Tyler Bates Music Composer of the Guardians of the Galaxy‏

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Tyler Bates is definitely a role model as a composer, songwriter, and producer in the competitive category of scoring in the film industry. He possesses his dream job, because he loves his purpose and his music makes him feel alive. He was inspired by his mother at an early age who introduced him to all kinds of genres of music and encouraged him to be the versatile artist he is today. Bates has gone through difficult times during his journey from being completely broke a number of times to now being one the most compelling composers for film scoring of the 21st Century.  Not only he is a music producer and composer for films, he also scores TV shows and video games soundtracks. He is the composer for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy which has become the highest grossing movie of 2014. Bates has previously scored for Gunn (Slither and Super) and Gunn considers Bates’s music “amazing.” Bates wrote part of the music score first so Gunn filmed to the music during action scenes and dramatic moments. They actually took the score on set so the cast, crew and camera moved in harmony with the music.

Tyler Bates has composed music for more of 70 films and he has several blockbusters in his pocket, including 300 and Watchmen, hundreds of hours of television, video games, and commercials. One of his latest works includes the film "John Wick starring Keanu ReevesThis film was screened for the first time (World Premiere) at the Fantastic Fest in Austin on September 19th and September 21st, 2014 before hitting theaters on October 24th.

Yenis Monterrey.-“Can you tell me your experience of working with James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy? Can you share an obstacle or challenging experience in the process of composing the score for the movie? Can you describe the range of emotion and how that influenced your writing?”

Tyler Bates.-“James is great to work with because he has an innate understanding of music and how it affects people consciously as well as the manipulative aspects of one's sub consciousness. Over the course of the past decade of working together James and I have come to understand each other as artists. James has a way of deftly provoking me to create what he is looking for without conceptually boxing me into a corner. If he makes a reference to pre-existing music, it is either something that I created, or something that we are both familiar with.

Like all of James' work, Guardians has a broad emotional range. He is personally comfortable experiencing disparate emotions simultaneously, which most of us are not. The duality of this concept exists within us, and through his movies his audience experiences this even if not in their actual lives. So, to make music that fulfills the requirements of that concept must come from within. There is no handbook that teaches this that I am aware of. In order to accomplish this I force myself to recall experiences from my life that are conflicting, and express them within the same paradigm as eloquently and powerful as possible.”

Yenis Monterrey.-“Do you find any of the various genres more difficult to score - are there any specifics that are challenging emotionally or technically?”

Tyler Bates.-“There is no such thing as a "simple" or "easy" score for me. There is much to learn each time I set out to create anything of value. Action-oriented films are probably the most physically exhausting because they tend to require the music to constantly change, and they are oftentimes extremely dynamic. Conceptualizing an action score that truly functions effectively for the film is difficult enough. But programming this music to create realistic demos can seriously kick your butt!

I really enjoy emotional and thematic writing, but once in a while some blood and guts is fun to conjure up as well.”

Yenis Monterrey. - “You were an artist, guitarist and producer before your scoring career began, how did you get involved in scoring for films?”

 Tyler Bates.-“I was in Chicago making a record in the early 90's. My brother was in LA working on a slate of low-budget films and they realized that they didn't have enough money to clear the songs they had placed in the film, so they asked if I would write some rock tracks to replace what they had been working with. They told me timings for scene and cut changes over the phone, and I wrote and recorded the music in a few hoursCassian Elwes, who was the producer on that film, phoned me after I delivered and said that he liked my work and that he was directing a movie that he wanted me to do. From there, one thing led to the next. 

 It was a great foray into understanding music for film, and its purpose. It also introduced me to every facet of post-production. Fortunately for me, the people responsible for each detail of the first 10-15 films I did were graciously open with me about sharing their knowledge and experience. This is where I began not only to understand film music and the psychological and emotional aspects of writing, but also the language of filmmakers, which is paramount to working effectively in the business.”

Yenis Monterrey. - “What is your educational background in Music? Do you have any formal Training?”

Tyler Bates.-“I have no formal training in film scoring, but I have spent my life writing music and experimenting in recording environments. I studied music my entire life; be in production, composition, culture, etc. The technical aspects of music have come to me through time and experience. I began playing alto sax at a young age in concert, jazz and marching bands. I learned the basics and expanded my knowledge and understanding of music theory and expression from there.”

