Aspiring actors in London, England are known to flock to the city’s trendy bars in search of roles. The English capital is home to some of the most iconic buildings (such as the London Eye and the Emirates Air Line) and vibrant nightlife, making it a hub for film and TV production.
But it’s not just about acting. London is also home to some of the most well-known music artists and bands, many of whom have achieved fame and fortune thanks to the city’s vibrant music scene.
One such musician is Robert Pattinson. While the actor has mostly stayed away from the music scene (with exceptions such as the 2014 track ‘Honeycomb’ and the 2012 song ‘Walking Disaster’ featured in the film adaptation of Beatriz Silva’s memoir The Distance Between Us), London’s nightlife has welcomed back the 26-year-old actor/director with open arms. After a decade-long hiatus, Pattinson is back with a bang. He recently wrapped up a successful run of the comedy-musical Come From Away at London’s Criterion Theatre, and is now preparing to embark on a national tour of the show in 2020.
The Band’s Roots
If anyone is familiar with Pattinson’s work, they’ll know he often plays characters who find themselves at the center of a chaotic world. That chaos often spills over into the music scene, as seen in his 2013-2017 band Wild Youth’s hit ‘Viva La Party’. The song’s lyrics speak of “a crazy night out” that turned into a “complete disaster”; “it was the end of the night and everyone was laughing”, the young musician Nik Lewis recalls. “[Robert] had just turned up with like 30 people, and we were like, ‘Woah! Back up, man. We need to figure a way to work this out. It’s way too many people.’”
But while working on the set of the 2018 film Pattinson, the actor revealed that he actually began playing in bands at a young age. “I started off playing in just kids’ bands, and then I went to school and started playing with the punk rock bands there”, he told Entertainment Tonight. “I just fell into it; I had fun. When I was little, my family always took me and my sisters to music festivals, and being in a band was always a possibility. I just never felt like I had to choose between my acting career and my musical one.”
While it’s not yet known whether or not Pattinson will continue his career in music, he has certainly found a new passion, one that will no doubt continue to influence his work.
The Evolution of a Reggae Band
If you compare Pattinson’s work with that of some of the well-known and award-winning British black comedy directors, such as Ken Loach (The Wind that Changes Home and Kicking and Screaming) and Mike Leigh (Naked), you’ll see a distinct progression in both style and content. While some of the characters he plays may appear grotesque (as in the case of Naked, where he plays a drug-addled rocker) or unlikable (as in the case of Kicking and Screaming, where he portrays a soccer hooligan), the majority of his characters are endearing in their own way.
With his latest film Pattinson, the actor steps away from the limelight for a while to focus on directing. The result is a leaner, meaner film that walks the line between tragedy and comedy much more effectively than his previous work. But even before the film’s premiere, the director had achieved a level of success that has eluded most other reggae bands. In 2011, his acoustic-based band The Twilight Sad released their debut album In Time to Come. The album was named after a line in the poem ‘Invitation to the Dance’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “In time to come, when I’m laid in the earth,/I hope I shall meet you at the door”.
To celebrate the film’s premiere, The Twilight Sad are set to release a new album titled Isola this coming winter. The nine-track album is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut and was produced by Stephen Street, the British rock producer known for his work with Massive Attack and Interpol.
Isola was mixed by Joe McEwen, who has previously worked with the Pet Shop Boys and Massive Attack. The album’s song ‘Holland’ was featured in the closing credits of the 2019 film adaptation of Little Women. The song was inspired by a line in author Louisa May Alcott’s 1880 novel Little Women: “I have a feeling the Hollands will be very pleasant people to know”.
Band Members: Past and Present
While Pattinson has worked with a variety of musicians in the past, the majority of the characters he has portrayed have been associated with the music industry. Here is a list of some of his professional band members, past and present:
The drummer was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Toronto, Canada before moving to London to study. Ekko has performed with several reputable British bands, including the Raconteurs (Jack White’s side project), Kasabian and most notably the British heavy metal band Motorcycle, who were his primary band for the first four years of his musical career. You may recognize the drummer from his work with BTS, where he serves as a songwriting and production partner. (The members of BTS are also responsible for creating some of the album’s artwork.)
The keyboardist/vocalist/percussionist was born and raised in London. He began playing piano as a child, listening to classical music and watching TV shows like Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Later in life, he would study music composition at university. Over the years, Gomes has collaborated with a variety of musicians, from Massive Attack to Nelly Furtado. He has also played on several of Pattinson’s albums, including his 2013 album Twillight Saga and the 2018 soundtrack to Come From Away. He currently resides in London.
The founding member of Mumford & Sons is responsible for penning several of the band’s most recognizable songs, including ‘The Cave’ and ‘Wonderwall’. The English folk band, which also counts Mike Wynn and Winston Marshall among its members, has sold over 12 million albums worldwide. Before forming the band, Mumford released a solo album titled The Story So Far. He has also worked with artists like Will Gregory and Ed Sheeran.
The bassist/backing vocalist/keyboardist was born in London and is best known for his work with the indie rock band The Maccabees. Cleary was also a member of English art rock band Field Music for a few years before forming his own band. He has released three solo albums, Goodbye Goody Goody (2006), Every Heartbeat (2012) and Made in the shade (2020).
The lead singer of the band Daughter has been compared to the likes of Chrissy Teigen and Lady Gaga. But if you’re not yet familiar, Daughter are a bit of an acquired taste. Their music is a unique combination of folk and electronic music that had their origins in a creative collective in Brooklyn. Their sound has been called “dreamy indie folk” by The New York Times and music critics have compared their voices to that of Kate Bush and Kate Hudson. Mosshart grew up in London and is a graduate of New York University’s film school. She also holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
The singer-songwriter was born in London but spent most of her childhood in Cyprus, where her father was posted as a defense attaché. Kaye co-founded the indie rock band Myra and released their self-titled debut album in 2010. The group disbanded in 2016 but later reunited to release a new album in 2019. Her songs have been featured on Netflix shows such as She’s Gotta Have It and Thicker than Water, and in several films, including Under the Influence.