Thomas Ragsdale
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Thomas Ragsdale

Manchester, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Manchester, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Electronic Experimental




"'Dear Araucaria' EP review"


Manchester's Thomas Ragsdale doffs a many-feathered cap. There's his TV and film work, mentioned in Tony Naylor's recent soundtrack and scoring piece. So far, both of his film scores have been released on This Is It Forever, Ragsdale and Gavin Miller's label that's also home to their Ghosting Season and Worriedaboutsatan projects. The pair always keep a cinematic undercurrent in their work, and Ragsdale's exclusively dance floor alias, Winter Son, put strong moods and soundtrack dynamics squarely in the mix.

Dear Araucaria is Ragsdale's third record under his given name and first to have no corresponding visual piece—not that it needs it. It's a self-governed project that began in 2013 with the passing of The Guardian's crossword-maker, Reverend John Graham. Essentially, it's an EP of variations: five tracks reiterating the same treated guitar and piano material with subtle, painterly nuances. In the gentle flux of repetitions, an idea of memory unfolds. It's a sad and poignant one, like a sense of loss and yearning for what's no longer there.

The record is beautiful and powerful in its simplicity. How Ragsdale builds an emotional response out of so few resources is truly masterful. The "less is more" concept proves especially fruitful, accomplishing so much over such a short span. Dear Araucaria is a huge, gaseous swell of a record that deserves to be played over and over again. - Resident Advisor

"'Bait' album premiere"

Ragsdale recently composed the score for the recent thriller Bait, but rather than approaching it as simply music to accompany the film, he worked on making Bait act as a stand alone album. The result is a record that begins in blissful ambience and gradually builds to tense peaks such as the aptly named ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’. You can stream Bait in full below and order it from This Is It Forever. - FACT

"Interview alongside Nils Frahm & Olafur Arnalds"

"One that I did, all it said was, 'It needs to be an artistic statement,'" says Ragsdale, who writes music for clients such as BMW and Prada. "Then you get ones that are ultra specific about what they want to happen at 'hit points' in the visuals, how it should make the audience feel, what the brand wants to achieve, with ten different example pieces of music. It's your job to sift all that and not be overwhelmed by it. I read the notes, digest the references and then take ten minutes to forget it all, start to jam and see what comes out. Otherwise, you end up making some horrible, bastardised amalgamation of everything."

While not as rewarding as making your own music, Ragsdale says fulfilling briefs can be satisfying. This is particularly true now that the hipper ad agencies will come to him looking for music on a spectrum from Zomby or Andy Stott to Nils Frahm, rather than the cheesier dance music reference points that used to be common. "The journey from conception to final product is a day," he says. "It's really quick-fire, and if someone is pleased with that—somebody who isn't musical—who is willing to pay you more money than you would ever get gigging, it still gets you. Although, it's rare that someone will like it straight away. The back and forth is crazy. It can take weeks. They might change the visuals, have a complete rebrand. I've even had, 'Thanks for your submission, but we've decided on having no music at all.'" - Resident Advisor

"'Time To Go' feature"

Even if you are, as am I, a staunch defender of the classic rotation of seasons — the promise of spring, the seduction of summer, the crispness of fall and the grim determination of winter — you can still probably find some amusement in what appears to be our new Mystery Mix order of weather wherein one day it’s May and the next it’s November. So we woke up to winter today. What will it be tomorrow? NO ONE KNOWS. There might be a heatwave next week, and everyone will just shake their heads and say, “Yeah, that’s what happens here in February.” It is indeed a remarkable age in which we live. Anyway, there’s some backstory to this track but you do not need to know it to enjoy, so figure out how much reading you’d like to do in advance and then enjoy. - The Awl

"'Dear Araucaria' feature"

Better known as one half of Manchester-based duo worriedaboutsatan, Thomas Ragsdale also happens to record as a solo artist – as illustrated by the pair of soundtracks he designed for Dominic Brunt’s films ‘Before Dawn‘ and ‘Bait‘. His third effort ‘Dear Araucaria‘ is landing via This Is It Forever on February 1st, on both tape + CD edition and digital format.

