Composer Interview with Bob Good

Posted at 11:00 on 15th February 2017 by Cinephonix in Music

Composer Interview with Bob Good

Bob Good is a traditional British composer whose compositions have been scored for TV documentaries, films, adverts, election campaigns and many more. With over 100 tracks in the Cinephonix library, we thought it was only right to catch up with Bob to chat about his previous scores, inspirations and plans for 2017.

Hi Bob – thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Let’s get straight to it - when did you start composing music? And what inspired you to start composing your own music?  

Ah, it all started at school. Even at primary school, music was a big part of life, but then, when studying music at secondary school, I was lucky enough to have two particular classmates: One (who went on to become a famous and well respected record producer), he and I used to jam together on the piano in the assembly hall whenever we had a break and the other (who went on to become a similarly famous and respected opera singer) she composed a carol, which a group of us recorded for a BBC TV programme. Their exploits and achievements spurred me on to trying to write pieces of my own.

Wow! They do say it’s not what you know but who you know. What would you say is your favourite part of composing a track?

When I record a track, I always work with other musicians, and we always talk about the track as we work with a view to getting the best out of their performance. Whether the string players should use more of the middle of the bow or increase the vibrato for extra warmth, for example, or whether the guitarist can use a different inversion of a chord to get out of the way of other instruments. That’s my favourite part of the process. I always look forward to my recording sessions and rarely sleep the night before one. I know there’ll still be lots to be done afterwards in the editing and mixing to bring the best out of their performances, but those chats often lead to quirky times in the session and also to some great moments in the track. Check out Paul the trumpet player getting increasingly wild in “All Over Again”, or Nat Martin’s smoking guitar solo at the end of “LA Bound”!

Click the button to listen to "All Over Again".

Bob Good - "All Over Again"

How long does it usually take for you to compose and complete a track?  

I’ve seen so many articles and pieces of advice on how to write a track, and they all seem to begin with laying a beat down and adding to it, randomly as far as I can see, until the track is “finished”. That doesn’t work for me. Music to me is much more emotive than that. I like a track to have a feeling, to be beautiful or to be funny or to be dark and scary. I like to have an idea of the structure in my head, and then I feel my way into the music, experimenting with ideas and harmony and arrangements as I go. That’s the great thing about writing library music (i.e. not writing to a brief), you can let the music lead you astray! Similarly not writing to a timescale means that I can be relaxed about the recording and editing sessions and use everyone’s time efficiently. But it does mean that completing a track can take anything from a week to many months. 

Your music on Cinephonix consists of a range of different genres – what genre is your favourite to compose? 

You’ve done your research well! I do like to experiment with different genres, but I’m very old-fashioned in my choices. I’ve not caught up with Dubstep, let alone Techno or EDM, but genres which give me the chance to experiment with harmony (Jazz, Latin and choral, for example) and those in which it’s easy to express emotion (Jazz again and modern classical) are the ones I gravitate towards most often. I do like writing pieces with a sense of humour as well.

Who would you say is your main inspiration within the music industry? Any particular reason why they are such an inspiration?

But there are so many! I do remember once being at a rehearsal of Ronnie Hazlehurst and his orchestra. One of the flautists stopped the rehearsal to ask a question, and apologised for doing so. Ronnie wouldn’t accept the apology on the premise that that was the whole point of the rehearsal: to sort problems out ahead of the performance. An obvious point, but one it’s easy to forget when trying to get through a set number of pieces and his patience under stress is something to which I can only aspire.

Your music has been featured in several productions, along with being featured in the theatre – what is your favourite that it has been used in?  

I think the first one you hear is always the most special. The first time you hear a complete stranger using a piece of music you’ve written and produced. For me it was a radio jingle. I was driving past a friend’s house when I heard it, and by a strange quirk of fate, the girl vocalist who had recorded the ad was visiting and I spotted them both in his garden, was able to drive in and turn the radio up while the jingle was still playing so that we could all sing along. But to be honest, any occasion where someone has chosen to use your track to underscore their work brings such an unbeatable feeling of warmth that choosing a favourite is tricky. One notable occasion last year was the launch of a new visitor attraction at a local vineyard. I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch and to be incognito in the audience when the film was aired. That’s always a good place to be! What I’m really looking forward to is hearing my music when I hadn’t previously known about its usage. That must be a really good feeling.

What can we expect to see from you this year? Have you got any exciting plans to share?  

At the moment I’m still recording tracks I wrote last year but maybe I’ll be a little more adventurous with my compositions this year, maybe go a little off the wall, we’ll just have to wait and see!

How did you find out about Cinephonix?   

I came across Cinephonix at a time when I was looking for a library who wouldn’t pigeon-hole me (some others do). Cinephonix was relatively new at the time, vibrant and expanding (which I’m glad to say they continue to be) and I now have double the number of tracks with Cinephonix than with any other library.

We’d like to thank Bob for taking the time to talk with us, and we look forward to seeing what he comes up with in 2017.

Bob has over 100 tracks in the Cinephonix library – check them out.

Bob's Cinephonix Tracks
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