After many years now of composing for TV and Film, do you still wake up with music in your head every day?
I usually wake up with ideas and thoughts about the project I’m working on…I go to the piano and then try and put the thoughts down as soon as possible. I find that composing early in the morning is the most productive time of day for me.
Edie is one of your most recent scores, when you are composing for a picture, where do you start, by this I mean do you like to watch the movie in its rough-cut state or maybe you have a script to read, at what stage of the proceedings did you become involved on Edie?
With EDIE I had a call from the director, Simon Hunter, after he’d finished shooting the film and was starting the editing process. I’d worked with Simon many years before, on his film LIGHTHOUSE, so I was excited to hear from him. EDIE was a completely different kind of film and the moment I sat down to watch it I knew I wanted to write the score. It’s a beautiful, inspiring film, with standout performances from Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie, and I couldn’t be prouder of the film and everything Simon and his producer Mark Stothert, have achieved in making it. It recently premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival and has been getting a wonderful response which is hugely rewarding for the whole team.
How much music did you compose for the movie?
There’s a LOT of music in the film! I couldn’t tell you exactly how many minutes as I haven’t counted it, but there are many sequences, particularly in the latter part of the film, where the music plays a big part in the emotion of the story. This film was a wonderful opportunity for music as the score is allowed to breathe and really play a part in the storytelling.
I am hoping there will be a soundtrack release, if so do you have an input into what cues will be released?
I’m pretty sure that there will be a soundtrack release and yes, I do choose the cues and ordering of the soundtrack, in collaboration with the team and also my mastering engineer, Mike Brown, who always has a really valuable input into my releases as he listens with a fresh pair of ears which is always hugely useful and constructive!
I think that the music in Edie, is superb and an extension of the main character in the movie, the use of guitar is particularly poignant and certainly identifies with the central characters personality, when you began to work on the movie did you have any set ideas as to what type of music you would be writing or indeed what instrumentation you would utilize, or did ideas develop as your involvement with the movie progressed, and did the director Simon Hunter have any set instructions or ideas regarding the music and where it should be placed?
Thank you! With this movie, the idea of using the solo guitar as Edie’s instrument came quite early on. It was clear that I needed to have a strong Edie theme that I could build as her story develops, and the guitar felt modern and completely right for Edie’s journey. Then, as I started to sketch ideas, the rest of the instrumentation and placing of the music cues started to take shape. There was a need to musically develop in scale as the story built, and so it became obvious that, as well as the solo guitar, I’d need a full orchestra to give the score the musical heart it needed.
In most reviews of Edie, your music is mentioned, which nowadays is unusual, at times being described as exquisite, beautiful and deeply moving, which it certainly is. For you what is the purpose of music in film?
The purpose is to serve the picture – to enhance the story and add musical heart and soul to what’s on screen. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to do this than on EDIE.
When you begin to work out your themes for a score do you always use piano?
Yes, I always work at the piano. As a pianist, it’s the most natural place for me to write, and I feel very at home at the piano.
Who is the guitar soloist for the score?
It’s John Paricelli – he played absolutely beautifully on the score and we were very lucky to get him for the recording as he’s very busy and in demand.
What size orchestra did you use for the project?
It was a 50-piece orchestra – which gave us plenty of scale and depth of sound for the story.
The score was recorded at The Angel studios in London, do you have any preferences regarding recording venues in the U.K.?
The studio is always chosen once I know the line-up of musicians and the kind of sound I require for the score. Angel Studios was perfect for this size orchestra and I worked with my long-time recording engineer and collaborator, Steve Price, who did an amazing job of the recording and mixing of the score.
What is next for you, another film score or maybe a commission for Classic FM?
I’m writing another orchestral album for Classic FM, to be released next year, and I’m currently working on 10 more episodes of Father Brown for the BBC. There’s also another 10-part BBC series starting after that, so my piano will have steam coming off it over the next few months!!
Well that will be good news for all of us. Many thanks to Debbie Wiseman for her time and patience in answering my questions.