‘Dear Araucaria‘ is Ragsdale first incursion through non-film-related content on a release of his own. Polarised on a minimal cast of instruments including just a fragile piano and slow-flowing guitar riffs, the EP has been recorded at his home studio in Manchester.

Envisioned as an homage to Reverend John Graham aka Araucaria, The Guardian’s beloved crossword-compiler who passed away in 2013, the EP serves a mystery-coated 5-track wandering through introspective pits and pared-down audio-scapes, soothing tenuity and spacious evocations.

Fascinated with Graham’s life and work and especially the devotion he showed to his faithful audience – keeping his readers informed of his condition through clues disseminated in his final puzzle, Ragsdale shelved the recordings for a while, focussing on the soundtrack of ‘Bait‘ in the meanwhile.

Life flew through and personal experiences definitely impacted the music, a sudden death in his family prompting the producer to re-arrange the recordings, colouring his compositions with an obviously more personal and emotional tint.

Ahead of its imminent release, we’re glad to present you the EP in an exclusive full-stream. - Inverted Audio

"'Blüdhaven' EP review"

10/10. Thomas Ragsdale’s last EP Dear Araucaria is just about as soul-stirring as dance music can get. Its five warm and inviting tracks speak of rainy evenings, hidden smiles and hugs from your mum. Thankfully, the follow up, (also released on This Is Forever), is every bit as good. Made up of two atmospheric, slow-paced and highly emotional songs, Blüdhaven recalls the melancholy reflections at the heart of vaporwave, but strives for something more. A-Side, All Men Have Limits is best described as an eleven minute long aural swoon. Bringing to mind the majestic ambiance of the likes of Ólafur Arnalds or Nils Frahm, the song is intense and stirring, at times so beautiful it is hard to hold back the tears. By contrast, Blüdhaven is a darker, spookier affair, its low end bass throb and John Carpenter-style synths conjuring images of some future dystopia where the majority of the population feel lost and alone. Stunning and addictive, whether you consider yourself a fan of downbeat music or not, hearing this is a must. - Titel Kultur

"'Bait' album review"

If there's a key to unlocking Bait, it's that Thomas Ragsdale constitutes one-half of worriedaboutsatan, whose Even Temper was reviewed a few months back in these pages, as was the duo's earlier Gizeh release Arrivals in 2009. And while Bait isn't, obviously, a worriedaboutsatan release, it does exude some of the cryptic quality that infuses the group's productions.

The work the Manchester-based Ragsdale has done as part of worriedaboutsatan suggests he'd be a natural as a film composer, and sure enough Bait turns out to have originated as material he created for a UK thriller by Dominic Brunt (it's not the first time the two have worked together, as Ragsdale also created the music for Brunt's 2012 directorial debut Before Dawn). A key difference from the norm, however, is that Bait doesn't simply gather the bits Ragsdale produced for the film; instead, he re-examined the files he'd given to Brunt and then re-conceived the material as a forty-minute album in place of a soundtrack of atmospheric drones and vignettes. Specifically, Ragsdale wanted the music to work independently of the film as an effectively sequenced travelogue of shifting moods.

The recording clearly succeeds in that regard. Each of the thirteen short pieces flows into the next; the overall mood is generally subdued and overcast, a sense of doom encroaches, and startling ruptures are absent between the snapshots. Instrumentally, the focal points change from one vignette to the next, with some guitar-centered and others placing piano and/or electronics at the forefront. Following an entrancing intro of electric guitar and shimmering synth textures (“Who Holds The Devil, Hold Him Well”), we're presented with brooding piano-based settings (“Old Piano 1 (A Few Miles On),” “The Body's in the Back”), wintry dronescapes (“Bait,” “To Send You Off”), and a funereal moodscape lightly tinged with choral accents (“As the Rain Went on Falling”). Occasional hints of threat pierce the gloom, suggesting that danger lurks but a moment away. If there's an anomalous moment, it arrives during “When All Hell Breaks Loose” when a booming 4/4 pulse nudges the material in experimental techno's direction.

