FEATURE: Getting To Know…Janette Mason | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a pianist, composer, producer and arranger. I’ve had a varied career from working with pop bands throughout the 90s such as Oasis and Pulp, to writing music for film and television. I was Musical Director for Jonathan Ross’s Saturday Zoo for which I also wrote the theme tune. I am currently Musical Director at The Hideaway, in London.
Last year I got to work on a variety of things, I produced Freeway of Love for the sound track CD to Disney’s Cars 3 with Lea DeLaria, star of Orange is the New Black.
The second half of the year I spent writing and recording a new album of contemporary, groove based jazz compositions for my new Trio – Red Alert, which I am bringing to Durham’s Old Cinema Launderette on Wednesday 11th April.

What’s the first record you ever bought?
Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen.
I had a Saturday job in a bakery, I used to get paid £4 and every week and I’d go into Woolworth’s in my lunch break and buy a 7” single. I was a big punk fan in those days and I used I to sneak out of my house, grab my safety-pin riddled outfit that I’d hidden in the hedge earlier and to go and see bands like Ultravox at the Marquee.

What’s your guilty pleasure musically?
If I can only have one it would be The Carpenters. Their songs are so beautifully crafted. I think I learnt a lot about arranging music from listening to them.

Favourite film of all time?
Crash – 2004 by Paul Haggis with Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock and Thandie Newton. It’s set in LA and tackled racism head on.
I have watched this film so many times and you always get something different out of it. However much you think you are in the right about something there’s always another perspective.

Your guilty pleasure film?
Amélie – love the gnomes.

If you could recommend one TV series to binge watch, what would it be?
I did binge watch the Sopranos whilst flue ridden one Christmas, however I am going to recommend Nurse Jackie. Loved it.

Your favourite book?
The Dictionary. I am addicted to words. In fact most of my tunes come from me writing down different words or phrases and storing them in my notebook until I am ready to write. I had Evil of All Roots in my notebook for the last 10 years. It finally made it onto this new CD.

Who or what makes you laugh the most?
I am huge Victoria Wood fan. She was quintessentially British and incredibly observant of the human condition. One of my favourite sketches is Julie Walters playing an aging soap star at the end of their career, so well written.

Who or what makes you sad?
I don’t do sad. Well actually lack of sunlight.

If you had super power, what would it be?
Mind reading. Always trying to work out what people are thinking is very tiring.

And finally, you get to play a board game with any three famous people from history, who do you choose and what’s the board game?
Well, that’s a difficult one. I think Cluedo in the Conservatory with Amelia Earhart, David Bowie and Katherine Hepburn.

Red Alert play Durham’s Old Cinema Launderette on Wednesday 11th April.

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