Tyler Bates: Music, Moviemaking & Creative Alchemy
Sumner welcomes award-winning musician/composer/producer Tyler Bates to this week’s Hard Agree for a chat about his working life in music & movies. Over the last twenty years, Tyler has scored some of the most impactful Hollywood productions of the 21st century – including Watchmen, 300, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Hobbs & Shaw, Deadpool 2 and all three John Wick movies. He’s composed music for a wide range of TV shows & video games, written & produced a bunch of top-selling rock albums and created this year’s aural Batman project Dark Nights: Death Metal. As Sumner observes, Tyler’s achieved all of that through sheer ability (wrapped in refreshing humility), an unparalleled work ethic and a positivist, talent-nurturing belief in the beauty of artistic collaboration. Tyler Bates is the real deal: a creator who believes in the beauty & diversity of art – and the talented humans who create that art, whatever form it may take.
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HA – Tyler Bates – Edited
[00:00:00] Tyler Bates: Hey there,
Andrew Sumner: Andrew, how are you? I’m good. Tyler. How are you, mate?
Tyler Bates: Excellent. Excellent. Yeah.
Andrew Sumner: Good to see you again. Good to see you again, brother. Thanks so much for doing this mate.
Tyler Bates: Ah, yeah, my pleasure. Um, sound okay. Do you want
Andrew Sumner: man headphones? Oh no, that sounds perfect. Yeah, don’t need the headphones. You’re absolutely spot on.
Oh, actually you’ve just frozen. I know. You’re Batman. You froze for a second though, but you’re okay. I keep, can you hear, can you hear me okay? Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. How’s your week been mate?
Tyler Bates: Uh, it’s, it’s hectic, but, uh, things are good lot. There’s always a lot happening here. Um, so yeah, it’s all exciting.
But, uh, coming down to the wire on a couple of projects right now, so, you know, it’s the 11th hour
Andrew Sumner: as familiar with your resume as I am. Yeah. The thing about you that always impresses me is how hard working and productive you are. Um, I mean, you’ve just amass such a massive [00:01:00] amount of credits in a relatively short space of time.
I don’t know if I’ve quite seen anything like it with regards to somebody who composes in your space.
Tyler Bates: Well, um, yeah, I probably in the, instead of having, uh, an addiction, uh, for, for, you know, drugs or whatever, I probably take it out of my work, you know? I mean, I think most of us do. Who, you know, live a life similar to me have, you know, we’re, we’re all trying to, uh, to focus our energies that would otherwise defeat us into our, our work, into something constructive and, and something that we, uh, we love and, and excites us.
So, um, I definitely get a rush off of, uh, out of everything I’m working on. Um, whether it is, uh, you know, film or TV collaboration, or, you know, right now, uh, we’re at the 11th hour on the [00:02:00] star crawler record. And it’s so exciting to really hear it taking shape right now. And so, uh, that’s on the agenda. Um, how
Andrew Sumner: long have you been working?
How long have you been working on that for mates?
Tyler Bates: A couple of months to see what am I losing track of time? Um, I mean, the conversation about the record has gone on for months and obviously we did good time girl together for the dark nights, death metal soundtrack. And when we recorded that, it was probably, uh, over a year ago.
Cause I remember we were in masks and studio, uh, everybody a little bit, um, you know, um, On, uh, you know, let’s just say everyone was a little bit wary, you know, I mean, we just had no idea, but, um, we, uh, we all, uh, trusted in the science available to us and everyone was unscathed. Uh, but Amy, that experience was so great.
It’s, uh, it led to us wanting to make, uh, their next, uh, full record together. And, [00:03:00] and it’s really cool. And, and they’ve shifted their, uh, their songwriting just a little bit. And that’s, uh, that’s exciting too, to see, you know, uh, young artists like that growing into their next phase. So it’s fun to be part of it.
Andrew Sumner: It must be, it must be so rewarding to be part of those journeys.
Tyler Bates: Yeah, well, they’re legit, man. If, if anyone’s going to go see a young rock band there’s I mean, star crawler to me is, is one of the absolute best, you know, young bands out there. So, um, I think this’ll be a really great beginning to a, a good stretch for these guys.
Andrew Sumner: Oh, amen. I can’t wait. And this is as good a time as any for me to go welcome to our degree. My name is Andrew Sumner and I’m here with my special guests. Musician producer composer, creator, Tyler Bates. Thanks for joining us. I really appreciate
Tyler Bates: it. It’s my pleasure. Uh, yeah. You know, um, [00:04:00] it, again, you know, things are kind of, uh, interesting and popping right now.
Yeah. I’ll try and keep my focus. Um, but uh, you know, that’s a problem for me, you know, sometimes I do well, I do interviews and I’m in my studio and I have to be sure not to have a session open in this computer next to me. Because I literally, you know, it’s probably the OCD in my mind, you know, I’ll see something that needs to be edited or something like that.
Yeah. I started doing it. I’ll forget what the hell I’m talking about. Um, so I could be a lousy interview sometimes, but it just depends how busy I am. Yeah,
Andrew Sumner: I’ve got it brother. I remember, uh, when I was growing up in Liverpool, one of the things I used to do is learn how to play. The corner. Right. And I used to have, and I was a dreadful Godot player, but it was a very good student.
Yeah. And, uh, and so, uh, my, I remember once having gay, um, my, my Trump, my Cornett teacher over and, um, [00:05:00] he got distracted by something for a second. Yeah. I’d go and speak to my mum. And dad asked me, so I put the Cornett down, went over to my homework and carried on with my homework while he was at the room.
When he came back in, he went fucking ballistic because I was so out of the moment of the music and into like competing my writing assignment. Well, of course that’s what I became as a journalist. Right. You know, and I’m a journalist, I was a music journalist, as you know, I love music, but I was, I was allows the musician, but he just went fucking nuts because for him that my priority was all the way around.
So that concept of being interrupted by the things that your mind is changed into, I totally get it.
Tyler Bates: Yeah. Well, you know, you were facing, you were up against all odds too, with the Coronet. Just think of how many Coronet players actually become listener, bubble. That’s what
people do. I’m in a marriage. No problem. Yeah, I see that. But man, man, I’m going to play [00:06:00] Coronet, you know, that’s about a 4% chance of ever reading it.
Andrew Sumner: It’s so true. So T now speaking of, uh, musical beginnings, there’s mark. That was my miserable musical beginning. But mate, when did you, when did you first get the sense within yourself that music was going to be your overriding passion and kind of north star in life?
Tyler Bates: Honestly, it just always was. I had no, uh, childhood fantasies of being an astronaut. Um, I love sports, but I never saw myself as a professional athlete, even though. I again, I love sports. I played sports a lot in my life, but, uh, music has just been a constant since I can remember. And I was always so taken with all aspects of music.
Uh, even as a little kid, you know, my mother listened to so much music cause she’d buy 10 records a week. So while she was a t-shirt and jeans, [00:07:00] gals, she had, uh, six stereo then every possible type media player you could have back in the day when I was a kid. So she had a real to real, she had cassettes eight tracks, anything they made, you know, in a really nice turntable.
So yeah, our house was like a museum of music and her room, you know, there was always a, I don’t know, I’d say by the time she passed away, when I was 19, she had nearly 15,000 records, I would guess. Uh, it was an insane amount. I wish at the time I could have kept. Problems, but, uh, it was an emergency sitch.