In keeping with the macabre nature of the film narrative, Bait, available in cassette (fifty copies) and digital formats, arrives in its physical form wrapped in PVC tape and accompanied by a mutilated photograph of a supposed victim plus card case wrapped in black lace. Though one doesn't doubt the contention that Ragsdale designed the recording to function as a stand-alone work, Bait nonetheless retains a strong soundtrack-like character in its emphasis on evocative moodsculpting. It requires little effort, for example, to imagine the windswept atmospherics in “The Dales” as a natural accompaniment to a widescreen pan of a dark, barren landscape. - Textura

"A Closer Listen mixtape"

This month’s mix comes courtesy of Thomas Ragsdale. As one-half of the duo worriedaboutsatan, Thomas has previously contributed to this series with last year’s worriedaboutdrone mix (LCNL 062). In addition to worriedaboutsatan and his commercial work, Thomas has recently begun releasing solo recordings as well, which you can peruse at his bandcamp. Decaying City is a really lovely journey we hope you’ll join us for.

Please introduce yourself.Hello, I’m Thomas Ragsdale, I make haunting electronica, synth led film scores and immersive soundscapes. After years of writing music for TV commercials and TV programmes I decided to write music for myself under my own name. I like to rely on an organic approach to writing music, I love my guitars, piano and studio full of synths & drum machines, but when I play live I try to make the performances as engaging as possible for the audience. I also play in post rock electronica band worriedaboutsatan. I’m based in West Yorkshire in a very small village called Honley, which provides me with a lot of inspiration.

Tell us about the mix.
The mix was put together over a hot evening with vinyl, CDs and digital files all loaded up into Ableton. A few of the tracks are only available on Friday, so I’ve gone for the ‘classic’ DJ mixing technique! My dad has the Chic track on vinyl, so I used that too!! The track selection portrays my thoughts and feeling that went into my new EP ‘Blüdhaven’, and it’s a run down of what I was thinking when I was writing it. It’s both tender and violent in places, but with an underlying constant intensity. I hope you like it and take away a taste of my musical brain. - A Closer Listen

"Echoes And Dust interview"

