Recent quotes & interviews
"Your track was the only one that suited. You have a real Danny Elfman thing going on!"
Andrew Fischer, 'The Chronicles of Rick Roll'
"Only recently did I realize that you’re the composer behind the music I use the most and like the best."
Tom Kenny, broadcaster, comedian & the voice of Spongebob Squarepants
"The soundtrack erupts with a scream of unstoppable acceleration."
DWM review of Doctor Who & The Sensorites
"I'm so happy to have the talented Simon Power doing the score for my new film."
Film maker Stian Hafstad.
"The music & sound design creates an aural tapestry of creativity & beauty"
Review of Doctor Who: Inferno
"Your music has a certain indefinable quality that makes it very special indeed."
Bjorn Lynne, shockwave-sound production music
Shockwave-Sound interview (2013)
Dream Valley Music (formerly Elliot Simons) have credits that include themes & incidental music for BBC Audio’s Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 and I, Robot releases as well as commissions for comedy duo’s Mitchell & Webb and The Mighty Boosh. Since teaming up with Shockwave-Sound, their unique, quirky and thoroughly original sound has been recognised by creative production houses around the World with placements on a huge variety of TV, radio, games and feature film projects.
SWS: On what kind of projects does your music get used?
DVM: “Lots of the tracks have been used in radio & TV commercials, gaming projects, short films and feature films. It was great to hear Enchanted Treasure advertising the Harry Potter Theme Park. And one of my favourite film uses has been a science fiction movie called The Machine Stops which placed the track Celtic Requiem in the climax scene. Then there was a commercial for Kushyfoot socks. The director produced an entire dance routine based around Carnaval De Paris, which was just wonderful. It was a privilege to be on games like Crimson Steam Pirates which is produced by Bungie who also make Halo. And Pride & Prejudice & Zombies with the track Angels in Flight. I think the guys at Freeverse share a similar twisted sense of humour with me!”
SWS: Do you get to hear about every placement?
DVM: "No, there are hundreds that I never get to hear about. But sometimes I’ll stumble across them. I recently heard Another Lovely Day was on primetime UK TV. Then there are lots of games projects for Nintendo DS and Xbox using tracks like Legend of the Sword, Cairo Jewel and The Secret Path among others. I mentioned Celtic Requiem and this track has become a surprise YouTube hit being used on a range of movies with views into the millions. I’m really grateful for the success of that track!”
SWS: How would you generally describe your style of music?
DVM: "I enjoy the challenge of making compositions that mix humour with something slightly unhinged. That’s a regular theme in a lot of my music. Kind of quirky, but with mysterious edges & shapes & shadows. Above all, I love creating new worlds & possibilities. I think it’s maybe best left for other people to describe better than me!”
SWS: In three words?
DVM: “difficult! Um…Let me think…Atmospheric. Strange. Fun. That OK?”
Recent placements include ad campaign for the Audi Quattro, the theme to Google Play's Red Ball 4, The Chronicles of Rick Roll, Zeke Mahogany’s iBelt sketch and feature film, Chamber’s Gate.
Doctor Who interview (2011)
I have produced the music and sound design for over 40 Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures audio dramas (as Simon Power). In March 2011 I was interviewed by the independent Doctor Who site, Eye of Horus.
EOH: how do you start to create the music and FX for the audio series, and how do you respect the TV series history (with regards to copyrighted material i.e. can you use Radiophonic FX?)
I usually find that a good starting point comes from looking at the cover illustrations on the Target paperbacks themselves. They were so vibrant & exciting. They instantly inspire me to start composing some music & creating some strange sounds! Of course, I obviously use childhood memories of the TV series as a reference, too.
But when memory fails, I know I can rely on executive producer, Michael Stevens whose knowledge of all things Who is unsurpassable!
As for the RW, no, I don’t use any of their effects. Although, they are the reason I got into sound design in the first place. As a young child I was obsessed by the sounds they created & the themes they produced. Dick Mills, Brian Hodgson, Delia Derbyshire. Ron Grainger, of course. These people were the pioneers of today’s sound design techniques. And It’s only recently that they’ve gained the kind of recognition they deserve.
Anyway, inspired by their work, I decided early on in these series to invent my own sounds and hope that the listener would join us on this rather strange & new adventure. We sort of decided early on that these recordings were going to be re-imaginings. Utterly true to the classic series, but using the broader palette that audio allows you to use to create a new and thrilling experience.
EOH: How do you balance music & FX with the reader's voice?
Balancing the music and effects with the listener’s voice is really something that has to be addressed individually on every title. Every reader approaches the text differently. Experienced readers like John Leeson, Liz Sladen, David Troughton, Peter Purves & Tom Baker are obviously going to be very comfortable with reading for audio, so they know exactly how to build the story for maximum effect. All I have to do is try to keep up! Some passages are left to the imagination and on others, I’ll help things along with some stirring music or layered sounds.
The overriding Axim is that the voice always takes precedence over the music and FX. My job is just to enhance what is being said, not the other way round.
EOH: What about finding the right FX for right object (i.e. a motorised Model T Ford van or a Bakelite telephone, etc?)
When it comes to things like telephones and cars, I generally use sounds that give the right impression. If a vehicle is described as rickety & old, I’ll find some vintage vehicle sounds, then add a layer of rattling nuts and bolts to give that impression. I really enjoy working on the effects and sometimes get carried away trying to find the right sounds. As an example, in Black Orchid. I spent a whole afternoon recording the sound of a cricket bat hitting a cricket ball. Only to find that whacking a tennis ball with a tennis racket was a much more convincing sound. Which is what I ended up using in the cricket match!
Also, when recording some gravelly footfalls for the scene in The Daleks’ Masterplan when the monk follows the Doctor to a desolate planet, I found that the recordings I had made had birds chirping away in the background. Hardly what you’d expect on a bleak volcanic planet!
What has surprised me, now that I have done about 30 or so of these recordings, is just how diverse the stories are. I may equally find myself wondering what a swamp covered planet sounds like (as in Daleks’ Masterplan), Or what sounds an alligator makes when they’re hungry (like in Daleks Invasion Earth) as how someone’s voice would sound from the top of a gantry (as in Terror Of The Autons). Or a pitch battle from the Middle Ages (like in The Awakening).
As for the different rooms and laboratories etc., I really enjoy trying to create those spaces by layering a lot of different ambiences together.
The catacoombs in The Ribos Operation will sound very different to the Stahlman's underground lab in Inferno. Which in turn has a different sound to the Time Lords courtroom in The War Games. As for other background layers, I love to use a variety of howling winds. Especially in the episodes like The Abominable Snowmen & Operation Ribos. I really want the listener to feel quite cosy as the characters get colder and colder in some far distant land!
It’s certainly very intensive work and the extra details means that each title can take up to 3 weeks in post production. Just adding the sounds and composing the music. But I think it’s worth it, especially as we get some very nice feedback from the listeners. I’m now looking forward to starting on the post production for Stones Of Blood. It’s such a wonderful Gothic tale and I’m really going to enjoy for my part producing something very special indeed.