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Soundtracks

Nicholas Sillitoe

 

With an all-encompassing background in classical piano, opera performances, DJing, pop production, remixing and electronic music artist releases, it was perhaps inevitable that Nicholas Sillitoe would eventually find himself drawn to the creative world of soundtracks; with music for film,TV, and commercials. 

 

Free from the shackles of the music industry release-promo-tour carousel, and free to rather focus on making music to serve the picture, the character, narrative and director’s vision, Nicholas has always found soundtrack work deeply inspiring. 

It continues to be something Nicholas does with unwavering aplomb, with responsibility for a steady stream of productions over the last 20 years; with prize-winning scores and a first-class resumé of award winning feature films, TV drama, shorts, documentaries, and commercials. 

 

Nicholas’s happy place is at home, by the piano, with a script by his side, or a laptop precariously balanced on top of the piano, looking at a work-in-progress film edit. From here on in, a theme, a melody, or a simple chord progression begins it’s journey, evolving later on into a full score.

 

Far from claiming to be a one-man show, and attempting to do all the programming, engineering and instrumentation required in a soundtrack alone, Nicholas often works with a number of talented musicians and producers to help tackle the wide range of technical detail, and complex soundscapes a contemporary score requires. 

Anne Marie Almedal has provided her fluid vocal themes to many of his soundtracks, as well as string virtuoso Sebastian Grüchot. He has also collaborated with a number of music production colleagues from the music scene in and around Kristiansand, Norway; Alf Vaksdal, Øystein Aamodt, Kenneth Silden, and Marius Christiansen, amongst others.

 

Nicholas often alternates his soundtrack universe in between other parallel projects with artist releases and productions. He relishes the shift between these somewhat opposing forces; the electronic and/or the post-classical, the vocal, and the instrumental, the song, and score.

However, in whatever genre the film music production belongs, Nicholas ultimately prefers character-driven films, where his music can provide an empathic "x factor" to the narrative, the listener’s audio-visual experience, and of course, the director’s ambitions.

Over the years, Nicholas has become a go-to for select Scandinavian film directors searching for his delicate tonalities and "Nordic Noir" nuances. Examples include the dystopian TV drama series “Okkupert” (Netflix), and the award-winning soundtrack to Norwegian feature film “Dirk Ohm – Illusjonisten som forsvant”.

For Nicholas, the film & TV music business provides a utopian sound stage, where melody, instrumentation and adventurous production can all help pull at the heartstrings, when sensitively composed with subtlety and style.

From his base in Kristiansand, Norway, Nicholas continues to both amaze, and be amazed; always ready to take the plunge in an ocean of sound.

 

Nicholas Sillitoe is published & represented by Universal Music Publishing Scandinavia.

 

+47 Filmography:

Note: IMDb has a good, but not always accurate (or updated) insight into selected soundtrack credits by Nicholas Sillitoe. 

 

Please refer to information you find on this website, first.

Photo: Thomas Ekström.

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Dirk Ohm Film

     Feature Films

Mesteren

Directed by Charlotte Sieling             

Nimbus Film, Denmark 2017

 

Dirk Ohm – Illusjonisten Som Forsvant

Directed by Bobbie Pears

Mer Film, Norway 2015

 

5 Løgner"

Directed by Lars-Daniel K. Jacobsen

Viafilm, Norway 2007

 

En Folkefiende

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg

Nordisk Film, Norway 2005     

Music: Nicholas Sillitoe & Jan Garbarek.

