Benji Merrison is an award winning composer providing bespoke music for Film and Television.
Benji is widely recognised as a leading light in the new wave of British composers. He is highly experienced, prolific and known for being adaptable in musical genre.
His distinctive musical voice is in high demand and he has scored music for hundreds of projects across film, television, installations and events. He has worked with all major UK broadcasters, along with many other networks and brands worldwide.
Benji has the rare combination of being both classically trained (both in composition and performance) and is also a skilled music producer and engineer. With this combination he has the ability to compose, arrange, perform and mix scores which are broadcast ready.
He also works with some of the best talent in the industry, regularly using world class musicians, orchestras, engineers and orchestrators to craft his scores.
He has devoted his life to music. He was recognised at a very young age as a prodigious talent, both as a performer and composer, and went on to obtain a BA (Hons) in Music and an MSc in Music Technology from York University. He also studied Jazz Piano with Howard Riley at Goldsmiths University.
After his studies he settled in London to embark on his career as a full time composer in 2001.
Outside of his career, he has a lovely wife and two young children, who keep him very busy.
TRAINING / AWARDS:
University of York (BA Hons Music & MSc Music Technology), Advanced Jazz Piano (Howard Riley, Goldsmiths University), EPSRC Award Winner, RTS Award Nomination (E4 Music Zone), SXSW Award Winner (Tate Lost Art).
Q & A With Journalist Ben Richardson:
BR: What do you enjoy most about your job?
BM: I love projects where I can build up a creative partnership between the director and myself. When things are right, you feel an energy and it leads to a lot of experimental processes and techniques. I strive not to take the obvious approach. I love creating work which is genuinely new, something that people haven't heard before. I find that people come to me not just because of the quality of the music, but also the 'qualities'.
BR: Where does your involvement begin and end?
BM: I love every part of the process and enjoy being involved as early as possible in the production process. My job is an extension of what I have been doing from a very early age. I particularly enjoy meeting and working closely with the production team. I am very approachable and adaptable, and definitely not a cranky composer who works in isolation. I like the creative spark and I feed off the energy and that comes with working with lots of different people and lots of different personalities.
BR: Is there a typical project?
BM: Not really. Every project is different, and that's the way I like it! Timescales can be long, or very quick turnaround. Briefs can vary quite a lot. I love the variety and the challenges that this presents. I throw myself into my projects. I’m 100% committed. I like to think that people come back to me because they’ve found they’ve received a lot more than they were expecting. I work very closely with production, often speaking on a daily basis (even hourly at the end of a project!). They get a level of service from me that they don’t necessarily get from others.
BR: What’s your favourite type of project?
BM: I love working with live musicians and orchestras and mixing this with the studio generated elements. I love being given the freedom to create bespoke work where the end result is a ultra-high end score that brings the visual story to life. Even where the budgets don’t allow for full orchestras, I love bringing in world instruments, quirky and interesting gear, talented session players to augment the score. Even a small amount of live session work goes a very long way and doesn't need to cost as much as people might think.
BR: What’s your normal way of working?
BM: Every project is different, but I am equipped with the skills and the technology to take on any brief. I’m just as at home with modular synthesisers and electronic music as I am scoring for a full symphony orchestra. I own and play a wide range of European and world instruments and I often process them using analogue and digital processing. I’ve worked in TV motion graphics before I began composing full-time and it gave me a real understanding of the link between audio material and the visuals. As a result, I tend to work very well with directors and editors, as I have seen the process from their side also.