Episode 15

Alex Baranowski talks about writing for a variety of media and the enormous impact his grandparents had on him

Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

In this episode, Gareth chats with composer Alex Baranowski about writing for a variety of media and the enormous impact his grandparents had on him.

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Host: Gareth Davies

Produced by The Sound Boutique

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Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to the music room.

Speaker:

This week in the music ring.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll do everything is live as I, I can, even if it's in

Alex Baranowski:

my, I have mic set up all the time, stuff flying around all the time.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, you know, you can see some stuff in the background, but literally in the

Alex Baranowski:

hallway, in our, in our hallway, just full of instruments every day as if, I'm sorry.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll keep it, put it somewhere

Alex Baranowski:

Hello, music rumors.

Alex Baranowski:

And welcome to another episode of the music room podcast.

Alex Baranowski:

The show where I chat with composers, songwriters, and musicians about what

Alex Baranowski:

they're up to before going back in time to find out how it all began.

Alex Baranowski:

Actually I say, I.

Alex Baranowski:

But if you go back and episode composer, singer, songwriter, and

Alex Baranowski:

musician, Charlotte Hatherley.

Alex Baranowski:

Yes.

Alex Baranowski:

The Charlotte handily.

Alex Baranowski:

Guest hosted and had a brilliant chat with composer, kali parody.

Alex Baranowski:

Who on top of scoring things like line of duty and the rising has toured with

Alex Baranowski:

Clint Mansell and Nick cave and the bad seeds well-worth listen that you can hear

Alex Baranowski:

it right there on your podcast app or.

Alex Baranowski:

At music, green podcast.uk.

Alex Baranowski:

In this episode, you're going to hear from a wonderfully inventive UK based composer,

Alex Baranowski:

Alex Baranowski, he's worked on everything from the BDC to ident and the hip BMC,

Alex Baranowski:

one comedy staged with David Tennant and Michael sheen to the delightful

Alex Baranowski:

BAFTA nominated the Windemere children for wall-to-wall and Warner brothers.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll introduce him properly in a bit, but rest assured it's a great listen.

Alex Baranowski:

So, so music stories.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, Paul has picked up the worldwide rights to flora and son, John Carney's

Alex Baranowski:

musical load to motherhood that features a breakthrough performance by Eve Hewson.

Alex Baranowski:

The movie is Connie's first since his 2016 sensation sing street.

Alex Baranowski:

Remember that, which also premiered at Sundance and just like sing street.

Alex Baranowski:

It two features original songs by Connie and his frequent collaborator.

Alex Baranowski:

And music queen guest, Gary Clark.

Alex Baranowski:

Next.

Alex Baranowski:

I asked the music room group on Facebook to share some quick tips

Alex Baranowski:

with their fellow music reamers.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, Janet Overfield says how to make your cello or Viola sound like it.

Alex Baranowski:

Isn't in a toilet.

Alex Baranowski:

Gently wide depth at around 2.5 to 3.5 K.

Alex Baranowski:

And gentle wide booster around 250 to 400 Hertz.

Alex Baranowski:

Someone here could have probably told me that if I'd asked, but working out slowly

Alex Baranowski:

for myself this week was quite satisfying.

Alex Baranowski:

That's great.

Alex Baranowski:

Nice little tip, Janet.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, Mike Langley, you can make a banjo out of an acoustic guitar by sticking

Alex Baranowski:

a balloon inside and inflating it.

Alex Baranowski:

Till it touches the strings.

Alex Baranowski:

Play with caution.

Alex Baranowski:

There you go.

Alex Baranowski:

What a great tip.

Alex Baranowski:

If you don't have a banjo.

Alex Baranowski:

Ruben Cornell dip your master at 500 Hertz to make it sound more open.

Alex Baranowski:

Again, Very easy, very simple, very effective.

Alex Baranowski:

Thanks Ruben.

Alex Baranowski:

Bali Bali, man, this week's tip for me is try harder.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, we can all do that.

Alex Baranowski:

Got.

Alex Baranowski:

Bali, uh, as a motivational device, I've bought a page two a day diary

Alex Baranowski:

and log everything I do in it at the end of the day, I think, oh, I've

Alex Baranowski:

done four hours guitar practice today.

Alex Baranowski:

And then realize I've been awake for 12.

Alex Baranowski:

So two.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, Joe Kendall says play from the heart and don't be afraid to

Alex Baranowski:

hold notes outside of the timings.

Alex Baranowski:

As I'm finding this as sounding more raw and emotive this week,

Alex Baranowski:

that's absolutely spot on Joe.

Alex Baranowski:

Yes.

Alex Baranowski:

It's very easy to rely on the quantize button.

Alex Baranowski:

Isn't it.

Alex Baranowski:

But it's much better to pay from the heart.

Alex Baranowski:

Isn't it?

Alex Baranowski:

Absolutely.

Alex Baranowski:

Robin Sherlock Tomayo says, make rules, then break them.

Alex Baranowski:

Wow.

Alex Baranowski:

Great little tip that I don't usually like using presets, but made a point

Alex Baranowski:

of using some Arturia ones this week.

Alex Baranowski:

Freshen things up.

Alex Baranowski:

No end.

Alex Baranowski:

Why not.

Alex Baranowski:

Fantastic tips, everyone.

Alex Baranowski:

Thank you so much for those.

Alex Baranowski:

Alex Baranowski is a composer based in London.

Alex Baranowski:

He recently scored eight part series rain dogs releasing this year

Alex Baranowski:

and his ballet legacy variations with choreographer, David Dawson.

Alex Baranowski:

Premiered at the Dutch national ballet in December of last year.

Alex Baranowski:

Recent film scores include a Gaza weekend directed by Oscar nominated basil Kaleel.

Alex Baranowski:

For film for releasing in 2023.

Alex Baranowski:

And Ruth Wilson and Jude law produced true things.

Alex Baranowski:

As well as three series of hit BBC.

Alex Baranowski:

One comedy staged, starring David Tennant and Michael sheen.

Alex Baranowski:

BAFTA nominated the Windermere children for wall-to-wall and Warner brothers

Alex Baranowski:

and burial uh, world war II drama.

Alex Baranowski:

For altitude film, starring Harriet, Walter let's find

Alex Baranowski:

out how it all began for Alex.

Alex Baranowski:

And stick around as he'll be leaving at nighttime and a

Alex Baranowski:

piece of advice for you to find

Gareth:

Alex Barovsky composer, welcome to the music room.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm very happy to be here.

Alex Baranowski:

Thank you very much for asking me to come.

Alex Baranowski:

I enjoy your podcast very much.

Gareth:

Ah, that's always nice to hear.

Gareth:

Always nice to hear.

Gareth:

How are you today and, uh, what have you got going on

Alex Baranowski:

Very good.

Alex Baranowski:

Very good.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, well, I'm chatting to you.

Alex Baranowski:

No, it's lovely.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, how about yourself?

