THIS WEEK: RAEL JONES
Rael Jones is a Composer and Multi-Instrumentalist, based in London.
Rael spends his days working on music for films, recently working on the BBC Sherlock series (additional composing) Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (music editing) and Les Misérables (music editor, programmer, additional orchestrator) – for which he won an MPSE golden reel award. Quite a CV indeed.
Rael has a very strong musical background, rooted in classical training from the age of 6. He graduated from the Tonmeister Course with First Class Honours, winning both available prizes for Composition. His writing stems from improvisation and live performance, and he is a highly accomplished player of many instruments: from Piano, Guitars and Drums to quirkier items like Autoharp and Musical Saw. Never one to shy from the limelight, Rael regularly plays gigs around the UK, including touring and TV appearances as a guitarist with Guillemots front man Fyfe Dangerfield. He has also appeared on BBC One’s Junior Apprentice, as a composer working with the finalists.
Rael’s album Mandrake was released last week and its a marvellous affair.
Fresh On The Net friends,Please say hello to the very talented man that is Rael Jones.Over to you Rael for Prick and Ding 70.
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1. What are you up to at the moment?
Its tricky for me, as I’m generally embargoed up to the eyeballs whilst working on Film & TV music projects – until after they are completed. Such is the case at the moment with a couple of films I’m working on.
However I can tell you that I’m just finishing work on the next BBC Sherlock series, for which I compose additional music with lead composers Michael Price and David Arnold. It is a joyous show to work on, particularly because when we did the pilot together 4 years ago we had no idea what a success it would become, and now there are seemingly legions of mega-fans ravenous for more episodes.
By night I’m gigging and writing a new album with my Prog band Thumpermonkey, as well as working on some ideas for my next solo album.
2. Favourite childhood memory?
Rather than a specific memory, its more of a happy blur of climbing trees, riding bikes, playing music. I did have that ubiquitous ‘discovering dad’s vinyl collection’ period, when I would endless play early Genesis and Yes albums and try to work out what the hell was going on. That was a musical awakening really, discovering that music could stimulate me that much – as Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull) said recently of the Prog genre, it is “music for people who get bored easily.” Sounds about right to me.
I’m too much of a realist to have proper Heroes and Villains – I can see good and bad in almost anyone. Musically, I most admire those who develop well as artists, who haven’t stuck to one fixed sound for their whole careers. I’m not talking about hopping genres merely to be popular or ‘on trend’, I mean people who have genuinely matured their sound through exploring a wider range of genres. Radiohead, The Beatles and Peter Gabriel spring to mind. Did you hear the new Sting album? Its pretty darned astonishing, and not a hint of “Roxanne” about it. That kind of ‘musical renewal’ is something I look up to. Having said all that, very occasionally, a band comes along that pretty much does just ONE thing, but does it SO DAMNED WELL that you just pray they keep doing it forever. RATM and Meshuggah spring to mind.
Again, no-one really, but on the flip side of the ‘Hero?’ question, I tend to be turned off by fads, novelty and short term-ism.
5. What/who makes you laugh?
I have never laughed harder than when I saw the South Park film at the cinema. I nearly died during the musical number “Unclef*cker”.
6. Describe what you do?
If I’m working on the music for a film, I do that which best suits the film. If I’m working on music for its own sake, I do that which best suits me.
7. Who’s hair would you like to have for just one day?
My hair is not my strongest point, so pretty much anyone. The singer in Thumpermonkey Michael Woodman has fabulously dramatic hair. It sprawls in preposterous abundance – a sentient being in its own right. He’ll come into a rehearsal and we’ll take the piss out of him for looking like David Hasselhoff
8. Best musical experience to date?
As a listener – hearing Elbow at Leeds festival in 2001. I cried for the whole set – somehow it was just the perfect music at the perfect time, an experience never to be repeated. Oh, for emotions to be that new again.
As a player – lots of things, special mention has to go to my first gig with Fyfe Dangerfield (of Guillemots). I stepped in last minute, as a session guitarist for him at an MEN arena concert in Manchester. We played to about 10,000 people, mainly teenage girls there to see Pixie Lott and various X Factor contestants who were also on the bill. The screaming from all these girls was incredibly loud – it really made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I went on to do a tour with Fyfe at a range of slightly less enormous venues, here we are playing in Leeds (my hometown.)
9. What artist inspires you?
I’ve been most inspired by the people I’ve come into direct contact with; film composers I’ve been lucky enough to work with, musicians I’ve been in bands with. Its all about when you see the compositional process as it happens – thats the really important bit.
10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
All the advice on this site is great, but the thing that really stands out for me is the Listening Post.
It means open-minded people actually listening to music, without context, without back-story, without preconceptions, and deciding whether it is good or not entirely based on how it sounds. That is a surprisingly rare and beautiful thing and I applaud you for it.