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TV/Drama Soundtracks

Okkupert

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg

TV2, Viaplay, Arte, Netflix (Worldwide)

2015 – 2020 (Three seasons)

 

Kommissarie Winter

Directed by Trygve Diesen, Emiliano Goessens, Molly Hartleb

SVT, Sweden 2010 (8 Episodes)

 

Størst Av Alt

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, Eva Isaksen

NRK Drama, Norway 2007 (6 Episodes)

 

Torpedo

Directed by Trygve Diesen                 

TV2, Norway 2007 (4 Episodes)

 

“Familiens Ære” 

TV 2, Norway 2006

(TV Series Theme & Score)       

 

Skolen

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, Berit Nesheim, Trygve Diesen, Lars Berg, Tor Torstad

NRK Drama, Norway 2004-2005

(18 Episodes)

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       Short Films

Smerteterskel

Directed by Marianne Ulrichsen

Freedom From Fear, Norway 2024

Arvesmerte

Directed by Ola & Zyna Røyseland

RFC, Norway 2022

 

Albatross

Directed by Mathias Rusvik

Them Girls, Norway 2022

 

Kanskje

Directed by Ola & Zyna Røyseland

RFC, Norway 2022

 

Mobile

Directed by Truls Krane Meby

Mer Film, Norway 2018

 

Alt Brenner

Directed by Marianne Ulrichsen

Mer Film, Norway 2017

 

Amasone

Directed by Marianne Ulrichsen

Mer Film, Norway 2014

 

Kjøttsår

Directed by Lise Marie Gamlem

Yesbox, Norway 2011

 

1994

Directed by Kaveh Tehrani

Babusjka Film, Norway 2010

 

Ella

Directed by Hanne Larsen

Norsk Filmproduksjon, Norway 2010

 

XY

Directed by David Reiss-Andersen

Pravda Film, Norway 2008    

                                      

Brakkvann

Directed by David Reiss-Andersen      Pravda Film, Norway 2007      

 

Kjøter

Directed by Marius Holst                     

4 ½, Norway 2006

 

“Exit”

Directed by Anette Haraldsen              Sund/Alfheim Film, Norway 1997       

Music: Ultraviolet 

(Nicholas Sillitoe & Ken Theodorsen).

 

“Close To Home”

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg           

National Film School, UK 1994   

Music: Illumination

(Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen).

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Documentary Films
 

“My Favourite Criminal” 

Directed by Torgeir Kalvehagen

Filmplot, Norway 2022

 

“Morfar”

Directed by Torgeir Kalvehagen

Filmplot, Norway 2021

 

Nickname Szanto” 

Directed by Henrik Hanson

Henrik Hanson/SVT, Sweden 2018

 

“Majorens Sønn” 

Directed by Frode Vestad

Dokufilm, Norway 2018

 

“Angsten For Et Helt Alminnelig Liv” 

Directed by Frode Vestad

Dokufilm, Norway 2016

 

“Dømt Til Å Leve”

Directed by Frode Vestad

Dokufilm, Norway 2010

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 TV Themes
 

Himmeblå” 

TV series/Main Title theme 

NRK TV, Norway 2008/2010

3 Seasons.

Music: Anne Marie Almedal & Nicholas Sillitoe.

Først Og Sist

Main Title theme

NRK TV, Norway 1998/2005

Weekly chat show with Frederik Skavlan.

Music: 

Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

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Awards & Prizes

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Amanda Award

Best Film Music

"Dirk Ohm - Illusjonisten Som Forsvant" (2015)

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Möet & Chandon Grand Scores - Best Original Music For A Series (Nominee)

"Okkupert" (2017)

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Other Awards:

 

Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival

Best Short Film

"Smerteterskel"

(2024)

Mannheim - Heidelberg International Filmfestival

New Creators Award

"Okkupert"

(2015)

Amanda Award

Best Short Film

"Amasone"

(2014)

Chicago International Film Festival

Best Short Film

"Amasone"

(2014)

Amanda Award

Best Short Film

"1994"

(2011)

Cannes Film Festival

Palme d'Or - Best Short Film (Nominee)

"Kjøttsår"

(2011)

Krakow Film Festival

Golden Dragon

"1994"

(2011)

 

Encounters International Film Festival

UK Film Council Audience Award

"Ella"

(2010)

Golden Screen Norway

Best TV Drama

"Størst Av Alt"

(2007)

Erik Skjoldbjærg, Director of Okkupert

"Nick is a pure musician. Music is his first language. Emotions are always present in his music. And I've come to trust that Nick will add a new dimension whenever he composes something..." 

