A question of taste - Maurice Seezer

MAURICE SEEZER is a songwriter, film music composer and founding committee member of the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival.

He grew up in Dublin, but has been living in West Cork for 12 years. The festival takes place in Schull, May 20-24.

Best recent book: Alessandro Boffa’s You’re an Animal, Viskovitz!

Best recent film: With short films, I can’t decide between Damian McCarthy’s Hatch, Mark Cogan’s Partly Cloudy or Team Daddy’s Mr Foley.

Best recent show/performance: Carmel Winter’s play Witness recently at the Everyman with Kate Stanley Brennan. There was so much to admire in the intensity that radiated from that stage.

What formats do you access music?

I listen to FM radio and for new music, I have an account with Spotify. I occasionally buy CDs but less and less. I have an account with iTunes, but rarely use it. With streaming, while it is convenient, it’s an altogether less personal experience… less visceral.

I have very distinct memories of playing John Lennon’s Imagine LP on my father’s Murphy record player. I remember the moment I brought it home, removed it from its sleeve, read the notes, dropped the needle, listened. That LP is still on my shelf, with many of my other music memories.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: Nina Simone’s ‘Pirate Jenny’. Too many to choose from, but this is one I keep returning to.

First ever piece of music or art that really moved you: Tom Waits’s Frank’s Wild Years dates at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, in November 1987 changed the way I listened to music for ever.

Musical heroes: JS Bach; Matt Stone; Stephen Sondheim; Nina Simone; Henry Mancini; Mel Brooks; Elliot Goldenthal; Maria Callas; Oscar Peterson; Astor Piazzola; Bernard Hermann; Madeline Kahn; Leonard Bernstein; Kurt Weil; Randy Newman… I could go on.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I only have Irish channels. I watch Champions League soccer and enjoy keeping an eye on Liam Brady’s expression when Eamon Dunphy is being obnoxious. I would watch Other Voices, decent kids animations, sci-fi films. Otherwise, it would have to be Netflix for the trash fix.

Radio listening: I listen to Newstalk if I’m cooking or working in the kitchen. Chris Donoghue and Ivan Yates, Sean Moncrieff, John Kelleher’s movie reviews and Off The Ball. I would also occasionally listen to Gerry Godley’s Reels To Ragas, The John Kelly Ensemble and Ellen Cranitch’s Grace Notes on Lyric FM.

Best recent holiday or weekend break:

It was August 12, the night of the Perseids meteor shower. My wife Maria and I were out on the open sea near Reen in West Cork with Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking. There was no moon, a completely clear sky, calm sea, phosporescence in the water and fireballs in the sky. Unforgettable.

Your best celebrity encounter: Hopping onstage unannounced while Lou Reed was playing a one note sound exploration at Carnegie Hall, and kicking straight into ‘Sweet Jane’ on the piano over the top. I’ll never forget the look as he turned around: suprised doesn’t come close, WTF is closer. It’s a long story…

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: A G-Star rain coat for €280.

Tech habits: The main program I use for audio recording is Logic Pro X, with Kontakt 5 for sound sample playback and editing. I use Waveburner for CD mastering, Sibelius for scoring. iPhoto for editing. I enjoy Shazam as an app on the iPhone. This year’s aim is to get up to speed on Final Cut Pro.

Unsung heroes: Helen Wells, Hilary McCarthy, Pauline Cotter and Bridie D’Alton at the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival office in Schull, for keeping a voluntary festival growing through very hard times. They are an inspiration.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree? A fair payment system for all Spotify content providers; followed closely by permanent funding for the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival; and all Irish bank managers to return the bonuses they received during the years from 2003 to 2008, plus interest, to those now in negative equity.

Des O’Driscoll


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