Our Shakespeare VR pieces mark a new collaboration between Relative Motion and composer, Tom Adams. Here’s Tom discussing his work with RM:
“I come from a theatre background as composer and performer and was really interested in Relative Motion's approach in combining theatre, film and video game languages. VR is such a brilliant opportunity to allow the audience to feel truly invested in a piece. What I loved most about these three Shakespeare experiences was that each one had a distinct flavour. This gave me a chance to use different methods to try and support the storylines.
My musical approach is to watch each piece again and again and improvise, experimenting with what instruments to use. My main aim is to not be self-conscious when composing – I just follow the story and let the process take care of itself. Being a performer myself, it is a lot like being on stage: trusting in the moment and breathing. Something will happen.
I have collected quite a large collection of sound making things - guitars, ukulele, bass, harmonica and upright piano to stranger elements such as crisp packets, gongs, sticks and a brilliant sea drum that sounds like the sea. Put all of these into effects pedals, change the pitch, speed it up and you've got something completely your own and organic, bespoke to the piece. I love this part of the process where you can match the mood to the sounds.
With King Lear, it might be apparent that I have been watching a lot of Ozark recently! I am inspired by the way the composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans use tension in music. I was on edge the whole time. I am also inspired by how organic sounds can be manipulated into something completely new and unrecognisable.
For Romeo & Juliet, the first thing I wrote down when watching the piece for the first time was 'electric guitar'. I liked the subtlety in their performances and the spaces in between dialogue, allowing the scene to breathe. This was my opportunity to insert some sexy, Pink Floyd style, reverb guitar. Chris, the director, gave me one word which which I really liked: "clandestine". It was then I knew the guitar had to be gentle and caring, sexy and post coital. The score ramps up at the end, with danger and I wanted to find a low sub bass sound that would highlight Romeo's high stakes - death, if caught in her bedroom.
On As You Like It, I knew it needed a more classical but silly edge. A soundtrack that has a method and logic all to itself. We used vocals in this piece a lot and I really enjoyed each instrument playing a character. Inspiration came from the confusion of the characters and the pacey dialogue. This is a piece that grabs you by the horns and doesn't let go.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!"