Being from Derby, the Peak District has always been massively important to me.

During my teenage years, my family would head out there every Sunday and I’d sit moodily in the back of the car with my headphones on, pretending to be oblivious to the beauty around me. Now I have kids of my own, I take them there as much as possible – stunning scenery, fresh air, babbling brooks, country pubs; what more could you ask for!

So, I was delighted to work on the song and sound effects for the new Peak District promotional video for young people. Here it is:

The video was made by Mair Perkins with a little help from Richie Phillips at Quimbyco. Normally with animations, the music is created at the end of the project; however, as there was always a strong chance a song would be involved, we spent a couple of days coming up with ideas and themes before Mair went away and put together a number of proposals for the Peak District National Park Authority to mull over.

Here’s one of the many song ideas I put forward that didn’t make the cut…


In the end, the folk at the Peak District chose a fast-paced animation and song to match. Initially, it was decided that the music would be instrumental and the words would flash up on the screen. However, I made it my mission to shoehorn the existing script into a song. It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done (musically).

Here’s the first “verse”:

It has this
Lots of these
You can do this
And this
And this
But maybe not this

These words work fine as text on a screen or maybe a voiceover but, believe me, they are not conducive to good songwriting. This clip shows how I was struggling to fit words into a coherent and catchy song, but slowly getting there…


We agreed to get someone with a strong Derbyshire or Yorkshire accent to sing it. I advertised on social media, and though I got a few decent examples through, we decided to go with Lewis Hall, a Derbyshire singer/songwriter with a superb voice and a natural accent. His folky voice fit perfectly with the song and gave it a Subterranean Homesick Blues feel…

From there, it was a case of getting the animation to time to the song, and for the song to time with the visuals. We managed it, and I’m delighted with the final results. When you’ve shoehorned a heavy metal section into the song, sampled the sound of your own son crying and recreated the sound of a pooing dog, you know your work is done.