Composer Dave Price: ‘Each project is increasingly difficult; the bar gets raised and I get better’

Dave Price Dave Price
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Having worked on numerous Gecko Theatre productions, Dave Price talks to Roda Musa about his journey into theatre and the upcoming production of The Wedding…

Why do you work in theatre?

I was doing a lot of gigging and touring and that fizzled out. I then became interested in composing and the opportunity came to work with Gecko on The Overcoat, the first show for which I co-created the original soundtrack. What I like best about theatre is the requirement to create worlds. It is constantly challenging and rewarding. I often dip in and out of styles of music. I wouldn’t be happy doing one genre of music.

What did you contribute to The Wedding?

I composed and produced the original soundtrack. I also had an input in the creative process, finding reference tracks that could be useful. Part of the job is stitching it all together so it will work as a cohesive piece.

What is the process of composing music for a production?

I always start with listening a lot to music but also to the people I’m working with, to try to open myself up so I have an emotional connection to the work. It enables me to use my intuition, which I rely on. It is a combination of spotting the signals as they present themselves and following your gut feeling, which allows you to keep moving forward. Each show is different, and it depends if I’m making something entirely recorded or if we‘re working with a live band or musician. I relish the opportunity of having people play live every night. I also enjoy composing and producing.

What has been the highlight of your career?

I loved doing The Overcoat; it was special. It was in the earlier days of theatre soundtrack composing but I loved performing in the show. It felt like a high point and getting to work with my wife was great. What I love about Gecko is that each project is increasingly difficult and the company insists on the highest standards. The bar gets raised and that pushes me. Every time we do a project, I get better. It is an expensive process, not in terms of money but the commitment needed to push harder each time. It is exhausting, but brilliant and worth it.

What struggles have you faced?

There is the struggle of trying to be good enough. I might be required to do something out of my comfort zone and that is where interesting stuff happens. The creative challenge is a struggle. Trying to survive in austerity Britain as a creative is not easy, but I feel privileged to be doing what I am doing.

CV: Dave Price

Training: Music, University of Durham (1990-94);
Percussion, Chopin Academy (1996-99)
First professional role: Composer, Box Clever Theatre Company, 2000
Agent: United Agents

The Wedding is touring until March 9 and travelling to Bristol, Watford, Nottingham, Liverpool and Southampton