Gareth:

Hmm, well, I am, probably two thirds of the way through

Gareth:

a kid series at the moment.

Gareth:

based on, the wind in the Willows, which.

Gareth:

Lovely, really enjoying that.

Gareth:

Um, so I will be straight back to that.

Gareth:

Once we we've, uh, we've done, and you know, it's that typical mider.

Gareth:

Um, once everyone's happy with what they're doing, then it,

Gareth:

it really becomes a, a kind of a production line, doesn't it?

Gareth:

Of this comes to me, then goes back for notes, comes back

Gareth:

and onto post-production and.

Alex Baranowski:

it's mine.

Alex Baranowski:

I like that rhythm.

Alex Baranowski:

I like that rhythm.

Alex Baranowski:

When you've sort of, you've got the seams, you've got ideas,

Alex Baranowski:

you know what you're doing.

Alex Baranowski:

You still wanna sort of do, try and do new things.

Alex Baranowski:

No, it's lovely.

Alex Baranowski:

It's lovely.

Gareth:

And it does become, if it's well oiled, it does become a, an opportunity

Gareth:

to really hone in on little bits as well.

Gareth:

Um, the, I had some, extra little notes, some fine notes this morning.

Gareth:

Um, and the director actually wrote to me and said, I'm so sorry cause I previously.

Gareth:

Said, I was happy with this episode, but I've just noticed this, this, and this.

Gareth:

And I had to say to him, it's, you know, it's fine.

Gareth:

It's part of the process.

Gareth:

You

Alex Baranowski:

It shows the director's got a love for it.

Alex Baranowski:

It's not just sort of, especially with music, sometimes you find

Alex Baranowski:

people just going on need tot that on, put this on if that's, but

Alex Baranowski:

actually it's, it's nice people.

Alex Baranowski:

I, I, I feel, I find that really lucky when people actually

Alex Baranowski:

want spend time with crafty.

Alex Baranowski:

Cause that's what we wanna do.

Alex Baranowski:

We wanna make the best thing we can make.

Alex Baranowski:

Right.

Alex Baranowski:

That's,

Gareth:

Absolutely.

Gareth:

Yeah, very

Gareth:

much.

Gareth:

Uh, speaking of which, I had a couple with, the music room Facebook

Gareth:

group this morning, and I mentioned that we were meeting and chatting

Gareth:

and so they have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind,

Alex Baranowski:

Of course,

Gareth:

So Ruben Cornell, he says Hi asks,

Alex Baranowski:

Hi.

Gareth:

also, it's like a, like a Saturday morning phone in, isn't it?

Alex Baranowski:

Oh, Ruben's lovely.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

Uh, how does your writing process work with surround

Gareth:

sound in a theater environment?

Gareth:

Because you've done theater work and you, you've done

Alex Baranowski:

wow.

Alex Baranowski:

We're getting, we're getting right.

Alex Baranowski:

Stuck into the

Gareth:

We, we are, yeah.

Gareth:

Straight in at the deep

Alex Baranowski:

Um, well, I'm, I'm, I guess to give a bit of background,

Alex Baranowski:

I'm, I'm very lucky that I do, I work in various bits of film and theater

Alex Baranowski:

and dance and adverts and working.

Alex Baranowski:

So, and, and theater is a thing that.

Alex Baranowski:

She started it all off.

Alex Baranowski:

When I first got moved to London, the first thing I did was meet with some

Alex Baranowski:

composers and I, I met this lovely, um, lovely composer called Adrian

Alex Baranowski:

Sutton, who gave me an assistant role at the National Theater.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, just literally just doing copying of schools with

Alex Baranowski:

surveillance, something like that.

Alex Baranowski:

And, , I adored every second of being in that building.

Alex Baranowski:

It was just sort of, it was just this, having been in this room on my own,

Alex Baranowski:

desperately trying to find work, get a job, do Australia, and meeting these

Alex Baranowski:

amazing people in this incredible room.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and I learned about theater and I, this wonderful thing

Alex Baranowski:

of theater is where you can.

Alex Baranowski:

It's not like we're working on a film or a tv.

Alex Baranowski:

You're like, you can put a speaker wherever you want and you can make a

Alex Baranowski:

sound come out of it whenever you want.

Alex Baranowski:

It's amazing.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, so set.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

So Ruben's question surround sound.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

I, I'm obsessed with it.

Alex Baranowski:

I love it.

Alex Baranowski:

I've hidden speakers on the seats in theaters and put them in roofs and put

Alex Baranowski:

them in corridors and put them behind stages, above the stages outside.

Alex Baranowski:

On stage hidden.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, so you can put them anywhere and it's wonderful and it can help tell

Alex Baranowski:

the story and, and the one, sorry, you were saying you wanted to ask me a.

Gareth:

well, well, I guess the question in that context is did

Gareth:

you actually write in multichannel

Alex Baranowski:

Well, yes, so, so a lot of the time in theater, I'm

Alex Baranowski:

not just being hire as a c compos, I'm been kind as a sound designer.

Alex Baranowski:

So you sort of mix the two very, in a really interesting way

Alex Baranowski:

and it really changed the way I've worked in film as well.

Alex Baranowski:

And because you're sort of using sounds as musical, you know, making sounds

Alex Baranowski:

of music or making music at sounds.

Alex Baranowski:

And if you know you are going to be writing music for this, it's, it's almost

Alex Baranowski:

as simple as sort of writing steps.

Alex Baranowski:

So I want this to go out, this speaker.

Alex Baranowski:

I will make a stem of it.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll do this.

Alex Baranowski:

So you having knowing.

Alex Baranowski:

, I guess it's quite similar to writing a computer game.

Alex Baranowski:

Not that I've ever written a computer game, um, in that sort of way, but I

Alex Baranowski:

guess it's, it's writing ideas isn't, you're not writing a linear piece of

Alex Baranowski:

media that starts here and then in three minutes maybe you are writing

Alex Baranowski:

a piece that starts in a certain way.

Alex Baranowski:

And when an actor says a certain thing or something happens on stage, you can make

Alex Baranowski:

that as a cue and then the next queue will come along to add another layer to it.

Alex Baranowski:

Another, this, you could add some sound.

Alex Baranowski:

And you can just build up sound scripts.

Alex Baranowski:

There's, there's a, a very clever program called Q Lab, which is.

Alex Baranowski:

, um, both simply use that.

Alex Baranowski:

It's actually free to download just the normal stereo version so you can do,

Alex Baranowski:

it's, it's, um, yeah, check it out if you're interested to get to the theater.

Alex Baranowski:

But it's amazing because you, you can just play, audio files.

Alex Baranowski:

You can put fades in, you can send things to here, send things to there.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's a really, really simple system.

Alex Baranowski:

But most, most datas use, Q Lab.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and so as a Samsung designer composer, I will sit in a, in a technical

Alex Baranowski:

rehearsal or even in rehearsal room before we've gone into the theater and.

