Consequences: Composing from different character perspectives

The first track on my album Journey is called Consequences and comes from my score for the feature film Sasquatch (2016). Writing this piece taught me a lot about character points of view and I’d like to share with you what I learnt. To avoid major spoilers, I’ve changed the names of the characters, but you’ll still find a few minor spoilers ahead. Be warned!


MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

During the film there is an accident with a gun and someone, lets call them Brian, ends up shot and bleeding out in the arms of John. Standing around them are two of their friends, holding each other.

From John’s point of view (and the nearby friends) the scene is obviously very sad. And this is the point of view that the music takes. However, initially I had scored this from the point of view of Brian. As Brian speaks his last words, he is not afraid. Instead he is almost hopeful. He lost someone very close to him, but sees death as an opportunity to see them again, and reassures his friends that he will be alright. So we have the same scene, with two different points of view and approaches. My first approach was to score the scene from Brian’s perspective, which you can hear below.

However, a week before we had to submit the final version of the film, I was asked to rewrite the music from John’s perspective. And thus the piece was born in its current form.

The final version, which I called Consequences, is a lot more minimal in it’s approach. And I was amazed at how strongly the music was able to say so much with just a few simple notes.


Writing Music for a Dance

I recently wrote five pieces of music for a dance project at Bath Spa University, called Secret Project. Two groups of students were given the music and had to use them in their own site-specific dances, which they performed on campus. Uniquely, on the grounds of the university are remnants of Newton St Loe Castle that was originally built as a fortified manor house in the 12th century. Below you can see the surviving keep. Both groups used the grass space just in font of the keep, during their performance.

Bath Spa Uni 1
This was my first venture into the world of dance as a composer, so it was fascinating to watch, and see how the dancers had used/interpreted my music. Hopefully I’ll have some photos of the performances soon, so when I do, I’ll be sure to share them.

Becoming an 80s Synthpop Artist

As a film composer, an essential skill is being able to write music in different styles. From orchestral music, to electronic, experimental, jazz, bluegrass, and sometimes… 80s synthpop.

I was asked by the filmmakers of this particular short film, to write an 80s synthpop song. Now I had to do a bit of homework for this one, as 80s synthpop isn’t a genre I normally listen to. Therefore, once I’d familiarised myself with some of the conventions of the genre, and done some extensive research, I got to work on a demo.

Since I personally don’t write lyrics, the demo I created was an instrumental track. But it was always my intention for the song to have lyrics, which is why I purposely left space within the track for them. Then, I brought in my good friend Seb Guettier to pen the lyrics, and perform the vocals.

Seb wrote and recorded the lyrics over the top of the instrumental track I gave him, and I then dismantled the whole track and begun to rearrange it, creating a much more cohesive song. I hope you enjoy it.

CREDITS
Music composed by Aaron Buckley
Lyrics by Seb Guettier

Synth programming by Aaron Buckley
Vocals by Seb Guettier
Bass by Jan Phillips

My First Soundtrack Release!

Whilst you can’t yet watch the film, I wanted to celebrate my first short film score with a free downloadable soundtrack.

Friend Request is a 20 minute short film that I wrote 15 minutes of music for, in just 2 weeks. This is technically my second film score, as I actually started working on a feature film before this. However, that’s still in post production, hence I’m posting this one first. For the feature, I was writing an average of 5 minutes of music a week, so I was really pushing myself with Friend Request. Professional film composers write on average, 2 to 3 minutes of music a day, which is what I always try and aim for now. Although working a full time job obviously means I can’t quite produce as much per week as they would.

It was just 18 months ago that I actually started learning how to write music, so the completion of this film has been a big milestone for me. And I was lucky enough to watch the film at the O2 Cineworld in London a couple of weeks ago, where hearing my score on the big screen was such a wonderful experience and a great way to mark this achievement in my composing career.

We’ll soon be submitting the short to film festivals, when I’ll hopefully be able to share the film with you. But until then, I hope you enjoy the music, and please do share it with your friends 🙂