MUSIC+SOUND AWARDS TALK TO...
2018 Jury Member +
Freelance Film Music Supervisor / Director of Music for Film + TV at Sony Music Entertainment, London
Before becoming an independent Film Music Supervisor, Ian built his strong reputation through his work as Head of Film and TV for Polygram Records; Head of Film, TV and Advertising and ultimately Director of the department at Warner/Chappell Music Ltd; and by placing artists such as LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY, THE CARDIGANS, MOBY, GOLDFRAPP, OVERSEER, GROOVE ARMADA, LAMB & SMASHMOUTH in many high profile advertising campaigns, TV and Film Productions.
During his tenure at Polygram, one of Ian’s first big films, LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, resulted in a double platinum soundtrack and a strong collaboration with Brit director Guy Ritchie. Ian was therefore Ritchie’s first choice for his follow up feature, SNATCH, during his period at Warner/Chappell.
In 2005, Ian began to enjoy success as a Freelance Music Supervisor with many credits including CONTROL by Anton Corbin; JOE STRUMMER - THE FUTURE IS WRITTEN by Julien Temple; ST.TRINIANS 1 & 2; KIDULTHOOD; ADULTHOOD; ROCKNROLLA and OF TIME AND THE CITY from the highly acclaimed director Terence Davies. Other popular releases in the UK include NOWHERE BOY, KICK ASS, ALAN PARTRIDGE MOVIE, & 127 HOURS & SEX & DRUGS AND ROCK & ROLL, which Ian is also an Executive Producer on.
His work across all his projects include sourcing existing material, finding new original content, organizing pre-records, attaching score composers, full management of source & score budgets, film spotting, licensing and contracting, compiling soundtracks and much more.
TV credits included RED RIDING TRILOGY directed by Julian Jarold, Anand Tucker & James Marsh for Revolution Films. Other TV shows include ECHO BEACH, ASHES TO ASHES & SKINS.
As of May 2010 Ian took the role of Director of Music for Film and TV for Sony Music, overseeing Sony Music content into Advertising, TV, Film and Computer Games. His film successes have included The INBETWEENERS, KICK ASS 2, I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES soundtracks and many more. In the world of advertising: PALOMA FAITH’S cover of Never Tear Us Apart & TOM ODELL’S Real Love both in the coveted John Lewis advertising spots.
Ian and his team were also responsible for the much-publicised brand tie-in of Daft Punk and the Lotus Formula One team. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson & Bruno became the biggest synch track in 2015 and in 2016/17 has been instrumental in the Rag N Bone Man success, having secured many synchs around the globe.
He continues to operate an independent music supervision company of which over the last year has supervised among others: FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL (Paul McGuigan) ENGLAND IS MINE (Mark Gill) FREE FIRE (Ben Wheatley) BREATHE (Andy Serkis) and KINGSMAN – THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (Matthew Vaughn)
Let's hear a little from the man himself...
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background, how you got into the music business and any defining moments…
It took me a while to be honest, having spent a few years working at BT when I left school. But music was always my passion from about ten, even though I never wanted to be a musician. So I started up working in a record shop (Our Price) and then got a job at Jeff Wayne Music, who were one of the first companies helping ad agencies get music into ads. That was 25 years ago!
Let’s talk about your freelance music supervision first off. Has there been a favourite project, or even favourite song placement, for you so far? And a particularly challenging one?
Too many to choose from and lots of stories. Most recently having Prince (one of my all time favourite artists - even have a tattoo!) on Kingsman- Golden Circle. Took 3 months to get agreed, but a huge coup as Prince never licensed much at all when he was alive. Also, most recently a film called England Is Mine about a young Morrissey, which was great to work on. Back in the day, Morrissey was my idol and without the Smiths I’m not sure I would be writing this right now. I still get reminded after nearly 20 years how much people liked Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrel's soundtrack so I guess that’s always been one to try and emulate but in terms of sales that’s impossible these days.
What’s your usual process for finding music and how do you organise and keep track of all the music you collect?
It varies from project to project and depends on what the film needs. You decide on the research and your best contacts for that project and then take it from there. It’s much easier now with I-Tunes, Spotify etc to keep playlists. But if you do your research properly it always takes you on a journey, which is the best bit. Then you have to work out if you can afford it all (not the best bit, LOL)
Can you tell us about any future projects you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently working with director, Dan Cadan, who’s an old friend, on a brilliant comedy about Wrestling. It’s called Walk Like A Panther. It’s out March 2018 and it’s been a very personal experience as he is a mate first and foremost. I hope a lot of people go and see it and buy the soundtrack!
In your role at Sony Music, what are your recent exciting sync placements?
We do many placements every month both in UK and with all our Sony affiliates abroad. I guess a highlight for this year would be the work we have done on Rag N Bone Man which has made a significant impact on the sales and popularity of this great artist.
Have you noticed any placement trends in recent years?
None different to normal to be honest. There are always a few artists every year which people cite and you are asked to replace. This year it’s been ‘Human’ by Rag N Bone Man on a good few occasions (ha ha), but each year there is a new one.
Are there any changes you’d like to see in the world of music supervision and licensing?
Right now the issue of US unions and payments to singers and musicians is causing concern but hopefully a resolution is not far off!
Lastly, what movie or TV soundtracks are out there that you feel just completely nail it?
The great thing is that every year there is always a film or two, or a TV show, that comes along and makes people take notice. I know Stranger Things has been one of those this year and is using some great 80’s tracks.