Alex Baranowski:

Start putting things into this, into the queue.

Alex Baranowski:

I want a laptop and pay things through.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, so nor normally I'm quite organized, so I can, I've just, I did a show, at

Alex Baranowski:

the end of last year, called Orlando, which is on now in the West End.

Alex Baranowski:

Until the end of February and I, I'd sat in the rehearsal room and I wrote

Alex Baranowski:

lots and lots and lots of music.

Alex Baranowski:

It was a very big music show and sounds and we programmed everything really there.

Alex Baranowski:

So I knew before I went into theater where everything was

Alex Baranowski:

gonna go, I designed the space.

Alex Baranowski:

So we had surrounds, we had had speakers on stage.

Alex Baranowski:

I put a speaker in the roof.

Alex Baranowski:

This amazing theater.

Alex Baranowski:

It's incredible.

Alex Baranowski:

So when you have things like rain, you there was a, There was

Alex Baranowski:

a, um, Scene in Istanbul where we have sort of called to prayers.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's amazing putting this call to prayer, like through a roof.

Alex Baranowski:

And in the theater sort of, it's not coming out the speakers,

Alex Baranowski:

it's not coming behind me.

Alex Baranowski:

It's coming.

Alex Baranowski:

It's, and it's really amazing kind of just to,

Gareth:

Really

Alex Baranowski:

you don't really put it in words.

Alex Baranowski:

And I think as, as an audience like you, probably most people wouldn't really

Alex Baranowski:

notice cuz you're sort of, you're in it, you know, a theater show's done well.

Alex Baranowski:

You are just so absorbed into action.

Alex Baranowski:

You don't think, oh, that's a nice, I, no, I do because I sit in it like, like

Alex Baranowski:

we all watch films and think, oh, that was a nice music cue or a bit different.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, so yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

I, I love that aspect of, sound in, in theater.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

um, yeah, use sound, use music.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

Great.

Gareth:

Fantastic.

Alex Baranowski:

Sorry, that was a really long-winded

Gareth:

a, that's fine.

Gareth:

No, that's, that's it.

Gareth:

Is gold dust, honestly.

Gareth:

Getting people who actually have.

Gareth:

A wealth of experience to explain something like that

Gareth:

for listeners is, is wonderful.

Gareth:

So thank you.

Gareth:

And

Gareth:

Reen.

Gareth:

I hope, that answers your question.

Alex Baranowski:

But I have to say like theater is a, it's a bit of a mystic art.

Alex Baranowski:

Like a lot of composers.

Alex Baranowski:

In recent years, I've How'd you get in theater?

Alex Baranowski:

You know, you just meet people.

Alex Baranowski:

You know, I've, the wonderful thing, the wonderful thing about that was, um,

Alex Baranowski:

working at the National Theater, which is this wonderful, huge, big theater.

Alex Baranowski:

I was, I think I was 25, 14 years ago.

Alex Baranowski:

And, I met so many people, but all the assistants to the

Alex Baranowski:

directors, all the assistants to the designers, all the assistant

Alex Baranowski:

composers, we all knew each other.

Alex Baranowski:

And we went, made films above a pub for no money.

Alex Baranowski:

You know, we, we, we learned how to do it all.

Alex Baranowski:

And now all these guys, they're directing shows, they're directing

Alex Baranowski:

films, they're directing.

Alex Baranowski:

This is kind of how I'm quite lucky in being able to do so many different things.

Alex Baranowski:

Cause I guess you sort of meet people along the way and you think, I'll do that.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll do this.

Alex Baranowski:

Come on, I'll have a go at.

Alex Baranowski:

. Um, and it's, yeah, it's wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

And that's what I really loved about theater is it just got me out and

Alex Baranowski:

meeting people, but not meeting people.

Alex Baranowski:

Cuz I'm a networking event.

Alex Baranowski:

I have to meet someone cuz I don't do that.

Alex Baranowski:

if I've ever go to one of them, I will go to the corner and I will

Alex Baranowski:

hide in the loo and Ill leave.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, because that's my, that's what's me.

Gareth:

That's your networking style.

Alex Baranowski:

yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

Any sort of, I hate, I'm terrible.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm terrible with all that.

Alex Baranowski:

Meeting greets as well.

Alex Baranowski:

But yes, it's sort of meeting people by accident and saying,

Alex Baranowski:

oh, you did that and it's great.

Alex Baranowski:

Oh, should we do this?

Alex Baranowski:

And let's, you know, let's catch up for a cup of tea and let's go for, you know,

Alex Baranowski:

go to the pub afterwards, after the show.

Alex Baranowski:

And like, it's, it's really amazing kind of having that little network

Alex Baranowski:

of people to do that in Yeah, in, in, and theater was my way.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

Fabulous, fabulous.

Gareth:

Um, going over to another medium, of television.

Gareth:

Janet in the music room group, uh, Janet Overfield.

Gareth:

Hello Janet.

Gareth:

She asks about, uh, the series staged with David Tennant and Michael Sheen, um,

Gareth:

because it started during the pandemic.

Gareth:

How did the writing process.

Gareth:

Differ in that situation.

Gareth:

Cause everyone was kind of trying to figure out how to do

Alex Baranowski:

All a bit confused.

Gareth:

Were they

Alex Baranowski:

Well that sort of came about cuz the director, um,

Alex Baranowski:

Simon, who was actually in it and he wrote it, we were due to do a

Alex Baranowski:

theater show which got canceled.

Alex Baranowski:

And he was a bit niff about it.

Alex Baranowski:

And instead of, being like everyone else, like we were like, I was just

Alex Baranowski:

kind of complaining about it and going, oh crap, what we gonna do now?

Alex Baranowski:

He was like, right, I'm gonna write a sitcom, um, on Zoom about

Alex Baranowski:

a theater show that got cancel.

Alex Baranowski:

And that's how it came about.

Alex Baranowski:

So I got this call from Simon saying, GE Fancy, just, just try this pilot.

Alex Baranowski:

So he, he managed to convince, David and Michael to try this pilot.

Alex Baranowski:

We all work for free.

Alex Baranowski:

Just sort of just read, just, just try it.

Alex Baranowski:

Let's just, let's see an episode, see if it works.

Alex Baranowski:

It's lovely editor called Danage.

Alex Baranowski:

And we put it together and it was great.

Alex Baranowski:

It was really, really good.

Alex Baranowski:

Very quickly they managed to get the BBC to commission it said, right, you're off.

Alex Baranowski:

And it was then a very, very rush, like Right, we've gotta do it,

Alex Baranowski:

we've gotta get this out there cuz you know, who knows when the hell

Alex Baranowski:

long this pandemic's gonna last.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, we might all be out in a week.

Alex Baranowski:

So it was, it literally got to the point where I'd be given a cup on a.

Alex Baranowski:

Thursday night, I'd watch it and make notes and start writing.

Alex Baranowski:

And I'd have Friday, maybe morning and I'd get some notes back from the director.

