litanies of Satan by Diamanda Galàs (Close second: Schrei X).
Best Halloween costume ever: A few years ago, my band Fambly Fun! performed a Halloween show as Will Smith. That’s right, we had FIVE Will Smiths. We played all the classics from Big Willie Style and Willennium, and even Willow Smith’s then-new “Whip My Hair.” It was a ton of fun.
What I plan to dress up as this year: I like to dress up as something timely, yet unexpected. Last year, I dressed up as the Russian feminist punk rock protest band Pussy Riot. This year, who knows!

Go Go Ranger!

Name: Steve
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: John Denver, classic fall Americana.
Best Halloween costume ever: I went as a Power Ranger when I was about 9. I had a glove that makes karate chop noises when you squeezed the thumb to the rest of the fingers. It was sooooo freaking cool.
What I plan to dress up as this year: The Man in the Yellow Hat. My girlfriend is going as Curious George.

Life is a cabaret!

Name: Noah
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Halloween’s all about the movies, right? And what’s a better combination than Bernard Herrmann’s unforgettable scores to Alfred Hitchcock’s most terrifying movies.
Best Halloween costume ever: I went as Sally Bowles from Cabaret, but the makeup ended up looking a bit like Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange. It kind of worked anyway.
What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m thinking of going as a Mondrian painting, but I have a habit of changing my mind at the last minute.

Bah, humbug!

Name: Matt
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Watermark by Enya (music for relaxing until Halloween is over).
Best Halloween costume ever: I’ll be the party pooper in the group and go on the record that I’ve never really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween—not as a kid, and certainly not as an adult. I find it a bit disturbing that Halloween has become a bigger draw for adults than children. If Halloween need be celebrated at all, at least let the kids regain the run of things.
What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m not planning to dress up again this year, for obvious reasons.

Eeeeek!

Name: Marc
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Meticulously somber, strolling music for when chill winds throw leaves past your feet.
Best Halloween costume ever: A few years over the past decade I’ve iterated a costume inspired by a recurrent nightmare I used to have. I once made a bellhop at the Concourse jump back as I crept along the street.
What I plan to dress up as this year: Probably no costume, since I probably won’t have the time to put into making one.

Name: Preston
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: October Project :)
Best Halloween costume ever: My best? That was Satan working to recruit a manager ready to to Sell Their Soul to get in “Below Ground Level!!” managing the exclusive franchise I had just negotiated to open a line of Starbucks cafes in The 9th Circle of Hell. My pitch was that it’s “…the only place in the universe where another Starbucks can possibly improve the neighborhood.” It was a play on a joke in this animation, but you might want to watch the whole set for context.
What I plan to dress up as this year: It’ll be a game day decision. One possibility is that I’ll dress in a suit with a giant American flag lapel clip holding a pacifier on a red, white, and blue ribbon, with “I <3 Ayn Rand” stenciled on an Elephant on a T-shirt underneath. I’ll blackmail people into giving me some of their candy by threatening to do something that would embarrass us both. If they foolishly give me candy, I’ll come back later, scream and cry loud enough to be heard that they have way too much candy, and whine that they won’t negotiate with me to meet me part way and give me some of the rest. Ideally, this will be a team costume and include someone who plays the world’s tiniest violin each time I don’t get what I want. If things go poorly for them, I might also just go as The Ghost of The Republican Party, or conversely if democrats cooperate in sacking the poor, I might be an old person looking for information on which cat food tastes best.

The fam!

Name: Jason
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: This year, Featuring: Dr. Gruesome and the Gruesome Gory Horror Show by Snow White’s Poison Bite.
Best Halloween costume ever: Probably Zeus.
What I plan to dress up as this year: Was going to be Magneto, but didn’t have enough time to assemble the required high-voltage power supply…

Ooo là là!

Name: Leah
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Something about Nick Drake is just perfect for an autumn stroll.
Best Halloween costume ever: A tie between Pam from the Office (I found Jim on State St!) and a Frenchman (fake cigarette, I promise). Oh and I went as an old woman when I was in second or third grade, which was hilarious.
What I plan to dress up as this year: A flower :D I found directions for an awesome DIY flower headpiece thing online, and my rest of the body will be the stem – a “Leahlac”, you might say.

