My passion is music. Music of all kinds, electronic, pop, rock-’n’-roll, soul, jazz, fusion, classical, baroque, early music, contemporary, minimalist, serial, South Indian, Javanese, Chinese and many other musics. I’m not afraid of the three-and-a-half minute pop song. I express my love of music in four primary ways, as a composer, songwriter, producer and performer.
As time has allowed in my life I have experimented with various forms and combinations of instruments. Most recently I wrote a rondo for flute, cello and double bass (for the Project Trio of New York), and have experimented with string quartet, mixed brass ensemble and other small instrumental combinations. I’ve arranged several of my songs for big band, and I have loved the sound of the British brass band since childhood, and therefore tried my hand with a few charts for that combination. I am still working on a long-term project for full orchestra, a large-scale project based on the graphic novel Stray Toasters by Bill Sienkiewicz. Most recently I am in the process of arranging all of my songs and shorter pieces in purely instrumental form and making them available on a royalty-free basis on stock libraries.
Most of my most singable tunes are songs for which I have written both words and music. In my view, the IP of a song consists in the melody and words plus also the underlying chord progression, sometimes with specific portions of featured instrumental fills. Some very famous pop songs are inseparable from the instrumental intro for example, think of Clapton’s Layla or Clean Bandit’s Rather Be. I’ve posted the lyrics and lead-sheets separately of most of my songs on this site or another linked from here.
In addition to arranging, recording and mixing my own material I love to work with other artists’ material. Taking the IP of another artist’s song (as I define it earlier), I make an arrangement often with multiple synthesiser parts which I mix and master in Ableton, also recording the original artist on lead and backing vocals. I find the process taking a piece of someone else’s original material and developing it in my own style to be one of the most satisfying creative experiences.
As a teenager I never found my enthusiasm for Radio One and Top Of The Pops to be in any more in conflict with piano exams, classical music and choir practice, andy more than late-night Jazz Notes. Playing french horn in the orchestra, bass guitar in a band and double-bass with jazz singers were all part of my early music life. Today I play keyboards in the best covers band in the home counties (Chord Of Duty), occasionally sing my own songs in public, and dabble in jazz trumpet. But my main focus as a performer these days is playing keyboards with other musicians in as many different environments as I can I find. I use a Nord Stage 2 with an extra external keyboard, and a Korg RS100K “keytar”, through a very old and rare 1978 Pearl solid-state guitar combo.