We had a bit of a moment under a piano the other day. Composer of music for TV, films and video games, Daniel Pemberton insisted on it.
We touched on the performance aspect of making music and how, despite being an incredibly gifted musician, he’s never been keen to perform.
He occasionally plays recitals for one friend at a time as they lie under his grand piano. So we got on down, a singular audience lying on a wooden floor beneath a massive instrument. And our mind got blown.
Its not often you get to listen to music that isn’t coming through a speaker. It’s a different kind of ordeal. You’ve got the weight and the power of the instrument to contend with – its materials and inner workings – rather than just the volume.
We’re in the hands of someone who uses music to create an atmosphere so it’s a pretty affecting experience. Hairs stand, eyes well, butterflies take flight.
Daniel Pemberton is an Ivor Novello winning and multi BAFTA nominated composer. You’ll have heard his music if you’ve got any interest in TV shows or video games but unless you pay close attention to the end credits or sleeve notes, his name may have escaped you.
We wanted to speak to Daniel because he’s a bit of an obscure treasure. Like one of the strange old instruments that inhabit his studio. Half man, half marxotron.
Daniel’s written music for TV shows like Peep Show and gaming franchises like Little Big Planet. He’s just written the score for Nick Murphy’s new film, The Awakening and he continues to write interesting, funny, atmospheric and haunting pieces for a number of clients.
He likes working to briefs and the challenges that presents: the boundaries that are set across the vast terrain of music; the timeframe imposed; the reason for the piece; the narrative and medium.
He’s at his happiest when he’s found his groove, moving his music along, not knowing where it’s going to go but knowing that there’s always a deadline to beat. Then it gets submitted and your baby is gone and it’s on to the next job for a new challenge and chance to learn more and get making again.
Daniel needs no excuse to make music. In the short, wonderful time we spent in his studio we got impromptu soundtracks for a fat man walking down the street and a high speed chicken chase, an accordion rave track and an oriental funk jam for a shelf full of toys.
A true musical talent who is on your telly, cinema and games console but is completely invisible. But here he is now, for your viewing pleasure. We’re pulling back the curtain. We’re off to see the wizard.