Name: Tyler
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. An album to listen to bundled up with your favorite blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.
Best Halloween costume ever: Don’t know what the name of the costume is, but I was dressed as a headless guy who was carrying his own head in his hands and the head was my head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture :(
What I plan to dress up as this year:
 I’ll be handing out candy this year, so no dressing up for me. But our two dogs will be dressed in Packer uniforms!

Barney!!!

Name: Kayla
Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Anything with The Monster Mash.
Best Halloween costume ever: Probably last year when I was a strawberry, since I made the costume by myself. The only thing is, everyone thought I was a watermelon—even though I had yellow seeds! =\ Some other notable costumes: Esmeralda, Avril Lavigne, and Zombie Tinkerbell.
What I plan to dress up as this year: Amy Winehouse (I bought a wig!). I’ll have fake tattoos, thick eyeliner, an empty bottle of Jack, and all that good stuff. My roommate and I are planning on having a séance for her on the 31st.

Big thank you to all the moms who had fun picking out pictures for this post! Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone!

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

At Murfie, we have about 35 employees working to keep the site awesome. We have a small staff, so our accounting department is pretty small too—one person, actually! Whenever you request a check with your Murfie balance, and whenever it’s time to balance books and pay the staffers (woo hoo!), this gal handles it all.

SUSIE YOUNKLE

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Where are you from? > Milwaukee. I went to school at UW-Madison, then lived in Chicago and overseas before returning to Madison long-term.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > My husband, Matt, is one of the co-founders of Murfie, so I’ve been involved since day one. I handle all accounting for the business.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > I enjoy the energy and excitement of a start-up—especially one with a cool product/service. Plus, my fellow Murfie staffers are really passionate about music and way more knowledgeable than I am, so it’s been a great learning experience for me.

41723-largeWhat kind of music can be found in your collection?  > Classic rock, reggae, jazz, and a bit of kids music.

Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz, Tito Puente, The Rolling Stones, Thievery Corporation, Lucky Dube, and anyone with “Marley” in his name (Bob, Damian, Stephen, Ziggy….)

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > My late grandfather, Gene Heier. He was a beloved music teacher and band leader who played 8 instruments. In fact, for decades his band was one of the best known polka bands in the northeastern part of Wisconsin.

85936-largeAre you a Beyoncé fan? > Yes. I love dance music!

What album are you really digging right now? > Eric Hutchinson‘s Moving Up Living Down. I was introduced to this album through a podcast done by Murfie staffer Kayla.

What is your favorite food? >  Cheesecake, especially from Simma’s Bakery in Wauwatosa, WI.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Chasing after my 3 year-old daughter, doing yoga, volunteering, and cooking and baking. My homemade cookies are particularly popular with my Murfie colleagues :)

That’s true about the cookies! Now you know more about Susie, someone who does a lot for Murfie. Keep a lookout for more behind-the-scenes info about our staff next week!

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Our operations team is the best! Ops staffers are here seven days a week, ripping discs, checking metadata, processing downloads, sending kits, and more. This week you can get to know an operations pro:

                ALEX SCHACHERL

c8babb38-df3d-11e2-8ec3-3520997e13f8Where are you from? > I’m originally from Galesville WI, about 20 minutes north of La Crosse, and I moved to Madison in 2010.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’ve been here since February 2012, and by now I am a 9th level Audio extractor with cross class capabilities in Download Protection (Operations Staff).

What do you like about working at Murfie? > I love the fact that anyone I talk to about my job is instantly jealous of the amazing work environment and job description.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Mainly folk, pop/rock, and stand up comedy. Lately I have been acquiring lots of film soundtracks and scores.

Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Mumford & Sons, Tenacious D, Flight of the Concords, The Beatles, and Daft Punk.

29214-largeIf you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > Harry Connick Jr., because according to several of the Murfie staff I am his Doppelganger.

