Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I get up at about 6.30 or 7.00. Have a bowl of cereal and check my email I have a glass of Diet Coke and turn on the studio. I juggle a lot of projects - TV scoring work, albums and commissions. I work on music in the studio pretty much every day, I don’t go on tour. I also deal with admin and running my business throughout the day. Most nights I go out. I go to a lot of concerts.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
The Manorexia album 'Dinoflagellate Blooms' is one of my favourite releases. Mixing it in 5.1 was informed by my work in sound installations. Manorexia had gained a sound “identity” by then and I had played live extensively as Manorexia as a chamber ensemble at that point. 'Dinoflagellate Blooms’ crystallised a lot of ideas up to that point, and the acoustic elements blended seamlessly with the electronic and musique concrete elements.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
There is a lot of admin in my life. Creatively I am a nibbler. I have several projects on the go at any one time. When I go down a blind alley on one I go on to the other. I do a lot of scoring work and I approach it as problem solving. That approach has bled into my other projects and commissions.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
I have always been a studio-centric musician, and creating the composition has been more central to my practise than performing it live. Performing a piece live gives an opportunity to re-voice a piece and turn it into something else. Recently I began a chamber ensemble (harp, violin, acoustic guitar and piano) to perform older material which was conceived as studio works, and the works are both recognizable and transformed.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
That is exactly what I do. I have always used “sound” aspects as musical building blocks - found sounds, tapes, non-tonal noises.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
Since I do a lot of scoring I am equating sound and visuals every day. I do a huge volume of this work since I work on two TV shows and understand there is a manipulative aspect to what works and what doesn’t. There are certain tropes that are tropes for a reason, beyond that I do not personally experience synaesthesia.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
First there is the selfish pursuit of quelling the thirst of my legacy. I am leaving the world a better place than I found it, as I find that there are people who relate to my work and find beauty, truth and inspiration on it.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Music consumption continues to mutate and fragment. The internet has opened up somany options that it is possible for everyone to customize their own form of distribution and consumption in a myriad of different ways. Music is omnipresent. Algorithms will continue to determine, but there are plenty of avenues for the obsessive. I do not have an idea of what music could be beyond its current form but I constantly hear music that is being made now that surprises and excites me. In my own projects, it’s important for me to extend my musical language and vocabulary, but there is no cute way of articulating that. It takes me a long time.