Inspiring Hackney composer who hit the top of the charts
As summer fades into a distant memory and the party season comes to an end, you might be forgiven for forgetting about No. 1 holiday dance hit Bom Bom.
If you do remember the August anthem by dance trio Sam and the Womp, you probably won’t have known the track was produced and co-written by Raz Olsher in his studio in Goulton Road, Lower Clapton.
The 33-year-old, who opened Fossil Studios in a transformed warehouse in 2009, has gone from underground to mainstream success this year after the single went to the top of the charts in its first week of release.
Mr Olsher, who also lives at his studio, has also scored an independent feature film, Ninth Cloud, which was released in July.
“Reaching number one with Sam and the Womp was a real highlight and scoring music for a feature film was also a nice moment in my career,” he said.
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“We knew Bom Bom was a big track and had a lot of potential but we couldn’t find the right formula for it at first. It’s quite surreal. I didn’t expect it to have been so successful. I was very happy that the music we make can reach so many people.”
The Israeli-born producer, who moved to London in 2003, has worked in the studio for most of his career with artists like Lemar, Giles Peterson and Sam Lee, whose album was nominated for the Mercury Prize this year.
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After years of hardly getting out of the studio, Mr Olsher was glad to join Sam and the Womp on tour in November and December, playing bass and synth.
Mr Olsher grew up in a house of music lovers in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
He taught himself to play a number of different instruments but did not become serious about music until he turned 20. He soon got itchy feet.
“I was up to no good like all teenagers. I travelled, chased girls and wasted time,” Mr Olsher said.
He continued: “I came to London for one reason only – for the music. Nothing compares to London, it’s where everything happens in music. It definitely wasn’t for the weather.”
As well as writing and producing records, Mr Olsher is busy composing film scores.
His most recent composition was Ninth Cloud, filmed and set in East London, but he has also written music for a British adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and short film, Twelve, starring Bafta-winning actress Monica Dolan.
Mr Olsher said: “One of my earliest dreams as a child was to compose film scores. I always had a natural feel for drama in music. It’s something that I love and I’ve been experimenting with it for many years with documentaries, short films and now feature films.
“I couldn’t choose between them. I had this conflict many years ago.
“I had recommendations from people telling me I had to focus my strength if I wanted to make it, to choose something and master it but it’s something I just can’t do.”
The composer has lived in Hackney for eight years, the first five of which was spent in Dalston before he moved to Lower Clapton.
He added: “I like the diversity, the creative community, the food and the fact it keeps going 24 hours a day.
“I find the borough inspiring because of the melting pot that it is and that people come together here from different countries and different ethnic groups.”