Nov 5, 2015 - Things to Do

Work life of Jason Hausman, founder of Hot Sakē

(Note: Our How I Work Series is brought to you by AccruePartners – building people, companies and careers by being at the forefront of the staffing and executive search industry).

We all have a basic understanding of the power of music to set the tone of a situation. Whether it’s Miles Davis for dinner or Deadmau5 for the gym, music connects with us in a primal way. And even simple sounds can have a tremendous effect on our psyche, but on a less noticed subconscious level. Today companies are precisely engineering sound to captivate and engage, the result is a robust industry of man made modulations.

Unfortunately the amount we notice sound design is in inverse proportion to how well that sound design is executed, meaning when it’s done well, we don’t notice it at all. The right music and optimal sounds fit so precisely within the flow of the content that it’s easy to overlook. And that is exactly what the masters of the craft want. They strive to create experiences that are completely immersive, whether that’s watching a movie, or walking into a booth at a trade show.

And we have one of the best sound designers in the industry right here in Charlotte. Jason Hausman is a renaissance man, loving husband, father, and all around great guy who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with for a number of years.

Jason is a master craftsman. A forger of original sounds and technical wizard, he understands how to use sound and sound effects to get stunning results in everything from Emmy Award winning documentaries to children’s toys. But Jason takes sound design one-step further, choosing to use found objects to create unique tonalities central to the theme of his works. In this age of loops and drum machines, Jason chooses to produce original sounds in dynamic ways, adding a completely individual dimension to his work and embodying his philosophy that everything in the universe is interconnected.

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jason the other day, and we had an uplifting conversation about his career and how he works. (You can listen to the conversation here.)

Job Title:

Composer + Sound Designer. Founder of Hot Sakē.

Office Location:

Hot Sakē (2127 Hawkins Street)



7 or so miles, about 10-12 minutes

What do you do during your commute?

Listen to music, or just drive with radio off (sometimes my ears just need the break). Current playlist artists include Fink, James Blake, Algiers, Afghan Whigs and J. Cole. If it lifts me, I’m in.

Phone Type:


iPhone 6



At the studio: 27” iMac with another 27” display and a 40” display. External Raid and an iPad as a control surface for mixing in Logic Pro.

Remote: 13” MacBook Pro

Gadgets you can’t live without:

I couldn’t live without my Two-Notes Torpedo, my cheap microphone collection (I prefer them to my more expensive ones), my eBow and Cello Bow, and my iPhone.

Do you listen to music while you work? 


Ha! Just what I am composing, except when doing paperwork, updating website/social media or doing research. But when I do, I listen to a wide variety of stuff. From film score music like Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor, & Hanz Zimmer, to Bach Cello Suites, Coltrane, Ryan Adams, The Killers, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, The Roots, Neil Young, Elvis, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Talk Talk, David Sylvian, AC/DC, Prince & Radiohead. I’m all over the place.

What software are you a power user of?

Logic Pro and a lot of virtual instruments and plug-ins.

What’s your favorite spot for a business lunch? Your order?

I gravitate towards any area Pho (Vietnamese) or Thai joint. I love Japanese as well. But my guilty (a couple times a year) pleasure is Price’s Chicken Coop.

Top Spots: Thai Taste, Thai Thai, Akahana, Vietnam Grill and Lang Van

Social media habits:


I am fairly aggressive with my social media. But I honestly don’t have a strategy. I just use it all as a personal/business blog. I post what I am doing, from commercial work to personal music projects, falconry, family, etc.

To-do list manager:

My brain, iCal and the occasional paper and pen.

What’s your one favorite thing about your job?

There are several, but most importantly, that my clients are my friends. This is really important to me.

I get to work on a variety of projects, and usually at the same time. This keeps things fresh for me. I can get bored easily.

I also love that I can manage my life around my job (for the most part), and not the other way around. I think it is easy to bury oneself in work. For me, work is a side note to my life. Or, it is just another facet.

Best time-saving shortcut or Charlotte life hack:

Time saver: I get my sleep during early morning traffic and leave for work at 9 a.m. I like to work through afternoon rush hour, or even better, go do something fun before it starts and make up for it with some late evening work.

Life hack: I recommend getting out of the concrete jungle whenever possible and go hiking, kayaking, camping or just sit in a small woodlot (we have some nice parks). It is amazing what a little nature can do to reset your mental state.

Sleep routine:


I typically sleep from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. but my ideal sleep cycle would be 4 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Where do you go around Charlotte to get away from the office?

