We talk to Laurence Owen ahead of his masterclass on Monday the 26th. Laurence graduated from the course in 2011 and since then he has led an amazing career as a freelance composer, songwriter, sound designer and voice performer. He has written music for the BBC, Toyota, O2, Stella Artois, Sipsmith, ARTE, The Beano, Historic Royal Palaces and the V&A Museum, and provides sound design for critically-acclaimed multimedia theatre company 1927.
DMSA: Where do we find you now?
LO: Physically, I’m catching up on some admin in my living room in Norwich. Mentally, I’m formulating the music and lyrics for an upcoming musical adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde that I’m working on.
DMSA: Three important words that represent you as a creative person
LO: 1. Craft – I’m more interested in making things that serve a function than making things that exist purely for themselves.
2. Accessibility – I don’t personally subscribe to the “if anyone else likes what you’re doing, that’s just a bonus” philosophy (but completely respect anyone who does).
3. Narrative – I like stories, and I like making (and consuming) music and sound that involves storytelling elements.
DMSA: When did you start working with sound and music?
LO: I started writing and recording music when I was 14. I really hope I’ve improved a little bit since then.
DMSA: In what ways has the DMSA course supported or helped you to develop into who you are today creatively and professionally?
LO: Having the space, time, equipment and permission to work was, on its own, hugely helpful. But I also left feeling actively encouraged to blur the lines between sound and music, art and design, highbrow and lowbrow. The DMSA course taught me that there are no set paths into the creative industry, and no set careers when you arrive in it.
DMSA: Can you tell us a bit more about The Time Machine?
LO: The Time Machine is the most recent of four productions I’ve co-written with my writer wife Lindsay for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It’s a musical adaptation of HG Wells’ novel, and although it’s a Victorian story, we’ve chosen to tell it in the style of a 1950s radio play. We have a table of foley sound effects, and I’ve written a Bernard Herrmann style B-movie score, as well as playing live theremin during the show. We’ve been touring the country with it for a year, and it’s just about to be retired so that we can work on our next production.
DMSA: Other plans for the future? projects, events, visions?
LO: Our Jekyll & Hyde show is the next major project I’m working on. Aside from that, I’ve always enjoyed scoring factual/documentary work, so I hope to do more of that. I’m also seeking to score more experiential entertainment – theme parks, VR attractions, interactive museum installations, and so on. But truthfully, I never know what’s around the corner. That’s what keeps this job exciting, and a little scary… but in a good way!