Written by Derek Anderson
Harvey Summers was born into a musical family on New Year’s Eve 1974, and grew up in Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex. Music was part and parcel of daily life, and from the age of four he would sit by the turntable captivated as he listened to an eclectic selection of albums. This was the start of his lifelong love affair with music.
By the age of eleven, Summers was learning to play the guitar when he first discovered electronic instruments. He was fascinated by the new technology and the music it could make. Before long, Summers had saved enough to buy a cheap Yamaha keyboard which he used to record some of his own compositions. Since then, he’s been interested in electronic instruments and recording equipment.
This continued when the music department at his high school bought an Atari ST computer and a Roland Sound Module. Nobody knew how to work the new equipment so Summers taught himself and was soon making music using a simple sequencer. Later, he composed and recorded an original score for a school production of The Tempest. By then, fifteen-year-old Harvey Summers had already decided he wanted to become a composer and record producer.
Just two years later and he was honing his composition and arranging skills as he began work on his debut album “Dream Spinning.” Summers had to beg and borrow the equipment to record the album and invited friends to play other instruments. With the help of an investor the album was released in 1994 and before long, over 1,000 copies of “Dream Spinning” had been sold and Harvey Summers’ solo career was underway.
Having released his debut album, Summers was commissioned to write the score to a Doctor Who spinoff. This was the big break Summers had been dreaming of and was the first of many scores for film and television he’s written.
He continued to write new music and by the time he was nineteen he had written and recorded his sophomore album “Circle.” At this time, Summers was an assisting in a local recording studio and saving to buy his own equipment.
It wasn’t long before he was commissioned to work on further Dr Who spinoffs, which he recorded and edited. Summers also produced all of the sound and music. He had always had a very visual approach to music and was fascinated by the possibilities of creating sonic landscapes that capture the listener’s imagination.
Around this time, Summers began to build his first recording studio in a room in his uncle’s cottage. However, by the time he was twenty-two, he had outgrown the small studio and moved to a more suitable space where the next chapter in has career began.
Having signed his first publishing deal in 1998, Summers signed a recording deal with EMI/Disky in 1999. By then, he was already a prodigiously talented musician and experienced arranger and producer. Over the next four years Summers released twelve albums of new age and ambient music which have now sold over three million copies.
In 2001, Summers was commissioned to write the score to “Chilly Dogs” which was directed by comic legend Bob Spiers and starred Leslie Neilson, Rik Mayall, Natacha Henstridge and Skeet Ulrich. This was the first feature film he had worked on. However, over the next twenty years Summers would write the score to many films and television programs on both sides of the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, Summers was working with his friend and mentor Kenny Craddock on a number of projects. The pair produced a number of library albums and Craddock’s solo album which was released a year before his tragic death in 2002.
By then, Summers had already worked with many other top musicians including everyone from Paul McCartney and Phil Thornton to Faithful Dawn. His interest in world music had also grown and this inspired him to learn to play a myriad of other instruments including accordion, whistles, flutes and mandolin. Harvey Summers was a talented multi-instrumentalist who could seamlessly switch between instruments and play an eclectic selection of musical genres. This would stand him in good stead for the future.
With Summers’ reputation as a producer, mixer and mastering engineer growing, he realised that he needed a bigger studio. This resulted in him setting up Broadoak Studios, which he still calls home, and is where he’s worked with some of the biggest names in music.
Having setup his new studio, Summers began producing critically acclaimed and award-winning sample CDs and download packs. This resulted in an invite to produce a sample pack with legendary double bassist Danny Thompson. The pair became friends and went on to work on a number of other projects including Summers’ 2013 album “Jupiter”, and “Human”, which was released in 2016.
Over the new few years, Broadoak Studios expanded and so did Summers’ collection of vintage equipment which became part of its signature sound. He put this array of equipment to good use when he was commissioned to write albums of library music and the themes to many television programs in Britain and America. This included “Saving Grace,” “Eastwick,” “The Secret Millionaire,” “Panorama,” “Auction Hunters,” “Wheeler Dealers,” “Scrapheap Challenge,” “The X Factor,” “Blue Peter,” “American Idol,” “Top Gear” and “The One Show.”
Still, Summers found time to work as a mastering engineer, mixer and remixer and was constantly in demand as a producer. Among others, he worked with “John Pearson,”“Goldie Reed,” “Dusty Rosko,” “Otti Albietz,” “Mumm Ra,” “Carl Burgess,” “Ellie Ford”, “Factory”, “Dar-Ra” and “Steelye Span” on critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums.
Having spent so many years working on commissions and with other artists, Summers’ solo career had to take a back seat. He released and toured “Human”, his critically acclaimed collaboration with Laura Cole, in 2016. Since then he had been composing a long-form orchestral work entitled “Cellar Door” but had to pause production in 2020 due to the Covid crisis.
Summers had been working nonstop for four years when the global pandemic struck in the spring of 2020. Britain went into lockdown and Broadoak Studios like so many businesses had to close until the pandemic was over. Fortunately, Summers had another studio in his home where he decided to write and record an album inspired by his lifelong interest in space and the moon landings. The result was “Moon,” which is a stunning cinematic opus and the album that Harvey Summers has spent a lifetime dreaming of making.