Alex Baranowski:

And yeah, to, I'd record it live with a lovely, based town at play called

Alex Baranowski:

Ben Castle, who was based on, I, you know, it was all done on, on, you

Alex Baranowski:

know, email and zoom and so it'll all be mixed by the end of the night.

Alex Baranowski:

So I do have to do a, literally a whole episode in 24 hours and turn it

Alex Baranowski:

around and ready for the sound mix.

Alex Baranowski:

What if it was the Friday or, you know, like it literally was

Alex Baranowski:

like, no, it was no, no time.

Alex Baranowski:

But it was kind of fun and cool and so, so it was, it was just, the

Alex Baranowski:

idea behind it was to make it sound like it was made in a pandemic.

Alex Baranowski:

Like I, I, I wanted to have some big brush thing.

Alex Baranowski:

Like I wanted it to sound like, well, I've got a piano in here, so I have a piano.

Alex Baranowski:

I think a little quirky based cla No, let's do it like it sounds.

Alex Baranowski:

It was done in my back bedroom, which it kinda

Gareth:

And, and actually you didn't really need to imagine, did you,

Gareth:

because you were making it in a pandemic

Alex Baranowski:

Exactly.

Alex Baranowski:

Exactly.

Alex Baranowski:

Exactly, exactly.

Alex Baranowski:

So I, I just love the lofi of it.

Alex Baranowski:

I love the silliness of it.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and it, it's been amazing how, how well it's come.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, you know, so many people ask me for the score to play the piano, so

Alex Baranowski:

I just put it up for free on Twitter.

Alex Baranowski:

I was like, great.

Alex Baranowski:

It's like you wanna play it, put it like play it.

Alex Baranowski:

Send me a video.

Alex Baranowski:

If you played it,

Gareth:

That's wonderful,

Alex Baranowski:

it, it was great fact.

Alex Baranowski:

We, there was an amazing video that did come true that was, um, this amazing

Alex Baranowski:

band of, music graduates and they did big arrangement of it with bubble

Alex Baranowski:

bass and clarinets and piano and touch with one of the guys and becoming my

Alex Baranowski:

assistant he'd been working with me for.

Gareth:

It's how it happens.

Gareth:

Wonderful.

Gareth:

Well, thank you Janet.

Gareth:

I hope that answers your question.

Gareth:

Uh, I've got my own question because, I think I was made aware of you with the

Gareth:

BBC two I dents, that were I'm sure a wonderful experiment in sound design.

Gareth:

But what really put you onto my radar was the film, the Windier Children.

Alex Baranowski:

Oh yeah.

Gareth:

is based on the experience of child survivors of the Holocaust,

Gareth:

a camp set up near Lake Windier and the score is suitably emotive.

Gareth:

What was it like to write that and how did the sound of the film come into being?

Alex Baranowski:

Oh, well that was, oh, I was, that was such a beautiful film

Alex Baranowski:

and it was really, so the, the film like about these Polish refugees that came

Alex Baranowski:

over from Poland to the late district and I, from all my grandparents were Polish

Alex Baranowski:

refugees who, they didn't go to the late district, but they ended up, in the uk.

Alex Baranowski:

After the war.

Alex Baranowski:

and it was really interesting cause I, my grandparents were

Alex Baranowski:

these amazing creative people.

Alex Baranowski:

My, my granddad was a, a poet, a musician, and, my grandmother

Alex Baranowski:

and a amazing oil painter.

Alex Baranowski:

And, they really, really wrote and painted about their experiences in the war.

Alex Baranowski:

And it was so moving to.

Alex Baranowski:

To read and to see these paint and, and to think of it in context and

Alex Baranowski:

sort of, and the film was very good at making that feel a bit more real.

Alex Baranowski:

And so I put my grandmother's paintings up and there's some really harrowing

Alex Baranowski:

paintings that she, she made of her time around there that's sort of half

Alex Baranowski:

abstract, half figurative, with sort of quite harrowing details that, um, I

Alex Baranowski:

need, I need to sort of work from this.

Alex Baranowski:

And, um, I use my granddad's instrument like, so that's this accordion

Alex Baranowski:

they obviously see on a podcast.

Alex Baranowski:

But I've got an accordion in my room that my granddad bought in, um,

Alex Baranowski:

in Italy, I think in So, so all my grandparents were, they were taken

Alex Baranowski:

to Siberia and they were taken to Siberian labor camps, prison camps.

Alex Baranowski:

And the only reason they were, Released is because, uh, Stalin switched sides

Alex Baranowski:

from, you know, obviously working with Hitler, invading Poland, and

Alex Baranowski:

he switched sides to the alley.

Alex Baranowski:

So he said, right off, off you go, you need to go and fight.

Alex Baranowski:

And they made them march from Siberia to Palestine to Italy.

Alex Baranowski:

So it, it really, really affected me thinking about their experiences and

Alex Baranowski:

experiences on the, on the children in the film, and I used, my granddad's

Alex Baranowski:

instruments and I, I, like I said, I, I put the paintings of my grandma around

Alex Baranowski:

the studio and I, I genuinely was sort of crying through writing a lot of cues.

Alex Baranowski:

It was, cuz it was, it was a really, so yeah, it was a

Alex Baranowski:

really emotional experience.

Gareth:

in a, in a way, adding to their creativity through time.

Alex Baranowski:

It's really, and it's, it's made me actually write, write more.

Alex Baranowski:

And I just recently released actually a.

Alex Baranowski:

A piece that a Canadian violinist, commissioned, um, called Debo.

Alex Baranowski:

I wrote a piece called Spring, which is based on one of the

Alex Baranowski:

poems that my, my granddad wrote.

Alex Baranowski:

They're all in Polish, but I sort, my is terrible.

Alex Baranowski:

So I have to use Google Translate and then get a family member to

Alex Baranowski:

sort of translate a bit better.

Alex Baranowski:

It was the most beautiful sort of, you know, he wrote it in Siberia when.

Alex Baranowski:

It must have been so bleak, like living through a Siberian

Alex Baranowski:

winter in a labor camp thinking.

Alex Baranowski:

And I, and I've heard his account, there's, he's a recorded account

Alex Baranowski:

of his on, um, Imperial War Museum.

Alex Baranowski:

It's, it's really incredible.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and I remember talking to him about it and we was, we were really close and he

Alex Baranowski:

brought me my first violin when I was six.

Alex Baranowski:

He was, he had a choir into his nineties.

Alex Baranowski:

He was incredible.

Alex Baranowski:

Incredible man.

Alex Baranowski:

But no, it was, it was really wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

It was like, it was, it was great.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Gareth:

Well, with that in mind, because you are actually going back in time

Gareth:

with your violin at six years old.

Gareth:

Uh, why don't we go back in time and, uh, find out how it all began.

Gareth:

If you are ready, I.

Alex Baranowski:

Wonderful.

Gareth:

Okay, so you.

Gareth:

Mentioned about, your grandfather buying you your first violin.

