Making Islandia · #5 · The Mix

I remember attending my first mixing masterclass back in 2010, in which a collection of industry professionals presented before’s and after’s of their work. That was the first time I became aware of the staggering impact a good mix can have on how a piece of recorded music is perceived. While we’re all familiar with … Continued

Making Islandia · #4 · The Session

I’ve returned from a visit to the USA and returned with fresh ears. The Islandia mixes are sounding fantastic. There’s still a way to go before the album’s release, so, in the meantime, I thought I’d write the penultimate journal entry from this “making of” series. With ever-diminishing recording budgets stretching across all genres of … Continued

Making Islandia · #3 · Ribbons for Your Pleasure

The blog entries have taken a back seat over the past few weeks, as I’ve been traveling around the UK with a handful of different projects, most notably Bethia and its premiere at Hull Minster and follow-up performance at Royal Festival Hall. If you missed both of those performances, the live recording of Bethia is … Continued

Making Islandia · #2 · the Concert Electric Guitar

Last week, I promised to write about the process of creating the album Islandia and I’ve done just that. In fact, this is probably one of the most anorak series of paragraphs I’ve ever strung together, so reader beware: here be dragons — albeit dragons that look remarkably like a balding man who is freaking … Continued

Making Islandia · #1 · the Concept of an Album

After almost two years of writing, throwing away ideas and then starting again, the five compositions that form my debut album Islandia are being recorded this week at Abbey Road Studios. The pieces are being performed by a group of phenomenal musicians and it has been a joy to hear my compositions transition from abstraction … Continued

Bold is Beautiful

The motion-picture element of Bethia uses repurposed archival footage from the British Film Institute and Yorkshire Film Archive to create something new and abstract; the idea of old and new is something that repeats throughout the entire work, both in the visuals and within the music. Visually, the footage of Hull’s former maritime industry (i.e. … Continued

The Bells, The Bells!

Bethia Film No.1 The Carillon Bells of Hull from Daniel Elms on Vimeo. The world premiere of Bethia is just under two months away. A lot of work has gone into the new piece by both myself and a collection of talented individuals, whose work has been paramount in realising my vision of the piece. … Continued

Sea Change

On January 1st, Hull City of Culture opened with a firework display over the Humber and some incredible projection works throughout the city, such as Made in Hull by Zsolt Balogh, which illuminated the facades of Queen Victoria Square. Another projection work, (In) Dignity of Labour by Make Amplify, was not only technically brilliant, but … Continued


In the heat of scribbling furiously on to manuscript paper, it’s easy to lose track of time — a process my first music tutor referred to, curiously, as “wood shedding”. Bethia, my commission for Hull City of Culture 2017 — my wooden shed — is progressing steadily, but the music itself is asking questions about … Continued


The last fortnight has been extremely busy with various recordings and performances, and there are many exciting developments from the latest PRSF New Music Biennial composers’ gathering that I look forward to sharing, but that will have to wait, as I promised some information about a certain Grand Organ and its importance to the city … Continued

Music of the Sea

The building of Hull’s Holy Trinity Church commenced round about 1300, it was halted during the Black Death, and was completed in the early 15th century; it’s the oldest brick building still standing in the British Isles that serves its original purpose; it was defaced by mobs during the Reformation, housed the city’s fire engine, … Continued

Made in Hull

On 22nd September 2016 the first “season” of Hull City of Culture 2017 was announced. The creative team behind City of Culture delivered a strong and passionate message, which was interspersed by musical performances, poetry readings and a collection of short films. The response to this announcement has been overwhelmingly positive across national press, websites … Continued

A Cultural Bridge to the City

In just over three months’ time, as fireworks and good cheer ring in the new year, the city of Kingston upon Hull will take up the mantle of City of Culture 2017. Few specifics concerning the year’s cultural events have been made public since Hull won the bid for the title back in November 2013, … Continued