After parting ways with his band Dry The River in 2014, violinist Will Harvey considered leaving music altogether. Then, he played some sessions at Middle Farm Studios – whose owner, Peter Miles, he knew from the local scene in Newbury, the town he grew up in. “It was just so much fun. And I thought, ‘You know what? This is what it's all about. This is the most fun you can have being a violinist,’” Will recalls to Kerrang! today.
Doubling down on his decision to continue playing, Will then got a master’s degree in violin at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where he met a lot of younger musicians. Soon after, opportunities to play came in from people he had known through Newbury and his band. “I discovered that I was in a unique position of having a whole load of work, and also having a whole load of amazing young players who wanted to work, too,” he continues.
And, in essence, that’s how the Parallax Orchestra – rock’s indisputable go-to group for all things orchestral – came about.
Will, along with cellist Maddie Cutter and conductor Simon Dobson (who had met through those Middle Farm recording sessions), founded the orchestra in 2015, with the aim of organising classical musicians for different collaborations. “There was this world of pop and rock and metal, and then there was a world of string players [and] classical music, and there was no bridge between them,” Maddie – who is now co-administrator for the orchestra – remembers. Through having each attended a different music school and worked on various (and varied) projects, this talented trio had a wide network of contacts, and Parallax allowed them to merge all these different areas of music.
Since then, Parallax have taken on a number of brilliant ventures. They perhaps first caught the attention of the rock world in 2016, performing with Bring Me The Horizon at their Royal Albert Hall show for Teenage Cancer Trust. Will had known Jordan Fish from the Newbury scene, and he and Maddie had played strings on 2015 album That’s The Spirit.