Acclaimed British music makers Solomon Grey return in 2020 with EP Music For Picture: Vol I (Parallels), following the success of their original soundtrack for the hit BBC and Showtime television series Back To Life, which made many ‘Best Of’ lists on both sides of the Atlantic at the end of 2019.
London-based duo Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson are simultaneously lauded for their commercial releases and composition for TV and film. Working on both side-by-side, they combine contemporary production and classical composition to create a unique and distinctive sound.
Tastemaker labels Black Butter, Kitsuné and the illustrious Decca have helped push Solomon Grey’s commercial releases to the masses, whilst their work for picture across television, movies, trailers and commercials includes original soundtracks for BBC TV series The Casual Vacancy (adapted from the J.K. Rowling blockbuster novel), The Last Post and Back To Life, syncs on TV series Power, Animal Kingdom, How To Get Away With Murder, The Tunnel, as well as trailers for Pacific Rim 2, The Pass and Dheepan, to name but a few.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to create music for picture without compromising our sound as artists. We get to be in a band and also write for orchestras, arrange strings and work with opera singers. As musicians, we feel like we’ve come full circle,” says Tom.
Joe adds: “Creating soundtracks made us more experimental and aware of what we are capable of. The music we’ve always made has lots of elements that ‘shouldn’t’ go together.” With that in mind, while you’re listening you might hear the sounds of the car ‘The Weight’ was originally recorded in, spot the on-location recordings used in The Casual Vacancy score including rivers, lawnmowers and Morris dancers, and appreciate the juxtaposition of an operatic vocal over stacked synth recordings on ‘The Drowning’.
Classically trained musicians and long-time friends from Oxford, Tom and Joe originally met as performers in a local covers band. They have since gone on to forge a signature sound as Solomon Grey that evokes a plethora of emotions, transporting the listener into a serene space, combining intensity, power and sheer vulnerability. Solomon Grey’s music is always stunning: whether you’re a muso, a movie buff, or someone who just has to Shazam that track on the TV, their music seeps into your psyche and connects in a way which is unlike many others.
The journey of Solomon Grey has seen the duo up sticks on more than one occasion, progressing from Oxford to London, finding and cementing their sound of the time with the first track they wrote as Solomon Grey ‘Last Century Man’. Later on, musical bases took in the Australian outback and a lighthouse in the south west of Ireland, before returning to their current studio spot in South East London.
Solomon Grey have been touted as one of Britain’s most exciting new electronic acts, with their debut release ‘Gen V’ via Black Butter Records in 2013 carving a path for a debut ‘pop’ album, but the serendipitous opportunity for soundtrack work gave them another outlet for their music.
Next up was Decca-issued mini-album Selected Works - a mixture of original music and songs which featured parts of their breakthrough score for The Casual Vacancy. Solomon Grey’s eponymous full-length debut followed in 2016 -a milestone in realising their persistence and sheer determination.
Album two, Human Music (Mercury KX, 2018) is a poignant collection of intricate and transcendent songs, encompassing the themes of choice, love and loss following the death at Swiss clinic Dignitas of Joe’s mother Sandy whose characterful trinkets and paintings adorn their London studio, alongside Jimmy the plant and Terry the Terrier. The album features the same luscious sounds provided by the 22-piece Hungarian orchestra and vintage CS-80 synth which feature on the soundtrack to the BBC/Amazon production The Last Post.
2019 was another abundant year for Solomon Grey’s sync and soundtrack work with the song ‘Home’ featuring in multiple hit US TV shows, and BBC/Showtime critically acclaimed series Back To Life -which topped end of year polls in Vogue, The Times, The Guardian, Digital Spy, TIME, USA Today and more - bolstered by their original soundtrack.
“Carefully crafted soundtracks enhance the connections you make with the characters and overall emotive quality,” says Joe. “We’re delighted Back To Life has resonated with so many people across the UK and US.”
For 2020, Music For Picture: Vol. I (Parallels) serves as the first of a series of new works, written for and inspired by moving images. This first instalment showcases the duo’s more euphoric cinematic side, with featured track ‘The Return’ (composed for Sony PlayStation’s 2019 dystopian advert for their Virtual Reality platform PSVR) reminiscent of their earlier work ‘The Rift’, which has become synonymous with Vue Cinemas' "This Is Not A Cinema" pre-film ident. Each volume in the Music For Picture series promises to explore a different part of Solomon Grey's sonic landscape, giving glimpses of the rich visual world their music evokes.