When one thing leads to the next
This man is extremely busy, on the go, constantly working, and is following his passions. This is Tyler Bates. I had the pleasure of chatting with the extremely successful film scorer and guitarist about his worlds and got to see behind the eye of the artist at work.
With my colleague, TuQuyen, who is a film student, and myself a marketing student looking to enter into the realms of the music industry, we had one of the best conversations we could with someone so experienced and so in love with what he does for a living.
Bates has currently hit the road with his good friend and fellow artist Marilyn Manson in support of the forthcoming album, Heaven Upside Down. Their friendship goes way back to when they met on the set of Californication and then the next thing you know, Bates produced and co-wrote Manson’s critically acclaimed 2015 album, The Pale Emperor. Soon after, Bates was brought onto the Manson team fulfilling the position as lead guitarist for the band.
But Bates’ success does not stop there! As a renown film composer, he has composed and produced for such big-hit films and TV series (that you probably know) as Atomic Blonde, 300, Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick, Dawn of the Dead, and many more! His creations for 300 is still known as one of the biggest selling score albums to date! How did this musical genius come about?
“I don’t think I ever chose music, I think I was just in music, and one thing led to the next. My career right now doesn’t look like a by-product of a plan I had when I was 15 or 20 years old, it just formed over the years and just continued dedication, curiosity, music, and always being open-minded. I’ve been eager to take on new challenges and discover new aspects of what excites me and what I can learn. It obviously comes from being very opened minded of styles and forms of different music” says the master of sonic creations.
As the man who quite literally instills the sound and emotion that goes into a film, he works very closely with the director to find the instrumentation that will compliment the film that he is working on.
“The larger the movie, seems to me a less intimate process, because there are so many voices involved in these movies. Obviously you’re investing time, but part of my job as a composer is to create a process and make everyone feel comfortable that is involved with music, whether they’re the director or the executive, to create an experience for them that’s not only positive but is easy for them to engage in…”
Bates is a man who trusts his gut, especially since this whole musical journey came as a wonderful and satisfying surprise that triggered all of his best talents, which includes understanding the concept of the film he is working with or the pith of the music he is forming. “I’m obviously trying to tap into the nature of the story itself, ’cause the genre obviously has an impact on my approach… at the core, anything I work on I want to be soulful.”
He goes on to tell TuQuyen and I how even horror films such as The Devil’s Rejects (2005) was a culmination of something soulful though the essence of the film itself may seem disturbing. In truth, the soul is the liveliness that comes from the music itself. Bates attempts to immerse you enough in the music that you suddenly become a part of the moment being depicted on the silver screens. For every genre, there is an individual process of composing a soundtrack, but similarly, Bates explains how there are parallels between horror and comedy at times, just as there is when you are setting up a joke or setting up a scare. “The language might be different, but the purpose of the music might be similar.”
He continues to explain the songwriting process to us: “Often times, directors…will tap into a very unique style of film making and their sensibilities, how they personally relate to their emotions in the context of their stories.” Bates then takes a step in the next direction to discuss the same matter in terms of his writing with Manson. “You know it’s all about storytelling and emotion, and with Manson that’s exactly what we’re doing. In his case, part of his sense of humor is to sort of uncover those things people are hiding in the beneath the file cabinet in the corner of their psyche… The music is written on the spot together, generally based on some story thats happened in his life that day. That’s really the beginning of how we write music together.”
With a life exposed to a myriad of experiences and opportunities in entertainment, there’s a lot to look forward to, but for Bates “its just playing guitar and being completely inspired by guitar players, that perhaps may have helped me shape my style as a young guitarist.” He also mentions how many films and film composers such as Thomas Newman “definitely made an impact on me– made me think film and music is something I’m interested in. It definitely wasn’t a plan of mine, just one thing led to the next.”
He hesitates for moment to chuckle and reflect back on the roller coaster he has been on and then returns to finish his answer about his love of music and film as one, “it somehow seemed tangible to me emotionally, I related to it on a more human level. From television to film and making records to playing guitar and performing live, Bates has touched areas of the industry that means the most to him, “and now all of these mediums for me are intersecting and that’s really cool,” he says contently.
As mentioned before, Bates is currently on tour with Manson and a new record is to come out soon! Bates mentioned how Manson and him have a great time together and push each other to do better. “You know when you’re in the moment of doing that [writing and performing music] it makes you feel good, it makes you feel young and alive,” Bates says with zeal. Though this is a massive tour on top of his many other tasks, he won’t stop there.
“I need to balance my life with experience, one experience forms the next.”
So be sure to look out for this accomplished producer as he has more to come for us in the world of entertainment! And to see him live alongside Marilyn Manson, here are the tour dates below!
Marilyn Manson 2017 US Tour Dates:
Wed. Sept. 27 - Silver Spring, MD - The Fillmore Silver Spring
Fri. Sept. 29 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
Sat. Sept. 30 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
Mon. Oct. 2 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
Tues. Oct. 3 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
Thurs. Oct. 5 - Toronto, ON - Rebel
Sat. Oct. 7 - Camden, NJ - Rock Allegiance
Sun. Oct. 8 - Columbus, OH - Express Live!
Tues. Oct. 10 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
Wed. Oct. 11 - Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom
Sat. Oct. 14 - The Woodlands, TX - Houston Open Air
Tues. Oct. 17 - Tulsa, OK - Brady Theater
Thurs. Oct .19 - Denver, CO - Fillmore Auditorium
Fri. Oct. 20 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
Sun. Oct. 22 - Sacramento, CA - