Stuart Hancock has been watching on proudly as his score performs on the new secondly series of Atlantis (available here), which aired on BBC One in 2015.
We spoke to Stuart and asked why the score was so different, "The whole of the tone shifted for series two. Everything is darker, a bit more adult, more complex and interwoven. The producers were keen for the music to become darker in texture and more cerebral. So I worked closely with the producers, Johnny Capps in particular, to nail this tone on the first episodes of the series. It was often a case of minimizing the more distracting aspects of arrangements to make sure the music brooded and bubbled away underneath the action. Supporting the action, rather than leading it too much."
"The composing of the remainder of the score was actually a pretty smooth process, once this first tone was established. I was enjoying myself so much; I loved the show and characters. I recorded everything with live musicians and you can never beat the real thing. It adds to the enjoyment of the job, hearing first-class orchestral musicians bring your music to life."
So how did Hancock get involved with Atlantis? He says it all began in April 2014, "My agent called me up to say they had put my name forward. I went to meet Johnny Capps at Urban Myth Films' London offices the next day. We got on well and I gave him my showreels. Two months later, he invited me to pitch formally for the job by doing a demo score for a five minute sequence. I started formally scoring on the first two episodes in July, and we were ready to record in September. The remaining episodes were quicker, around two weeks' work on average."
With Atlantis now finished on BBC, we asked Stuart his opinions on the episodes. "Sitting down on a Saturday evening to watch it on air, would have been the first time I'd hear my music in the context of the full sound mix. I was always delighted with how it came across. This is a testament to having used live musicians but also the skill of dubbing mixer Ben Baird."
"My absolute favourite episode was the ninth, The Gorgon’s Gaze. The sheer drama and emotion inspired some of my favourite score cues. Medusa's doom-laden storyline was absolutely heart-breaking and Jemima Rooper's and Mark Addy's performances were just brilliant."
It was announced in 2015 that the series would not be recommissioned, "It's the saddest thing about the show and many storylines were left hanging and unresolved."
The Composer says that Atlantis has been a career-highlight for him, "It played to my composing strengths and I just love a good fantasy romp. Other highlights have been the winning the 2013 Jerry Goldsmith Award for Best Composer at the International Film Music Festival Cordoba. It was truly wonderful and it was the score for a rather beautiful, albeit obscure nature documentary called The Desert Treasure that helped me win the award. Soundtrack albums are very exciting too."
Another big moment in Hancock's career came recently when he received a BASCA British Composer Award, "This was a lovely surprise and a real honour. It was very gratifying to be recognised for what was a massive collaborative concert project. It featured about 130 performers.. a full symphony orchestra, a fifty strong choir, rappers, poets and vocal soloists. I'm very proud of the award; I received it from celebrated conductor Jessica Cottis and actress Juliet Stevenson."
So what’s up next? "I have a few projects, but nothing concrete yet. I have always worked steadily on writing music for commercials, such as the current Santander and Sainsburys adverts feature my music. For 2017, I will be writing a youth opera for W11 Opera and I am hoping my work on Atlantis will lead to lots of new and exciting TV and film work in the near future."
Stuart Hancock was talking to Telly Binge in January 2016. To find out more about the composer, visit his website.