"Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." - Elbert Hubbard
British, born in Brussels, based in London.
My background is as a pianist since the age of 4. I studied architecture at Newcastle University, worked for 10 years as an architectural and concept designer for international firms, and now work as a music composer and integrated sound designer for feature films, TV, commercials and installations.
I'm interested in telling stories in innovative ways across different mediums and in crafting how they unfold. I have taught masters students at the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL and at Apple. I have also worked as a session player for new and established artists.
I specialise in jobs that require a fast turnaround to a high level - most projects on this site took under a week - and in the possibilities that come with tightly combining sound design and music.
People often ask me about the transition from Architecture to Music - what I have found is that they are very similar. They are both best approached with a focus on story, utilising the opportunities presented by materiality, illumination, place and time.
Instead of building in glass, concrete or steel over months and years, you can build in sound waves and instruments in hours or days. While the primary functions are different, what they mean is similar. Beyond the purely functional they can both create a sense of environment.
There are three parts to the process: the idea, the performance and the execution. I use a collaborative realtime in-situ approach to all three parts, often getting involved at the script stage.
Part of this approach has been developing a mobile studio that can be carried and set up anywhere. Being in the same physical space as the decision-makers, be it directors, editors, clients, or all three means that better quality decisions are made much faster. This saves cost and builds trust faster than any other method.
I've set the mobile studio up in agencies, offices, workshops, editing suites, mixing rooms, art galleries, even on set - which then influenced the rest of the day's shot list and shrunk the post time from weeks to days. Naturally I carry a couple of sets of headphones so no-one else around need be disturbed!
I'm also becoming increasingly interested in delivery mediums, and in creating sonic 'places', especially as the mainstream adoption of spatial audio technologies gathers momentum.
Some of the ideas I am looking into will feature here.
Selected list of Clients
What underpins your approach? Music these days seems most effective when combined with something else, be it a video, a film, an app or an event. It's no coincidence top artists are starting to release albums as films and the shows are now often bigger than the albums. Music is increasingly becoming an ingredient in a bigger experience.
The key is in understanding how an experience (be it a series of spaces, or a narrative, an app, or even culinary ingredients) unfolds in time. The guiding principles are:
1. Tone and Timing. These are the x and y of every experience. Understand them and you have the vehicle for creating strong and lasting connections. See below.
2. Keep redefining 100%. This applies to process as well as final product, so that the limits of an experience keep changing to surprise and delight.
3. There are no absolutes, only ranges. Being plastic with your timing allows emphasis to be more powerfully communicated. Being plastic with your output brings new formats or techniques into what you produce to open new channels to elevate a story. Being plastic with your approach means you can slot into different dynamics and setups to hopefully bring the best out of a team.
What inspires you? I've always taken inspiration from people who connect things together in new ways. Working in architecture under Ian Ritchie and artists such as Paul Schütze helped me understand how to communicate visually and spatially. A musical background made me aware of how to communicate emotionally and the importance of timing. Combining the two allows an understanding of the common 'harmonic truths' that are effective in both mediums, which in turn reveal the essence of how to create connections through different art forms: namely an acute awareness of tone and timing as already mentioned, and the importance of thinking in parallel rather than in serial to bring strands together that solve multiple problems at the same time - both in the context of a team and individually.
Get involved early. I like to get involved with a story as early as possible and wear it like a coat: listening to the director, understanding the arcs and angles of the characters and the visual aesthetic of the film. These then help guide the choice of instrumental palette through the tempo of the film.
Having said all that, lately I've been brought in much later in the process to fix jobs that are running out of time, but the skills I've learnt over six features mean I apply the same rigor regardless of the timeframe.
Tone and timing. These two govern my approach to pretty much everything. They both rely on a deep understanding of the story which in turn informs how it wants to be presented. Tone and timing are applicable both at the micro and macro levels : in film music they govern everything from millisecond changes in how a cue is played, how much emphasis each note should have and the effects that could be applied to them - to the more overarching choices of when music is or isn't needed, the instrumental palette chosen to represent the characters and aesthetic, and the style both of the music itself and how it's manipulated.
Music and sound design are symbiotic. They are both understood through the ears and when they interact with each other they can produce powerful effects. So I tend to explore that boundary, or work closely with sound designers as I develop a score. Everything requires listening, communication, collaboration and focus. And no ego...if the idea isn't working, you tear it up and start again, doesn't matter how far you've gone. The focus must always be on what is best for the story.