So, uh, you know, we didn’t have all the options in front of us, but, uh, at any rate I remember the earliest memory I have is, is being on our living room floor, reading the liner notes to Frank Zappa’s hot rats. And I just thought, wow, this is so weird that people would make music like this. And then they would press it into an album and make this artwork, you know, cause [00:08:00] I think on that record there’s like six songs and they’re all super long.
And I really loved that. And you know, in that there’s a lot of instrumental music, which I found to be quite fascinating and straight. I mean, these are very odd references from the beginning, you know, because for me it, it wasn’t necessarily like a John Williams score that, that I started thinking about early, but musicals, um, like the soundtracks to them made me see that.
Story through the music, you know, understand the story through the music and then connecting, you know, soundtracks like hair and Jesus Christ, superstar to LA or bands. I listened to, especially early on like, like, uh, Frank Zappa, like yes, like John Coltrane. Um, and then the tight pop music I listened to, uh, it was like Stevie wonder and sly and the family stone.
And of course all the Beatles. So the [00:09:00] writing was really natural, but complex when you really break it down. Now it took me years before I ever got into the, the place where I had the ability to analyze it from a more technical perspective. They always really felt that, and I felt the passion and I felt the effortlessness and, and the way the artists, uh, were expressing their means.
Even though, like sly and the family stone is so vibrant and, and, um, beautiful. Um, it’s still so natural, you know, and that was something that really resonated with me. I was never a real fan. Somebody who looked like they were struggling when they’ve performed, um, with their instrument and, um, that, that impacted me greatly.
And then I played, uh, I played recorder. I got into, I got into my first grade school band on Alto sax, which I love, and I wish I had, I wish I had maintained [00:10:00] the sacks. And, and I think I’m, I’m definitely gonna pick up a sax this summer and start again. And I just met a guy who was offering to, uh, to coach me up a little bit, so
Andrew Sumner: oh, wonderful.
My, he got to do that. Yeah.
Tyler Bates: Actually I was really decent. It’s just the guitar kind of spoiled my interest in the sacks. So I thought, okay. The sax is kind of going out of style and, you know, guitars are cool as hell. Um, I just always will be. Yeah. I always related to it from the minute I literally touched the guitar for the first time.
I was just completely taken by it. And, uh, and that was a sea change or pivotal moment in my life. So from there, yeah. I mean, I just never thought of what I was going to do with my life, other than music. I didn’t know exactly what you know. So I eventually, you know, I just started writing songs, uh, got into my first real band when I was 17 and, [00:11:00] uh, I never stopped, you know, and the film composition aspect of my life, uh, really picked up when I moved back to California, because I’m originally from here.
Andrew Sumner: you were born in California and you grew up in Chicago.
Tyler Bates: Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. I moved there like when I was 10 or something. Um,
Andrew Sumner: so before we get onto that, that, on that, on that, the building blocks you’re to meet to your film career. Um, are there any, are there any cheers mate? All the best? Yeah.
Tyler Bates: This is morning. So it’s straight coffee. It’s very good.
Andrew Sumner: Hey, I wouldn’t know. It’s no paint glass. You can have whatever you want in there, mate. I
Tyler Bates: work to do.
Andrew Sumner: Yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. Yeah, I understand it. I believe you’d say. Um, so did you, uh, did you ever, you mentioned the SAC. Did you ever spend much time at the green mill?
Tyler Bates: No, I was too young, too young. And then once, once I got into my bands were all different scene. [00:12:00] Yeah. It was in a different scene, but, um, I did really in Chicago. I definitely frequented it. I did end up frequenting a lot of the jazz and blues clubs. Um, you know, before I came back to LA. And that was transformative too.
Uh, I remember going with my aunt to Kingston mines one night, uh, in Kingston. Mines is not a very large club, but it’s very famous in Chicago and the heavy heavyweights would play there any night of the week. Openers were great, you know, definitely. So it wasn’t something, but I remember Carlos Johnson, uh, performing one night and I was just completely blown away.
He’s like old school blues where he’ll get the room worked up and then just bring everything down to such a, almost near silent sound. I mean, you could hear a whisper in there, so you, everybody in the audience was dead. Silence just brought it down and just gave everyone this incredible moment. And then he’s just a sick player.
So, [00:13:00] um, I used to have experiences like that and then I. Ask that person, if I could just have one session with them, you know, so I had the opportunity to sit down with him and that’s really, that’s how I got my, you know, the majority of my guitar education. I did, I did a study for a couple of months with the guy on the south side of Chicago.
Cause when I joined my band at 17, those guys had studied with the same guy. So I thought, all right, uh, I’ll go check it out. But after about three months, uh, his name is Glen Dorine and unfortunately Glen passed away a couple of years ago, but he and I stayed in touch throughout all the years. And after three months he’s like Tyler, forget everything that we we’ve done in the last three months.
I don’t want to screw up your style. He says you have a whole thing going, and I don’t want it to disrupt that with too much of this forum. Educational stuff. Now I had a bit of a [00:14:00] music theory background and just being in balance and, and obviously needing to understand how music works. But I, it was really interesting because I’m always willing to break all the rules, musically.
I really don’t care as long as it feels. Right. And it sounds good I’m into it. So he didn’t want to, uh, he didn’t want to compromise that aspect of my guitar playing, which was really cool. And it also gave me a license to, to really create from my own mind, without really giving a shit what anyone thinks.
Yeah. And. And of course we do. And in the commissioned art world, you know, cause we have to please our, our, uh, our masters. Um, but you know, there’s a greater objective in mind. It’s not about, you know, when you’re working on film and TV, it’s not about us, you know, we are about that. So it’s about, yeah, it’s about the big picture, you know, we’re, we’re trying to provide a [00:15:00] component of the, uh, entertainment that is being created and we have to keep that into perspective, you know?
Um, it’s, it oftentimes gets twisted out of perspective and you know, at the end of it, after you’ve worked with, you know, 10 people giving you their input and, and whatnot, you know, uh, sometimes composers like to, you know, shine a light on themselves for, or their genius. But, um,
Andrew Sumner: well you got to subjugate yourself to the greater cause I guess, to the artistic endeavor.
Tyler Bates: Yeah. Your work speaks for itself good or bad. And I have,
I have some, it was the Marfan’s that I, I’m not really proud of, but, um, you know, that happens, uh, you know, early on in my career when I was just learning. I mean, I never, I never encountered another human who had scored a film until I completed my 18th movie. So amazing. You know, the whole [00:16:00] tech side of it.
I was kind of learning from, you know, musicians who didn’t do that job. And then directors and editors and producers who were really giving me a greater understanding of their approach and their perspective on storytelling and, and the point of music in the context of film. And so, uh, you know, the, that really helped me immensely, but it took me quite a while until I really, uh, accepted being myself.
In in that forum. Cause I never aspired to be a film composer. I’m grateful for the fact that that aspect of my musical career has developed into something. But, um, because I wasn’t really planning on it until it landed in my lap. Um, I really was in school for quite a while, working with the directors and producers and it wasn’t until maybe my, my 15th score.
