I started learning to play the piano at 4 years old, influenced and guided by my grandfather, who was a jazz pianist. After a few years of formal lessons, I felt constrained by the focus of more traditional teachers on studying for grades, and so found a piano teacher who incorporated improvisation, rock and jazz into his lessons, as well as the music of classical composers such as Chopin, Debussy and Rachmaninoff, which renewed my interest in the piano. During these early years, I also developed an obsession with sound effects and field recordings, recording sounds on a small tape player, and returning from the local library with cassettes from the BBC Sound Archive, driving my parents mad with obscure recordings of ‘Marketplace Ambience, Cairo’ or ‘Ford Tractor Engine, 1952’.
Later on, during my early teenage years, I started listening to rock and metal, and taught myself to play the guitar. I joined a local band, whose influences included Depeche Mode, New Order and Pet Shop Boys, at around 14 years old, playing the guitar and very occasional keyboards. We recorded a couple of four-track demos and competed in a local ‘Battle Of The Bands’ contest. During that time, I learned about some of the basic features of Cubase on the Atari ST from my band-mates, which sparked an interest in music technology that stayed with me ever since.
Exposed to acid house and hip-hop through friends at school, I obtained my first pair of turntables at 15, and have continued DJing since then. I was involved in promoting some small to medium-sized local events during the 1990s, and I was booked for DJ sets at local events, and later on across the UK. I have also played sets in Los Angeles, Auckland (New Zealand) and Melbourne (Australia). This work brought me into contact with producers, and kept me in touch with developments in music technology.
I saved up for my first ‘digital audio workstation’ – a noisy old PC running Cubase VST32 5.0 – and learned how to use the program, as well as basic recording and production techniques. Throughout the past couple of decades, I have developed my skills and knowledge in this area, and familiarised myself with other software packages such as Adobe Audition, Ableton Live, Bitwig Studio and others, in addition to the principles and techniques of synthesis, sampling, audio editing and sound design. I have designed and delivered music technology courses, in addition to composing and recording under various aliases.
My musical tastes are influenced by a diverse range of artists, such as Björk, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Aphex Twin, Four Tet, Sigur Rós, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich (and countless others), and music from many genres, including techno, house, electronica, punk, indie, rock, blues, jazz, classical, soundtracks (film, TV, games), musique concrète and found sound. Over the years I have developed an interest in avant-garde and modernist approaches, and generative/algorithmic composition. However, I believe that music is at its best when it connects emotively with the listener, and appeals to our intrinsic, primal relationship with sound and rhythm.