Song Spotlight: Brave New World
When we caught up with Jeff Wayne, the composer and producer of The Musical Version of The War of The Worlds, he spoke to us about this song and its pivotal moment in the story.
Brave New World, the longest track, has been featured in the Original Double Album and on The New Generation Album. It is told from the perspective of The Artilleryman who, weary from battle, walks us through his vision for a world forever changed by the Martian invasion.
It is now a part of Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience, where you can live this story for yourself. Jeff Wayne remixed and remastered classic tracks from the album exclusively for The Immersive Experience.
For the sequence surrounding Brave New World specifically Jeff “rearranged the sequence’s structure, shortening it from 12 minutes to 4-5 minutes to work with the impressive projection mapping, so both visual and audio elements would work together creating a most imaginative multi-sensory experience.”
In the album, Brave New World forms a crucial role in the story as Jeff explains - “Deep into the second half, The Journalist, George Herbert, most unexpectedly comes across the young Artilleryman”
We were introduced to The Artilleryman in the track The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine where he first meets the Journalist. Jeff expands that during the second encounter in Brave New World the pair “are amazed to meet once again, having separated much earlier when they were on the road together” he continued, “The Artilleryman reveals to The Journalist a plan for Mankind’s survival against the conquering Martians, by first taking all those who have survived… underground!”
The song represents the hope for a better future after the devastating Martian invasion. It speaks to the resilience of humanity and the potential for a better future, despite the horrors of the invasion. It is a song of hope and optimism, and represents the possibility of a brighter tomorrow.
“BUT MAYBE FROM THE MADNESS SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL WILL GROW” - BRAVE NEW WORLD
Within the immersive experience, you’ll also be able to step inside and explore the underground world that The Artilleryman has created and see firsthand how humanity is adapting to the new reality of the Martian invasion.
The Artilleryman’s plan is told partially inside a dome, Jeff explains the new opportunities this produced - “Brave New World was mixed in surround sound because in the dome, there are multiple speakers that are situated all around, giving control over where sound is placed and creating a unique 360 sonic experience for our guests.”
Jeff cites his inspiration for this track and its characters as always coming back to “HG and his brilliant visionary story - full stop!”. The song, and the story, continues to captivate and inspire audiences around the world, and is a testament to the enduring power of Jeff Wayne’s music.
Who Is The Artilleryman?
“I CAME TO CAST THE ROLE OF THE ARTILLERYMAN, THERE WAS ONLY ONE ARTIST WHO I THOUGHT HAD THE PERSONALITY AND VOICE FOR THAT ROLE - DAVID ESSEX!” - JEFF SAYS
The role of The Artilleryman was originated by David Essex, but the mantle has since been passed many times including to: Jason Donovan, Adam Garcia, Michael Falzon, Alexis James, and Ricky Wilson.
David Essex shot to fame in the early 1970s having had 19 Top 40 singles in the UK, as well as an extensive acting career on stage and screen including roles in Godspell, Evita, and Eastenders.
A fun fact that Jeff shared with us gives an insight into the serendipitous casting of one of the most iconic original cast, “a major bit of luck was my first meeting with David Essex, who I met when he played Jesus Christ in the West End musical ‘Godspell’. Coincidentally, I was going out with one of the girls from the cast and I’d hang out at the theatre and got to know David and other cast members.”
Then in the late 70s, when Essex was at the height of his career, Wayne had begun to compose and produce his musical version of The War of The Worlds - “there was only one artist who I thought had the personality and voice for that role - David Essex!”
Jeff explained that this working relationship didn’t just come about by chance “I didn’t presume I could just call him up as a mate and expect him to just agree to take on the role, so I recorded the entire track first with a great singer who I had worked with a lot on my session work, and after David heard the demo, he was on board immediately. He was brilliant!”
Jeff further explains the character of The Artilleryman and his role in the story as “His plan is to create a Brave New World in the underground abyss and drains, until Humanity is ready to take back Earth from the Martians. However, it doesn’t take long for The Journalist to realise that The Artilleryman is only a dreamer, who after only one week, has barely dug a hole in the ground, preferring to play games and drink champagne.”
Jeff Wayne’s depiction of The Artilleryman stays true to HG Wells’ original character and his personification of the human reaction to the Martians. Adding his own personal views on The Artilleryman “I always found it fascinating that The Artilleryman could come up with such an amazing vision for Mankind's survival, it was so detailed and believable, but alas, he couldn’t execute it at all. He was a dreamer after all!”
David Essex has become synonymous with the iconic and complex character of The Artilleryman. In 2012 when Jeff Wayne released The New Generation, this mantle was passed to Ricky Wilson, of Kaiser Chiefs fame. In the Immersive Experience, you hear the song Brave New World sung by the talented Ricky Wilson.
The role of The Artilleryman is played by one of our talented live cast, Jeff explains “the acting sections in The Immersive Experience have been extended to give a more personal interaction with The Artilleryman and our audiences - he had a plan and wanted everyone to know about it!” Now you can meet, talk to and get up close to this complicated character.
See the live cast for yourselves here.
"SLOWLY FROM THE ASHES THE PHOENIX WILL ARISE IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD" - BRAVE NEW WORLD
Finally, our favourite question to ask Jeff about his song's is what his favourite instruments used are and why. For Brave New World Jeff answered:
“I have several ‘favourite’ instruments because of the changing storylines in 'Brave New World’, and I chose specific instruments to orchestrate those changes. Brave New World is also quite a long sequence - over 12 minutes - so I created sounds that uniquely characterised the different sections.
A few examples:
1. The symphonic strings play an important part to represent the size of The Artilleryman’s underground ‘world’.
2. A brass band of soldiers marching underground until it becomes time to rise up and take back Earth.
3. Then there’s some sounds whose names I made up - like ’Tic Toc’s’ - for the passing of time!
I could go on…”
The use of symphonic strings mirrors their use in, for example, The Spirit of Man. A song that is also dealing with themes of humanity and its struggle.
Now you know the story of Brave New World, step inside the action and take on the Martians yourself in Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience
SONG FACT FILE
Notable Performers: Richard Burton and David Essex (original double album), Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson (The New Generation)
Length of Track: 12 minutes and 13 seconds (original double album) 12 minutes and 14 seconds (The New Generation)
Position on album: Side 4 (Act 2) Track 1
Jeff's Favourite Instruments on the track: Symphonic Strings and Brass Band