I do music and performance and stuff

Hello. I am Steve Pretty. This is my website, on which I attempt to explain my confusing 'career' to you. I do mostly performance,  music composition, arranging and production, and sometimes photography and writing.

If you're confused, think how I feel.

Composition, Arranging and Musical Direction

I compose and arrange music and do some musical direction and supervision. My compositions and arrangements have been heard at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, Hammersmith Apollo and across TV and radio. Below I talk just about my composition and arrangement work outside of Hackney Colliery Band; for more info on my composition and arrangement work with HCB, head to that page.


I increasingly work as a composer for TV and theatre. I have written in many styles, but I specialise in blending live acoustic instruments - mainly brass (especially trumpet, inevitably) and esoteric percussion - with electronics and contemporary sampling techniques.

In 2019, I am composing for a flagship four-part series for Channel 5’s brand new drama output - details to be announced soon.

In 2018, my TV work included an advert for Bird’s Eye and a theme for Channel 4 show Extreme Diet Hotel (yes I see the irony), as well as performance/improvisation for H&M’s Christmas ad.

In 2015 I composed and produced the music for my new show Annabelle's Skirtingboard Adventure (which I made with all round good egg Howard Read, based on his brilliant concept) which has toured arts centres around the UK and had a critically-acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 (see Theatre and Comedy for more details).

You can listen to some of my silly songs from the show here:


I have arranged, directed and performed music for artists including Billy Bragg, Sam Smith (the singer bloke, not the bloke who runs the chain of cheap and cheerful pubs in London), Roni Size, Scroobius Pip, Jim Bob, Sophie Ellis Bextor and many more. 

Here's me performing my arrangement of Lovecats with Robert Smith, Brian Cox and my little band the Origin of the Pieces. 

I also once performed my arrangement of Eric Idle's amazing tune 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' with Eric and a ridiculous cast of backing singers on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo. That was quite a treat. I even got the arrangement signed, and I never get anything signed.

As well as lots of arranging (often to commission) with HCB and associated projects (including commissions by Sky Arts, BBC 4 and the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony), I also arrange for the Bollywood Brass Band, particularly for their '100 Years of Bollywood Music' tour in 2013-15.

I was musical director and co-arranger of the music for Puffball at the Roundhouse in 2014, which was fun and used a lot of interesting electronic textures.

Later in 2014 I composed and produced the music and sound design for The Santa Claus Science Experiment, a musical theatre piece combining comedy, science, animation and more which ran at the Bloomsbury Theatre from 2013-14. It was my first foray into writing for musical theatre and I loved it. I will put some tracks online at some stage if anyone's interested.

I've done other bits including composition and sound design for First Impressions at Theatre Royal Margate back in 2010. For this show I went to Margate to sample local sounds and worked them into some incidental music which combined elements of the Margate of the 1840s with the Margate of 2010. It was fun.

Musical Direction and Supervision

I have MDed a few things over the years, including all of Robin Ince's extravaganzas at the Bloomsbury Theatre and Hammersmith Apollo from 2012-present, featuring all sorts of guests (see above). I was Musical Supervisor for On Mass at the Roundhouse in November 2017 and 2015, featuring Angelique Kidjo in 2017, and Jamie Cullum and Tim Exile in 2015. Both instalments had musicians from around the world taking part, with 250 musicians from the UK, Faroe Islands, Brazil and India in 2017, and 150 musicians from the UK, Ukraine, Nigeria and South Africa in 2015,

In 2014 I was Musical Director for Puffball at the Roundhouse and on tour.

Here is the complete live stream of On Mass from November 2017 and 2017. There were some properly memorable moments both times, and if you look closely, you might be able to see me running around trying to co-ordinate everything.