What was the first instrument you learned how to play and what would you say is your favorite instrument to write for, play?
I learned music since I was probably four. By the time I was seven I was shipped off to a boarding school, which was a specialist music school. So where some people would have an hour and a half of biology, an hour and a half of math, etc … my day was centered around music. Learning to read, to write, and sing music. I had all of the other lessons to get through high school, but they were very much secondary. So I could read music probably before I could read words at the age of 7.
My brothers and sisters all played musical instruments. My sister played the clarinet and I would play along with her. I played many instruments, but my main instrument was the piano – and I sang. Now it doesn’t really apply in a movie like The Equalizer where I didn’t use woodwinds at all, but on a movie like Shrek or countless other scores that I’ve done – often when I’m orchestrating a passage that may be sensitive, romantic, or has got some deep feeling in it- there will be a clarinet somewhere. And that probably goes back to my childhood and just making music with my brothers and sisters.
Nowadays I’m primarily a keyboard player. I have a lot of electronic equipment in my studio in order for me to make the demos that I make. Like all symphonic composers in the world I have a sampled orchestra. I have all the sounds at my fingertips.