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Composer Tyler Bates
Madness?  This...is...Tyler!

Played alto saxophone and then electric guitar as a child.

Movie to California in 1993 to do his first film score.

Formed his own band, Pet.

By 1997 focused solely on writing music for films.

Official Web Site

 

300 (Special Edition Soundtrack) by Tyler Bates  from Amazon.com

 

Composition Credits
(Film)

Watchmen
Doomsday
Halloween (2007)
Resident Evil: Extinction
Day of the Dead (2007)
300
See No Evil
Slither
The Devil's Rejects
Miss Congeniality 2:
Armed & Fabulous
Baadasssss!:
Dawn of the Dead
You Got Served
City of Ghosts
Love and a Bullet
What's the Worst That Could Happen?
Kingdom Come
Get Carter
Born Bad
Thicker Than Water
The Last Time I Committed Suicide
Ballistic
 

Composition Credits
(TV)

Gone But Not Forgotten
Black Sash
The Dead Will Tell
Alien Avengers
Strange Frequency
Military Diaries

Composition Credits (Game)

Rise of the Argonauts
300: March to Glory

 

More Interviews:

2008 -
Tyler Bates and the Genre of Doom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Bates

"The music can't be weak!  . . . It was so hard to get the music to come through all the insanity that you hear outside of the music in the film (300). The music just has to have some intensity, some attitude, some girth."

Tyler Bates


The Interview

Just a few days before the wide release of Zack Snyder's 300, Tracksounds is able to talk with 300's score composer, TYLER BATES.  He shares about his work for the ground-breaking film, his influences, and his desire to continue to work with visionary directors.

CC: So how are you feeling just prior to the release of the film?

TYLER BATES: I think there is a great deal of excitement. I think the movie, itself, is probably the first "great" movie I've worked on. I've worked on some 40 movies...some really good movies with Rob Zombie, James Gun and other directors, but this is the first movie of such a grand scale that I've gotten the opportunity to write beautiful, epic, emotional themes and, at the drop of a dime, rough the picture up intensely. So it's been very stimulating in that regard. Also, the fact that I know that it's Zack's desire to make commercial films, but his brand, from his vision, is really exciting. He really wants people to have unique film experience, so he's not looking to other movies to model his ideas and his decisions in the process.

CC: Having listened to your work for 300 a few times now, I have to say that it is one of the most aggressive scores I've heard in some time. Now, be honest, when you were writing the score for 300, did you want your music to be noticed just a little?

TYLER BATES: You know to be honest...I come from a background of making records and performing live, but I wouldn't say I would use this (300) as a vehicle to get noticed per se. My ultimate goal is to give the audience the most enhanced experience the music is capable of offering and obviously, first and foremost, satisfying the director. Zack (Snyder) wanted this movie, not only to kick-ass, but to be as innovative as possible. He didn't want to travel down the same road we've all been down before.

CC: Of course, your job is to musically support the directors vision...but this music is really, really aggressive - not in a negative way at all...it's just strong.

TYLER BATES: (laughs) Well, there's a lot of heavy metal, swords and shields, and big muscle-people. You know? The music can't be weak! That's part of it. It was so hard to get the music to come through all the insanity that you hear outside of the music in the film. The music just has to have some intensity, some attitude, some girth.

CC: So when you were scoring the film, did you ever feel like, with all the heavy-duty visuals and sound design already going on, that your music might be "too much" and then have to "pull it back" at any point?

TYLER BATES: We definitely chose to do that in the second battle of the film. Initially, Zack (Snyder) wanted me to hit that one hard. Then, on one of the temp dubs, one of the re-recording mixers, played the scene just with the sound design in some heavy reverb and no music. Zack heard it that way and said, "You know what? Let's just make this a nightmare sequence and we'll come up with another idea of how to have music in here without it getting rhythmically in the way of all the fighting and weaponry." So, I opted to take an atonal approach which ebbed and flowed with the picture itself.