Gareth:

Was that the first time that you had experienced music?

Gareth:

Or was there a time before that that you can remember?

Alex Baranowski:

so, so that, that accordion that, um, I mentioned

Alex Baranowski:

that my, my grandma bought in Italy in sort of like forties.

Alex Baranowski:

I remember him playing it to me and sort of singing and, when

Alex Baranowski:

I must have been really little.

Alex Baranowski:

I remember it sort of towering over me and now it's.

Alex Baranowski:

Sort of, you know, I think, oh that's, but I remember it being this huge thing, this

Alex Baranowski:

huge special thing that lived upstairs and every now and again, he'd play it.

Alex Baranowski:

Cause I sort of spend my summers, with them, you know, summer holidays,

Alex Baranowski:

that was sort of my childcare.

Alex Baranowski:

I sort of realized, you know, sort of painting and listening to music and, and

Alex Baranowski:

that was, I guess that was really lucky.

Alex Baranowski:

And I kept quite unusual I guess.

Alex Baranowski:

But they, they really did a lot in that, Creativity and just sort of thinking,

Alex Baranowski:

well, of course we can be creative.

Alex Baranowski:

That's what we do.

Alex Baranowski:

It's funny, I sort see my kids and they, my, their seven year old comes in and,

Alex Baranowski:

well, of course that's what dad does.

Alex Baranowski:

He just does music for stuff, you know, , it's what?

Alex Baranowski:

There's no question for it.

Alex Baranowski:

There's no question that, you know.

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

I love it.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

Yeah,

Alex Baranowski:

It's very lucky.

Alex Baranowski:

Really.

Gareth:

very much so.

Gareth:

What were the circumstances of him buying you a violin then?

Gareth:

What

Gareth:

was all that

Alex Baranowski:

don't, I don't know why he, he was always sort of like,

Alex Baranowski:

you, I think you need to pay the violin.

Alex Baranowski:

I thought, okay, great.

Alex Baranowski:

That, well,

Gareth:

Okay.

Alex Baranowski:

And I've still, I've got it like it's a little sort of

Alex Baranowski:

half size, quarter size little violin.

Alex Baranowski:

My, my kid plays in it now.

Alex Baranowski:

And then I ended up, it ended up not being the right violin to learn violin.

Alex Baranowski:

I think it was too small for even at six.

Alex Baranowski:

It was too small.

Alex Baranowski:

So I ended, getting another violin.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and Jetta started, started lessons and

Gareth:

you enjoy that or

Gareth:

were you doing

Alex Baranowski:

it, absolutely loved it.

Alex Baranowski:

It's only when it got a bit and I got bit older and I had to practice and I had to

Alex Baranowski:

do that, you know, when you were 11, 12, 13, like, wow, I don't wanna do this.

Alex Baranowski:

But by then I'd sort of discovered the piano and I didn't really

Alex Baranowski:

wanna practice that either.

Alex Baranowski:

I'd, but I'd sort of loved to sort of just listen to stuff off the TV and try

Alex Baranowski:

and copy stuff, try and write my own, you know, really loved the piano and

Alex Baranowski:

discovered jazz, discovered everything, and then talk to the piano practice 20

Alex Baranowski:

minutes before the Planet two arrived.

Gareth:

You, did you transition from the violin then?

Gareth:

Did you, are we kind of doing them in

Alex Baranowski:

No, I kept, I, I think I kept playing it until I was about,

Alex Baranowski:

um, 15, 16, the violin, and then I sort of, the, the piano took over.

Alex Baranowski:

But it, I, I'm obsessed with strings.

Alex Baranowski:

If anyone's heard my music, they're probably

Gareth:

a little bit.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

It comes across

Alex Baranowski:

Um, but that's why, and I genuinely can't

Alex Baranowski:

play it, but I wish I could.

Alex Baranowski:

Every time I meet people, you know, young composers who play things like violence

Alex Baranowski:

and cellos, just use it, use it, use it.

Alex Baranowski:

Cause I, you know, I wish.

Alex Baranowski:

I have tried.

Alex Baranowski:

I thought, you know what, if I just try a little bit and like add it, layer it

Alex Baranowski:

like no, no, it's just, it's just bad.

Alex Baranowski:

It sounds like some cat being,

Gareth:

With your piano then, you mentioned you went for lessons.

Alex Baranowski:

yeah, so, well, I think I started kinda lessons a bit later.

Alex Baranowski:

Maybe like nine.

Alex Baranowski:

Nine or 10.

Gareth:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

I, and I loved it and again, my granddad sort of had lots of

Alex Baranowski:

instruments lying around like mandolins and guitars and accordions and so it's

Alex Baranowski:

just, I just love playing things and again, sort of string instruments is

Alex Baranowski:

sort of what I'm kind of obsessed with.

Alex Baranowski:

I love sort of playing, I've got lots of random string instruments as

Alex Baranowski:

well, and that's again, from, from that, like again, I've never had

Alex Baranowski:

lessons in all these Mandos and, all the stuff, electric guitars, but I.

Alex Baranowski:

Just trying and pretending and playing.

Alex Baranowski:

And then when, when I've gone traveling again, I've sort of

Alex Baranowski:

traveling with my, my wife resource lived in India for four months, so

Alex Baranowski:

of course I came back with a sit.

Alex Baranowski:

But again, it just sounds wonderful with adding some sort of thing to a,

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

And if you have a basis in, something strings like the violin or the guitar,

Gareth:

see guitars on your wall, then you've got a starting point, haven't you, of

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

Absolut.

Gareth:

And, you know, piano accordion, it's not too far a stretch, um, except

Gareth:

you're, you're kind of pulling the piano apart and putting that together,

Alex Baranowski:

Yeah, Absolutely.

Alex Baranowski:

It's all kind of the same thing, isn't it?

Alex Baranowski:

And then there's this wonderful thing called Melaine, which

Alex Baranowski:

makes everything better for me

Gareth:

Oh yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

whenever it comes to me trying to

Gareth:

spilling the production secrets.

Alex Baranowski:

anything.

Alex Baranowski:

Oh God, yeah.

Alex Baranowski:

But I, but again, I love it.

Alex Baranowski:

Like I'd rather do that than try and find a sample or try and find a thing at this.

Alex Baranowski:

That sort seems to be my ethos.

Alex Baranowski:

So if I'm not doing orchestral things, I'll do everything is live

Alex Baranowski:

as I, I can, even if it's in my, I have mic set up all the time,

Alex Baranowski:

stuff flying around all the time.

Alex Baranowski:

Uh, you know, you can see some stuff in the background, but literally in the

Alex Baranowski:

hallway, in our, in our hallway, just full of instruments every day as if, I'm sorry.

Alex Baranowski:

I'll keep it, put it somewhere, but

Gareth:

Fantastic.

Gareth:

So your grandparents clearly a massive influence on you early on.

