The origin of my musical universe, my big bang moment, happened within the first two minutes of watching The Italian Job (2003). Composer John Powell had woven a unique musical tapestry of stimulating sounds for the opening titles, which along with the synchronized images, hit me like a drug. Up until then, my musical diet had consisted mainly of pop and brass band music, but The Italian Job was unlike anything I’d ever heard. And I couldn’t get enough of it. From this point on I became obsessed with finding more and more film music for my ears to feast on.
The next phase in my obsession came in 2006, with a BBC adaptation of Robin Hood. The themes in this series were powerful, heroic and bombastic, amplifying the onscreen action. Just hearing the brass section blasting the epic themes made me want to stand up and fight the Sheriff of Nottingham myself. However, despite the evocative nature of the music, compositionally it felt relatively simple in comparison to The Italian Job. Behind the imagery of the music, I was able to hear the different musical lines and became fascinated with how it was constructed. Suddenly my obsession with film music was no longer passive. The music was inviting my participation and wanting me to deconstruct it. With the little music theory training I had, I was able to notate out all of the parts for one of the pieces. For the first time, the music was no longer this ephemeral spirit, but something I could see, touch and manipulate. And it was through manipulation of this music that I first heard the whispers of the composition muse. So, I put pen to paper and began composing my own piece. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well. The door to becoming a composer would remain shut… for now. However, whilst it would be some time before I tried composing again, the way I watched films and listened to music had changed forever. I now had an appreciation for the art form of composing for film and TV, and a fascination behind the symbiotic relationship of music and picture, and the process of creating that artwork.
It wasn’t until years later, when I stumbled upon the film Amélie and its accordion-filled soundtrack, that I again found myself making music of my own. This soundtrack is all about the spellbinding sound of the accordion and its enchanting melodies, which so transfixed me that I bought myself an accordion with the purpose that I could play along to the soundtrack and join in with the magic and majesty of the music. It wasn’t long before I craved fresh music to play. But the ones I really wanted to play were still beyond my abilities. However, I had begun to see patterns in how the beginner pieces I was playing were constructed, so in an attempt to play something new, I began manipulating these pieces and improvising around them. Once again, manipulation had wet my appetite for composing. The muse was back. And, seven years after my first attempt at composing, I tried again on the accordion. This time with success through an understanding of the compositional basics which I had gained from listening and improvising. And with success, the door to becoming a composer opened and I chose to step through it.
Since then I’ve explored my musical voice, experimenting with different sounds and flavours and playing with that symbiotic relationship between music and picture across a number of short films and a feature film (Sasquatch). As a fully self-taught composer I’ve found myself influenced by the likes of Max Richter, Yann Tiersen, Philip Glass, Bear McCreary and Trevor Morris. And whilst film has been my gateway into the world of composing music, it’s also leading me into other realms, such as writing for theatre and choreographed dance. I’ve even had the pleasure of recording a score for piano and harp at the SAE Institute in London. Most recently, I decided to celebrate my journey into life as a composer by bringing together works representing my personal evolution into my first album, aptly named, Journey.