CC: So is that piece represented on the soundtrack somewhere?

TYLER BATES: Not on this one, but they are talking about doing a 5.1 surround mix with the digital mix and in that case we would definitely include it, because it's pretty cool. I did about 95 minutes of music for the film but we could only release about 60 minutes of it for the soundtrack.

CC: You do some great anthems, choral work, even some elements that border on sound design. If you can pick one, what part is the most satisfying for you to write?

TYLER BATES: You know what is really satisfying is how to pull all of that together. That's how I see music anyway. I'm not entirely acoustic. I'm not entirely electronic. I'm a fusion of all those things without favoring any of them. They all do command a lot of respect and thought and effort to get them to work together as a singular piece. A lot of times you'll hear scores that will have a little electronic element that sounds more like an afterthought than anything else. Maybe it's an attempt to sound more hip or something, but I'm just not into that. The electronic artists I'm into are more cutting edge. Then, as far as my orchestral influences go, they aren't the most melodic guys.

Now when it comes to the sound design aspect, all of that was hand crafted. While I used synthesizers once in a while, my assistant, Wolfgang, and I make nearly every sound you hear. (Well, at least all those that are not a human-played performance.) We did everything from mutating a human voice, to a woodwind instrument, to even percussion instruments that we created our own ambient pads of. We do all that just so that it has its own vibe - its own soul.

CC: So how much time would you say you spent on simply creating your own sounds for this score?

TYLER BATES: Oh my God. It never stopped throughout the process of the film! The fortunate thing was that when Zack first asked me to participate in the actual presentation that he was creating to help sell the idea of the film, I wasn't nearly as busy as I am at the moment.  He actually put together a presentation where he filmed the pages of Frank Miller's graphic novel. They removed all of the word bubbles out of it and did a little special effect on it.  That was the little, visual animatic that I had the opportunity to score. I was able to develop some of the basic ambient sounds that actually made it into the film.

CC: How much was the director, Zack Snyder, involved with the music?

TYLER BATES: Zack is the type of person who doesn't micro-manage...at least not me. We have a great working relationship. He doesn't speak to me in "musical terms." There were a couple times where it was sort of the eleventh hour, where he would say that he needed "this" kind of thing in the music. I usually see Zack about once a week when we work together. That is, of course, if there is no temp dub that week. For 300 we had four temp dubs or mixes. So for each I'd mix and deliver the score, as far as I had written, for the temp dub.

CC: There aren't a whole bunch of 300's out there - a creatively unique film, but one that is being marketed in the mainstream. Would you say that it is more important for you to continue to push the envelope as far as your style of composition versus going more middle-of-the-road and getting more opportunities to do feature films?

TYLER BATES: Fortunately, right now, I have several films going. I knock on wood everyday and I'm very thankful for those projects. I've painted a lot houses to keep my career going (laughs). I really don't know how to do anything, musically speaking, another way. I'm constantly trying to improve my process and expand the scope of how I look at music and how I express it. But to try to do the next Christmas movie...well, it would depend on the director actually. I'm probably not the best composer for that journeyman director that the studio hires to direct some movie. I'm the guy for the director who has a vision for their overall career in regards to the style of films they want to make. Zack Snyder is that type of guy. I try to look ahead a little bit. When I'm in my fifties someday, I still want to love music and I don't want to look back with regret for selling out and doing studio movies. You know the movie might not even be that great, but if a director is passionate about it, I think there really is something of value in that. I really don't want to just do something like the next Olson-Twin's movie. It's not me. 

CC: Now there is rumor of you working with Zack Snyder again for WATCHMEN. Any truth to that?

TYLER BATES: Yes. He's asked me to do the movie. If I'm lucky I'll do all of Zack's movies. That's the way he talks to me...with that kind of language. But for me, I feel like it would be cheating a project if I look too far down the line. I knew that he was doing the WATCHMEN when we were working on 300 but I didn't feel like even mentioning the WATCHMEN. I didn't read the book. Nothing. I just wanted to focus on 300 and do the best job I could do. So, yes, he asked me to do the WATCHMEN and so I'm preparing for that now.

