Q&A with British musician and composer Milton Reame-James, his creative drive is internal on any aspect of music

"Always stay true to yourself and avoid negative people and influences."

Milton Reame-James: Musical Journeys

British Milton Reame-James, musician and composer was the original keyboard player with Cockney Rebel. Milton has also played with Bill Nelson's Be Bop Deluxe, Leyton Buzzards and Modern Romance. Composer for Oor Wullie, Venus and Superkid and film sountrack Lords of London starring Ray Winstone. The single Trümergold released in 2020. Milton has continued to work with Guido and his band, both recording and playing live in Germany. König Von Nichts (2022) is the new album from Guido Dossche, where Milton played keyboards on many of the tracks on the album and wrote the music for the song "Der Letzte Horizont". His album Lunar Seas is an ambient musical journey through the lunar landscape. It sees Milton's return to cutting edge technology and synth programming. The album takes you through an imaginary tourist trail visiting the moon's seascapes while contemplating the names given to them. Milton says: "My creative drive is internal it's how I function when working on any aspect of music. I am also a scientist, and I embraced the new digital way of working which I love. Some artistes still love to work in the older more analogue way. That's cool too."

(Photo: British musician and composer Milton Reame-James)

In 2017 Milton wrote two numbers for a large scale musical "Cardinal Sins" which premiered at the Centrestage Theatre in Seattle USA. It was enormously well received and all concerned are hopeful for future productions. In 2010 Milton composed the soundtrack for the award winning film "Lords of London". It premiered in Cannes in May 2013 and appeared in the Toronto Film Festival in September 2013. Released in the UK in 2014, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and New Zealand and USA releases. Milton was approached in 2018 to add some keyboards to a Track for Guido who knew Milton's work and purchased the most recent CD's The collaboration worked so well that he recorded on 4 more tracks released on Sony on CD titled Trost. Milton first visited the band in Cologne and got on so well they asked him to join them on stage for a gig. This was September 2019 and it was such a success, Guido and the band have asked him to be a permanent part of the set up.

 

Interview by Michael Limnios

Where does your creative drive come from?

My creative drive is internal it's how I function when working on any aspect of music. I am also a scientist, and I embraced the new digital way of working which I love. Some artistes still love to work in the older more analogue way. That's cool too.

What characterize your music philosophy?

I was so fortunate to find myself at University when a revolution in arts was happening. Our Theatre director was Chris Parr. He was married to Peter Ustinovs' daughter Tamara and he bought in so many totally brilliant new writers and directors to our theatre company. He was completely free thinking and encouraged us all to think out of the box. I was encouraged to work in so many genres. When I was 22 Richard Crane came on the scene and I wrote my first full size musical score Tom Browns Schooldays. Was even considered for a West End run. Chris Parr sadly died last year but had an outstanding career in Theatre and Television drama. He was a real force of nature.

"The change away from the rip off streaming services would be very welcome. I am aware the world is different now; young people have many more interests. Also, musical education is neglected. Venues are closing, I don't know where the hope is." (Photo: Milton Reame-James with Guido Dossche Band)

What moment changed your music life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

I think playing in a great soul band with a brilliant guitarist Frank Dudley, I was at school with Robert Plant (yes Led Zeppelin) He was always a star. We were jamming together one day in the school canteen, until the head threw us out.

My only other Rock great was Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, I had a brief flirt with fame and met Paul Jeffreys a bass player. His sister was Peters' girfriend throughout the early Fleetwood Mac period. We tried to form a band to tour the US, but at the first rehearsal it was obvious Peter was unwell. Sometimes the old brilliance would shine through, and it was real magic, then sadly the clouds would descend.

My later band days were with Leyton Buzzards. They had a great hit "Saturday night beneath the plastic palm trees". They were great fun, then rebranded as Modern Romance having success with Salsa tracks here and in the States. I had to quit since my dad died and I needed to support my mother. I got a job in science education and bought my first place and started to develop my recording business.

I had some success in the Theatre with a West End show Venus and Superkid with Richard Crane. He was then the first writer in residence at the national theatre. I also had success with a show based on the cartoon character Oor Wullie from the Scottish Sunday Post.

I have recently fully revised and recorded the score to Venus and Suoerkid and hope for a revival, Money is tight in the theatre world at present. I also have a recent recording connection with a lovely German based singer Guido Dossche and his band, also happy days.

I arranged and recorded all the music for a just completed movie Bonnie and Clive. The soundtrack also contains some of my own material. This is with K4 films who I have contributed to before.

Recently, I have recorded a few tracks with co-producer Jeff Ellis for the Music For Sport library. Very different electronica mostly. So much fun to create.

"I would like to believe it is still important, but I'm not sure it brings people together in quite the same way. I recently started to work on music for film, this is always effective if you get it right." (Photos: Up - After that Milton teamed up with local guitarist Frank Dudley and soon had a soul band called The Jump, firstly a four piece: Eddie Edwards on Bass and Paul Plympton on Drums and later joined by Phil Savage on Vocals. This was a great little band and were rapidly working. Down - British Milton Reame-James, musician and composer was the original keyboard player with Cockney Rebel. Milton has also played with Bill Nelson's Be Bop Deluxe, Leyton Buzzards and Modern Romance)

How has the music influenced your views of the world? 

I loved music from childhood, I learned classical piano, and this still is my main love.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be? What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?

The change away from the rip off streaming services would be very welcome. I am aware the world is different now; young people have many more interests. Also, musical education is neglected. Venues are closing, I don't know where the hope is.

Skiffle (Lonnie Donegan), Jazz (Chris Barber), Blues (Alexis Korner), Progressive, Folk, Pub & Art Rock, John Barry’s score etc. What were the reasons that made the UK -since 1960s- to be the center of music researches and experiments?

The freedom to work in so many genres, today if you present an album of work every track has to be the same style! Not so in the 60's.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I would like to believe it is still important, but I'm not sure it brings people together in quite the same way. I recently started to work on music for film, this is always effective if you get it right.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always stay true to yourself and avoid negative people and influences.

Life is more than just music, is there any other field that has influence on your life and music?

Yes the positive people in my life.

Milton Reame-James - Home

(Photo: Milton Reame-James)

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