I did one that I, I [00:17:00] didn’t feel needed, required an apology. So, uh, you know, um, but again, you know, I’m, I’m fortunate enough to have had that experience on low budget films and, and learned quite a bit. And even still, uh, many of those people that I worked with back then have had gone on to invite me on to other projects with them.
So for that I’m grateful kind of what,
Andrew Sumner: what was it that opened the door for you in the first place? And in terms of, in terms of, um, soundtracks, composing soundtracks. Yeah. So all those, uh, all those early movies that you did, how did you get into that space from where you were?
Tyler Bates: Oh, it was definitely a start stop.
Cause when I first did it, I was not even thinking about doing it. I was kind of doing a favor for, uh, uh, uh, my brother who was a, like a line producer on a, on a Cassie and Elway’s movie. And I think Caspian was directing this movie and I know [00:18:00] Caspian was producing it that’s right. It was, it was some, I dunno, some schlocky film, but you know, they, they had like $300 and they needed a bunch of rock cues and I was actually in Chicago recording.
Uh, Guitar record that nobody should ever listen to.
No, actually my friend and I, this guitar record, we used to do whatever we had to do to stay alive. So we’d do guitar clinics and all that, that stuff, you know, that, you know, whatever. So, um, yeah, Caspian, uh, you know, calls and said, he wanted me to do this. I told him I’ve never scored anything before. So they gave me timings and just said they wanted, uh, some rock music sort of in this style.
And, and we were there recording that they full band. So, uh, I just wrote out some charts and we recorded it and that was it. And I wish it was that simple, uh, when scoring a movie. But you know, [00:19:00] obviously that movie, it didn’t require the sophisticated approach and intellect that some of the other, uh, movies I’ve worked on actually do.
But, uh, it was, uh, And tray into it. And now I had no picture. Then, you know, all I was working from was timing notes. So I had to get us to here to here in this many seconds here to here in this many seconds, here’s what happens, but I didn’t see the picture. Cause back then, you know, there was no internet, there was no film to share, you know,
Andrew Sumner: uh, we’re talking roundabout sort of early nineties at this 0.9 to three years.
Got it. Yeah,
Tyler Bates: yeah, yeah. So it was, uh, you know, it was an interesting experiment, but you know, I lived in the studio. Uh, so that was the thing that the, the one, uh, aspect that really got me through the early days. Um, and then once I, I realized that the way I will have the greatest success in film and TV is to just be myself as a musician and an artist.
And then, you know, [00:20:00] increase the tools in my toolbox, so to speak, isn’t it go. But you know, don’t abandon what I’m actually very good at. And I felt a need to put on a different hat when I was starting out. And I just didn’t really understand that I just needed to make music that I felt was really good music.
And, um, yeah, you know,
Andrew Sumner: and I guess there’s some parallels, there’s some parallels to your, your teacher, not tramping on your spirit on then talk, and then basically realize that in the course of your creation, it’s about accessing your spirit and being true to yourself. And that’s what that is actually, what’s almost creatively satisfying, right?
Tyler Bates: Mm. And then, because I used to pray, I wrote all the music for all the songs that my band pretty much would do. And. Produce the recordings and, you know, book the shows and promoted and all that stuff. Um, I think that acumen really helped me establish process because the only [00:21:00] way you can be successful is a film, composer or television composer is to establish a process that’s healthy and productive for everyone involved creatively.
So I can’t expect, uh, anyone in general who comes into my studio to be able to speak in musical terms with me or to understand them. So what’s important is creating a process that satisfies everyone and meets their tempo, uh, whatever it is that they’re looking for to engage them in and bring a sense of confidence to our process.
So it’s different for everyone. But I find that, you know, really engaging people, one-on-one oftentimes, you know, pre COVID when I’d have, uh, uh, clients in my studio, uh, I would generally create a piece of music while they’re here or play something to them to reflect a point they’ve made in a conversation regarding [00:22:00] the property we’re working on.
Cause usually those first meetings are prior to when I begun, uh, actually working on the property. So, um, you know, I just tried to always be very conversational with people in music and that’s then spilled over into how I approach, uh, producing records or writing songs with artists. It’s, you know, we just break it down to us conversation.
What do we think is who, what do we love and, and kind of, uh, you know, eliminating all the extraneous, uh, energies that are not necessary. Even the consideration of whether or not people will like what we’re doing. You know, if I’m working with an artist there, you know, I have a lot of respect for them.
They, they know who they are and what they’re doing too. So between the two of us or three of us, we tend to. To figure out pretty well. What, what we love, you know, we can’t [00:23:00] control everyone else.
Andrew Sumner: So that strikes me as, as a really quite a pure and authentic way to approach it. And I think the fact that you’re freeing yourself from not thinking in terms of how will this be received, but focusing on the creative signaling, the creative messaging from the quote space you’ve created, I think I’m sure that’s why you’ve, you’ve become so successful in this space because that almost zen-like approach of, of interpolate in the conversation into a musical.
But it’s, I’ve not heard anybody say that before, but it makes complete sense. Because what you’re doing is magnifying augmenting and underlining storytelling via music. Right? So that’s part of what your process has got to be. It seems to me that that is a microcosm and no doubt, you’ve refined this over time, and that’s a microcosm of what you’re doing on a movie across a broader pallet, right.
That’s just a, that’s just a, a taster of what your process is.
[00:24:00] Tyler Bates: Sure. I’m, I’m a facilitator for, uh, those who have something to say, and I’m trying to help them do that, um, acutely to their own sensibilities and their own objectives. Um, I’m not unaware of the realities of every aspect of our business. Like I work on, on some, you know, blockbuster type.
Action movies and whatnot. I’m well aware that we want as many butts in those seats as possible, and we have to make it is awesome as possible for that experience. Even if it’s not my personal favorite work that I’ve done, it’s not about me. So it’s good to get outside of yourself and really apply your talent and your skill to a vision that doesn’t necessarily begin with your own, because I have plenty of those as well.
And then in, in music, you know, obviously know, uh, [00:25:00] the world of pop music or what is considered, you know, hitting more in the mainstream and, you know, many genres, there’s like 200 genres of rock music now. So I don’t know, but, uh, but you know, um, I know, you know, I listened to a lot of music, uh, when, uh, when I can, and I interfaced with so many musicians who were, you know, extremely viable that.
I think I have a pretty good sensibility for, you know, at least my taste. And, um, I know that I’m not exactly the person who wants to be one of 10 in a room writing a super pop song, but I would be down to do it. One-on-one two on one or something like that, you know, just a one, two or three people total.
Um, but I, I don’t want to be running around, you know, throwing a beat over here at this person and being one of 10 or 12 songwriters on a song. It’s, it’s just, I know that people make a ton of money, but it’s not, it is not me, man. You [00:26:00] know, I really am into the understanding of my collaborators and seeing, you know, how I can best express what they wish to.
Active is, and, and also to create, uh, music that inspires artists, you know, and that’s super fun when I’m working with, um, artists, we know, you know, rockers or whatever we know who’ve been around while it’s fun to create something that can inspire a person who could be jaded, but to make them feel like they’re 17 again, you know, just to get excited.
And we, we have to preserve that within ourselves, throughout our life until we’re dead. So, um, to me, it’s, it’s my job to sort of tend to the garden, you know, if you don’t and have weeds, so, and, and then you’re hating your own life. So, um, you know, I try and stay yeah. In front of it [00:27:00] and, and create. And you know, when you do a fair number of things in your life, you’re going to have problems.
