Francesco Emmanuel is a classically-trained guitarist who is madly in-love with the electric guitar. He teaches guitar for a living and composes for film & TV.
Francesco Emmanuel started with the guitar at age 13. Currently pursuing his Licentiate degree with the Royal Schools of Music (London), he's played in various bands since 16, his most successful being Toronto-based Juno-nominated band - Kobo Town.
Notable performances include Womad (London, 2014), the Montreal Jazz Festival (2007 & 2013), Berlin's Wassermusik and Nurnberg's Bardentreffen Festival (2009 & 2012).
'Cesco also composes for film. His latest work can be heard on the series – ‘The West Indies at War (2015)’ and ‘Within these Walls (2014)’ (both airing on the Parliament channel), the short film ‘A Story About Wendy’ (Official Selection at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2012), the 3-part documentary series- ‘Inward Hunger – The story Eric Williams (2011)’ – Winner – Best full-length feature film, T&T Film Awards, 2012) and the documentary short – ‘PAN!’ (2010).
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Interview with Francesco Emmanuel (Composer)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depending on the work, I typically compose on guitar or piano at first. I usually add a bass layer and then build sound from the ground up. I experiment with different instruments and voicings to see what works.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Ableton Live Suite 9, M-Audio Bx5a speakers, M-Audio Interface, M-Audio Oxygen keyboard, many guitar effects.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Rush, The Police, John Williams, Julien Bream, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Andres Segovia, James Horner, Hans Zimmer
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Documentary Film score, Commercial work
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: West Indies at War - the film score for the West Indies involvement in WW1. I wrote music for a five-part series. Each segment had many movements. I used wind and brass instruments and really pushed myself to create a war theme.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Film score for Unfinished Sentences - by Savant Films, a documentary about writer Wayne Brown.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No one yet.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital, although I would love to build an analog setup.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will get the job done way ahead of schedule.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love being creative and challenging myself to find new sounds.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you do this? - Yes.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Hmmm, not too sure if I know of any.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your work about? What is the message you're trying to get across? What's your turn-around time? What's your budget?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I am a straightforward, easy going composer who likes to work with honest people who know what they're looking for. I love creating new sounds and working on inspiring projects.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My classical guitar, my laptop, my mini keyboard, my electric guitar and a good set of headphones.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing guitar 29 years, I'm classically trained. I've been composing professionally for the past six years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Unusual, eclectic, ambient (at times), I like the use of over tones and I tend to write a fair bit of polyphonic music
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: James Horner - I love how he modulated the final score at the end of Braveheart (my favourite movie and film score) Alex Lifeson (Rush) - because his tone and chords influenced my playing Andy Summers (Police) - his tone John Williams (guitarist) - because his playing is flawless
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Create first, get it all out, edit, edit, edit after. You may be surprised with what you end up with.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Film score - orchestral, piano, guitar, ambient
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: guitar playing, composing
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: An ambient sound, a Caribbean sense of timing, a classical ear and a rock 'n roll feel (at times)