Thomas Ragsdale is pretty prolific. Not content releasing music with Gavin Miller as worriedaboutsatan/Ghosting Season, he has a string of releases as Winter Son and now his second full solo soundtrack album Bait is imminent. Phil Johnston had a chat about his relentless release schedule and much more.
(((o))): Hi Thomas, can you give us an insight into when you first started to play music and what your main influence was to do so?
Thomas: I go waaaaaaayyyyyyy back with music making. I started to mess around with guitars when I was 11 or 12, just playing anything my dad would show me. I heard him playing ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ once and wanted to learn that straight away! He’s really into the 60s/70s side of blues and he used to play Terry Reid, Black Cat Bones and Leaf Hound a lot, and eventually I got good enough to noodle over the solos with him. Then I took the natural progression into the most ridiculous nu metal phase known to man and learned every System Of A Down and Limp Bizkit riff after I got my own Fender Strat and 30watt amp. I still know loads of those tracks to this day.
(((o))): You seem to have a varied and wide taste in music which often is apparent in your various musical projects. What shaped your taste and is there anything new musically you would still like to try?
Thomas: I REALLY like inheriting other people’s music collections and I love delving into styles of music I’ve never encountered before! If I know of someone who’s giving away a box of old records/CDs/tapes then I’ll go straight over to their house and take the lot. Me and Gavin (from worriedaboutsatan) did that once to a DJ called Alex Smoke. On Twitter he said he wanted rid of about 1000 12” promos so we drove to London and literally filled my car with vinyl. I get most of my music from other people, but sometimes I’ll just buy something completely random and see how I get on. I’d definitely like to do a new wavey punk band before I die, something like Black Flag…. with drum machines (maybe). But I’ve done a lot of styles in the past, a lot more than I advertise. I pop up in some strange places with different projects, and I’ve even ghost written for a few artists.
(((o))): Barely a week goes past without a new solo venture from yourself being announced (or so it seems). Can you give us a round up of what you’ve been up to?
Thomas: Well, this may take a while! I have a lot of Winter Son music ready that’ll be coming this and next year, and that’s all quite big sounding techno. There’s plenty of worriedaboutsatan music being made at the moment, we’re deep into another album, which is sounding HUGE. There might even be a Ghosting Season EP or 2 at some point as we’ve done a load of tracks with that project. Ooo, and I’m just about to finish the follow up to Bait, which isn’t even released yet (at this time of writing), but I starting messing around on the guitar and ended up with an EP. I tend to get bored a lot.
(((o))): As well as exploring darker techno based music as Winter Son, you have scored two films (Before Dawn and Bait), as well as a short ‘Shell Shocked’. These have been directed by Dominic Brunt (better known to soap fans as Emmerdale’s Paddy). How did you get involved with these projects?
Thomas: We’ve known each other for a good few years, which is really strange as he’s literally Paddy from Emmerdale! I used to work on the show in the scripts department and my job was sorting out cast scripts and speaking to them about changes in the story. We just got speaking about zombie films, extreme gore and techno and then before I knew it I was doing my first film score! I have a habit of jumping into projects I’m probably completely out of my depth with, and scoring a film was no exception. We had a great time doing it and we both learned so much about fast food and what it feels like listening to insane sub bass at 3am.
(((o))): Is the approach to scoring much different to how you usually work and is it something you would continue in the future?
Thomas: It’s not that much different for me if I’m honest! I like to write all my music in the same way, in a live performance. We write all of the worriedaboutsatan music in these extended jam sessions that last hours on end! I’m not really interested in writing film music as an ‘underscore’, I want the music to exist in its own right. I HATE that nonsensical film score music that doesn’t seem to add anything other than an under bed to the film. What’s the point in it?! I’ll definitely do more films though, I love doing it. It’s super intense work. I write a lot of music for TV as my ‘day job’, so film music kind of fits nicely into my weekends.
Artwork for the 'Bait' soundtrack.
Artwork for the ‘Bait’ soundtrack.
(((o))): Bait feels very much a fully fleshed out album, rather than a collection of short clips directly lifted from the film. Did you go back and expand what you submitted for the film or was it always like this and pieces lifted to fit certain scenes.
Thomas: Ah yeah, the film ended up having about 25 different pieces in it, all of them quite short. It didn’t really flow as an album when I listened back to it, so I set about developing certain elements and cutting back on bits that I felt only fit the film. Gavin, who also run the label, said he wanted the album to be around 13 tracks at the most, so I had quite a brutal purge of the happy sounding music and tracks that were way too brutal!
(((o))): Although I’m not just as dedicated anymore I’ve always been a huge fan of Horror and Sci-fi movies. Is there any film you would love to have scored, or get the chance to re-score.