You’re gonna have issues. And you’re going to have people who dislike you or dislike what you do. Um, yeah, so to sort of counter that, I just create more, you know, so you say what you will, you know, I mean, I’m just going to keep creating and I’m going to try and challenge myself to, um, be more inventive and, and to sort of replenish the palette of my sound or my ideas.
You know, I know that I needed to continually read literature and, and experience other art forms to inform my own, uh, sort of. You know, the tool kit, if you will, or my, my own vocabulary. So, uh, yeah, I feel like I’m a little bit at a loss this morning. Um, it was a very late night, [00:28:00] um, and I’m drinking a bucket of coffee.
Andrew Sumner: Well, um, I’m fascinated by your relationship with your work. And I think that was very well expressed because I think, I think that’s one of the keys. I think that philosophy that you have is one of the keys to your immense, uh, the immensely prolific nature of your work over the last, over the last 20 years, I was thinking back, uh, knowing that we’re going to have this conversation, I was trying to remember.
Because, you know, I spent 30 years as a, as a movie journalist, trying to think, when was the first time I was aware of your credit on a film and two things dropped into my head and one is the Stallone version of gap Carter. And the other is that Steven Seagal flick, um, with a great title half past death, right?
Tyler Bates: You know, first off, those are two directors that I love with my, my heart and soul. So Steven K get Carter. Yeah. Um, we had done a movie a couple of years [00:29:00] before then a bebop movie called uh, the last time I committed suicide, uh, counter reads in it.
Andrew Sumner: I’ve seen that film. Yeah.
Tyler Bates: So that of my enemy, you me, might’ve convinced me that this is a career opportunity or option in a way for myself, you know?
Cause Bluenote released score. Um, and that was interesting. Funny thing is, uh, my band had just went on like the work tour is that movie is that score was released or whatever. And I got back from the work tour and a friend of mine called a director and wanted to hire me on this rock and roll movie. But the studio thought I was a jazz guy and they won it.
Okay, wait, I just got off this shit. He worked to her like a piece of bacon on a skillet out there, hot sun for ever. Um, I’m a rocker, but, uh, anyway, that, that everything worked out and then [00:30:00] Stephen K uh, you know, he, he was cool enough to bring me with him on his journey, um, when he had that opportunity, because at the time that was a huge opportunity for me.
I think the movie is like a $50 million movie and that’s around the year, 1999, 2000. So, uh, while it, uh, it did not perform at the box office, I did enjoy working on that film. Music was cool. And then to, uh, to work with Roy abides theme was, oh man.
Andrew Sumner: It’s I mean, that’s what exactly what I think I was going to ask you.
I mean, you’ve got this incredible immortal piece of music. Yeah. And just to get the, because I really, I really loved straight up, mate. I really love the, I love that song. That’s original form, but I really love the version that’s in the 2000 get Carter. And if you could have seen my iPod back then, what you would have seen is I listened to, [00:31:00] to the, to the Stallone iteration of that solidly for about six months after seeing the movie, I fucking loved it, you know, to me.
And I think you did a great job with it.
Whoa, Tali just frozen there, mate.
Tyler Bates: Okay. I’m back. Yeah. Yes. I lost you
Andrew Sumner: after iPod, huh? Yeah. So I just had my, my iPod in like CA I really loved what you did with, with that famous piece of music that I love, but I love that. I love the version that’s in that movie. Just as much as I love the version from the original. It’s a great favorite of mine.
Tyler Bates: Um, uh, a very dear friend of mine, uh, Wolfgang is who, uh, Has left the United States, but became a citizen after he left. The United States is, is a fun, fun [00:32:00] character, like a brother to me. But, um, even though he now lives on a remote island, we still work together daily. Um, but anyway, he’s, he’s always been like a partner and helping me develop sounds like modular synth sounds we’d work on together and mixing and stuff.
And when that came up, I was listening to the Roy bud version of the theme. And of course we wanted to state that theme throughout the movie. And, um, Wilfy had suggested the marks, a phone for the melody and I’m like, well, that’s, that’s a pretty obscure instrument. And, and we checked it out, you know, and obviously in its natural form, it wouldn’t work.
Uh diatonic to play the theme. So we sampled it and then I was able to play it on the keyboard. But it sounded so cool. And, um, it was fun to cut the, the title sequence. We played it as a full band. Um, which was fun. Yeah. I still remember that, but I [00:33:00] really appreciate Stephen K uh, just his support throughout the years.
We’re still good friends. Um, we’ve worked on a number of things together and then half past dead. Okay. The movie is what it is. Right. We know it, it is, but you know, going into it, I don’t like that. I asked myself, I’m like, well, I’m, you know, what can I do to. This. And at the time the director, Don Michael Paul, who, again, somebody, I, I really adore as a human being.
He’s awesome. And he was great to work with. Um, I think at the time he was into these bands, like pod love, Metallica and whatever, and he just wanted me to kind of bring that attitude to, uh, and maybe crystal method or something. Bring a little bit of that into the movie. And it was super fun. And again, it was a, it was a different era of filmmaking, but it was, it was really a great learning experience to [00:34:00] work with him because he’d been in the business a long time.
He had, uh, he had, uh, been still taking lashings for directing Harley Davidson and the Marlboro. Yeah. Oh
Andrew Sumner: man. Yeah. That’s another film that I like mates, you
Tyler Bates: know, just couldn’t be a nicer person ever. And, um, You know, I learned a lot from him about how Stephen K too, just how people conduct themselves with, with grace when they’re, they’re really aspiring to something that’s fantastic, but also, um, acting as a true collaborator with the people around them.
So they would never tell me what to do. They would show me things. They like, they would encourage me to experiment. And for that I’m grateful. I mean, get Carter is a very weird, mixed bag of music in the score. And that the thing, [00:35:00] uh, the aspect of that, that, uh, is funny is there, I was getting some direction from Steven and Steven really, you know, he, he was helping, you know, his, his idea was more like Moby and stuff like Moby for the music.
The music is dope, but still own. You wanted rhythm. You want a brass. So Steven would give me his thoughts or ideas input in his own voice. And then he would give me Stallone’s and Stallone’s voice. So it’d be like, well, Ty, I really like, you know, this sort of, I like this beat and I like how it’s very a theorial here and blah, blah, blah, blah.
He says, but slides said, yo dude, live on big breasts theme here and blah, blah, blah. And it was, it was pretty awesome. Uh, even does a, an impeccable, uh, uh, impression of Sloan, but I thought it was cool and it was such a big thrill to work on a Sylvester Stallone movie. At that point in my life, I was like, holy hell, look at this person on [00:36:00] my screen.
You know? So it was interesting to actually begin, uh, growing use to working on, um, you know, obviously higher budget films, where the stars were, uh, legendary or, or very, uh, You know, very well known. So, uh, that was one of the first,
Andrew Sumner: yeah. I mean, you’re only at that point, I think about maybe what, four years away from stamping the accelerator on your career and then suddenly you get into, uh, certainly the way it looked to me from the outside is cause I was aware of your name from that point on what’s mainly cause I love, I, I, the reason I know, I knew it was you on her past dead was because I loved the get Carter soundtrack so much.
