040 Ronnie Christopher-Doyle



Album artwork for the score to the Chinese drama, Twin Lotus


Location: BRISTOL


Ronnie and I met on a Facebook group that has been set up for tenants of The Island where we both have our studios. Born in 1985, the youngest of 5, Ronnie grew up in the coastal town of Wexford in Ireland. “My father was a session musician, playing old Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly-type stuff with a small set of musicians he banded together. My mother – while she had dabbled in choir singing as a child – had her hands full working a full time job and looking after five kids. We were all naturally musical. My father had taught everyone (aside from me) to play the guitar, almost expecting it, even.”


Ronnie’s attempt at looking profound…

There was always music floating around Ronnie’s family home “Pearl Jam, The Who, Iron Maiden, Michael Jackson, The Doors, Paul Weller, Slayer – real, eclectic mix. I can’t ever remember a day when someone wasn’t blasting an album upstairs! I just thought that this was how every household was.” 

His father tried several times to get Ronnie to pick up an instrument. “They even bought me an old, toy acoustic one year in an attempt to get me to fall in love with guitar. But it had really awful nylon strings and just didn’t sound right. I found an old Casio synthesiser keyboard that had been ousted from sight and left in the garage, and I would sit on the top step of our stairs in the evenings and hammer that thing for hours. I just loved the sounds it made and the fact that I could control how they came out.” 

At age 6 Ronnie’s teachers recognised his singing abilities and he performed in many choir productions and sang church masses every Saturday as lead soprano. “I had a terrible stammer as a kid which got me down a lot, and singing was a place I could go to get away from it and be lauded for my talent rather than laughed at for my “impediment”. It boosted my confidence so much. I eventually joined The Young Wexford Singers, a church choir run by local organist Éanna McKenna. We performed at many concerts, ran co-productions and auditioned for TV. ”

The Sound of Silence Original Score [2013]

At 11 Ronnie was selected as one of 14 child singers for Wexford Festival Opera production of Respighi’s ‘La Fiamma’. “It was at this point that my love of spacial, atmospheric music met the might of the orchestra. Standing beside the pit and feeling that power blast upward was exhilarating. We become child stars for the duration of the festival: The New York Times sent photographers to snap us and local radio and newspapers covered our performance. It was an amazing experience. I continued singing for a few more years until puberty ran over my hopes of a career with merciless certainty.” 


Album artwork for the score to the Irish drama, The Picnic

At his secondary school they cancelled the music class due to ‘lack of interest’, “so I couldn’t even study the basics of theory. Because of that, I started looking at going to art school after graduation, but music was always there waving its finger at me through the smoky haze of teenage uncertainty.”

Ronnie had amassed a small film score collection by that point, “Brad Fiedel’s score to The Terminator sitting proudly atop the pile. It was my first introduction to how effective music could be in a film context. The atmosphere he managed to craft had me hooked. It showed me that you could say a lot without having to resort to a 120-piece orchestra, that there was a way to be sparse yet rich.” Other musical inspirations for Ronnie included the work of “Arvo Paart,The Polish Avant Garde, Brad Fiedel, Tetsukazu Nakanishi, Kota Hoshino, Antonio Pinto, Kazuki Muraoka, Cliff Martinez and many others.” 

In late 2006 he left Ireland for The University of Wales in Aberystwyth to study Film. “I knew at this point that I wanted to try my hand at writing music for film and, if I couldn’t get the formal music training down first, I at least needed to know about film and how that side of it worked.

Near the end of the first semester, he heard that a company in Southampton were looking for a composer to score their new science fiction horror Bane. “They needed somebody on board as fast as possible and sent me the synopsis and a copy of the script. I sent two demos in and got the gig based on the second one which was a basic mix of samples and synth beats, but the tone and colour was just what they were after. I didn’t have any of my own gear at that point, so I had to use whatever recording equipment the university had in their TV production suites. I sometimes had to be snuck in by porters over the holidays to finish the cues. It was insane. And that’s where it all started!” 


Inside The Cave…

For Ronnie the main reason he performs is the satisfaction of digging into the texture of the music. “Nothing is more rewarding than going inside yourself, rummaging through the sand that is ‘you’, coming up with a trinket and showing it to everyone and having them be moved or affected by it. There really is no higher compliment a composer can receive. What you come up with stays out ‘there’ forever, even after you’re gone. That’s been your mark, however little it is, on this mad ride that we’re all on together. And, if it moves even one person, then you’ve succeeded.” 

Ronnie has some exciting things in the pipeline, “I’m starting work on the score for a documentary for Channel 4 in the Autumn about the Black Hawk Down incident, and writing music for a Turkish drama at the end of the year. There’s also some music for theatre and visual installations in the works. Just need to keep the wheels turning!”

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