Thomas: I watched It Follows recently and I would’ve loved an attempt at that! One of my favourite films is Wait Until Dark and I had some amazing ideas about how to make it even more terrifying. Audrey Hepburn plays a blind lady who accidentally gets handed a doll full of drugs. The gang who want the doll have to convince her to let them into her house without letting her know their intentions. There’s this one INCREDIBLE scene where she’s alone in the middle of the kitchen and the light flickers on and off as one of the gang edges closer and closer to her. It’s BRUTAL.
(((o))): Without giving anything away what can we expect from the film Bait, as listening to the score gives me the impression its not going to be a rom-com.
Thomas: Oh God, it’s very violent, definitely not for the faint hearted. Seriously. It’s a really tense story and I think its edge comes from having two very strong female leads who do a fair bit of hand-to-hand combat. It’s filmed in north Lancashire too, so it has a very warm hearty atmosphere to it! But yeah, only see it if you can handle serious gore! When I was writing the score I spent around 16 hours a day working on it for a week and mid way through I had a terrifying experience. I took a break one night at 10pm and walked onto my balcony with a cup of tea and became massively paranoid that the nasty debt collector in the film was going to appear and throw me over!
(((o))): Aside from the music, you put a great deal of detail and effort into the packaging. Why do you feel this is important?
Thomas: There was a point when I thought music was becoming very stale in how it was presented and it always bugged me how little thought artists were giving to packaging (or even having an actual physical product). I’m definitely a person who likes having ‘things’, I don’t want empty shelves in my house filled with an iPad and a Kindle! I like having things to touch, look at and I kind of want people to feel the same about a music product as they would a photo or a book. You don’t have to store music away with all your CDs and records, you can have it with your ornaments! I love making all my packaging too, it’s a big part of the process from writing the music right through to putting it in the envelope and sending it off. It’s a shame that people are perfectly fine with just an mp3, there’s so much more you can do for very little money! It just takes a little time to put it all together. The packaging for Bait goes hand in hand with the music and the film, but it also exists as something you can put on display.
(((o))): A casual glance at your Instagram or Twitter will reveal a possible gear collecting addiction. Can you give us an insight into what your set up is like and how it changes depending on studio/live/satan/WS/scoring?
Thomas: Oh wow, there’s a lot of equipment here! And it’s definitely growing. My girlfriend said recently ‘what are you going to do when you’ve ran out of room across the walls?’ and I replied with ‘I’ll just start a new layer, coming in on the room!’. The room is getting smaller and smaller as it’s coming in on itself. It’s not really a ‘collection’ I have though, as I use everything I have. I’m not the kind of person who buys it and stores it away (I know people who do this). Everything is plugged in and ready to go in the studio. I have my computer in the middle of the room and to the left I have guitars and acoustic instruments and to the right I have synths, drum machines and electronic noise making boxes. I tend to use everything for all my projects, but using them in different ways and combinations. For worriedaboutsatan we’re very live in the studio, so we tend to use things that are a lot of fun to play with, but for scoring I’m more interested in making textures sometimes, so I’ll spend more time at the computer manipulating and designing sounds. My main focus is to have fun though when I’m writing music.
(((o))): Also do you need any help with your inability to walk past a music shop without buying something, or is it under control?
Thomas: Ah, it’s totally under control at the moment (I say this as I’m strapped to a chair, not allowed to go out with my wallet). Haha, to be honest Gumtree and eBay are he main ones. I’ve got some brilliant stuff from Gumtree. One of my most used synths was from a guy who was having a clear out and his wife was forcing him to sell his old equipment. I just offered him £50 for this old case and it turned out to be a beaut.
(((o))): As well as collecting an array of instruments, you seem to waste no time putting them to use. Are you always writing or in a creative mood, or do you set time aside for it.
Thomas: I can do it all day any day! One thing I do sometimes struggle with is how to go from jam session to finished track. I think that’s one of the biggest problems musicians have. I can easily get a nice little groove going with some chords and a bassline, but I HATE finishing a piece of music. A lot of people swear that you should write music quickly to keep the vibe tight and not to go off on tangents, but I’m the opposite. I think you should spend time going through sounds and playing, it’s how you enjoy music. It does get to the point where you realise that it’s time to commit to an idea and make an actual track though! Spending 3 days on a bassline isn’t healthy!
(((o))): Although it’s already been a busy year for you, what do you have lined up for the rest of the year (that you can share with us)?
Thomas: I have Bait coming at the end of August, and I’m just putting together my live show for it. I’ve got my first gig booked in supporting Her Name Is Calla too, so I’m really excited to do that. I’ve got plenty of Winter Son music coming too with a lot of different styles, and there’s a new worriedaboutsatan album well in the works! Who knows what else too, it totally depends how I wake up with what I’ll work on!
(((o))): Thanks for taking time out to talk to us, is there anything you’d like to add?
Thomas: Thanks for having me! Fun fact – when ITV programmes go off air at around 3am-6am every night and they play those adverts with what’s coming on TV that week – I write the music for that.

