Alumni of the Month October 2007

Andy Quin (1982 Music/Electronics)

1. How did you get to where you are now?

Luck and hard work in equal measure! I was introduced to writing music for film and television by the composer Tim Souster who was teaching at Keele when I was an undergraduate.

2. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

That’s a really difficult one. It is not really for me to say but in life in general, I hope I have been and continue to be a good father.  As far as my career is concerned, I guess a high spot was the album ‘One World’. I was looking at albums in the Virgin Megastore in Birmingham back in 1998 when I saw this big rack with hundreds of copies of the album. I was into world music at the time so I had a look at the booklet, to discover to my total surprise that I had written more of the songs than any other artist. My publisher had done a deal with a commercial label and hadn’t told me! (I ought to say at this point, nearly all my music is written for the screen, not for direct sale to the public). It was a great thrill to see the album charting here and being a big international bestseller. Other highs include: my first recording session with the Royal Philharmonic, having my music performed live at Symphony Hall and conducting the BBC concert orchestra.

aom_AndyQuin 3. And your biggest mistake?

I guess my biggest mistake I have in common with a great number of creative people. That was not paying enough attention to the business side of things when I was younger. I just wanted to write, record, and play music. I have been very lucky to work for a decent publisher, but an awful lot of people are out there to make as much money from you as possible.

4. What are your ambitions now?

There are two main ambitions I have for my career; I would love to do more composing for film. The money is not an issue, but a good creative artistic collaboration would be great. I also want to do more performing. The demands of my writing and of a growing family have meant it has really taken a back seat, but now the kids are a bit older I really want to get out there and play!

5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?

Really tricky! If you really love composing and can’t see yourself doing anything else then just stick at it, get to know as many people as you can in your field, and hopefully the lucky break will come. Having said that, there is a very good argument for keeping it a hobby. When your next meal is dependent on your producing another good tune it can become a lot less fun!

6. What made you choose Keele University?

Keele was my first choice. There were very few universities that offered music with technology at that time and I really wanted to get into recording. Having visited and seen the studio facilities and found out about the staff, it was clear that Keele was second to none for what I wanted to do.

7. How has Keele influenced your life?

Keele is pretty unique and the people there are different (in the nicest possible way!). I know it is a cliché, but they really do ‘think outside the box’. I am certain that I would not have had the successful and wonderfully enjoyable career and life I have had without Keele’s influence.

8. What is your favourite memory of Keele?

Oh,- so many! The beauty of the grounds in the snow, ‘traying’ down the icy lawn at Keele Hall into the frozen lake! My finals recital for music in the Walter Moberly Hall, coming out of my last exam having smuggled in a bottle of bubbly so I could come out shooting! The cheesemonster sitting in the prof’s chair for the physics department official photo! Playing the gigs in the Students union with my band Random Access… where do I begin?

9. And your worst?

I really honestly don’t have many bad memories at all. Probably the most embarrassing was when my mate Simon and the professor of music started having a big argument and swearing at each other in the middle of a music tutorial. The rest of us had never heard anything like it! All was soon forgiven however. Music can be a highly emotive matter! There was an old completely useless piano in the Union, but nobody would replace it. After a few drinks one night, we carried it out and placed it in the ornamental fountain! It made the local paper at the time with the caption ‘Piano recital - rained off!!’ We got a new piano!

10. Anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to recall some of the fun I had, and the friends I made at Keele. It will always remain very dear to me and I wish everyone there all the best for the future and hope to visit again before too long.