Right. And like what I’ve been saying before is always, always listening to that, get cards, Sentra. And so I always noticed your name after that and I saw it pop up in funny places like you did that TV movie, right. Gone, but not forgotten. That was you.
[00:37:00] Tyler Bates: Yeah. Now that you mention it, I haven’t thought of it probably is more like forgotten and gone, I think now that you mention it.
Yeah, I did. Yeah. I’m trying to remember it. Yeah. And the title is with me of course. But, um, yeah. You know, I mean, I it’s, it’s interesting. Um, if you could, if you could know then what you will, you would know five years later, like my journey has been, it’s been a roller coaster and the G-forces have been really intense at times, you know?
Uh, but, uh, yeah. I, you know, I had no idea, um, like where my career would wind up after I did get Carter, I did some little things and then I got onto this movie, what’s the worst that could happen. And it was a rescore and they were already trusted. They were already dubbing the movie. So they, they said, okay, uh, you’re going to fail.
Uh, we’re gonna [00:38:00] probably have to keep some of the music that we have, but when I need you to, to write record and deliver 36 minutes of score inside a six days and you know, it wasn’t so easy back then, and there are so many tools at your disposal now how to make a composer’s life easier. I mean, obviously it makes me, it makes the expectation of what we do grow that much more, but at the time it, you know, you had to do still so much practical recording, you know, samplers were not amazing yet at that time, uh, we’re working like giga studios and stuff.
So that was not a very quick way of working, but after what’s the worst that could happen live down to its name. Um, because you just don’t on a name or movie that even though I had fun with it, in retrospect, you know, once I had, was able to go to sleep, I think Wolfie and I ate, uh, uh, uh, [00:39:00] uh, what was it?
It was like espresso chocolate covered espresso beans nonstop for six days. Um, I don’t think I slept the entire six days, so it was a fever dream, at least midway through to the end. But, uh, you know, my career just took, uh, uh, another deep valley after that. And, you know, I know what it’s like to starve and to have to gut it out, you know, that’s been my whole life.
So I dug in and, and, uh, music supervisor Jean-Marc Roswell. Who’s a dear friend now, uh, brought me on to this movie that, uh, that Mario van peoples, uh, Was starring in playing his father badass. Yeah. Now mind you, that was seriously low budget that I had so much fun working on that movie with Mario and that music and just the subject matter was cool at all the feet.
You know, the, the emotions [00:40:00] surrounding that were all really positive and I really enjoyed it. And, and, you know, Mario is a pretty demanding person, you know, and he’s like, you know, he wants things quick when he has an idea, but a G mark liked the way I worked with him. And he had been, gotten the job to be the music supervisor on Dawn of the dead.
And he mentioned it to me. So I think you could be, you’d be great for this. I mean, how am I going to get that job? I have no repertoire of like orchestral, like creeped out music, you know? And so, yeah, it was, it was good of him to, to float me the score. He asked me to just write a couple pieces of music.
He said, just put those in your pocket for when, when I get you in the room with them. And that was months in advance. And, um, so again, I had no repertoire that would really sell me as a composer of dark hor horrific music or anything of that sort, uh, at the time. So I put [00:41:00] together like a CD Ivanka avant-garde music, and then, you know, just some, some things that are now pretty mainstream, like Penderecki bar talk, um, you know, some Daniel Lanois stuff, some really.
Weird stuff too. And I figured, okay, if I can have a good conversation with the director and at least point to this, and he can see in the other aspects of my body of work, that I’m capable of doing this, I have a shot maybe, but I knew that I then found out there meeting with like 12 composers or something.
I’m like, it’s not happening. So sure enough, it looked like they were hiring someone else. And I’m like, okay, I guess I didn’t get the job. And then I went and saw Marcus misspells, Texas state chainsaw massacre. And I saw the Dawn of the dead trailer. And I’m like, dude, I wish I was in that movie. So, uh, sure enough, like a month later, uh, GMR calls me and he says, look, I think this could be your movie.
And I’m like, how? So? He says, well, you know, it didn’t necessarily work out [00:42:00] with the previous person they were going to hire and the director keeps bringing your name up when they bring up music. So they want to talk to you again. I’m like, okay, great. And it turned out that, uh, the producer, mark Abraham.
Uh, asked me, he’s like, Hey, you, you gave a CDs. When you came in for that meeting, what was the first piece of music on that? I said it was something I wrote, you know, G mark asked me to write a couple of steps. He says, well, I’ll tell you what he said. I started my car one day and my kids were in the back and that music came on and they were scared to death.
He said, and then they wanted to hear it every time we got in the car, because it was so, so, uh, he said, I’ll tell you what he says, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll work with you on this. So just, uh, you gotta let us know if you need any help or anything, but, you know, we want to work with you on this. And, and so it’s because of Jean-Marc Roz as well that I got that break.
So that quarter, because I didn’t have much time to do Donna, the dead quarter, [00:43:00] first quarter of 2004, that came out. Number one movie, you got served, which I had just done right before Dawn of the dead number one movies. I had two number ones in the first quarter of 2004, then crickets, I had, I couldn’t get a meeting for five years.
Wow. And so it was either lose my house or do the next job that I could find. And that was a mini series with Lou diamond Phillips and Brooke shields. And it’s like, you know what? I got to pay the rent, you know? And. And nothing against it, but it was like a huge drop from these other films. But, you know, I, I’m a humble person when it comes down to it.
I know what it’s like to, to have a day of glory and then not have enough money to eat the next day. So, you know, it’s not a foreign concept to me, so I, you know, I’ll do the work, you know, I’ve painted houses, I’ve done whatever I’ve had to do to string it all together, you know, cause this is a very difficult career to gain any consistent traction with.
Um, it takes a [00:44:00] long time, I think, to establish that.
Andrew Sumner: Tyler, what point did you feel that did you get to the point where that did you turn around one day and you notice, Hey man, I’ve had the traction for a number of years now and I’m in a good spot. And now my career is self-sustaining. How long did it take you to get to the point where that’s, how you felt.
Or do you never feel about it that
Tyler Bates: way? Don’t feel that way at all? You know, the thing is I just, I don’t know, maybe, maybe it’s just because I really refused to expose myself too much to say social media or what the public is saying about me. And I hope, you know, obviously I appreciate if people are supportive of what I do or they like what I do.
Um, you know, I know that’s not unanimous. Um, as it is with anyone who puts anything out into the world, you’re always going to have critics. And I really, you know, I don’t get high off of adulation, so I’m not [00:45:00] seeking that out. So every day of my life, I have to prove something to myself. Um, you know, I know when I have work, I’m fortunate and I never believed that, um, Have work eternally.
So, um, it means a lot to me to prove to myself that I deserve the opportunity, whatever it is, and that could simply be, you know, creating music for a director’s pitch to even get a project made it even, you know, sometimes I work with a director and then they’re going into their next movie and, you know, we may help with a pitch, you know, so maybe they’ll do a proof of concept shot and here, you know, do music and sound design and record, you know, ADR and Walla, whatever it’s gonna take to help them sell that idea.
So even to be on that, working for free is a privilege and it’s an opportunity. And so I take it all very seriously. You know, I don’t just assume that. You know, I [00:46:00] can focus or decide not to focus, you know, and I don’t buy into the idea that, you know, I’m great or everyone thinks that I’ll just, I don’t think I could ever imagine that, you know, I’m too neurotic.
