Interview: Simon Fisher Turner

Simon Fisher Turner

Simon Fisher Turner is a method musician, immersing himself in every film he scores.

His soundtrack to The Great White Silence (1924), the restored documentary of Captain Scott’s tragic South Pole expedition, blended found sounds with an elegiac score to capture the silence and expansiveness of the voyage.

He painstakingly weaved recordings of the ship’s bell, plus instruments and artefacts from the voyage, together with live instrumentation from the Elysian Quartet. The result was a hushed triumph.

Last month, Simon’s mesmerising music to another BFI restoration, The Epic of Everest (1924), won him the Best Original Film Score Award at the Ivor Novello Awards.

It beat off competition from Henry Jackman’s score to Captain Phillips and Steve Price’s music to Gravity to take the accolade, making it the outsider’s choice on the day.

Simon took a  textural approach when creating the sound for the documentary of Mallory and Irvine’s ill-fated Everest expedition, using a collage of instruments to create the minimal soundtrack.

It also features Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti Void) on cornet, Gyratory System’s Andrew Blick, James Brooks (Land Observations), Asaf Sirkis, Peter Gregson and the Thapa family, a Nepalese family he found through the embassy in London.

We caught up with Simon at The Ivors to learn how David Bowie first opened his artistic eyes, and why the big world of blockbuster movies can seem terrifying to a leftfield artist…