If you have children under 10, or are a Wallace and Gromit fan, you would have heard composer Julian Nott’s virtuosic music and catchy tunes. Julian’s latest project is writing a piece titled Overture & Allegro for New Water Music, the official Jubilee album. We’ve snatched some of Julian’s precious time for this crackin’ interview.
Q: There are 2 Wikipedia entries for Julian Nott and one is a World famous British balloonist. Do you lead a double life?
A: We are often muddled up. Although sometimes I think that trying to make a living in the world of film and television music is actually more reckless and dangerous than attempting to expand the frontiers of human endeavour in the field of high altitude ballooning.
Q: As part of the New Water Music project you have written a piece for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. How did the Jubilee rehearsals go? Did you manage to fit the H20 ensemble on a barge or did you have to come up with a Wallace and Gromit contraption to do that? I am imagining brass instruments strapped to helium balloons and a floating harpsichord used as barge ballast…
A: Obviously Wallace’s contraptions fall foul of the latest health and safety regulations and so regrettably I wasn’t allowed to deploy any of them.
Q: Your Jubilee piece “Overture and Allegro” is dizzyingly brilliant, brimming with colour. Was there a selection of titles / pieces to choose from? Did you have to do the “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” with Debbie Wiseman, Anne Dudley, John Lunn, Howard Goodall?
A: We were given our pieces after a secret ballot. Whether there was any corruption involved, I am unable to say.
Q: With The New Water Music you have now ventured into the territory of concert music. Has it inspired you to write a Ballet, Opera or symphony?
A: It has to be said it is much easier to write music that hides behind an actor or a pretty landscape. I always hope to write concert music but it doesn’t seem to happen very often.
Q: May I suggest that you are John Williams to Nick Park’s Spielberg. Your music and Nick’s visuals give out the same sort of energy.
A: Is that a compliment? Wallace likes to sit on a chair, sipping tea and eating cheese all day long. Are you suggesting my music has some of that flavour?
Q: Are you aware how important your Peppa Pig work is? You have enriched and influenced lives of many toddlers. The Peppa theme can be heard on many parent’s iPhone YouTube app at 6am…
A: As I understand it, the Peppa theme tune is one of the most unpopular melodies in the UK! Many a household is awakened each morning by the sound of a child slipping a DVD into the machine, followed by an unwelcome wake-up fanfare of the Peppa theme tune.
(Many grateful parents will agree that major tantrums were avoided by the sweet sound of Peppa fanfare)
Q: Where is your studio… do you own a shed?
A: No. Like Wallace I have a basement den where my eccentric creations are hatched and nurtured.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom, which is made by the same people as Peppa Pig.
Q: Being a director of PRS is a great honour and responsibility. What are you aiming to achieve?
A: Composer’s royalties are under very severe threat from many directions and I doing what I can to protect them. If I fail, I may have to consider a change of career into high altitude ballooning.
Q: What is playing on Julian Nott’s iTunes right now?
A: Completely coincidentally, I am exploring Handel opera. I am staggered by how many beautiful melodies he wrote, most of them still unknown today.
Interview by Jelena Jancic