I imagine to, to accept something like that, if anything, it would make me nervous. That’s why I really don’t like it. You know, I’m not one to seek out, uh, you know, positive comments as a matter of fact, like doing this, uh, dark nights, step metal soundtrack album, uh, I’ve been working, uh, daily with Matt Keller from DC comics.
Yeah. Yeah. Hell yeah. And so of course they’re on top of everything that’s happening with the fan base and all that. And he knows me. He’s like, he knows, I don’t know. On the internet, unless I’m buying an instrument or something, you know? So he’s like, Tyler, you gotta see some of these comments. They’re amazing.
And it makes me feel good to know that it’s positive. And I’m like, man, I, I, I can’t. So he’ll [00:47:00] like take screen shots of stuff and send it to me. I’m like, just stop don’t if it’s generally good, great. You know, but like, I need to write great music today and I can’t be distracted by. By thinking that I’ve already done it.
So, um, I
Andrew Sumner: think that that right there, that inbuilt, uh, hard baked humility that you’ve got, which you’re, you’re not bullshitting you actually believe in. And there’s a fundamental part of you. That’s what has made you so successful? So prolific and that’s, what’s opened the door to what this wealth of creation that you’ve had.
You know, I mean, I think the thing is being derailed by praise and by being high, you know, on, on, on the effect that you can have on other people in their creative space, that Rex careers. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m
Tyler Bates: not saying don’t celebrate,
Andrew Sumner: I mean,
Tyler Bates: you write a great song with somebody and you, you, you finished the mix up in the studio and it sounds incredible.
[00:48:00] Yes, that’s, that’s what being high is right there. You know, or if you’re really proud of a collaboration on a movie or something, and you’re at the premiere, just having a quiet moment, not one where people are looking at you, but just a quiet moment with some, some of your close family or friends is really awesome.
You know, I mean, those, like, there’s so many moments that I celebrate in this studio with artists that no one in the world will ever know about and ever see. And, you know, it’s part of my Mo you know, this is a safe place for, for collaborators creators to be because it’s not going to be exploited unless they choose to.
Post something, you know, so, um, I prefer just to live my life, uh, you know, in here and keep, keep working hard to, to improve as an artist. So, um, and also trying to elevate, you know, every situation that I’m involved in, I want to be a source of positive energy as opposed to, [00:49:00] um, man, we’ve got to try and get some music out of this guy, or you heard from the composer.
Like, I don’t want to be that person, you know, I want to try and read it. Help bring a sense of confidence and positivity to the process, regardless of what the project is. Maybe
Andrew Sumner: that’s, that’s my big heart degree moment right there, which is, we’ve talked about this before, but positivity is everything and keeping those things, it’s being very clear about that.
I’m very clear about the effect that you have on your fellow human beings, on the energy that you bring into a room. It is such a key thing. And I think many people that I’ve witnessed or observed over the years, I’ve kind of squandered the talent by just focusing on the wrong things and. Not thinking positively enough or being derailed by negativity in a thousand different ways.
You’ve got to hold true to yourself. I think you clearly understand yourself and I think you’re very humble about your [00:50:00] gifts and, and you radiate positivity and that’s how you get things done. And I’m not trying to blow smoke up your ass, man. I’m just saying, this is an observation from having, from having talked to you.
And I think when you’re a creator, that’s everything. Because unless you hold true to that, you can badly fuck up what you’re trying to do.
Tyler Bates: Yeah. And w everyone, all of us are capable of not being focused as we should at times. And, you know, hopefully you realize that and you can sort of course correct before a disaster strikes, but, uh, one thing I would say to anyone, yeah.
Who’s watching or listening to this, uh, conversation. Um, if you are an entrepreneur or a creator, there’s a book by Steven Pressfield called the war of art, and you can read it in a day. It’s, it’s a fun read, but it’s really a great mental tune-up for anyone who’s creating [00:51:00] anyone who’s inventive. It’s really about how to approach your work and how to, he, it’s almost like martial arts in a way.
It’s about how to use your energy, your power for your, to your advantage instead of your disadvantage. Cause most of us do create reasons why we cannot approach or accomplish a lot of what we dream of. And of course you never going to knock off everything on that list, whatever it is, you know, even if you see somebody that looks like they have it made Elon Musk or, you know, whoever it is, they’re still not going to accomplish everything they want or experience everything thing they want in life.
Cause it’s not all based on the metric of money or whatnot. You know, we all have have different things that are important to us, but I really think that it’s, it’s important to ask yourself, why am I not progressing here? What have I done to improve my self as a human this [00:52:00] week? What have I done to improve?
My vocabulary is an artist. Whether you paint or you write music or photography, whatever it is, you know, it just, just having your, your mindset is such that you need to expand and work. Yeah. Regularly, instead of just the wash, rinse repeat cycle that we can get into in life when we’re so busy and we have tons of responsibility.
And especially if you have family and children and whatnot, you know, it’s kind of a, that’s kind of like a you’re in survival mode, but you still have to reserve some space for that to occur in your life in order for you to move on. I don’t know if it’s always forward, but you need to move on. And I think that that’s, what’s really important, um, to be available as it is an effective artist.
Andrew Sumner: I think that’s very well said. And I think that is a fucking great recommendation mate. So that’s Steven Pressfield, the art, the war of
Tyler Bates: art. Yeah. [00:53:00] Yes. He wrote, uh, the legend of bagger Vance. He wrote gates of fire. It’s a great read that I think anybody can relate to because it’s written in such a, I don’t know, it’s a relatable way.
Um, A, he’s not preaching to you. It’s not the secret. It’s not somebody telling you how to make a million dollars. It’s really a, about being an artist and approaching it as effectively as you can so that you can get the maximum out of your productivity and your appreciation for your life. Um, cause you know, no matter what we all have, shit that’s going to happen has happened.
Some things seem like you’re, you’re drowning in quicksand and there’s no way out. But if you place your focus in a healthy, healthy way, you can find your way through your worst of times and invent your next better time. So, um, a lot of that capacity is [00:54:00] within us, you know, and I know what I’m saying.
Isn’t unilateral for everybody in the planet. Some people have, uh, occurrences in our life that are so devastating. It’s difficult to move past. But if you, if you have your, your health. You know, there’s a lot that you can do on any day of your life. And, um, it’s important to be humble about that too, you know,
Andrew Sumner: true brother par degree and well said.
Um, I love that. And Tyler, before we close out, can I just ask you about just go real quick through a few of your career highlights? Um, what out of your time with, uh, out of acts, the movies that you made. So let’s go through a few bits. So James Gunn, your collaborations with James Gunn, which is that, which is the, uh, the, the piece of work you’ve done with him that you’re fondest of, or, or look back on with the most, you know, the most pleased with, do you look at it in that way
[00:55:00] Tyler Bates: now? Because once you, no matter what these experiences are unique onto themselves and the, you know, the love and the, the energy that goes into everything. Every project is a massive amount. I mean, that’s why people who work together in the recording studio fall in love all the time, because through the experience, you know, something you didn’t necessarily know you were capable of emerges and you love that feeling.
And you love that person for showing you that within yourself. Yeah. So I, I think that that’s an important thing to recognize in all of this work, because we don’t necessarily continue working with the same people forever in our lives, but we have to be very appreciative of every opportunity and proud of the work that we we did together.
