Our favourite performers-turned-filmmakers and how they achieve their style.
Undiscovered #005: Liam Hennessy Q&A
- 02 Feb 15
Liam Hennessy is one of the new composers showcased in Undiscovered 5 so, to find out more, we had a little chat with him.
How did you get involved with Audio Network?
I first found out about Audio Network when I did some work with a small production company in London. They told me that they source their music from Audio Network and suggested that I get in touch.
I checked out the website and thought it would be the perfect platform to showcase my music so I decided to send a demo to the A&R team. The Music Team then invited me into their offices and we discussed the Undiscovered Series and decided it would be an ideal starting point for my music.
For those who haven't heard the tracks yet, how would you describe them?
I would describe them as uplifting and optimistic songs - I think they have a positive feel to them. They involve lots of loops and layers of different instrumentation; there are usually a lot of elements working together at any one time. I’m really interested in the way that numerous layers of quite minimal parts interact with each other to give the track depth and character.
How did you first get into making music?
I started playing guitar about 15 years ago. I began by learning other people’s songs and moved on to writing my own material a couple of years later.
I have been in numerous bands and written songs both on my own and with other musicians which has really helped me to progress as a songwriter. A few years ago I released a couple of EPs as a solo artist that focused on using acoustic instruments, natural sounds and field recordings.
I began writing music for TV and film about a year ago and I am really looking forward to progressing further in this field.
If you could have your music feature in just one TV show or film what would it be?
That’s a tricky one! I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have my music used as a backdrop to a documentary about nature or space. I’m also finding that a lot of adverts are using increasing creative and engaging songs these days, so I’d like my music to be used for that purpose too.
How did you approach the writing of these tracks?
I am really interested in using sounds from the natural environment in my music. I have a big collection of recorded sounds (mostly me hitting random objects in my room to form percussion) and field recordings from the outside world.
These sounds will often be the starting point for a new song. For example, on the track First Light I began by making the beat; I recorded the sound of my door slamming, which formed the kick drum sound, and of me scrunching and ripping up a piece of paper became the snare. Star Map and Autumn Walks both came from experimenting with looping acoustic guitar patterns and building up layers.
What music do you listen to for inspiration? What are your musical influences?
Like most composers, I have a very varied and eclectic music taste. A few years ago, I was mostly listening to music that involved quite a classic band setup: drums, bass, guitar and vocals. This was good for drawing inspiration for guitar playing.
More recently I have also been looking to electronic music for inspiration. This style of music is useful for triggering ideas for unique and thoughtful beats and percussion. I also get inspired by a lot of music used for TV and film and I like to analyse why certain tracks work so well as soundtracks for media.
What do you enjoy about making production music?
I really enjoy creating songs to be used alongside a visual accompaniment. I often begin writing tracks with a very clear idea of where I want the song to go and the type of sound I am trying to achieve.
It’s then interesting to see what the songs get used for and whether other people share my vision and ideas for the kind of media that my songs would be suited to. It’s also good to discuss my compositions with the Music Team at Audio Network and hear their thoughts on my tracks.
Finally, what have you got coming up next?
I’m constantly writing and recording new material. I’m trying to experiment with different instruments like piano, ukulele and some additional percussion amongst other things! I’m also excited about the opportunity of collaborating with other Audio Network composers in the future.
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