Pete Bill, BMus Popular Music Drumkit, 2015
Tell us why you first applied to RNCM and then how you decided what to study?
I first applied to RNCM with the intention to do a BMus in Percussion as I was not aware of the Popular Music course at the time. On attending one of the open days however I found out about the Pop Course and I knew that is exactly what I needed and that it was the perfect course for my goals as a musician.
How long have you been playing percussion for, and how did you get started?
I have been playing percussion since I was about 13 years old. I first touched a xylophone in a local orchestra where I was the percussionist for 7 years. This led to many experiences including performing for many orchestras up and down the country and working with world class musicians who perform with the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic. However, when I was growing up we couldn’t afford a xylophone for me to practice on so my dad and I spent a few days building a xylophone out of plywood for me to practice on as a visual aid. The tuning wasn’t accurate as the style of wood couldn’t be tuned correctly, but if I ever wasn’t sure about the pitch I would just run inside the house to check on the piano.
What were your first impressions of the RNCM?
My first impression was that of a very busy and highly competitive yet friendly atmosphere – I loved it! Being around so many people with a great work ethic and a respect for practicing and developing a career inspires you to work hard yourself.
What are your main personal achievements since being at the RNCM?
Since coming to RNCM I have had the chance to become a part of many bands and been a part of lots of function work. My main achievements include doing session work for a song that became a number 1 hit on the iTunes Jazz charts and composing for adverts run by an animation company which have now featured my production work all over the world. As a producer and composer my work has now lead to me potentially demoing a track to Island Records which may get featured to Chris Brown. This has now become one of my main streams of income and recently gave me the opportunity to pitch my music to go with graphic designer Rob Norman’s storyboard to the company DMG Entertainment (Iron Man 3, Transcendence, Looper) who are major competitors against 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Universal.
As well as playing, you are also a composer and a producer. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Originally I started to learn how to use production software so that I could potentially offer myself on tours and session work as a possible MD, and because if I understood the system I could also set up backing tracks. This was following the advice given to me by Mark Pusey – Drummer for Olly Murs, JLS, Tom Jones. I then got asked to record an album for an opera singer and more production jobs kept coming in which lead to me writing my own music and composing for animation companies. Although this work was not part of my course here at RNCM, College has and continue to be very helpful in regard to advice concerning composition and production.
What’s next for you?
I do have a few cool projects on the go and a couple of remixes that I am working on – but my main aim at the moment is to continue networking and working hard to get my name out into the industry. My ultimate goal is being a session musician or touring musician for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, and other high profile artists. This has been my dream job and goal since I was very young and I will continue to work hard to get to that position.