Gareth:

Were there, you know, music teachers or other people, perhaps in school

Gareth:

or clubs or anything like that, that might have influenced you as well?

Alex Baranowski:

Yes.

Alex Baranowski:

I guess I, you know, I think it's, it's, it's having strong, strong people who

Alex Baranowski:

sort of really love doing the same thing.

Alex Baranowski:

I, I remember really loving music lessons as at secondary school.

Alex Baranowski:

I think it was only when I went to college, Doing a Apples.

Alex Baranowski:

I went to this really wonderful college.

Alex Baranowski:

There's, there's one, very famous composer alumni who went

Alex Baranowski:

there that I knew very well.

Alex Baranowski:

I knew of very well when I got there, who was hands immer.

Alex Baranowski:

So we sort of went to the same school and when, when they did a, um, a Dr.

Alex Baranowski:

Win about recently they interviewed.

Alex Baranowski:

Our headmaster was the same guy, and he's wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

He's so supportive and wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

And I've, I've gone back quite a few times to sort of talk

Alex Baranowski:

to students, things like that.

Alex Baranowski:

And obviously they couldn't get a famous guy come in.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, he was a bit too far, but then, um, and it was, he always

Alex Baranowski:

asked, he always knows what I'm doing and I, it's really wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

And the, the teachers there, they're really supported.

Alex Baranowski:

Really wonderful.

Alex Baranowski:

That's kind of really where I really.

Alex Baranowski:

Cubase really learn how to get my way around a door, and really work out.

Alex Baranowski:

And that sort of gave me a love.

Alex Baranowski:

And I ended up going, leaving there and I went to liquid in Liverpool,

Alex Baranowski:

which is Paul Carney's old school, which he then turned into a sort of

Alex Baranowski:

music college and they did their music and dance and sound technology, which

Alex Baranowski:

I sort went and sound technology.

Alex Baranowski:

I thought, well, I do, I wanna go and do music or do I wanna go and do.

Alex Baranowski:

Of course it sort of helps, you know, understand how to record music and

Alex Baranowski:

still do music, but then I can sort of record my own music and maybe I can

Alex Baranowski:

make more money by having both things.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, so that was my thought processes.

Alex Baranowski:

So I sort of learned about technology and recording as well as the music and.

Alex Baranowski:

And that was really inspiring.

Alex Baranowski:

The people on there were wonderful cuz it's sort of going to a, a university

Alex Baranowski:

like that and Paul McCartney got literally rang up his mates and got people to

Alex Baranowski:

come in and, just give guest lectures.

Alex Baranowski:

There's a, we had an amazing guest lecture in Glen Johns who was the one

Alex Baranowski:

of that Leo, the amazingly dressed guy on the, like the get back documentary

Alex Baranowski:

doing You record all the, let it be.

Alex Baranowski:

And he sort of came and listened to our material and some diagram around how he

Alex Baranowski:

sort of invited the stereo technique.

Alex Baranowski:

And, um, just really amazing.

Alex Baranowski:

Like we have so many people like that come in and Paul himself like

Alex Baranowski:

gave us to degrees and sort of came in and did some master classes.

Alex Baranowski:

And so it was a really incredible time.

Alex Baranowski:

So the college and university, this sort five years of being so

Alex Baranowski:

inspired and that it, it's not about going, this is how you make a

Alex Baranowski:

guitar, this is how you make a thing.

Alex Baranowski:

They sort of said, look, these are the tools we.

Alex Baranowski:

And look, you can do this.

Alex Baranowski:

This is a compressor, but it's sort of, you know, you need to figure

Alex Baranowski:

out how you do this compressor.

Alex Baranowski:

How you wanna mic this guitarist.

Alex Baranowski:

You don't just say, right, you put on the 12th threat and it's done.

Alex Baranowski:

You go, well look, you can, you can tune it this way.

Alex Baranowski:

You can, you know, you see how resonant is.

Alex Baranowski:

Try micing it around the back.

Alex Baranowski:

Try doing this, try playing it in a bathroom.

Alex Baranowski:

Like we really learn all these amazing, just, it gave you so much creativity.

Alex Baranowski:

And that's something I do every single day now

Gareth:

was gonna say that it seems to be something that, you've kind

Gareth:

of put your own stamp on, and use.

Gareth:

I think as a, we both know as a modern kind of media composer, you need a ru

Gareth:

at least a rudimentary knowledge of recording techniques and stuff like that.

Gareth:

But to have that kind of background, to bring into your work,

Gareth:

It shows in your

Gareth:

work.

Gareth:

Definitely.

Alex Baranowski:

Oh, that's really good for you.

Alex Baranowski:

It was so useful.

Alex Baranowski:

And I think once I left the, you know, once I left Leper, I said I

Alex Baranowski:

went traveling for a year, you know, with, uh, went to India places,

Alex Baranowski:

um, bought lots of instruments.

Alex Baranowski:

But, um, when I came back, sort of letter says what I wanna do,

Alex Baranowski:

I wanna, I wanna write music.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, but how am I gonna do this?

Alex Baranowski:

I dunno, anyone, I don.

Alex Baranowski:

I don't have any contact, I don't have any money . So, I ended up moving in

Alex Baranowski:

with my then girlfriend, now wife's parents and her granddad had an, uh,

Alex Baranowski:

a house a couple miles down the road.

Alex Baranowski:

And this is in south, northern Liverpool, nowhere near where I'm from.

Alex Baranowski:

And, my mom gave, gave a bit, let me a bit of money to buy a, a Mac and I had

Alex Baranowski:

all these instruments and I bought a mic.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and I just learned again, like, so I've, I'd sort of learned how to recall

Alex Baranowski:

in as studio situation and I learned again how to everything, how to write, how to

Alex Baranowski:

make a sound, what my sound was, what I wanted to say as a composer, what my.

Alex Baranowski:

What did I sound like?

Alex Baranowski:

How did I record?

Alex Baranowski:

How do I, so I spent, I literally spent like year, year in a quarter

Alex Baranowski:

doing that seven days a week.

Alex Baranowski:

And I was obsessed.

Alex Baranowski:

And this is the days before Twitter.

Alex Baranowski:

This is the days before.

Alex Baranowski:

You know, I didn't, I didn't have , internet access on my computer.

Alex Baranowski:

I was in this attic.

Alex Baranowski:

It's really cold with a gas heater, with a gas, c gas sort of heater.

Alex Baranowski:

But it was, it was sort of my little space and I adored that space.

Alex Baranowski:

It was my bad, you know, instruments, computer, and I, it was just

Alex Baranowski:

about learning my craft and that was the best year I've ever

Alex Baranowski:

had for myself, for my career.

Alex Baranowski:

Like learning what I do, like figuring out how I do it and

Alex Baranowski:

figuring out what plugins do.

Alex Baranowski:

And I, I, cause I was sort of, I, I went over to pros when I was at, at

Alex Baranowski:

Lipper and learned sort of pros and then that's how I, I, I still use Pros

Alex Baranowski:

now, sort of, I, I wanted to figure out how I could make things sound great.