The soundtrack to Bait will be released via This is It Forever on August 31st. The film will see a DVD release in September following screenings at Film 4 Frightfest in London. - Echoes And Dust

"Don't Lose The Magic interview"

The ever-growing link between electronic music producers and the moving picture is a fascinating development within the industry. Of course, it’s not a new phenomenon – people like Jean Michel-Jarre, Vangelis, Daft Punk and Laurent Garnier have been involved in soundtracking films and TV shows over the years, as have numerous other exponents of the club world. But now the music is so ingrained into modern society we’re seeing artists getting the call up to work with film directors who are not only avid house and techno fans, but also have experience in the club domain themselves.

Last year Emmerdale actor and independent film director Dominic Brunt released his second feature-length movie ‘Bait’, with music produced exclusively by Thomas Ragsdale. Tom is also known as Winter Son, and is a member of Ghosting Season and Worriedaboutsatan. His penchant for ambient, melancholy electronica was perfectly suited to Brunt’s horror thriller. Set in a sleepy market town, ‘Bait’ is a typically dark and occasionally humorous British horror flick. “I like Ghosting Season, and a lot of ambient electronica. I’ve also still got all my old 88/89 house stuff on vinyl. We always have music on in the house, we don’t have a telly in the front room, just a record player,” Dom tells DLTM.

Dominic’s appreciation of music has led to a partnership with Thomas that is now four movies deep, two shorts, plus ‘Before Dawn’ and ‘Bait’. Thomas worked at ITV, where Dom was also based, a link which provided some common ground between the two men when they finally began working together. After exchanging a few emails back and forth, they met up and had an instant bond. Once Thomas had the script in his hands, the process of creating a soundtrack began. Tom explains, “Dom brought me a copy of the script to have a look at. I’m by no means an expert in script reading so I kinda got the gist of the story but I wanted to see the film. I watched it a couple of times and had some ideas about where it should go and what you can achieve with the music; tricks you can play to shape the story.

“He was really open to that side of it, so we swapped influences and I gave him some stuff by other artists, which I thought represented some of my ideas and he did the same. Then he just told me to do what I wanted, take the lead and he’d guide me with feedback.”

A gory scene from Dominic Brunt's horror-thriller 'Bait'
A gory scene from Dominic Brunt’s horror-thriller ‘Bait’
As a fan of horror soundtracks, the task of scoring ‘Bait’ was a challenge Tom relished. His previous work and experience as an avid viewer of films came into play as he worked to compose music that was both emotive and chilling, taking every scene and amplifying the mood or simply setting the tone. Speaking about the basis for his work on the film, he told DLTM, “It was simply watching films and having a conscious interest in film scors and how music can be utilised with the moving picture. I’ve really paid attention to it and analysed why certain music has the effect it does during a particular scene. I’m still learning about that now, there’s no real training for it and, if there is, I don’t think it’s very good anyway because every film is different.”

Tom’s affinity with ‘Bait’ went beyond his love of doom and gloom, inspired to rediscover folk music and merge it with his electronic output. “I really like folk music and that’s what I started playing when I first got into making music so I thought it was a good opportunity to rediscover that side of me, too. I kept it acoustic and warm and organic, though there’s still a terror element to it. With that, I got the synths out and made it all crackly and horrible as well, so it was a nice balance and a good challenge for me all round.”

Both men were keen to make sure there was a natural relationship between the music and what was going on on screen, Dom said, “I like the music to be very much part of what’s going on, I don’t like to hide it away. Tom won’t use any beats at all unless they’re absolutely necessary. He’ll build a drone on top of a smart bassline and if it needs a tune or a motif, or a harmony or melody he’ll use that but he’s not ruled by that or trying to show off tunes he’s already made.”

Thomas echoes Dom’s comments, telling DLTM, “I wanted to make sure that, when there is music, it really makes a point not just a bed that fills a hole. I don’t like it when they just bang music in gratuitously. So it was either have some music, or don’t have any at all and bide your time with it and make the music interesting when the time is right.”

Still from 'Bait' (2015) directed by Dominic Brunt and released by Metrodome
The solemn atmosphere of Thomas’ music complemented Dom’s film perfectly
Talk of soundtracks takes us on to other films that have inspired our collaborators. Thomas is notably excited when he’s asked about the films and composers that have given him most inspiration over the years, “My favourite, and I think a lot of peoples’ favourite, is John Carpenter. He’s an absolute beast!,” he says. “The music for Halloween is awesome, that’s really scary music and The Thing, terrifying. Shit scary!”

Besides Carpenter though, he admits to being more of a fan of scores that are written by artists not typically associated with the film industry. “I liked the new score for Ex Machina by Geoff Barrows from Portishead,” he says. “I like scores that are written by guys from bands rather than ‘normal’ film composers – like Lord Of The Rings for instance, that just doesn’t inspire me. The Haxan Cloak, I want to hear his film scores, Jeff Mills or Ben Frost, I want to hear their film scores.”

