© 2017 Tom Rackham. All Rights Reserved.

SHORT STORY LONG...

            A relative latecomer to music, Tom picked up the electric guitar in his mid-teens and within two months of playing had his first opportunity for public performance with his school's Junior Swing Band. Fumbling through the chords, and even being given the privilege of playing a solo during a rendition of "Louie, Louie" (which may have featured two or three notes that were in the right key!) was a leaping off point for an almost obsessional relationship with music.

            Studying constantly, practicing fervently, and being surrounded by music in every possible moment led to an exponential learning curve, a devouring of music of every style and genre. Jamming with friends and playing to backing tracks, Tom was inseparable from his instrument, even to the point of developing tendinitis through over-playing, which then resulted in him learning slide guitar as it was the only way he could continue to play!

            Once recovered, Tom began performing again with a variety of local bands, including an impromptu covers gig in the local pub with a pair of brothers that lived nearby. Bluffing their way through the chords and melodies, the audience had such a great time that they put a huge sum of just over £100 into a hat to show their appreciation!

            In his final year at school, Tom stretched his lungs in a musical theatre production of Return To The Forbidden Planet where he leapt around the stage in leather trousers playing a malevolent, yet comic Dr. Prospero.

            Tom's interest in composition had already begun to grow at this stage, penning songs and riffs, even delving into some orchestral ideas, and writing some incidental music for a handful of devised theatre pieces.

            His first commissioned composition opportunity arose when Tom was 18, producing a short soundtrack for a corporate DVD. This was it. The way forward became clear. Tom knew he wanted to compose professionally.

            And so, thanks to some last minute changes on a gap year, Tom had the time and opportunity to formally study music theory and pass some exams that allowed him to enrol on the BA Music degree at the University of Sussex, and five years later he had achieved an MA in Music from the same institution. Studying with composition tutors such as Martin Butler, Sam Hayden, and Ed Hughes along the way, Tom had access to a breadth of expertise and ate it all up.

            During his time at Sussex, Tom was heavily involved in musical societies and local bands. Playing guitar in the pit band for a production of West Side Story, singing in the University of Sussex's award winning Show Choir, fronting a heavy metal tribute band, and so much more. Gaining a reputation for reliability and versatility, Tom became the go-to dep for a variety of groups, being called in last minute to take over guitar duties at a moment's notice.

            In 2011-2, Tom worked as an amanuensis/score assistant with Ron Geesin, the composer behind Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother, providing expertise regarding the technicalities of modern musical notation software, offering some practical insights, and learning a great deal from the maestro about his approach to composition and orchestration.

            A particular highlight for Tom came around during a residency at a jazz club in Brighton & Hove, playing everything from Charlie Parker charts to a jazz version of an Opeth song. The weekly duo (and occasional trio) slot was graced with the presence of the late Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), who was enjoying the music so much he joined the band on stage and took to the keys mid-set. Calling out the chords for his very own version of Summertime, Tom and the other residents just about kept up!

            In 2012, Tom's studies were complete and it wasn't long before his first TV project began - composing and producing original music for the Brighton-based Back2Back Productions on their documentary The Royals, which was aired on UK's Channel 5 and is still currently available on Netflix. This was the start of a working relationship that saw Tom produce over 1,000 music cues for around 25 episodes of a variety of series and one-offs for Back2Back airing domestically and internationally. He utilised his years of study and exposure to all types of music, whilst leveraging his versatility and ability to work under pressure in order to craft pieces of broadcast quality music from across a huge range of genres, styles, and instrumentations.

            During this period, Tom also started his ongoing relationships with both Coalescent Films and Bad Rum Productions, scoring shorts and features, and allowing Tom to develop more of an individual voice. Transferring the skills and technical know-how garnered from the TV work, Tom was able to compose and produce high quality work that stamped a nuanced and individual musical style into these films.

            To date, Tom has scored nine shorts with Coalescent Films - Broken (2014), a psychological thriller; Time (2014), harrowing drama documenting a young couple's reaction to an unwanted diagnosis; Postcards (2014), an intrepid couple faces financial difficulties with no apparent way out; Dysnomia (2015), a tangled web of deceit and crime; Car Park (2015), six lives intersect in an unpredictable thriller; Gemini (2015), two sisters are faced with a potentially world-changing dilemma; The Messenger (2016), a man is faced with a choice, his life or his family's; Honeytrap (2016), a love triangle questioning our preconceptions of monogamy; The Delivery (2016), Faustian horror that unfolds with incendiary results.

            In the pipeline from Coalescent Films is the upcoming TV mini-series Print (2016, ETA), following journalist Max Stacey as she tries to uncover the truth. Also, the long-awaited feature Castle Boulevard (2016, ETA) recently saw Tom take to the recording studios with some of the film's acting talent in order to lay down vocals for some brand new jazz songs that will be appearing in this captivating, highly inventive, and visually stunning storytelling tour de force.

            With Bad Rum, Tom has produced a range of soundtracks. From the recent Nexus (2016) a dark and terrifying look at the social media age, all the way back to the award-winning Frederick Canton (2014), a surrealist genre-defying short following the life of the exceptional Frederick through a series of wonderfully odd situations.

            On a variety of other projects, Tom also had the opportunity to score a 6 minute visual tour of the wonderful landscape of Edale accompanied by a lush orchestral adventure; an animated piece from a pair of young New Zealanders featuring stilts, bowling, and the ineffability of true love transcending all bounds; a sci-fi created within a mere 48 hours; and a whole host of others.

            Tom is on board to compose the score and has already provided music for the preview trailer of Rossi's Boyz (Marcus Langford & Suave Flava), an upcoming British gangster feature epic following the story of two brothers growing up as part of a Mafia family and trying to uphold their family's reputation in the midst of a brutal turf war.

            Tom's composing has taken form outside of screen work too, most notably in recent history with the 2015 production of The Adding (Backstage Forward), a dark comedy with sex, death, cuddles, puppetry, and finance written by award-winning young Canadian playwright Ciarán Myers and performed at the Cockpit Theatre in London. A step away from this level of intense seriousness, Tom also collaborated with Helen Goldwyn (Big Finish Productions, Ladies GoDiva) to pen and produce a novelty Christmas single, Xmas No. 1, which was released as a preview/demo video on YouTube and racked up a few thousand views in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2015 and is undergoing a remix/reworking for potential re-release this year.