Are you a Beyoncé fan? > Who doesn’t love Foxxy Cleopatra?

What album are you really digging right now? > The Greatest Video Game Music, performed by the London Philharmonic. I’m an aspiring game developer, and there’s just something about an orchestrated Tetris theme that I just can’t get over.

photoDo you have any pets? > Currently, my two gerbils, Korra and Katara.

What is your favorite food? > I could probably eat boneless wings for dinner every night.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > When I’m not at work or school, I spend a good chunk of my time rehearsing and performing with Fundamentally Sound, an all male acappella group from the UW Madison campus. Other than that I enjoy gaming, frolfing, and all sorts of other merriment with friends and family!

Now you know more about Alex, a Murfie ops staffer extraordinaire! We love showing off all the cool cats who work here. Stay tuned and meet someone new next week!

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Today you can get to know someone who does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff at Murfie! As you know, many good changes to the site have recently been rolled out, and the people who make those ideas reality are our developers! Meet one of these folks today:

                   TIFFANY GREEN

4a1b33a2-d849-11e2-867c-7a9e1c310b2aWhere are you from? > I’m from Madison, but I grew up in Janesville and lived in Illinois and Louisiana for a while.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’m a front-end developer, though all the developers cross into a lot of code areas. I’ve been here for about 8 months.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > It’s so challenging and interesting, and I really like all my co-workers. It blows me away when I think about how much I’ve learned since I started here, and all of my co-workers are so creative and interesting.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Some jazz, singer/songwriter stuff, a bit of heavy metal, old punk, some swing, a bit of classic rock.

21270-largeWho are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > That’s a hard question. At least right now, I’d say Tom Waits, Gogol Bordello, John Lee Hooker, Regina Spektor, Peter Gabriel, and Morphine.

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > Janis Joplin – I don’t think I can talk about why in a work-related blog post. :)

What album are you really digging right now? > Babel by Mumford & Sons.

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Do you have any pets? > Yep, 3 chihuahuas and 2 cats. The total weight of cats exceeds the total weight of dogs in our house.

What is your favorite food? > Buttermilk biscuits.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Working on my house and garden, baking, reading, and playing with my goofy dogs.

Now you know more about Tiffany, someone who does a lot for Murfie! You can follow her on twitter via @squareleaf.

Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Here’s another chance to show off our great co-workers at Murfie! Ask anyone here, and they’ll tell you one of the best things about Murfie is the people.

This gal is not only great to work with, but she does a heck of a lotta important things that are essential to the daily functions of Murfie Operations—

GAO VANG

a765be64-d395-11e2-9dc3-de256bd96523Where are you from? > My parents are Hmong immigrants from Laos and I was born and raised in Eau Claire, WI.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > It’ll be 2 years in August! I assist in customer support and managing operations. I handle everything about downloads.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > First, the people–I’ve made best friends working here. Second, the challenge of working in a startup–not everything has been done before. We have to create our own programs and our own standards. It’s fascinating and exciting to see what we can come up with.

What kind of music can be found in your Murfie collection? > Mostly Pop/Rock.

2066-largeWho are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > I’m a 90’s girl. I love Nirvana and Sublime. I will always sing along to Backstreet Boys and Mariah Carey.

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > Marilyn Manson. He’s incredibly intelligent and down-to-earth. I feel like we would have great conversations. The only topic I would avoid is my taste in music.

Are you a Beyoncé fan? > And a Destiny’s Child fan? Yes. Yes.

What album are you really digging right now? > I have Paramore on repeat at the moment. It’s fun to dance and sing with it.
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Do you have any pets? > Yes! Charlie, my dog, turned three last month. She’s still sassy as ever.

What is your favorite food? > Ian’s pizza. I’m trying everything on their menu.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Chilling at the dog park with Charlie and DJ, my boyfriend.

Now you know more about Gao, our download expert extraordinare! We hope you enjoy seeing some behind-the-scenes stuff about us Murfieans, because some real cool peeps run this site!