Composer Interview: Robin Foster

Hi Robin, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little bit about yourself – where do you come from, and what do you do?

I come from the north of England but have lived and worked as a musician/composer in northwest France for over 10 years now.

You have created soundtracks for well-known brands such as Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, Barclays, Le Coq Sportif. How did you get involved with these writing soundtracks for these companies?

Either directly through the director or through my US publishers. I work very closely with a good friend, British director Sean Ellis, we started our collaboration with Hugo Boss a few years ago and since then we have done a few more ads and recently I scored Sean’s latest film “Metro Manila” which actually won the audience award at Sundance this year :)

When and how did you get started in the “industry” originally?

I couldn’t say when exactly, as early as I can remember I wanted to play but it took me a long time to understand that it is an “industry” if you want to make a living from it, I think a lot of people don’t quite get that it’s a real job that involves a lot of work.

Your music has been featured in a number of popular television soundtracks including One Tree Hill and Criminal Minds. Have you found since getting these type of credits, it has been easier to get work as a composer?

It’s always great to get those, for a musician today I’d say it’s as important as radio play was 20 years ago, maybe even more…especially for someone like me who does mainly instrumental tracks.

What does your studio currently consist of hardware /software wise?

I am a child of Logic 9, it is my new religion.

What was your favourite project to have worked on so far?

That would have to be the score for “Metro Manila“, working with Sean is always a great challenge. I also got to work with Emiliana Torini on the soundtrack, I have always loved her voice so working with her was a joy.

Talk us through your daily routine.

I’m lucky to have my studio in the top floor of the house so I can spend the day working and changing nappies (my 18 month old son)!

You have a new album out called PenInsular – tell us a bit about it and what you hoped to achieve with the album.

PenInsular was at first going to be an experiment, I wanted to make something 100% homemade and funded by the inhabitants of this small seaside town where I live, it’s such a fascinating place with a lot of history and interesting characters (think Twin peaks with beaches and you’ve got it!).

Robin Foster: Pen Had (PenInsular)

When the info got onto Facebook that I was crowd-funding the album, my fans wanted to get involved, so it quickly escalated into something much bigger. What’s great is that there was never any of the usual stress that you would get from a record company etc, so every step up for the album has been great. In the end we got international distribution, hit top 20 in itunes France and sold out of our first pressing in two weeks. Somehow this has become my best selling album in very little time…not quite sure how that happened, I think having your fans involved is very special, it’s important for me to feel connected to my public like this.

What’s your definition of success?

I think real success is what you leave behind you, what it can still do after you’ve gone. Then there’s the fake success that you get in the moment but that fades away all too quickly. It’s not about money or celebrity, it’s about leaving your mark.

How do you stay fresh as a composer?

I take inspiration from everything around me, my influences are very visual, I like to mix between the area here because it’s so wild and also cinema… certain films can instantly inspire me to do something.

robin foster composer interview

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you were originally starting off?

Stick at it

Can you recommend any useful books on composition/mastering/business etc. that you’ve read and enjoyed?

After finishing my second album there was no way I was going back into that studio, it was a nightmare from start to finish, but that was no-doubt also one of the best things that could have happened because it made me learn how to produce myself. The first thing I did was buy an iMac and Logic 9 then I bought “Apple Pro Training Series: Logic Pro 9 and Logic Express 9” by David Nahmani and locked myself in the studio with it till I knew what I was doing, I love that book…it’s the bible of Logic !

Your studio is on fire and you only have time to grab one thing – what do you take?

Hard-drive :)

You can hear Robin Foster’s music on his website and listen to clips of his new album PenInsular too.

Written by: Emmett Cooke

Emmett Cooke is an Irish composer for film, tv and video games. His music has been used around the world by high profile companies including Sony Playstation, Ralph Lauren, ABC, CBS, NBC, Lockheed Martin and many more.

Film and Game Composers

www.FilmandGameComposers.com offers a wide range of interviews, reviews, guides and tutorials for composers and musicians who are interested in writing music for film, TV and video games.

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