Shortly before starting work on the Quondam score, lastatak.com caught up with Steven Coltart to find out little more about the composer's past and his hopes for the future.
Steven, can you tell me a little about your music background?
I'm very much into a variety of musical styles and I try to incorporate many elements in my own material. One of my favourite bands at the moment is Lamb who themselves write film scores. They have a nice blend in their work between acoustic and electronic instruments and seem to have the same passion for large, rich, underlying ambiences as I do.
How did you first become involved with Last ATAK Pictures?
I was still in my 1st year at university when I received an e-mail from one of my lecturers. This explained Last ATAK Pictures were looking for a composer for their latest project. The e-mail stated that only third year students need apply however I sent a CD of my own material off and was lucky enough to be given the job on Autumn Heart.
How did you feel when you were told that the producers would like to move forward working with you on Autumn Heart?
I have previously written scores for theatrical plays, a national education drugs campaign and continually write commercial ‘pop’ songs with vocalist Vicky Wilby but had never written a score for a film so this was an exciting project for me.
What was the process for you creating the music for Autumn Heart? Where did you start? What did you look for in the film?
I was lucky with Autumn Heart as I believe my best work comes from emotional instrumentals and this film very much suited this style of music. Having read through the script with Andrew Davidson moments were picked out which we both felt music could enhance the story. I even went on location to see certain scenes be recorded with the rest of the filming crew. I try to do as much research into a project as possible.
How much freedom did you have creating the score?
Andrew had a set idea which he wanted me to follow however I still feel I managed to include my own personal musical style into his production. The main limitation for me was the time limit [to record the music], but everyone in the industry has deadlines to meet.
Were you pleased with the finished product and how it was all integrated into the film?
I hope that everyone involved liked the music as much as I liked the film. As previously mentioned it was my 1st film and hopefully the beginning of many.
What was the reaction from the producers, friends, family and lecturers at university?
Friends and family were impressed with the film and its professional packaging.
Were you pleased to be asked to work on the new production ‘Quondam’?
Quondam is going to be another new challenge for me. A different style of music is needed, however I am very much looking forward to it.
Did you have any reservations about taking on the project?
My only reservation would be trying to fit university and other musical commitments alongside the film. I'm definitely keeping busy!
The tone of ‘Quondam’ is very different to Autumn Heart, are you enjoying exploring a darker side now?
I've been meaning to write some ‘chilling’ tracks if you like, but could never justify a genuine opportunity. I'm hoping I can add the emotional content of my previous works into this new musical genre.
You have recently been recording some material can you tell us anything about that, without giving too much away?
As I am now back home in Norfolk I've been working with Vicky Wilby on an ending soundtrack to Quondam. I'm not going to say too much about it but there are 4 or 5 vocal harmonies alongside Vicky’s main vocal. It’s a track I am proud of both production and composition wise and I am looking forward to showing it off.
Has the process of creating music for ‘Quondam’ been different to creating the music for Autumn Heart?
The process is quite similar, reading the script and basing ideas on the thoughts of the producer; however since Autumn Heart I have enhanced my sound sources. I now have over 4,000 different sounds to play, ranging from full on orchestral strings to haunting vocal effects which is great fun! Although I use rack outboard gear to process and master my tracks I am trying to base my set-up around virtual instruments such as the Spectrasonics range. Virtual instruments are sound modules for computer sequencers such as Cubase and Logic. They are beneficial as the sounds are far more complex due to the high computer memory available in PC’s and therefore can be very realistic.
You finally get to see the film on February the 1st, can you tell us a little about the process of spotting the film with the producers and what you do after the meeting?
Once the meeting is over I usually import the video footage into a Cubase environment and work out where the producers and I feel the music should come in and build up etc. Once that has been established it’s a matter of sitting down in front of the keyboard, switch off the lights and let the inspiration flow.
Aside from Quondam, what else have you on the horizon?
I'm currently entering the Channel Four film composer talent search. This involves writing a piece of music to a set 1 minute film clip. Fingers crossed on that one. My main project however is trying to promote my tracks I have recorded with Vicky Wilby. We have completed three albums together now and are in the process of making a promotional CD to send off to a few record companies I have contacts for. If any one would like additional information on our work please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org I will try my best to reply as soon as possible. I continue to expand my studio set-up and am returning in February for the second semester of my 2nd year at Staffordshire University where I'm studying a BSc Hon in Music Technology.
Thank you Steven for taking the time to answer some of our questions.