A huge thank you to the North West Chapter of the National Academy of Television Sciences for my amazing EMMY Award which was announced at the weekend’s virtual awards ceremony in Seattle, for my work on The Last Artifact, a delightful film which picked up a total of six EMMYs.
As a teenager growing up in Belfast all I ever wanted was to make music. My passion led me to London, and I worked for many years in various recording studios in the 1990s (Red Bus Studios, Metropolis, Battery, CTS, Konk, Oasis, Berwick St Studios and Natural Sound Source) making connections with musicians, producers, directors, editors and engineers. Little did I know then, that building those relationships would help form the foundations for my career as a composer.
One particular album I worked on for an independent french label run by Jean Rochard called nato introduced me to Sylvia Hallett, a wonderful violinist whose style of playing and unique sound really caught my ear. Sylvia also plays accordion and bowed bicycle wheel, and years later when I had started composing for television, I asked Sylvia to perform on many of my soundtracks, which includes my score for The Last Artifact where you can hear her on accordion.
Musicians bring my music to life, and I am eternally grateful to have worked with so many wonderful performers over the years. For The Last Artifact, I also brought in Beth Colpean (the principal harpist for the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra), Kevin Kozel (an incredible acoustic guitarist and ukulele player from Michigan), and Scott Pellegrom (the ‘mad scientist’ drummer who pulls unconventional sounds from conventional instruments).
It took three weeks to record the soundtrack for The Last Artifact using both my own studio and the Third Coast Studio in Michigan. I didn’t know then that this journey would end with an amazing Emmy Award for myself and my colleagues on the film’s sound team Jeremiah Slovarp, Like Scheeler and Parker Brown.
Many thanks to all the musicians who played on this soundtrack and to everyone on The Last Artifact team, including directors Jaime Jacobsen and Ed Watkins for creating such an inspiring film, and to Montana PBS for commissioning it.
You can read about how I scored the soundtrack here.