Alex Baranowski:

And then I sort of bought some, I think it was the, the original East.

Alex Baranowski:

Gold library.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, which, you know, of course they had no lato things in those days.

Alex Baranowski:

They had nothing like that.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, and it was just, I just spent my time obsessing, how do I make this sound real?

Alex Baranowski:

How do I make this sound, the string sound interesting with, with

Alex Baranowski:

adding some guitars, adding some pianos, adding what, what can I do?

Alex Baranowski:

And I just, I, I've completely obsessed and I ended up putting

Alex Baranowski:

music on my MySpace, I think.

Alex Baranowski:

And I got people sort of contacted me saying, oh, can you do this,

Alex Baranowski:

film, you know, we know well, well, I say film was student film

Alex Baranowski:

stuff, so then I, I learned, you know, made all the mistakes on a student film

Alex Baranowski:

and like, I'd had the best time ever.

Alex Baranowski:

I loved it.

Alex Baranowski:

Um, you know, no money involved.

Alex Baranowski:

You don't even, I didn't even think about that.

Alex Baranowski:

But, it was, yeah, like I say, it was the best.

Alex Baranowski:

And I, I know I'm saying, as I'm saying, I know I'm saying this from a

Alex Baranowski:

immensely middle class, white male, p.

Alex Baranowski:

A position to be in this, because I know a lot of people don't have the

Alex Baranowski:

opportunity to go and spend a year living on someone else's dime without having

Alex Baranowski:

to, you know, after, like it's, it's a really, really privileged position to

Alex Baranowski:

be in, and I completely understand that.

Alex Baranowski:

And I, and I, I can understand why having done that, why it's so difficult

Alex Baranowski:

for people who aren't able to afford to do that, to, to get in this, because

Alex Baranowski:

look, it, it is this kinda interesting where, you know, you as, as we all

Alex Baranowski:

know, listen to this, however, Little long, we've all done this thing.

Alex Baranowski:

It it, it takes so much to do this.

Alex Baranowski:

Like no one, no one comes in.

Alex Baranowski:

He goes, oh, great.

Alex Baranowski:

You can read it now.

Alex Baranowski:

You've done it great.

Alex Baranowski:

Do you wanna come and do this?

Alex Baranowski:

Like it is, but that's what's kind of wonderful about it.

Alex Baranowski:

And, um, you know, it's, it's about learning and learning and learning.

Alex Baranowski:

And, and even in my twenties I thought, oh, I can score films now.

Alex Baranowski:

I've been doing this for a few years and, and it's looking back now like I.

Alex Baranowski:

There's so much I know now that I didn't know then that I, you, you

Alex Baranowski:

learning all the time and I'm sure in 10 years time I'll look back at

Alex Baranowski:

what I'm doing now and think, oh, you were so naive, You know, it's about,

Alex Baranowski:

it's about learning all the time

Gareth:

Yeah.

Gareth:

But then if you go into it, knowing what you're in for, I, I'm, I'm not sure many

Gareth:

people would actually decide to go ahead,

Alex Baranowski:

no,

Gareth:

See, for me, it was totally unexpected.

Gareth:

You know, the amount of graft and the amount of the, the amount

Gareth:

you have to really dig deep and think, is this really what I want?

Gareth:

You

Alex Baranowski:

I completely agree.

Alex Baranowski:

And, and, and we all have many moments like that.

Alex Baranowski:

And I remember, you know, thinking that now, like it really affected.

Alex Baranowski:

You know, mental health, you know, when you sort of go up for jobs and

Alex Baranowski:

you don't get them with this, and it's frustrating cause you then you move

Alex Baranowski:

to London and you can't pay the rent.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, it's just so, so, so hard.

Alex Baranowski:

And, and then, you know, you, you maybe find a way out, you know, I'll pitch

Alex Baranowski:

this advert, pay my rent for three months and then you don't get it and you, and

Alex Baranowski:

you just, all you can think about is not being able to pay your two months.

Alex Baranowski:

And so it's, it's a really really hard thing and it, you can see why

Alex Baranowski:

everyone struggles because we all struggle and it's what's really bad,

Alex Baranowski:

you sort of look at other people and you can compare yourself with them When

Alex Baranowski:

you think why it all looks so easy.

Alex Baranowski:

And even sometimes I look at my own.

Alex Baranowski:

Terrible website and go.

Alex Baranowski:

Got it.

Alex Baranowski:

It looks, looks quite impressive actually.

Alex Baranowski:

I mean, but it doesn't feel like that when you do it.

Alex Baranowski:

But everything looks, looks better on the, on the outside and I

Alex Baranowski:

think you need to remember that

Alex Baranowski:

and I remember sort of being in studios and, and seeing composers and who were.

Alex Baranowski:

Many, many wrongs above me and working on these incredible films, and it's

Alex Baranowski:

sort of being satisfying that they're having a really hard, difficult timing.

Alex Baranowski:

Okay, great.

Alex Baranowski:

Like I always imagined it'll be easy.

Alex Baranowski:

You just be drinking coffee and getting assistance to help, you

Alex Baranowski:

know, but actually, it's, it's not, it's a hard, the whole way through.

Alex Baranowski:

And that's, okay.

Alex Baranowski:

As long as we, we know that, I think it's not about taking your eye off the ball.

Alex Baranowski:

There's never a moment you can just go, yeah, I'm done Now.

Alex Baranowski:

Just

Gareth:

Exactly, and there's a massive responsibility on

Gareth:

your shoulders, isn't it?

Gareth:

You know, you get into a position where you think, yes, I've got a gig, I've got a

Gareth:

commission, and then you are responsible.

Gareth:

You know, you, you are . Then the sleepless nights start because, oh God,

Gareth:

you know, you gotta get everything right.

Alex Baranowski:

Absolutely.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's, and it's not something I think, I think, again, and I, I'm

Alex Baranowski:

guilty of it, I know when I was younger, but I think as a, when you

Alex Baranowski:

are as a young composer, you sort of.

Alex Baranowski:

You, well, I know I can do this.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm, why aren't I doing this?

Alex Baranowski:

But, but you think about it like you are as a composer for a film.

Alex Baranowski:

You're, it's the equivalent of being a CEO of a, of a multimillion pound project.

Alex Baranowski:

You know?

Alex Baranowski:

Or a head of department of a of a very, very big, you know, you

Alex Baranowski:

this, this just writing music is, you know, in charge of hundreds of

Alex Baranowski:

thousands of pounds of, of budget.

Alex Baranowski:

That, to go to orchestras, I, it takes so much experience and knowledge and.

Alex Baranowski:

No one gets given a CEO job when they're in their twenties.

Alex Baranowski:

And if they are, God help you because you know, like it's about working

Alex Baranowski:

on those smaller projects, isn't it?

Alex Baranowski:

And learning and figuring it all out bigger.

