Amelia Warner, composer

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

Music has always been incredibly important to me and a big part of my life. Film scores have  been a big passion and I listened to them constantly. I suppose I never really considered it as something I could do but when I started hearing artists such as Dustin O Halloran, Ludovico Eunaildi and Olafar Arnolds, I saw that there was a new wave of composers who were making beautiful music that really resonated with me. I had always thought that not being classically trained meant that composing was off limits to me but I think things are changing a lot..

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

I grew up listening to all sorts of music.. I was definitely a child of Britpop and so loved Tge Stone Roses, Blur, the Charlatans, Pulp..

I’d say the biggest influences as a composer would be Michael Nyman, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Gerry Goldsmith. I also love Sigur Ros and I listen to a lot of Electronic music.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

I am technically challenged and so often feel held back by my lack of technical prowess.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a film score?

I love the collaboration. Writing music  can be very solitary so it’s wonderful having creative relationships.. I find it really satisfying that the music I am making has a function and exists to tell a story. I enjoy the challenges of things having to fit a certain cue and actually find the boundaries set by that really liberating.

You are also an actor – does this influence your approach to composing film music in any way?

I was an actor  but haven’t been doing it for over 10 years now. I find it really helpful in terms of understanding character and filmmaking. I have spent a lot of time on film sets so I feel like I have a good background in knowing how things work, who everybody is and what their job is!

How would you characterise your compositional language?

I love layers but I always want there to be space in the music. I always picture layers of gossamer…… transparent but lots of layers upon layers. I am drawn to simple melodies and I think my aesthetic is always leaning towards the whimsical and dreamlike.

How do you work?

It depends on the project.. ..I tend to watch the film and then write freely. I will then start putting it to picture and seeing if any of it is hitting and feeling right with the picture. I will then start working more specifically with particular cues and timings. I like to try and get the bigger themes worked out first and take it from there.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Working on interesting projects and being part of telling incredible stories.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Have the confidence to go for it. Do not let preconceptions stop you pursuing what it is you want to do. There are no rules.

The film ‘Mary Shelley’, for which Amelia Warner composed the soundtrack, is released on 6 July 2018.

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