Weekend Q&A: Bafta-nominated Northern Ireland composer Sheridan Tongue

Sheridan Tongue (53) is a Bafta-nominated film and TV composer from Belfast who has written music for series including Silent Witness and Spooks

Belfast-born composer Sheridan Tongue at work in his studio
Belfast-born composer Sheridan Tongue at work in his studio

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I like to go on bike rides and have enjoyed road biking for 20 years. I'd bike from my home in Hackney, London, to Richmond Park and do a couple of circuits. This is to refresh and put myself in a different space so I don't get musical ideas. I also go on bike rides if I'm in the studio and the ideas aren't flowing. Sometimes my sons Tristan (21) and Ryan (18) join me. And in the Covid era musicians reach out to each other to collaborate; for example, I've linked up with Ulster Orchestra pianist Ruth McGinley who played in a piece I wrote for [documentary] The Troubles and we've decided to work together.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

We had a shed in the back garden and when I was about 12, I turned it into a theatre called The Empire. We wrote scripts and put on shows – I did a take-off of the Swedish chef from The Muppets and there were Jokes of the Week. Growing up in Belfast in the 70s and 80s you didn't go to restaurants. In spring and summer, we might go to Killybegs where my family had a cottage. To this day I get a lot of inspiration from Co Donegal and really meant to go there this year but it hasn't been possible.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I think I like Saturday night, after I've had my bike ride and a day with the family. Then I'd go out with my wife Pam or friends.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

I listen to more podcasts than radio and really enjoy listening to them on my daily walk with our dog, Bella, a 10-year-old bearded collie.

Must-watch weekend TV show/box set?

Succession, by far.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

The family likes to go to an Indian restaurant and we order a selection of vegan dishes, pulses and things like that. Our son Tristan is vegan and we now eat very little meat – we find it healthier.

Is Sunday still special?

My grandmother was religious and Church of Ireland. We weren't but it was always a special family and quiet day.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

I might go into my studio on Sunday night to get a head start. I kind of like working on a quieter day and might put down some ideas. I came up with the idea for the track DayDream, which I recorded with Dublin singer Ailbhe Reddy, on a sunny, warm Sunday in my studio in London.

:: Sheridan Tongue's new album 2068 is available via Spotify and other platforms on October 16.