This summer we’re delighted to be working with Dutch Uncles’ composer and bassist Robin Richards. Commissioned by Brighter Sound, Robin has composed and directed original music for From The Crowd – an immersive outdoor performance inspired by the spirit of Peterloo and the voices of people today.
This large-scale commemorative event will take place in Manchester city centre on Friday 16 August. Limited free tickets are available here.
Robin has kindly shared with us some of his top tips for aspiring or emerging artists…
I have found it incredibly rewarding to work on collaborative projects. Whether that is with other musicians, artists of different disciplines or people who are not even artists at all, it is great to bounce ideas off another person. Once you have found someone you collaborate well with, you can work with them again and again. Having another person there whose opinion and work you respect helps to push you both to get projects finished.
2. Take yourself out of your comfort zone
Trying out new things is really important to push yourself as a musician. Looking for new opportunities such as applying for artist residencies or commissions can be a great way to take you out of your comfort zone, learn new practices and meet other people.
3. Stick to your gut feeling
I have found that an initial gut feeling about a piece of music, be it good or bad, is usually correct. If other people are persuading you to do something you feel uncomfortable with, try and stick to your guns and make sure you are clear on your opinions. If there is a piece of music you have written which you feel particularly passionate about, but band mates or record labels aren’t as into it, you can always repurpose it for other projects.
4. Set yourself deadlines
Deadlines are really important, especially if you are working on your own. It is easy to become your own worst critic, and you can spend months trying to edit the tiniest part of a song. With a cut off point to work towards, it is possible to be more productive under the pressure.
Listen to loads of different music. Take inspiration wherever you can. Push yourself to experiment with other forms of music and art, individually and in collaboration.
About Robin Richards
Robin Richards is a composer and the bass guitarist in Manchester based band Dutch Uncles. He has composed and arranged all the music across the band’s five critically acclaimed studio albums to date, and has toured Europe extensively over the last 11 years. He studied under esteemed composer and conductor Joe Duddell at the University of Salford and graduated in 2011 with a first class honours degree in Music, specialising in composition. In 2015, he was commissioned by HOME, Manchester to compose a new score for a silent film as part of their Film and Music Project, in collaboration with the RNCM. He produced a new soundtrack to the 1928 film ‘Lonesome’. Two sold out screenings of the film with live performance by a chamber ensemble took place at HOME as part of the cinema’s opening weekend. The following year he collaborated with visual artist Clara Casian on ‘Birdsong – Stories from Pripyat’, a film and original live score project inspired by personal testimonies of those affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In 2017 he took up the role of artist in residence at the Gefail Yr Ynys forge in Caernarfon, North Wales collaborating with sculptor and mixed-media artist Mike Murray. Three of the pieces he produced during the residency are featured on his debut solo EP with PRAH Recordings. His work endeavours to achieve aesthetic and philosophical aims whilst taking inspiration from mathematical and natural processes. His musical influences include the work of Steve Reich, Igor Stravinsky and Kate Bush.