There are numerous aspects to the work undertaken at Pumpkinfield, which can be commissioned in part or as a whole. For those new to the process, we’ll be happy to advise as to possible paths based on our extensive experience.
Simple or complex, Pete’s writing is always carefully considered and never glib. A string section is a versatile resource with a rich palate of possibilities, from classical to more experimental techniques – it is disheartening when it is not employed to its full potential.
At all stages, we’re aware that any artistic project is an organic undertaking, and that one of the most exciting elements is that it can change direction at any time depending on influences both internal and external – we’ll always do our best to accommodate!
Most frequently a commissioner will provide demo or in-progress studio material, with which Pete will familiarise himself in advance of undertaking any work. We’ll discuss the possibilities that the track might offer, any ideas or parameters the commissioner might wish to outline, and look at the scope of the available budget.
A score will be produced, usually with one or two rounds of alterations as things settle. Pete’s method can vary – sometimes basing his writing on an initial improvisation session, sometimes writing straight to manuscript. Simple scores can be produced in a few hours – complex work can take a number of days.
Supply of score and parts
Scores can be provided for third party ensembles, and recorded under the direction of the commissioner in studios worldwide.
Pete’s expertise with Sibelius software allows for professional performance scores and parts to be produced to any scale, either of original material of his own devising or transcriptions of third party work, from a variety of sources including hand-written scores or MIDI files.
Pumpkinfield also offers a holistic approach courtesy of its own in-house ensemble, The Pumpkinseeds, a group of professional musicians from the full gamut of musical life, who each bring their own distinctive character, skills and expertise to any session, blending to create the inimitable Pumpkinfield sound. Beyond just strings, the Pumpkinseeds are often augmented with wind, brass, vocalists and other instrumentalists as required.
Projects can be fully developed from the ground up, working with artists from scratch on their material, or recording the arrangements as overdubs on top of material recorded elsewhere.
Solo instruments, up to quartets can be recorded at Pumpkinfield, where studio hardware and software has been honed to best capture the rich sound of acoustic groups. We use MOTU’s Digital Performer software, with preamps by leading and legendary manufacturers including UAD, Neve and GraceDesign; a wide choice of renowned microphones including AKG 414s, Schoeps CMCs and DPA; and an extensive library of plugins by manufacturers including UAD and Waves.
Larger ensembles are recorded with a mobile rig in any suitable venue, with several local to the studio providing familiar character and charm.
Session recordings will be edited and mixed to bring the most from the arrangements, and provided as stereo WAV files for third party mixing. Ground-up productions will be mixed and provided as stereo WAV files.
At the simplest level, a cello session by Pete would start at £150, which would cover development of a part, recording and supplying as a WAV for third party mixing. There are two main variables which influence how the costs increase – complexity of scoring, and the number of personnel required. A simple score can be performed by a large ensemble for a thick earthy sound, or a complex score by a smaller group to give an intimate, intricate accompaniment, or at the furthest extreme, a complex score for a large ensemble! As a result, quotes are developed on a project-by-project basis. For the Pumpkinseeds, additional players can be engaged starting at £150 per player for three hours, plus expenses. Guidelines suggest that this should provide up to 20 minutes of recorded material, however in practice this is wholly dependent on the complexities of the scoring and we’ll discuss that at the outset.
Once a project is complete, live performance can also be commissioned. With cutting edge DPA 4099 Core microphones, and years of stage experience between them, the Pumpkinseeds can bring the warmth and vitality of the studio strings to the stage.