It's around this time of year that it's natural to reflect on the months gone by, and especially if you run a small business. My year has been, well, unexpected. I started out by doing a couple of voice over jobs, launched Real World Sounds and recorded eight broadcast-ready sound packs, proceeded to make six music library albums, launched an audio brand for kids, did some more voice over and soundtrack work, created a sound environment with foley and voice over for a Ted Talk art installation and more.
It has been very fulfilling. For many creative people it helps to concentrate on one area and develop their skills and networks. For me the wide variety of work this year has been so rewarding, that I know it's the way forward. It's so easy to put yourself into a category: composer, painter, sculptor etc. If 2018 has taught me one thing it's this: it's not for you to put yourself into a category, others will do that for you. My voice over clients don't care that I'm a composer. It doesn't matter to my composing clients what else I can do. I'm known to them for that thing.
My new year's resolution is to keep developing creatively. There are things I have planned that will feed into this, and for everything else my mind is wide open.
Have a very happy New Year and a creative 2019.
Here's a story of weird coincidence and what transpired.
Earlier this year I wrote an album called 'Strange Emotions' for a new library. When I was close to finishing it I met with Ethan at the library to say hello and discuss potential follow up writing. Later that day I met up with 50 or so other composers for dinner (yes, it happens!), and I randomly sat next to a guy called Mike Holt who, it transpired, had been at the same library half an hour later, having much the same meeting. How weird is that? Wait, it gets weirder, it turns out we had both told Ethan exactly the same thing, that the tracks that seem to perform best are happy clappy, ukulele-filled whistle fests. So we decided to make an album together, and now it's been published.
Now available for licensing (just click on the album cover), this album was 'simply uplifting' to make, and hopefully I'll get to collaborate more with Mike in the future.
I'm very aware I haven't posted much in a while. Since the Scream Street series started the process has been so slick there hasn't been much that I'm allowed to report ahead of episodes being aired. Needless to say the production team comprising Coolabi, Factory and the BBC is one lovely bunch of people, and I feel really lucky and privileged to be a part of such an amazing project. My Christmas wish is that this time next year I'm still working with them!
2015 has been a musically rewarding year for me. As well as Scream Street, I released the Band of One debut album 'Being Ghosts' in May. I've recently been working on a new song for Band of One which I'm hoping will turn into an EP by the Spring. I've also done bits and pieces with the wonderful creative agency eatsleepthink including composing a superhero theme for the Friends of Alec Syphas, a super heroic little man battling DMD.
On the fun side, I've helped out songwriter and old pal Rhod Williams by playing on his recordings for years now, and this year saw a couple of gigs with his band King & Queen of Sorry, one in a record shop in Birmingham in January and the other at the Birmingham Institute supporting Eric Martin (lead singer of Mr Big). Both were great fun, with the band made up of old friends. That community feeling of playing music together is always a real buzz.
Finally, in September my wife Dani and I moved into our house in Shepperton, which meant I could finally have a creative space that I could treat acoustically and hang some pictures (no such luck in rented property). It's exciting to consider just how much music will be produced in that room over the next few years and I can't wait to get started. I'm always up for conversations about possible collaborations...I'd really like to score a short film in 2016 if time allows, so get in touch if you know of any being planned.
So all that remains is to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. This afternoon Christmas kicks off for us with the annual viewing of 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' and tomorrow we're going to see the film that everyone's talking about at the moment (no spoilers please!).
Bye for now, and see you on the other side.
Last September I received a tweet from a harmonica player called Will that said simply 'hey Gareth...be great to compose a harmonica track sometime'. I was aware of Will's standing in the folk world and his pure talent on the harmonica, so it was flattering that he reached out. Within a couple of weeks we'd come up with a bunch of tracks that we thought might suit a production music library.
Fast forward a few months (Will has been touring, I have been busy on a new series), and those tracks have now been assigned to Synctracks in London. We have more unfinished tracks and plans to do more from scratch, but for now here's a snippets reel for you to enjoy. Fingers crossed for some interesting placements!
It's coffee time here at I-Can't-Believe-I-Do-This-For-A-Living Towers...I'm working on a huge but currently secret project (ssh), and hopefully I'll be able to share details soon.
In other news, 'Project Motown' has just started. I tend to have something else on the go when I'm working on TV stuff, variety helps the brain to switch off from one thing and onto another, and Motown couldn't be any further away. The idea is to write and record brand new songs but in the classic Motown style. I'm open to collaborations, and will definitely need vocalists at some point. It's all for fun, so let's see where it takes us!
I'll be posting updates to the Facebook page periodically so head over there if you want to stay up to date.
Right, back to the grindstone - Happy Friday one and all!
Tomorrow will see a gathering of old friends. Back in school the South Wales area was alive with the sound of rock, and one band that was very popular back then was Mr Big. So when old pals Rhod & Kath, aka The King & Queen of Sorry, invited Paul (cajon), me (piano) and my brother Andy (bass) to play with them supporting the lead singer's solo gig in Birmingham in December, it was a no brainer. It was also pointed out to me yesterday that the one time I saw Mr Big was actually in Birmingham, although I can't remember the venue as it was around 100 years ago.
Anyway, we're rehearsing a set of Rhod's fantastic songs tomorrow. If you'd like to come along on December 13th, you can get tickets by clicking on the flyer below:
So after Monday's 'bostin' session (Will's words, not mine), the next step for this 'Cinematic Harmonica' production music album is to shape the ideas we came up with and for me to record around Will's amazing melodies and rhythms. It's a time-consuming process, but so far it's sounding fantastic and we already have some library and label interest.
As soon as we are able I'll let you in on a couple of samples. Have a fine Thursday!
Posts by Gareth Davies.