CLARITY IS KEY. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what it is that you want in the first place.

Handwritten music manuscript

What story do you want to tell? How do you want to feel?

I made a really useful little pdf, a guide to helping directors get really clear when they brief* their music composers.

Subscribe to email updates and you can download it for freeeee.

It includes all the practical, useful, simple questions I always try to get answers to from any brief I receive, for any kind of media – film, theatre, television, animation, games, library music…

I work with the same people a lot (Red Star, Third Angel, Slung Low), which is pretty awesome mostly because they’re all groups of brilliant, creative, interesting people to work with. Part of the brilliance and awesomeness is that we’ve developed a shorthand for talking about music and the briefing process has become sooo much easier, simpler and quicker over the years. read more

The Themes of Flood

Set from Flood Part 2 (Malcolm Johnson Photography)

Flood, a show of four parts, had four main themes. Inventing and developing themes is massively rewarding fun that you only really get to do on long projects - for example, on multi-part theatre, or feature films. It's all about exploration and trying to push the boundaries of these tiny motifs in melody, rhythm and sound design.

Flood Part 3 on the BBC and New Single Released

Set from Flood Part 2 (Malcolm Johnson Photography)

Flood: To The Sea, the third part of the Slung Low show for Hull City of Culture 2017 will be broadcast on BBC2 at 10pm this Saturday, 12th August as part of BBC Arts strand ‘Performance Live’. It’ll be on iPlayer for a month after that if you miss it. But you won’t miss it, will you? It’s too good to miss.

New Single Released – Look Across The Ocean

I’m releasing the song from Flood, ‘Look Across The Ocean’ – sung by the brilliant Gina Walters, backed by Archordia Strings – as a single to coincide with the broadcast. Yes, I’m attempting to do cross-platform marketing! But also I’ve had a couple of requests for it so I thought this was one of the better ways to give the song a bit more life. read more

Flood Part 3: To The Sea Goes Into Post-Production

sea and sky

The beast of a show that is Flood, Part 3: To The Sea was filmed last week. It’ll be broadcast in mid-August on BBC2, and now it’s in post-production.

I’m still unpacking what I’ve learned from the experience and all the memories from those few months of scoring the show and working on site with a flipping brilliant gang of fellow theatre makers.

The score has been an intriguing and enlightening hybrid of my theatre and film work. For example: the show plays from beginning to end, like theatre eg NT Live; unlike film or television, where we would film a scene or a section repeatedly with several takes.  The music and sound is cued live and the actors can hear it and can react to it. However, we do have a contingency: once the film is edited together there’s still a small opportunity to edit the music to fit, but hopefully there won’t need to be much of that. Touch wood. Oh shit, I’ve jinxed it haven’t I. read more

Starting the Score – Flood, Part 3: ‘To The Sea’

Set from Flood Part 2 (Malcolm Johnson Photography)

I’ve started the score for the next instalment of Slung Low’s Flood this week. ‘To The Sea’ is part 3 of the year-long project for Hull City of Culture.

Flood: To The Sea will be broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday, 12th August at 9pm. It’s live theatre, and the action takes place on and in the water of Victoria Dock, with several floating sets, pyrotechnics, and a beautiful, brutal script by James Phillips.

The story follows some of the characters who survived from part 2, Abundance, a show that played to audiences in April. In that show, we told the tale of the end of the world. Next, in Part 3, To The Sea, tells the story of what happens after. read more

New Year, New Work

Before I go headlong into burying my cortex in Flood music, for the next week or so I’m creating a few sound and music elements for two new projects: a mobile game and an online educational product, both of which will hopefully (touch wood) lead to similar work later down the line.

A lot of my work is now repeat business with the same handful of companies (with whom I bloody love working and hope to do so ad infinitum); however, these recent two are new to me, and cultivating new client relationships is rather a nice way to keep your business and creativity on its toes. read more

Happy New Year 2017, The Year That Hull Floods!

Headphones on a yellow background

Happy New Year! How are your resolutions going? Politics is proving pretty disturbing at the moment so I’m burying my head in the sand work for now… and for the foreseeable, as 2017 is fairly solidly booked up work-wise already, which is a relief in unstable economic times, and also so that I can legitimately ignore the horrors of the daily news cycle guilt-free. Not that I really need an excuse: it gets more depressing everyday. Though sometimes it’s like a traffic accident, and you just. can’t. look. away…. read more

Birthing Partus – Writing Music for Devised Theatre

black and white image of vintage condenser microphone for voice

January was all about Third Angel‘s Partus and in February I worked on the preliminary score for Red Star‘s latest 3D animation. An excellent, varied and challenging start to the year in all the right ways.

I’m now starting to think about the latest edition of 15 Minutes Live – on at The Holbeck, Leeds, 10th April, 2016. Exactly a month today! There are 5 short radio plays, and I’ve 3 scripts already with two arriving as and when. The show is still a long way off, and I really don’t need to start working on it yet, but as an excessively paranoid type I like to get started, prepped and organised as early as humanly possible (though I did take a delightful week-and-a-half off between the last project and getting going on this), especially on shows with a live music element. read more