Alex Baranowski:

And they get bigger and

Gareth:

Yeah, so not to end on a despairing note , I ask, all of my guests

Gareth:

to leave an item and a piece of advice, in the music room for others to find.

Gareth:

So have you got an item that you'd like to leave in the music room?

Alex Baranowski:

So I was thinking about this and I was listening

Alex Baranowski:

to what other people left behind.

Alex Baranowski:

And I was thinking, so one of the most useful things is a little black book.

Alex Baranowski:

And in that little black book is people.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's not my people.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm not giving you a black book full of people.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm giving you a black book for you to fill with your people.

Alex Baranowski:

Cuz I think what you do is all about people.

Alex Baranowski:

Like we sit in our little rooms on our own most of the time and we, we write,

Alex Baranowski:

we, we want the stuff to come to us, but it doesn't, you know, we have to go

Alex Baranowski:

out and do it and I love writing music.

Alex Baranowski:

I love getting musicians to, to play and collaborate with.

Alex Baranowski:

And so I have a, a lovely, lovely group of people now that I sort of like, but at the

Alex Baranowski:

moment I'm like ringing up people saying, can you put this some cello on this?

Alex Baranowski:

Can you do this?

Alex Baranowski:

Can you write, you know, can you help me with this?

Alex Baranowski:

Can you do some, some surveillance things on this one?

Alex Baranowski:

I'm doing it and directors and people, like I said, that you meet assistants

Alex Baranowski:

when you are really young and they end up becoming their own directors.

Alex Baranowski:

And I, I was sort of starter when Facebook was really just in it, in its

Alex Baranowski:

infancy from, um, For the masses like us.

Alex Baranowski:

I remember, you know, before Twitter, and I remember sort of being recontacted

Alex Baranowski:

with all these, you know, people from Mays and school and going,

Alex Baranowski:

oh, you've worked in the BBC now.

Alex Baranowski:

Can I ever do

Gareth:

Yeah,

Alex Baranowski:

now even more connected, I guess so, and Twitter

Alex Baranowski:

getting some wonderful work and meeting wonderful people on Twitter.

Alex Baranowski:

I guess it's just about connections and not being on your

Alex Baranowski:

own and having a little book.

Alex Baranowski:

Remind you of all the, it doesn't have to be a physical, it can be in

Alex Baranowski:

your head, it can be, it can be in

Alex Baranowski:

your

Gareth:

no.

Gareth:

It's a, it's a physical black book.

Alex Baranowski:

and, and in

Gareth:

go

Alex Baranowski:

book, and it's a, and and to be fair, there's a little

Alex Baranowski:

black book of people that are, have not been particularly pleasant or not

Alex Baranowski:

be, you know, that I, I, I've been, I've been very lucky that I've had a

Alex Baranowski:

lot of positive experiences and there's been a few negative experiences, but,

Alex Baranowski:

you know, whether, whether it's people working with, whether it's a musician

Alex Baranowski:

being a complete ass about something, or it's about this, or it's about,

Alex Baranowski:

you know, no, no one's gonna, you.

Alex Baranowski:

I, I wanna try and be as fair and wonderful and you wanna be with everyone,

Alex Baranowski:

you know, but, but it's, you wanna surround people with you, be positive.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's about, it's about trying to figure out the way through it.

Gareth:

Fantastic.

Gareth:

Well that's going in.

Gareth:

Uh, what advice would you like to leave in the music room?

Alex Baranowski:

um, so I.

Alex Baranowski:

Said it before, but I think the, the biggest bit of advice is not comparing.

Alex Baranowski:

There's a wonderful quote, I, I dunno who said it, so I'm sorry it's not

Alex Baranowski:

mine, but like, don't compare your beginning with someone else's middle.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, don't look at other people and think.

Alex Baranowski:

Why am I not doing that?

Alex Baranowski:

Why am I not doing this?

Alex Baranowski:

Why am I, you know, I don't think, um, I'm young.

Alex Baranowski:

I'm young.

Alex Baranowski:

I need to get an agent.

Alex Baranowski:

I need to do this.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, you need to, like, you don't, you just need to keep going and meeting

Alex Baranowski:

people and finding avenues to write music, whether it's above a pub, whether

Alex Baranowski:

it's, whether it's just writing some library music, whether it's pitching

Alex Baranowski:

for some adverts, whether it's doing some theater, whether it's doing a load

Alex Baranowski:

budget doc, um, doing a dance piece.

Alex Baranowski:

Like I, I did it all.

Alex Baranowski:

That's how, I guess, I'm so lucky to work in so many.

Alex Baranowski:

Avenues now is cuz when I was a young composer, I just wanted to

Alex Baranowski:

meet as many people as I could.

Alex Baranowski:

So I met choreographers, I met, you know, documentary makers and theater

Alex Baranowski:

makers, and I just wanted to make as many connections as possible.

Alex Baranowski:

I was very lucky.

Alex Baranowski:

I had income by, you know, doing a theater job or getting the odd advert pitch and

Alex Baranowski:

doing, you need, you sort of grab your income from other wear or do other jobs.

Alex Baranowski:

So, yes.

Alex Baranowski:

So that's what it, my advice, you know, it's about trying to be you.

Alex Baranowski:

And it's not trying to, you know, we know, of course we get, we get

Alex Baranowski:

influences from here, there, and everywhere, but figure out who you are.

Alex Baranowski:

I always have this horrible analogy, which I always say.

Alex Baranowski:

Composers and I, there's, there's two types of composers.

Alex Baranowski:

There's one type of composer like, oh God, we need to get someone to do some music.

Alex Baranowski:

Like, you, you, you, you, yeah, you, you're great.

Alex Baranowski:

Done.

Alex Baranowski:

Well, there's other site where you go, okay, I really like what you do,

Alex Baranowski:

and I want you to come and do this because I really love what you've

Alex Baranowski:

done, and I think we all all start.

Alex Baranowski:

In the one, the first one we all start and just wanna be a composer.

Alex Baranowski:

But the, the, the aim is sort of get onto that side and go,

Alex Baranowski:

oh, people wanna come to you.

Alex Baranowski:

And the only way of doing that is by being you not trying to copy

Alex Baranowski:

someone, not trying to do this, like trying and just figure out your own

Alex Baranowski:

way of, of getting through stuff.

Gareth:

Alex Barovsky composer.

Gareth:

It has been a joy chatting with you.

Gareth:

Thanks for joining me in the music room.

Alex Baranowski:

Thank you very much for asking

About the Podcast

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The Music Room
Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

About your host

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Gareth Davies

Audio creator of music, podcasts, tales and rhymes. Toad & Friends (Warner Bros. Discovery) arriving in 2023.

Gareth is also the creator of The Music Room community, podcast and newsletter.

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Danny Brown $5
Saw your excellent post on Facebook, and happy to become a supporter!
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Anonymous £1
Thanks for making this podcast! I appreciate all the advice and useful items that guests leave, it’s helped me think about how I go about things.