Live and Direct

Making music

As a storyteller, I’ve always sought to blend music with my other interests to the deepest extent possible – whether it’s writing about a lost chapter of Ecuadorian musical history, reporting on a battle-of-the-bands in Mexican prisons or making beats out of sounds recorded from retro pinball machines for a mini documentary.

I’ve also played saxophone in several groups, including the Ruckus Collective – a punk/funk/hip-hop band which I started with friends at university and went on to tour the UK. In 2008, we recorded an album which is streamable on this website and via Soundcloud.

Since then, I’ve been involved in various loose organizations – from street bands in Bahia and Berlin to an improvised trip-hop crew in Buenos Aires, a free jazz unit in Mexico City and a blues group which gigged at the iconic Glastonbury festival in 2016.

During my time in Argentina, I also organized open mic hip-hop sessions and a hybrid live showcase featuring music, VJ projections, participatory science experiments and theatrical performances (where the above photo was taken by Nico Muñoz – gracias!).

In 2018, I created part of the soundtrack for “Amra and the Second Marriage,” an independent Saudi Arabian feature which premiered at the London Film Festival. I regularly compose/produce music for my own films, including “Ballet & Bullets” (2018) and “Flamenco Queer” (2021), as well as developing more experimentally oriented cine/musical projects with other artists.


Music writing

My connection to music has influenced my journalistic output since long before I began working with photo and video. Most recently, I wrote about a bubbling trend in audiophile listening spaces around London for The New York Times – and was invited to select as a guest DJ at the wonderful Brilliant Corners venue.

As a teenager hoping to get published, I discovered that turning myself into a pseudo-critic was the perfect way to sustain a heavy listening habit: It acted as a free ticket to concerts and provided a valuable platform to spread the word about artists I liked.

Jazz originally piqued my interest in early high school, when I started playing sax and drew inspiration from a classroom visit by the British maestro Courtney Pine.

My first reviews were published on and I soon began setting up interviews with musicians that intrigued me.

The first was Geoff Wilkinson, producer and creator of Us3, the pioneering jazz/hip-hop crossover project that hit big-time success in 1992 as the first Blue Note artist to go platinum. But, as you can read here, the charming Yorkshireman’s tale is not all fine cars and fast champagne.

Since then, some other splendid musicians I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing include:

  • Omara Portuondo – leading lady of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club;
  • Christian Scott – a prodigious jazz trumpeter who is not afraid to speak his mind;
  • Chris Potter – one of the outstanding saxophonists of the current generation;
  • Manuel Mengis – I also wrote liner notes for this talented Swiss trumpet player, who has a distinctive compositional philosophy;
  • Pete Wareham – the mercurial frontman of cult jazz-rock hybrid group Acoustic Ladyland;
  • Igor Butman – Russia’s most popular jazzman;
  • James Morton – one of Britain’s hottest up-and-coming alto saxists;
  • The Portico Quartet – a group of Londoners who went from riverside busking to prestigious award ceremonies;
  • Neil Cowley – a charismatic jazz crossover musician who understands the mainstream audience.

In 2008, I covered the North Sea and London jazz festivals for and Jazzwise magazine. Other publications that have allowed me to scribble about music include The Guardian, The Moscow Times,, Fly and the LondonJazz blog.

During my second year of university I dabbled in radio, hosting a genre-crossing show called “Off The Hook” on the student station. Playlists typically included anything from jazz, funk and hip-hop to folk music from around the world and all forms of general beatmaking – as well as selections made by frequent guests from the exciting Bristol scene.