Music and sound composer for film, games and other visual media.
Sound and music production including recording, editing, mixing, restoration and mastering for musicians and other clients.
I create immersive and emotive music under the name Slow Worm Sound Works using a combination of electronic and traditional instruments alongside field recordings and the use of experimental audio manipulation techniques.
I am a core member of the post-punk band Normil Hawaiians with records originally released by Illuminated Records in the early 80s and lately re-issued (also on vinyl) by the London label, Upset The Rhythm. We have been fortunate enough to have been given positive reviews for all our releases from a range of publications including Wire, Mojo and The Quietus. Other Ways of Knowing, a track from our first album, was used in the Lemaire Fashion Show of Fall-Winter 2019/20 and another track, Martin, from our second album, featured in the February playlist last year from fashion house The Row. This February, the song ‘Yellow Rain’ from our debut 1983 album ‘More Wealth Than Money’ again formed part of The Row’s highly respected playlist. We are currently in the process of putting together quite a significant and eclectic collection of new material. As well as coming up with many of the creative ideas, I am responsible for recording, editing, mixing and mastering the work and I am hoping all will be completed and ready for release by the end of the year. I have also recently mastered Bertie Marshall’s (formerly known as Berlin and founder member of the Bromley Contingent) retrospective album, Exhibit, also on Upset The Rhythm records.
From a personal perspective, I have an interest in exploring alternative approaches to sound/music creation. I believe that composition is simply a process of discovery and that the most interesting music comes either from searching deeper and further or from foraging with an unorthodox technique. I like to use found sounds as compositional sources in a variety of ways, especially when these are linked to specific spaces. For example, waves lapping the shoreline of Tayinloan on the West coast of Scotland morph into a darkly submarine and slow moving harmonic eddy in the track NR728524 (to be included on the new NH album). In this piece the only sound source is the recording of the waves. These are gradually and progressively filtered using Sophia Poirier’s wondrous Rez Synth to sculpt form from a block of natural sound.
Alda Dizdari - Concert Violinist
I have worked with Simon on various occasions, more notably Simon recorded my audiobook “Kiss Me Again; A Memoir of Elgar in Unusual Places”. What was even more unusual than the book was our setting, we recorded during lockdown and due to restrictions we did the whole recording outdoors, with the birds singing in the background. Simon did an excellent job. He was endlessly patient and spent hours and hours working on getting the right balance and perfect effects. His suggestions were so wise and I am really happy with the result of our collaboration. I am lucky to consider him a friend.
Bill Regard - TV and film producer and director, composer
I was very lucky to meet Simon just before covid struck and we worked in my studio / office and then over Zoom with some clever screen sharing. We created 10 tracks - 5 songs and 5 instrumentals which got called Left Brain: Right Brain. Simon’s tech skills made the process seem very easy when in fact Logic is far from easy partly because it’s so vast! Simon was prepared to get stuck in and if needed lay down a bass line or whatever, when he thought I was struggling, which was often, and he brought his wife Zinta in to do back up some brilliant vocals which made a huge difference to the tracks.
Simon was excellent to work with and very patient. We explored the depths of Logic together and came out the other end with some great tracks.
Primarily, I create sound and music for moving images. Essentially, the purpose of music for film and games etc. is to enhance the experience provided by the visual elements and provide us with an emotional compass to follow. If done well, music can turn a comparatively dry picture into one that is exploding with a broad spectrum of intense and moving sensations. Sound and music are at their most powerful when they are part of a really immersive experience. Consequently, I aim to create expansive music and sounds with just as much emphasis on the breadth, depth and texture as on the notes and other sounds heard. And all this needs to be dynamic and fluid... as is real life!
I am an audio technician and producer as well as a composer and, to that end, I record, edit, mix and master music and audiobooks for musicians and other clients. Whilst I do have my own personal studio space, this is not large enough to record ensembles and so I like to record musicians in their own spaces or ones that they would like to perform in. I have captured performance in woods, churches, gardens as well as personal living spaces and, of course, conventional recording studios. Providing the acoustics of a specific environment are considered and careful mic placement techniques used, recordings made in a space within which a performer feels relaxed and inspired can be so much more effective in conveying whatever the artist wishes to express than some made in more clinical spaces used for traditional music recording.
My musical life began when I joined some of my school friends in a freeform experimental project involving some who were able to play traditional instruments and others who focused on anything that made a sound, including vacuum cleaners and suitcases. We called ourselves Greenfield Leisure. All night sessions would be arranged and everyone would huddle around a cassette tape machine set to record. Generally, there would be no rehearsals. A year or two later, I joined a local post-punk combo that already had three singles and a John Peel session to their credit and we began work on our first album at a studio in the Welsh countryside. Again the music was experimental in nature and relied on long improvisations. None of us could be described as 'proper' in the traditional sense but we made some interesting records that, I feel, still demonstrate a degree of relevance and purpose.
When I was a child, I suppose I wanted to be a vet and later a primary school teacher. However, I failed all my A Levels and that rather put paid to those ideas. I got a job with the Post Office instead.
Unfortunately, I don't recall ever experiencing real art education and so I didn't know anything about it. My dad was from a scientific background and so I thought that Maths, Chemistry and Physics might be worth studying after passing a fairly unremarkable range of O Levels. However, I think this was the period that I first began to realise that I was more interested in the arts than the sciences (including avant garde music etc!). Consequently, I wasn't able to add to my collection of rather meagre qualifications when I left school.
It's difficult to say why why chose to do something creative. I think it's just that that seems to be the right thing to do. I suppose if anything gives you pleasure and a sense of accomplishment then you're going to want to keep doing it...?
As described above, making music really was an evolving process. I started learning the guitar at an early age... maybe 13 or so. However, I'm still not very good at it in the traditional sense. I feel, however, that it's simply a tool for making sounds and my early days with that first band, Greenfield Leisure, taught me that you can use anything to make music. I like to describe myself as a 'noise maker'.
Anyway, I taught music technology for 21 years at a further education college and have built up many new skills since those early musical fumblings of my teenage years. On reaching the age of 60 I decided to change direction and started to see writing for moving images as a proper career.
I often think of musical ideas when I'm out and about, maybe walking the dog. Just being present and receptive, I find, can be enough to start the creative process.
That's a little hard to say... I think I'm most happy with my work when it achieves its goal of being an immersive and a mysterious experience.
I reckon it's the work on the Normil Hawaiians' new album. It won't be released until later on this year but it's just about finished ...we've been working on it for a long time now!
It's hard to say what is the best bit of doing what I do... I really enjoy starting off with a blank canvas and the final mastering process of the finished piece is also very thrilling... Perhaps the most exciting bit is seeing/hearing your work in context. maybe on the radio or on a chunk of vinyl.
When I first started to enjoy music properly I became a massive fan of Marc Bolan. His music was always unique and often strange and mysterious, especially the early acoustic material. Brian Eno has also played a very significant part in my creative development. As well as having a maverick approach to music making he has always understood the importance of the role of production in music.
Having the time and space to do the things you want to do. And, of course, spending time with the family and friends that provide you with the foundations for living.
Trust is a very big thing... people very rarely let you down if they know you put your faith in them.
Our lives are such a fleeting thing. We must make the most of the absolutely incredible opportunity we have and do whatever we can to make the world a better place by the time we leave. Don't put it off because you don't know when your time is up!
12 Mendfield Street, , Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom, ME13 7JY
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