So James and I did, uh, like four movies and, um, million shorts [00:56:00] that I did for him. Um, but then, you know, uh, I would say my work with him guardians too, is, uh, is I think a really beautiful fun school. Um, better to listen to it just on the soundtrack album, I would say, um, you can actually really hear the attention to detail and the music there that is, uh, you know, you can tell that there’s, there’s a lot of care that, that went into that music.
Um, I love that. Uh, I love everything I did was Zack Snyder. Um, Watchmen was great, but I mean, Dawn of the dead was so cool because it happened so fast. I really had no time to think about it. All I knew is I was starting off on thin ice. It’s just like one mistake and you’re out because I was not a proven commodity at the time, but they didn’t treat me that way.
I just knew that the politics of it were such, but what happened on that [00:57:00] movie? Um, Zack Snyder and his editor, the producer, uh, and Jean-Marc Roswell music supervisor and my music. Yeah. All would come to my studio, which was a converted garage at the time, um, once a week to listen to the music. And I think I was writing for six or seven weeks before we recorded.
And, um, all they did was give me encouragement. There was not one change note on that score. So I’m pretty certain the score totaled 69 minutes and 59 seconds. I’m pretty sure we just couldn’t hold that note for one next, but, um, it was my first, very large scale orchestral recording, which we did at Fox and, um, Eric Newman.
Who’s a producer on the movie of the new. Family. It was his first time being at the Alfred Newman scoring stage. Yeah. [00:58:00] Wow. So it was, it was fun on a number of levels. It was, of course Sack’s first real movie. It was his first experience with an orchestra and it’s all really positive stuff. Like, you know, when you work with him, he’s a cheerleader.
It’s like, it’s more like you’re in a game of football, you know, it’s like, yeah, let’s do this. You know? Um, so it’s fun. And, uh, working with Chad’s, the housekeeper from the John wick series is similar. Chad is he is a real life that as, but a great guy and he knows his stuff. Like, you know, he’s, he commands such respect from everyone around him because you know, the guy is a weapons expert.
He’s a martial artist. He’s done everything there is to do in the field of stunts. Uh, he’s been one of the biggest people in that, that area for, you know, 25, 30 years. So. The stunt people have a real sense of comradery and team when they work. Yeah. [00:59:00] Everyone knows who the bosses are, the generalized, but they have this way of creating a comradery that you belong to something.
And then it requires all of our focus to succeed. You know, that is really empowering for everybody who’s contributing, you know? And so when it does get intense, like super intense toward the end of a project, you know, you still have that extra, that extra energy left over because you know, that this person is really doing everything they can to make the greatest thing that can, they appreciate your unique presence and talent and, and, and they respect you, you know?
And so when you, when you feel that way as a commissioned artist, you’re willing to, you know, run through walls for, for time. You know, I mean, we’re all so messed up anyway, you know, with our self-esteem and whatnot. Yeah. But you know, we’re looking for that opportunity. I want to run through a wall. I just who’s it.
Who am I going to do it for? Um, [01:00:00] it’s, it’s fun. It’s, it’s almost like smashing a guitar on stage, you know, but, uh, it is, it’s great to work with people like that. So I really appreciate that David Leach has been a wonderful director to work with too, and he co-directed the first John wick. And then he and I went on and did several moves together.
I mean, there’s so many people that I’ve worked with that are absolutely masterful at their craft. Or they are, and they don’t realize it. And they’re super humble. Yeah. Or just the music that I’ve experienced. And in this journey, I mean, some of the greatest musicians in the world have played on music that I’ve written and it makes me want to be better.
I need to create, as I move forward, something worthy of them to play, you know? Cause I, I got a lot of side eyes that early on, you know, people look at the score, there’s a bunch of goose eggs on there. It was probably, uh, you know, playing guitar, uh, on something. And all I wanted was like, you know, some [01:01:00] health chords from the orchestra and they’re like sleeping and reading while they’re playing this stuff.
So I learned to really, uh, you know, right, right. When the movie calls for it, write some music for them to have fun playing. And, um, that’s just a thrill to see it come to life when the music is challenging and still fun and beautiful. And you’re in a room with the best players in the world. Um, certainly every time I’ve been in Abbey road, it’s been that.
Andrew Sumner: Just an amazing place. I’ll be rude.
Tyler Bates: Isn’t it? It is. It’s cool, man. And um, every experience that I’ve had there is there’s been a, some kind of special occurrence or, you know, happening. Um, uh, people I love are always working with me on, on my scores. Like Tim Williams has been a great collaborator of.
Since forever ago, uh, we met at the end of our driveways when I, he moved next door to me, uh, I don’t know, 20 years ago or something. [01:02:00] And once I learned about them, we just became friends. And then, you know, his first real conducting gig was 300. So he’s brilliant. He’s, he’s a brilliant conductor, obviously, uh, an excellent orchestrator based an excellent composer.
And so he’s just been a great friend and collaborator and that’s, uh, That’s meant a lot to me. And I’ve learned a lot working with Tim as well, you know, cause our backgrounds are so, uh, completely different, but, um, you know, I, there are many people in my life like that who have really helped in a healthy way, push me to be better, um, in every aspect of, of what I’m trying to accomplish.
And it’s not all just music based. It’s some it’s relating to people and how, how we work together. And how does it feel good for everybody to be part of this thing, you know? And I try and protect everybody from some of the, the pressure that comes from the top. So [01:03:00] I try not to show sometimes that there’s, there’s a foot on my throat, but, um, yeah, we all, we all feel that, you know what I mean?
When, when, when a studio is making a $200 million movie everybody’s careers on the line, of course. So, you know, at the end of the day, everyone’s just trying to make the best thing they can. Um, so I completely understand and appreciate it, but, you know, Tim has been a warrior through those battles as his Wolfgang and, and, uh, my associates here in the studio are wonderful.
So again, you know, I mean, I’m surrounded by great people every day. You know, I just need to turn my focus, you know, for, for a good portion of my data to create and to see what, what kind of new ideas I can start to call in my, uh, in my vocabulary. I
Andrew Sumner: think what you and your, your great, great, great, um, co-create, you know, coworkers and, uh, uh, collaborators, uh, I’ve done a number of occasions that [01:04:00] I particularly notice as, as somebody you sat in a lot of review rooms over 30 years and what stuck it’s under different movers.
I think what’s notable about, um, some of your action movies that you’ve scored is that I’ve noticed some multiple times where, uh, flicks of your scores. Is that by the end of the film, you have backward heart and then quite cynical journalist. I’m not cynical Janice, but I’ll know which journalists are coming down and humming the music as they leave.
You know, they’ve literally just finished saying it. And I was really struck by that with your 300 soundtrack, people just have the music in their head rather than some of walking out. But it’s, uh, it’s also the case. If you ever see people reenacting scenes from John Wayne movies, they are invariably singing your music while they did.
Yeah. And it’s just gone straight into their cortex and stayed there instead of the usual bad, wow. Sound effects. They’re not doing sound effects. They’re doing the music looks, which [01:05:00] I think that’s such a powerful thing, I think is such a Testament to what you and your collaborators have created.
Tyler Bates: Well, yeah.
