Simon Goff, composer

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

The composition process is really an extension of being in bands when I was younger, and making music together with other people. I’ve always been interested in the different processes that people have for making music. My own music is just the product of me figuring out what that means for myself. My career hasn’t always been linked to my own compositions, but I always wanted to make music. This led me to do many different things, and have many experiences in all facets of the music making process. I feel very lucky for this.

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

I think everyone you work with has influence on your career, every new connection can open a door to something new. Every experience is a point on a continuous journey forward.

If I was to note some turning points that I feel were significant to my journey, meeting Herbie Flowers when I was younger was important. Getting to spend time with a legendary figure such as Herbie, and learn about music as a profession as well as a passion was invaluable. He was very encouraging of me studying violin performance at degree level, he felt it would give me a good foundation for my career in music. He was definitely right. The next turning point would be my time in the band Hope and Social. I spent 6 years working closely with them and learnt what it is to build a community around your music. We toured extensively throughout the UK as well as travelling to various countries to perform as part British Council sponsored theatre shows. Getting to do this in my early 20’s, this was an invaluable experience. Most recently, when moving to Berlin, I was fortunate to land an internship at Vox-ton studios which is owned by Italian engineer Francesco Donadello. The experience I have gained in this studio and the community that I have become part of through it has been inspiring.

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

The pandemic wins this one.

What are the special challenges and pleasures of working on film/tv scores?

I love the way that imagery and music compliment each other. It is always exciting to go on the path of discovery to find the best way to make the image speak.

Tell us more about your new album ‘Vale’…..

Vale Is the result of a fairly insular and intimate process. I wanted to make music by engaging my instinct and experience. I chose to just write and then follow the music, trying to approach it like I would when working with other artists, assessing what is in front of me, how it makes me feel and trying to react in an appropriate way for the music. This was a very revealing process for me about the music I wanted to make and really was the culmination of a process I started when moving to Berlin. At the same time, the UK voted to leave the EU. I finished the album just as the UK officially left. This had a very profound impact on me and so I chose to name the album after the area of the UK where I grew up, the Vale of York. This was my way to reclaim and reconnect to my idea of the UK, through music which is very personal to me.

How would you characterise your compositional language/musical style?

Sonic Landscapes.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

I don’t really have favourites and the list would be too long if I did but two things I am listening to a lot at the moment are Lento by Howard Skempton and The Age of Oddities by Rutger Hoedemaekers.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Being able to continue creating good work, being inspired by those around me, never get tired of learning, and do this while also having a healthy and full life.

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

Keep going, and listen to your gut instinct. Be open, and be kind.

What next? Where would you like to be in 10 years?

Living a healthy life, creating engaging work.

Simon Goff’s new album Vale is released on 23 April 2021, and is his first album of his own solo material, drawing both on his career in Berlin, where he currently resides, but also his childhood and upbringing in the UK.

I Filled my Lungs with the Necessary Air, and Yelled! is the first single from Valeu

Hailing from North Yorkshire in the UK, Simon Goff is a violinist, composer and Grammy award winning sound engineer. 

His work seeks to find space between genres, exploring how the violin can be manipulated and processed to create a unique sound that defies traditional definitions. From his appreciation of process, acoustics and technology he conjures dynamic sonic landscapes where acoustic and electronic sounds meet. His live performances merge these worlds harmoniously and shift effortlessly between intimate fragility to expansive cinematic soundscapes. 

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Image credit: Nic Kane

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