I am a falconer. I train raptors to be my hunting partners. It is a team that includes my dog. This is one of my excuses to get into the woods as much as possible. Any woods. It can be a small patch in the back of an industrial park or I can go outside of town or as far away as North Dakota or Indiana. This is my escape. My youngest son is also a falconer (and my oldest is studying to become one) so it’s great father/son time for us. On the off-season it’s the same… woods!

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Typically, I break my fast at lunch… or quite often, at dinner. I have horrible sleep and eating habits. It’s a lot of energy bars, almonds and yogurt. Whatever I can grab fast.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?

I would concentrate more on my musical side projects… my solo albums and my post rock/hip-hop duo with Andre McDonald, The Bodacious Wicked.

Although, when I was a kid, everyone thought I would be a zoologist. So I could certainly see myself working with animals.

Or, I’d just move into the woods and breathe!

Best job advice you’ve received:

10% Dream

90% Do

Last book you read (grade it on a A-F scale):

Ha! A Hawk for the Bush by Jack Mavrogordato. A-

I usually only read to learn, unless I am on vacation. Reading otherwise, for me, goes against my 10% Dream 90% Do rule. I used to devour multiple fiction books a week when I was younger. The older I get the more it feels like I am hiding from something I should be doing when I read fiction. I guess I would rather be writing than reading, doing than watching.

Last movie you watched (grade it on a A-F scale):


The Martian. A-

What’s one thing people don’t know about Charlotte that they should?

I think most people are seeing this. The art culture is really starting to explode in Charlotte. There is so much going on. The galleries, the live music venues, the bands, the plays, the symphony… it’s all just really starting to come into it’s own. There is a lot of really cool stuff going on! The progress has been fun to watch over the years.

What projects are you working on right now?

I am working on a new single with my post rock/hip-hop duo, The Bodacious Wicked, and releasing an ambient album called Increase+Decrease on Spotify and iTunes. I am working on projects for Wray Ward, Phase3, and Limerick Studios. I also just finished a big project for Nathaniel Howe Studios in Beverly Hills for Discovery’s Velocity Channel. I am scoring a short film by Gabriel Seth Koch. I just started work on a new EP to be released in 2016. Oh, and I am training a new hawk, a white Russian Goshawk named Gheist.


What projects are you most proud of?

Hmmm. The music for Brica’s line of children’s products, the video game work with MyJive, Carmax Super Bowl ads with BooneOakley, the Velux national TV spot with Wray Ward, the most recent work for Velocity with Nathanial Howe Studios. The score for the documentary From The Heart (Naka Productions) that won me my second EMMY, the sound for the documentary Overdraft, which won me the national TELLY for sound and sound design in a documentary. That was done with Scott Galloway at Susie Films. I also won my first EMMY with him on another project years ago. The awards are nice milestones.

To be honest, the list is immense. I get to work on a lot of cool stuff. But it’s the clients that cut me loose to do what I do, that get the best work out of me.


How long have you been doing sound design?

Professionally, I got off the road and stopped performing live as much in 1999, to work in a commercial studio. It’s been mostly composition and sound design ever since. I left that studio in 2004 to start my own shop, Hot Sakē. I wanted to concentrate on what I was good at.

What made you want to get involved with sound and creating sound?

I have been a musician since I was 10. It was just a natural evolution for me. I associate everything with sound. I like the energy it transmits. It allows me to touch people I have never even met. Through music and sound design, I write my stories. I find that I get lost in the process, which is very cathartic for me.

How would you describe sound design?

This is a term that gets thrown around a lot. I think it is the act of creating sound elements to enhance an image, animation, film or audio moment. I try to custom create as much of my sounds as I possibly can. This is restricted, sometimes, by time and budget considerations. That said, I always try to start with the question, “How can I make this sound?” rather than “where can I find this sound in a SFX library”? I use these sounds to enhance the user experience. It is a subtle, and beautiful, art form.

Describe the advertising industry here in Charlotte:

I think it is really moving in a positive direction! The big shops are still cranking (though there seem to be fewer of them) and smaller shops appear to be the new norm. This shift is creating a great melting pot of talent and creativity in our community. It’s evolving and vibrant. There is immense talent in Charlotte. It seems to be getting more… brave. I love it. The possibilities make me giddy.

Last thoughts?

Yes. That I am so much more than this manufactured society tells me I should be. Nor am I my past. I am what I choose to be in the moment. I have a limited amount of heartbeats. I just want to be sure I waste as few of mine as possible. For me, it’s all about family, friendships and pursuing my passions. The rest is just noise.


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