Dom also prefers music that isn’t necessarily what one might expect from a movie soundtrack. “I’m not really into soundtracks, I prefer tunes and albums. The Daft Punk stuff with Tron, I wasn’t really into that. Though I have to say ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.. that was beautiful, and Clint Mantell’s stuff seems to be working out pretty well, his Pi soundtrack was ace.”

As the film industry opens up more and more to musicians from the electronic music world we’re seeing some interesting connections. British trio Snow Ghosts, who are signed to fabric’s label Houndstooth, had one of their tracks ‘The Hunted’ used on the trailer for ‘X-Men Apocalypse’ and Nils Frahm scored ‘Victoria’, negotiating with the director to be able to utilise his usual method of improvising with an orchestra to create the music while they watched the film. But what was it about Thomas Ragsdale that has led to an ongoing relationship with Dominic? The actor explains, “He gave the film an identity all of its own. I trust him, there were only two occasions where I’ve had to ask to change something minor. He’s intelligent and empathetic to what’s happening on screen, he allows what’s happening on screen to inform what he’s doing musically, which is exactly how it should be. His just working honestly to make things better.”

Emotional intelligence and empathy are skills typically associated with a DJ or live performer, just like Tom. Strengths that many of those who work in the electronic music industry as performers have in abundance, so it makes sense that movie execs are becoming more aware of their skillset.

Though he makes gloomy music and tells DLTM he’s not a “happy-go-lucky guy”, Tom is buoyant when asked which classic films he’d like to re-score. “I think I’d go back to ‘The Thing’ actually, or maybe ‘Escape From New York’. Anything futuristic. Or ‘Clockwork Orange’, that would be interesting. If it’s futuristic there’s not really any way to pinpoint what the musical style would be, so you can really use your imagination to create something that fits,” he says. “If it’s a sixties movie, then you have to align your score with that, but in the future it’s all open to your own interpretation.”

Tom’s hard work on the project led to him extending all the clips he’d made for the film, which he scored minute by minute during an intense week-long burst of composing, into an album. “My method was to break the film down into one-minute segments and I gave myself 10 minutes of the film per day over six days, so one minute per hour. I blasted it out in six days, I kept working hour by hour, minute by minute and combed through really slowly,” he says. “I’m a big fan of the album format and gigging albums, too. I spoke to Gav, who I do the band Ghosting Season with, and he thought it was a great idea, so I went through all the tracks, wrote down what I liked about each of them and started jamming in the studio, pieced it all together quite slowly and it all worked out.” The result is an immensely satisfying collection of moody ambience, which you can really immerse yourself in.

The next step is taking a live show based around the album ‘Bait’ on the road, Tom’s first time on stage alone as a live performer, and another movie project with Dom, which they hope to get started on in 2017. - Don't Lose The Magic



Feeling a bit camera shy


Manchester based composer Thomas Ragsdale melds cinematic electronica with organic, immersive soundscapes.

Spending his formative years composing a varied catalogue of music for TV, film and advertising companies, his gradual shift into the world of performing solo music is one that's quickly won acclaim from the likes of Resident Advisor and FACT.

Having composed and released soundtracks for feature films premiering at Film4's prestigious FightFest and EPs with lavish packaging backed with personally intimate subject matters, Thomas' music evokes spacious resonance and emotional response.

His approach to writing and producing is built around a minimalist framework, choosing to rely heavily on organic instrumentation overlaid with subtle electronic elements, whilst live performances take on a more visceral approach with tense peaks of sound in front of a full live visual show. He's so far shared stages with the likes of Her Name Is Calla, Danielle de Picciotto & Alexander Hacke (of Einstürzende Neubauten) and toured with fellow ambient electronica outfit Sunset Graves.

Ragsdale is also a member of electronica outfit worriedaboutsatan and a producer of dance floor heavy techno as Winter Son. The music produced under his own name wanders through introspective, pared down soundscapes, which evolve from fragile ambience to crushing intensity.

Band Members