Neil Davidge

Neil Davidge – Composer

Neil Davidge

As co-writer and key sonic facilitator on the lauded Massive Attack albums Mezzanine, 100th Window and Heligoland, Bristol, England’s Neil Davidge has been integral in birthing some of the most arresting and innovative sounds of the Nineties and Noughties. He has also enjoyed a parallel career composing for Film and Television. His early venture into the world of film scoring included The Storm That Brought You To Me, from Louis Leterrier’s 2010 fantasy film Clash Of the Titans, and his co-write score for Trouble The Water, a moving study of Hurricane Katrina victims that won the ‘Best Documentary’ gong at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Following that, Neil won over an entirely new audience in 2012 with Microsoft / 343 Industries – the company behind famed multi-million-selling franchise Halo – who commissioned him to write the score for the quantum leap in fun-filled alien slaughter that is Halo 4. The soundtrack went on to sell over 90,000 albums, 120,000 downloads and was the highest charting game soundtrack ever in the US billboard charts.

The stellar success of Halo 4 resulted in further movie score work including the 2014 Henrik Ruben Genz movie Good People starring Kate Hudson and James Franco, the Tom Green directed Monsters: Dark Continent and the 2015 Canal Plus 10-part thriller TV series Spotless starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams which launched as a UK Netflix exclusive in July 2016. In 2017 Neil scored several highly coveted BBC1 dramas including the Anthony Horowitz TV series New Blood, the BBC four-part drama In The Dark, and new 2018 Jim Sturgess/ Agyness Deyne pre-apocalyptic thrilled Hard Sun. Most recently, Neil scored both series of the Jez Butterworth, Sky Atlantic / Amazon Prime 10-part epic dark Roman drama Britannia and the BBC’s documentary series’ Earth from Space and 8 Days: To the Moon and Back.

Neil was born in Bristol, England in 1962. As a teenager he loved to paint, creating both fine-art works and more abstract pieces. Prior to studying graphic design at Brunel Technical College, he became enamoured with the late 1970’s UK punk and reggae scenes and began painting likenesses of the Banshees’ Siouxsie Sioux and the dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, amongst others.

Having learned guitar in line with the punk DIY ethic of the time, Neil later embarked upon long hours of alchemical, ‘suck-it-and-see’ experimentation during which time he learned the complex but rewarding art of sound recording. Happily, he was in situ at Bristol’s Coach House Studios when famed trip-hop act Portishead recorded parts of their debut album Dummy there between 1991-1994, and in 1996, he hooked-up with Massive Attack on The Hunter, a song for the Batman Forever soundtrack that featured Everything But The Girl vocalist Tracey Thorn. That same year, Massive Attack won a ‘Best Dance Act’ Brit Award, cementing a working relationship with Neil Davidge that would continue for some 17 years.

It was Massive Attack’s stately, cinematic sound – together with Neil’s longstanding affinity with visual mediums that lent his scoring for film, TV and advertising an air of inevitability. After auteur Luc Besson approached Neil and Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack to commission music for his martial arts thriller Unleashed, a swathe of other, attractively varied coups followed. Among them were scores for the films Bullet Boy and Battle In Seattle, advertising campaigns for Jaguar and Adidas, and Neil’s collaboration with Snoop Dogg while scoring music for In Prison My Whole Life, a feature documentary about US death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

It’s an impressive résumé as it stands, but it’s his score for the release of Halo 4 – the latest incarnation of the wildly successful gaming franchise – that Neil Davidge is understandably most excited about. This, after all, is the video game franchise that has already sold over 40 million copies and generated some $2 billion of merchandising revenue. The game whose worldwide community of fans is known as the ‘Halo Nation and the game that has spawned a series of much loved comic books, and anime films. Some would say it is… THE GAME.

“To be honest, I can’t think about all that”, laughs Neil. “If I did I might go mad! I just have to concentrate on the music and hope that, if it moves me, then fans will get a similar feeling. If they do, I’ll have done my job.”

Neil Davidge, April 2012.

HALO 4343 Industries / Microsoft
Director: Tom Green
Producer: Scoot McNairy, Gareth Edwards, Rory Aitken, Allan Niblo, Rupert Preston, Ben Pugh, James Richardson
Starring: Joe Dempsie, Johnny Harris, Nicholas Pinnock, Parker Sawyers, Kyle Soller, Jesse Nagy, Jeff Hill
Director: Henrik Ruben Genz
Producer: Ed Cathel III, Ben Forkner, Thomas Gammeltoft, Eric Kranzler, Avi Lerner, Tobey Macguire
Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson, Omar Sy
CLASH OF THE TITANS (Additional Music)Warner Bros Pictures
Director: Louis Leterrier
Producer: Kevin De La Noy, Basil Iwanyk,
Starring: Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Gemma Arterton
PUSHSummit Entertainment
Director: Paul McGuigan
Producers: Bruce Davey, William Vince, Glenn Williamson
Starring: Dakota Fanning
GOMMORAH (Soundtrack)Fandango Films
Director: Matteo Garrone
Producers: Domenico Procacci
TROUBLE THE WATER (with Robert Del Naja)Elsewhere Films
Director: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin
Producers: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin
Writer: Frank Cottrel Boyce
Starring: Eddie Marson, Omid Djallili
Sundance Film Festival Best Documentary
BATTLE IN SEATLLE (with Robert Del Naja)Hyde Park Ents
Director: Stuart Townsend
Producer: Stuart Townsend, Mary Aloe, Maxine Remillard, Kirk Shaw
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Michelle Rodriquez, Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron
Director: Marc Evans, Livia Guiggioli, Nick Goodwin-Self
Producer: Christine Langan
Starring: Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson
MIAMI VICE (soundtrack)Universal Pictures
Director: Michael Mann
Producers: Michael Mann, Pieter Jan Brugge
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx
UNLEASHED (with Massive Attack)Europa Corp
Director: Louis Leterrier
Producers: Luc Besson, Steve Chasman, Jet Li
Starring: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins
Director: Saul Dibb
Producers: Mark Boothe, Ruth Caleb, Paul Hamann
Starring: Ashley Walters, Jamie Winstone
BLADE II (soundtrack)New Line Cinema
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Producer: Peter Frankfurt, Patrick J. Plamer, Wesley Snipes
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman
MOULIN ROUGETwentieth Century Fox
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Producer: Fred Baron, Martin Brown
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan Mcgregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent
(series 1 & 2)
Vertigo Films / Amazon Studios / Sky
Creators: Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth, James Richardson
Producer: Rick McCallum, Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Starring: David Morrissey, Kelly Reilly
Director: Anthony Philipson
Producer: James Van Der Pool
Director: Barney Revill
Producer: Justin Anderson
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor
HARD SUNEuston Films / BBC One
Directors: Brian Kirk, Nick Rowland, Richard Senior
Producer: Hugh Warren
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Agyness Deyn
NEW BLOODBBC / Eleventh Hour Films
Directors: Anthony Philipson, Bill Eagles
Producer: Eve Gutierrez
Starring: Mark Strepan, Ben Tavassoli
Director: Pascal Chaumeil, Colin Teague, China Moo-Young
Producer: Moritz Polter, Hugh Warren
Executive Producer: Rola Bauer, Jonas Bauer, Suzanne Berger
Starring: Marc-Andre Grondin, Denis Menochet
LUTHER (Title music, Massive Attack) BBC
Director: Sam Miller, Brian Kirk, Stephan Schwartz
Producer: Katie Swinden
Starring: Idris Elba