BIMM tutor Ciaran Bradshaw’s ‘Sing Street’ film success

31 March, 2016

If you haven’t started hearing about the upcoming film ‘Sing Street’ yet, then don’t worry… because you will soon!

The film is a coming of age comedy-drama set in 1980s Dublin, written and directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker John Carney, and starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Aidan Gillen. But apart from being brilliantly funny, we love it all the more because our BIMM Dublin Music Production tutor, Ciaran Bradshaw, was a member of the film crew – recording and mixing all the music at Windmill Lane Studios, Westland and The Cauldron Studios in Dublin.

Ciaran’s involvement really is a huge achievement, especially considering it’s a film which is undeniably all about the music! It’s the story of a boy growing up in Dublin during the 80s who dreams of escaping his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London. Just like John Carney’s acclaimed previous films – ‘Once’ and ‘Begin Again’ – music is the central theme, and we know that Sing Street’s soundtrack will garner just as much attention as its predecessors – the song ‘Falling Slowly’ from ‘Once’ won the 2007 Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’ and the soundtrack received a Grammy Award nomination, while the ‘Begin Again’ song ‘Lost Stars’ was also nominated for an Oscar.

Ciaran’s involvement in ‘Sing Street’ came about because he’d previously worked with John Carney in the early stages of pre-production and songwriting for the film ‘Begin Again’, as well as having worked with Kieran Lynch, the Music Producer of ‘Sing Street’, on many different occasions. So when Ciaran received the call from Kieran asking him to engineer the music sessions, he jumped at the opportunity.

As the main engineer, Ciaran was responsible for the technical aspects of the recording, so needed to make sure the songs were not only recorded correctly but also had the right ‘sound’ to match the era of the 1980s. Unlike most films, the tracks needed to be finished before filming started, due to the story being about a fictitious band who write and perform their own original songs. The soundtrack was being developed as it was being recorded, and this called for a full band set-up in the studio, ready to record at all times.

As well as engineering, Ciaran was also involved in the film music’s mixing process, which he stressed was very different to the mixing a normal record because its goal was fundamentally to support the narrative of the story above everything else. This also meant that Ciaran’s work was never completely finished until it got tied together at the end with all the film’s other sound and speech elements.

‘Sing Street’ recently premiered at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah, and went down a treat with reviewers and festival-goers alike. The film was released in cinemas across Ireland in mid-March and is set to be shown on UK screens from 22 April onwards. We can’t wait to hear Ciaran’s skilled engineering work for ourselves, and, given the central theme of a boy trying to set the world alight via his band and songwriting skills, we know it’s going to be a big hit with our BIMM students too! Popcorn anyone?

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