Yenis Monterrey.-You just completed your European tour with Marilyn Manson. Do you enjoy being on tour?” 

Tyler Bates.-“I enjoy collaborating with interesting artists. Manson and I met through the show "Californication," which I scored with Tree Adams, and Manson appeared as himself. Through a series of concerts we became friends, and ultimately collaborators. What began as a casual conversation of music quickly became a record. We had a great time making the music in my studio, and once live performance became imminent, Manson asked me to tour with him. I love playing live, which is where I began. We have a great friendship so playing live is fun and exhilarating, which I then bring back into the studio when I write for film and television projects. I think that it's very important to continually challenge yourself as an artist, and also to experience as much as possible in life so that you have something to say in your work.

Yenis Monterrey.-“Do you have a preference to be known as a composer or songwriter?”

Tyler Bates.-“I would prefer to be known as a composer/songwriter/producer. I think that they all apply to film and television as well as making records. The infusion of pop culture in all media today makes all of these attributes necessary to thrive in today's world as an artist.

Yenis Monterrey.-“The Rock and Roll in Californication (2007-2014) is very contagious.  Can you describe your experience of being scoring this wild, witty, and sexy TV Show?” 

Tyler Bates.-Tom Kapinos created not only the greatest ever rock & roll TV show of all time; he also set the table for everyone on the show to enjoy themselves in their work on the show. When I met Tom, he said "I don't care what you do as long as you do it with a guitar in your hands!" That's all I needed to hear. I have many great memories that I will carry with me through my life from working on "Californication," And really, Tom reignited my passion for playing guitar, which I had somewhat shelved once I really dedicated myself to scoring films and television upon the demise of my last major-label band.” 

Yenis Monterrey. - “You are very knowledgeable of the script when you are working on a project, and you get emotionally involved with the projects that are put in your hands for development. Do you cry, smile, feel pain or scared while composing? What emotion flows easily for you to make it tangible?”

Tylor Bates.-“I don't need to apply a "method acting" approach to my work in order to express a deep emotion related to the material I am working with. That usually comes at the end!  I really try to transcend the emotion or psychological text of the story regardless of genre or medium. This begins with discussing the material and the specific story-telling nature of the directors and other collaborators I work with on a project. It's important to truly understand the point of view of the person who is creating the big picture. From there, I contemplate relatable experiences of my own that may apply to the music within the scope of the director's vision.”

Yenis Monterrey.-“Timing is always important for scoring and has many challenges to meet, since there is a lot of technology, visual and special effects. How do you manage to keep on track?”

Tyler Bates. - “Each project moves at its own pace. The larger the budget, the more frenetic a film becomes at the eleventh hour. It is beyond important to anticipate this by staying in close communication with everyone on the post-production team so that you can be ready to address last-minute changes in short order. This can be overwhelming, so it is important to have a close-knit team of people around you, orchestra prep, orchestrator, copyist, programmer(s), when it is necessary. An acute understanding of post-production and all departments such as editorial, visual effects, sound effects, music supervision, etc., they are very important in obtaining the correct and vital information to work in concert to create a great film, game score or TV show.

Yenis Monterrey.- It's very impressive to see all the genres of your music, you started with rock and roll, jazz, and even hip hop. Do you think that your wide knowledge of all different types of rhythm or musical style has helped you over the years score for movies?  In what way?”

 Tyler Bates.-“I love music of every genre. I always have. So when I have to write in any style I have many influences to draw from therefore, when I research the cultural depths of any style of music I am not just referencing the first thing that pops up on You Tube.”

Yenis Monterrey.-“When you feel creative and the music flows, can you describe how you get inspired? Meditation? Yoga? Share a few secrets.”

Tyler Bates.-“I'm not really sure that there is a true method to creating effective and substantive music other than passion and hard work. If you make yourself available for inspiration to strike by working diligently with constancy, eventually an excellent idea will strike. You must be available to the muse. Yoga would probably help with the stress!”

Artists like Tyler Bates certainly make a difference and he has the motto of strength, discipline and action. He is a clear example of success "if you have the conditions you get the results.” He is not only excited about what he is doing, but he also gets you excited.

Follow Tyler Bates on Twitter 

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