Tell is who you are? Tell us what you do? My name is Dexter Britain. I compose music for use in film and television, sometimes I write specifically for content,…
In Conversation with Madeleine Hanover
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Interview with Madeleine.
Whats your name?
Where do you currently reside, live?
How long have you been composing and how did you get into it?
I’ve been writing my own music since I was small. I learnt the piano on and off throughout my childhood, but classical repertoire never interested me too much – I was much more happy listening to music that I loved and learning to play it by ear on the piano. This then translated into composition, as I wanted to be able to play the music I heard in my head all the time! I had a break from the piano for 8 or 9 years when I formally learnt the flute, but I came back to the piano and began to play more seriously and frequently. I was a bit of a movie buff when I was younger, and I loved listening to the scores. For me, scores make more sense musically and emotionally than classical music. Looking back, I think I composed in this way because I lived in my head a lot. I had so many creative ideas for music at such a fast pace that film music, which can be quite fragmented, was a perfect fit.
What inspires your best music creation moments?
When I sit down at the piano, I usually just start playing whatever comes into my head. Sometimes I’ll walk past the piano and just think I’ll quickly play something – and then I’m there for hours. Often I will go on and on repeating things or changing from one piece to the other. I’ll suddenly realise that I’m playing something new or different and have no idea how I got there!
What was the thoughts behind your track choice and placement for your playlist?
I tried to create a playlist that flowed well. I’m a huge Thomas Newman fan, so I included a lot of his work. I wanted a strong opening, and ‘Orchard House’ is a beautiful, joyous track. I wasn’t conscious of creating any particular narrative or story, but I wanted each piece to flow on from the previous one in a way that made sense musically. A lot of the music I’m fond of is very minimal or subtle, or has its own ascent and descent, beginning and ending on a pensive, thoughtful note. I tried to work up to a peak point around the three-quarter mark with some faster-paced music, such as Hans Zimmer and Clint Mansell, who both combine electronic elements with classical instruments really effectively. I then wanted to come down from the extreme tension in ‘Summer Overture’ and release some emotion with ‘Locke’d Out Again’ (anyone who is a Lost fan will understand just how heart-wrenching that track really is!). Then ‘Finale’ works up again but in the last 30 seconds or so just releases all that tension and finishes with that beautiful Vaughan Williams-like theme that we heard earlier in ‘Balloon Music’.
It wasn’t as hard as I expected finding places for my pieces in the tracklist. ‘A Call to Open Spaces’ worked well in between ‘Cathedral’ and ‘Angels in America’ as they all have religious themes in their composition or context of the films/scenes they’re from. I placed ‘Submergence’ following ‘The Cannery’ because there is a strong water theme running through the ‘In The Bedroom’ soundtrack and I felt they fit well together. Finally I put ‘On the Shore’ as the penultimate piece because it’s very meditative and pensive – working really well before the last bit of excitement in ‘Finale’.
What’s the latest exciting project your working on?
I’m studying at the moment, so once the Summer/Christmas break comes around, I’m hoping to push on and get a lot of pieces finished and recorded. I’ve been thinking about writing a series of pieces to work together much like a film score or series of movements. I’m also going to compose something to enter in the 2013 Tropscore competition (which I entered last year with ‘Submergence’).
Favourite composers, producers or DJs at the moment?
I’m generally listening to my staples – Thomas Newman, especially ‘In the Bedroom’ and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. I’ve been enjoying re-listening to some John Williams classics. His ‘Presumed Innocent’ theme is beautiful.
Any words of inspiration for the people out there?
Just to keep playing and writing. If music is what you love, it’s something that will be with you forever.
How/where can people find out more about you? any links, websites, reviews, etc?
I upload to my YouTube account and Soundcloud account:
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