CC: Now you are also listed as the composer for 300: MARCH TO VICTORY, the video game. Did you compose anything specific for that project?

TYLER BATES: I definitely did musical adaptations for it, but its pretty much derived from the score itself.

CC: You mentioned you have several projects in the pipeline. Talk about those for a moment.

TYLER BATES: Yes...well...there are three horror movies (laughs). I'm finishing up DAY OF THE DEAD right now which is really a good crazy action movie. I'm starting HALLOWEEN with Rob Zombie sometime next week. I've seen bits of that and its utterly disturbing and incredible. I'm also working on RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION.  I'm working on a film called SIX BULLETS FROM NOW by a director, Steven Kay, whom I've worked with several times before. Hopefully, at that point I can take a vacation or something! And I'll start the WATCHMEN this year as well.

CC: How do you think things will change for you after 300 has its wide release?

TYLER BATES: Well, I'm not making any assumptions. There have been a couple points in my career that I thought things were going to improve and, before you know it, I'm back painting Patricia Arquette's house again. You know what I'm saying?

CC: I'd be surprised if you ever have to pick up another paint brush again.

TYLER BATES: (Laughs) Yes...well, I've just been through a lot in my life. You just never know what is going to happen. I appreciate the opportunities and I want to make the most of them. I just don't want to ever make the assumption that the phone is going to ring off the hook. I just appreciate the opportunities I have had. I have been able to work with one great director after another. The experiences are always really cool on a personal level and creatively they've offered me some interesting opportunities. As long as it continues in that direction, I'm thrilled.

CC: Thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate you taking the time with your full schedule.

TYLER BATES: Alright. Thanks so much.

 

More Interviews

   

Jeff Russo (2014)
Neil S. Bulk (2014)
Sean Callery (2014)
Trevor Morris (2014)
Oscar Araujo (2014)
Tom Salta (2013)

Jesper Kyd (2012)
Kim Planert (2012)
Robert Duncan (2012)
Sam Hulick (2011)
Alan Menken (2010)

Mark Griskey (2010)
Tom Hajdu (Tomandandy) (2010)
Doug Adams (2010)
Sean Williams(2010)

Jamie Christopherson (2010)
Tomoya Kishi & Marika Suzuki (2010)

Clinton Shorter (2009)
Brian Tyler (2009)
Ed Lima and Duncan Watt (2009)
Sean Murray (2008)

John Ottman (2008)
Inon Zur/ Stuart Chatwood (2008)
Jesse Harlin (2008)
Jeff Beal (2008)


 

Miho Nomura (2008)
Mark Griskey (2008)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2008)
Jeff Rona (2008)
Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2008)
Ramin Djawadi (2008)
E.S. Posthumus (2008)
Tyler Bates(2008)
David Buckley (2008)
Christopher Lennertz (2006)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2005)
Kaveh Cohen & Michael Nielsen (2008)
Christopher Lennertz (2008)
Sascha Dikiciyan & Cris Velasco (2007)
James Dooley (2007)
Jesper Kyd (2007)
Garry Schyman (2007)
David Robidoux (2007)
Scott Glasgow (2007)
Tyler Bates (2007)
Jamie Christopherson (2007)
Mychael Danna (2007)
 
Howard Shore (2006)
Trevor Rabin  (2006)
John Debney
Greg Edmonson
Christopher Lennertz (2003)
Erik Lundborg
Ron Jones
Edward Shearmur
Christopher Lennertz (2002)
Thad Spencer
Don Davis (2001)
Hans Zimmer
Conrad Pope
Michael Giacchino
Don Davis (1999)
Jeff Rona (1999)

 

   


   

 

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