And you know, again, I have inspired people around me who were not. I mean generally, no. And has this interest of climbing the ladder of Hollywood as much as they do, uh, being part of something that feels great and it’s creatively challenging. So on 300, of course, Wolfie was working with me on developing sounds and like Greg Ellis was the, the main percussionist we worked with several, which Greg was part of all the ensembles and whatnot, but it was interesting.
He taught me a considerable amount about, uh, ethnic percussion probably to the degree where I I’m sure I could probably teach a class on it at this point. But the funny thing about that movie is I would, I would see how sounds combined could make a new sounding drum, you know, so [01:06:00] whether it was combining a Rick and a Madame or whatever it was.
That was one thing I wanted to do with 300. And I know that people have tried to hire my people and get them to do what they did on 300, but Greg doesn’t even know what instruments were combined to make the sounds, you know, I hand edited all that stuff to just try and create a slightly different sound, um, in the percussion.
And then I was working on a record with Azzam Ali during the time 300 came up. So I thought, you know, of course I want Azzam to sing on it. And because we were spending so much time together, uh, since, uh, before 300 and then, you know, 300, we developed the pitch for it for over a year. So I was working on an animatic, which I had Scott Glenn come in the studio to do a narration.
That’s an overview of the story. And, uh, you know, Zach had me writing music. Puppets and drawings and everything that was [01:07:00] required to present the movie in the way that he wanted to. So while we were developing that, um, I enlisted a Azzam to, to sing on the score, but when we got into the actual score, I had written some pieces of music and I wanted her to sit with them and really create her part so that it was more than just, you know, the film scoring vocalization that you might hear in a standard score.
I wanted it to be something deeper than that, a more emotional than that. And I wanted her to be able to connect on a deeper emotional level. Doing a session for me, you know? So that was the thinking behind that, you know, so, uh, I do try and have that connection with collaborators on every movie. Um, to me, I find it to be empowering.
I think that it makes the music feel more, that it was born with a purpose other than to be a Q and a movie. And that’s what I’m aspiring to. It’s not always possible, but when the [01:08:00] opportunity presents itself, you know, it’s my, I think it’s, it’s my duty to, to see it and to seize on that. And you know, like guardians of the galaxy, when we recorded, we recorded the first score was pretty chaotic.
Uh, the first one, but, uh, I thought, you know, my daughter is, uh, an excellent pianist. You know, she was 12 at the time. And so she, she came in after we recorded the orchestra at 12 and she did all the piano for the first guardians in a studio, not mine, but. Then, uh, w when she was 15, um, I hired her to be the pianist at Abbey road, with the orchestra, talking about pressure, man with 92 of the greatest players in the world in real time.
That was awesome. And I was thinking to myself, man, she’s, she’s got some real Moxy. And then I thought, why didn’t, why haven’t I put my self in the orchestra? Like, why would I, why have I never done? It’s [01:09:00] usually because I’m in the booth, you know, and just trying to make sure everything’s, everything’s going the way we want it to.
But, um, I thought that was, that was a fun moment, you know, to see that happen. And of course, Tim conducted and Tim was incredible. Like we’ve had just so many, so many awesome experiences, uh, because of the way he handles himself with an orchestra and our trust and communication. And one another has made it fun, you know?
And so there’s something deeper than just what people see in the billing block. It’s like this whole thing that happens in the making of this. Is really special to me. And like Gustavo Borner is a great friend of mine who engineers and mixes, many of my scores and Robert Carranza. Who’s like my brother who, uh, makes 300, you know?
So when you look back, it’s like we had that shared experience. That was awesome. You know, we don’t, you know, I don’t walk around and giving my resume to people, but I know I have all these incredible moments with people that, um, have really, [01:10:00] uh, um, just made my life that much better, you know? So, um, that’s what I’m looking for at this point, you know, I don’t really care so much what people think as much as I want to do something great.
I want it to be attached to, or associated with people who are, uh, elevated through the process as well. You know, it’s more, it’s more about that. I know it sounds a little, you know, hippie granola or hippy granola or what, but, you know, for me, that’s really important, you know, cause I spend my whole life and my studio I’ve missed so many Saturdays at the museum with my kids when they were little, you know, now I’m trying to, at least to atone for it a little bit by, you know, spending time with them working on their music, which I love.
And um, and also with my friends and the people who work around me, you know, work with me, I just want to make, uh, our experience [01:11:00] together pleasant. Cause we’re, we’re dedicating a tremendous amount of our lives to what we do daily. Yeah, it’s not a nine, not a nine to five around here.
Andrew Sumner: And you, you have not got a nine to five gig.
And a lot of what you’re saying reminds me of a quote that is always wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill. And, um, this quote, uh, he does actually use this quote. He writes it in one of his books, but what he’s actually saying in the book, if you actually read the page itself, is he saying, I don’t believe in this.
I think it’s a load of bullshit. I do. However, believe in it. And the quotes has lived on attributed to him as if he believed it. He didn’t believe it at all, but it’s, um, you build your own universe around you as you go. Yeah. And you’ll often, if you look that praise up, you’ll see pictures of Churchill with that phrase underneath them.
You build your own universe around you as you go. But I think, uh, the beauty of your career is that it is exactly what you and your collaborators and your extended universe musicians have done. And I think there’s a tremendous purity to [01:12:00] that. And I think. That because you are so dedicated to, to staying true to your question, you’re envisioning you’re doing it for the right reason.
You’re not trying to make a quick book. I think that’s why your soundtracks you’ve composed the music you’ve produced sounds different. And it affects people on an elemental level. They don’t necessarily know if they’re not musicians or why they’re responding to it, but they know that they do. Right. And I think that’s why.
And I think, I think it’s there in your work and, and it leaps out of your work and jumps into your subconscious, everything that you’ve just talked about for the past hour. I think it’s all learned, mate.
Tyler Bates: Well, thank you. Yeah. I mean, I definitely put my soul into it for sure. Um, you know, good or bad, you know, sometimes, sometimes a concept or an experiment does not succeed the way I envisioned it to.
And, you know, the sands of the hour glass run out. So, um, you know, there is always that pencils down [01:13:00] moment, you know, we try, you know, so, you know, I try to, uh, to experiment, but at the same time, you know, uh, I have a job to do, um, but I’m finding that place where I have a soulful connection to the task or the material or the people I’m working with something that will give me, you know, that that will help me to access that part of me that is more than doing what I’m told to do.
You know, more than the Taylor who is stitching a button back on a suit,
Andrew Sumner: Ryan, that is a harder grin and amen. Um, I love it, mate. Tyler, thanks so much for giving up the last hour of what I know is a very busy day for you, right at the beginning of the day, just as you’re drinking your coffee.
Tyler Bates: Yeah, my brain will wake up soon.
Uh, my hours have been flipped around. Sorry if I’m a little bit clumsy with my words this morning, but, uh, well evening for you, I guess. [01:14:00] Uh, yeah. You know, um, I’m, I’m psyched about just even today, there’s so much cool stuff already in front of me, a lot to do, but a really good, yeah.
Andrew Sumner: Yeah. You’ve been great.
Very clear, very succinct and very honest, which, uh, which I, which I appreciate. And thanks so much for joining me, brother. It’s been great. I’ve enjoyed it.
Tyler Bates: You too. Take care.
Take care, brother. All the
Andrew Sumner: best.