Today I got up at 7.00 when my son (14 months old) woke us, grabbed breakfast and coffee, played with him whilst trying to find a moment with Claire before I left at 8 to drive my daughter (who doesn't live with us) to college.
The relative peace of this start to the day was upset by an email from my manager saying they've been using a company to come up with an algorithm to sell my album via social media which appeared to totally ignore the audience that might actually like the music. I'm always frustrated by the lack of imagination at the business end of our industry, forcing artists into little neat boxes that they can 'sell' to the public like a tin of beans.
After a slight detour to the college (I was so wound up I went completely the wrong way) I finally made it to the studio to begin my day.
I have an apartment I've converted into 3 writing spaces in the centre of Bristol. I have two guys who work for me, Drew and Tom. Drew and I have been working together for over three years now. He's American, a trained composer and arranger with a ginger beard. We met when he did a month of programming for me on a score I wrote for the Paul McGuigan movie 'Push', back then he was living in the south of Spain and commuting to London on easyjet every week to work. I invited him to come over when I set up my personal studio after moving out of the studio I built with Dee from Massive Attack, to have a go at putting some tracks together for a possible solo album project. He never left and now lives in Bristol. We need to find him a girlfriend next. Tom is new to the team, a thoroughly nice bloke straight out of university. I got him in to help out part-time but he's made himself indispensable and added a fresh sonic edge to the sound of my music.
I got in before Drew and Tom this morning. I first needed to reply to my manager, without throwing the toys out of my pram. Which I probably failed at (I absolutely failed). Then came a far more considered email from Claire, who's been helping me with all this social networking stuff. She's an artist too, a brilliant singer and very smart. She's getting good at dealing with toys flying out of prams as our son can occasionally be like a blender without a lid on it. This levelled me somewhat and we all traded emails for a bit. I stayed away from the contentious issues and let Claire take point. I also got a schedule of interviews for Australia for tonight, starting at 10 pm going through to 11.30 pm. An early night.... Then Drew arrived, and after a brief moan to him about this stuff and finally laughing at myself, we spoke about the film we're scoring at the moment and how best to move forward.
We've only just started this project, I'm dead excited about this one, its the sequel to an English movie called 'Monsters'. It's really not what you'd expect from that title, it's beautiful and dark, a powerful movie that deals with the acceptance of that which is alien to us (the West specifically, it was filmed in the Sudan).
I'd sent over a bunch of sketches to the Director and music supervisor for the film yesterday (9pm on a Sunday, as you do), I think around 24 ideas all written last week, most of which we won't use but that's what I have to do to find that elusive key magic theme for a movie; write from the gut, write a lot, put everything down and then hand it over to see if anything sparks.
Shortly after my morning moan to Drew, the music supervisor for the film called me. He'd only heard the first sketch and was blown away and had to tell me... that cheered me up! It doesn't matter how much music I make, I'm always full of self doubt when I first start a project. The blank page is the scariest thing, with so many possibilities. I just need to do one thing, but the right thing to fill it. It was a relief to get some positive feedback, although if the feedback is negative, that's often more useful in pointing me in the right direction.
To be continued...