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21 | Oli Julian, Musician & Composer

Find me a song with brass in and I'm pretty sure I'll love it - from Nancy and Lee's Summer Wine, to Holst's The Planets, Mika to Northern Soul juggernaughts The Flirtations, I love it.

Imagine my sheer joy to hear the brass heavyweight Motherland theme song. I connected with composer Oli Julian with some questions.

El: How did you get into composing for TV, commercials and films?

O: After I had done a music production degree I started by becoming a runner at a music production company in London - who made a lot of music for commercials and films. I became a staff writer and then went freelance, building up a client base in tv - specifically comedy. However I had been composing for a long time in my teens writing songs with a 4-track.

El: What would you tell your 18 year old self about making music?

O: You don’t have to to do a music degree to be good at making music! When I was growing up there was still a sense of needing a formal education in music to really be able to make a career in some ways, but today technology has made it easy for everyone to be able to actualise their musical ideas, which means its easier to get noticed outside of the usual channels.

El: I found you via the brass heavy, epic Motherland theme tune. I can hear in other tracks, like on Timewasters, you like using brass - why is that?

O: Ha - well my first instrument was the cornet - maybe that’s why?! Brass made so much sense for Motherland as the sound we went for was slightly off kilter and brash, mirroring the people’s lives in the show.

Timewasters was about a jazz band so it was a no brainer!

El. What kind of show or film would you love to score for?

O: I’d love to score more sci-fi and more action adventure stuff.

El: How have you maintained deriving joy from music when it’s also your work?

O: Well it’s a privilege to do this job so even on the days when I don’t want to hear any more music I remind myself its so much fun. Generally every project I work on is different so it never gets boring - I wish I still performed Iive music more as I never have time these days - but one day I’ll get back into that.

Thank you Oli - Motherland is hilarious, check it out. Oli's work is on Spotify.

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