Charlotte Sieling, Director of Mesteren

"Nicholas is a great artist who reads a script with passion and turns all his emotions and talent towards your movie in a compassionate workflow"
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"The Sound Of Success" 

Interview: Anders Dahlbom/Scandinavian Traveler (Jan 2018)

Nicholas Sillitoe sometimes goes to film premieres, but being on the red carpet can feel a bit weird. "Very often at premieres, I'm on my own," Sillitoe says at his home outside Kristiansand in Norway. “No one recognizes me. I´ve had actors saying, ‘Oh my God, you’re the composer! It’s a strange feeling, because I feel I´ve been so intimate with them. Being a composer is almost like I´ve been inside the actor’s eyes.”

In the same room is a bright little piano. It’s on this piano that Sillitoe usually begins creating music for movies and TV shows. In 2015, he won an Amanda Award, Norway’s top film prize for his music for the movie The Disappearing Illusionist and he was responsible for the music for the music for the internationally-acclaimed Norwegian TV show Okkupert (Occupied).

“The piano is my comfort zone. Here at home I´ve got silence, a beautiful garden and a forest outside,” Sillitoe says, gesturing towards the impressive view from the terrace. “When the kids are at school it gets really quiet. As corny as it sounds, any writer needs a space that lets you dream away. Whether it’s a hip loft or a forest in Norway doesn’t matter. As long as I have internet, the technology is so good that I could work on the moon. Kristiansand is my moon”.

Many people in the movie industry have their roots in the world of pop or rock, but Englishman Sillitoe comes from a slightly different background. Born in London, he was something of a child progidy in classical music. As a soloist, he sang in opera houses all over the world, but at the end of the 80s things took a different turn when he discovered acid house and began making house music. In 1994, he moved to Norway to produce techno, where he has been ever since, working mainly on soundtracks.

“It’s something that sets me apart from others”, Sillitoe says. “I have these two strong polarizing forces – I can go electronic or classical with my music. Over my years here, I´ve become quite Nordic. My personality has a penchant for the melancholic and the Nordic Noir, so I like it a lot here.”

Sillitoe describes his work as something of a fog. “It’s incredibly tough work. There’s a lot of impatience and tight deadlines and 24/7 phone calls with paranoid producers. With theater and drama, you have to know the origins. A film is not a music video. Film music is peculiar in the industry – we´re seen as these weird cousins of the movie industry who are never around on set. You have to build up a relationship with directors, we have to get in their heads.”

For Sillitoe, music work is about storytelling. His trick is to start by just listening to the dialog of the movie or TV show.

“I follow the phrasing and tone of their voices,” Sillitoe says. “I don’t want to compete with the actor – instead I use the actor. It’s like a soprano and an aria, when the orchestra in the pit sneaks around the melody line. I literally put the headphones on and start to compose. I work alone at home at the piano, really basic. I make simple themes and try to get into the characters’ space. It’s an intense process.”

When asked to name colleagues whose work he respects, Sillitoe mentions Ennio Morricone and more modern composers such as Trent Reznor, Olafur Arnalds and Cliff Martinez. “I prefer a minimalistic score”, Sillitoe says. “The age of the big Hollywood score is a bit passé, sound design is becoming more relevant. The biggest form of flattery is if someone says “I really liked the film, because the music was just a part of the film.’ That’s the best criticism you can get. There are certain moments that I can hear that, ‘ Yes, I nailed it here,` it’s not often the music itself, more ´Did I get in at the right place? Did I fade out? ` The magical moment comes when you are engaged and the music comes in and takes you somewhere.”

“It’s a privilege to work with talented directors and tell good stories. Of course I get goosebumps in the movie theater when I hear the work that I started back in my pajamas back home a year ago. That’s as rock ‘n`roll as it gets for me!”

Transcribed from an interview in the "Scandinavian Traveler" magazine. (Dec 2017/Jan 2018)

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