FIVE QUESTIONS FOR BRUCE WHITE
Arguably the UK’s most prolific viola player, Bruce White has performed on a whopping 900 film scores throughout his 25 year career, including Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, The James Bond Franchise, Avengers Endgame, Lord of The Rings, The Dark Knight, Inception and many more. We were incredibly excited to work with Bruce and bring his sound to the Contemporary Soloists series. After an intense recording session with Sonixinema, we sat down to have a chat with him about everything music!
Tell us a bit about yourself
BW: My name is Bruce White, I'm a viola player - I've been a session musician for the past 25 years performing on film soundtracks, pop records, TV programmes, adverts and even theme park rides now!
How did you get started with the viola?
BW: When I was young my mother kept a violin behind the bed, and at the age of 9 I would take the violin out and scraping on it so she decided to get me some lessons. That's pretty much how I ended up becoming a musician!
Tell us about your Viola and how your style has changed over the years
BW: This is my viola which is old English George W Coombes, which is probably turn of the century. I first found it 30 years ago - it had been kept in a wardrobe and the lady who owned the shop where I was looking for instruments found it, it was actually quite black at the time. We had it cleaned up and yeah, I fell in love with it. I tried lots of instruments, lots of different prices and this is the one that I've been making music on for the last 30 years.
My style over the years has changed probably because throughout college I was a chamber musician playing lots of string quartets, sextets and then going from that into a studio musician, I've had to play with a lot less freedom obviously because I have a click in my ear all of the time, but with that it's brought help to the way my rhythm has developed - and at least I'm still listening to something!
How have you found working on this sample library together?
BW: I was very excited to be invited to do this Sonixinema sample library. There are some new articulations that we're trying out today which I'm very much looking forward to and have enjoyed. There are quite a few things that are actually now becoming more relevant for composers to have in their tool kit like circular bowing which is coming up more and more. I've just done a TV show that used a lot of circular bowing, and back in 2011 we recorded a Peter Gabriel track that used a load of circular bowing, so these things are all coming to the fore now - it's nice to get off the staccato/long note vibe!
Tell us about the differences between playing on a score and actually sampling the viola
BW: Sampling the viola comes with many challenges - cleanliness is going to be one of the main things when you're sampling, finger noise, bow noise on the string, so we have to try to eliminate all of those to get the cleanest possible signal for you. The beauty of recording these samples in this way is that you get to focus until you get the exact sample that you want.
For more information about Bruce, visit this link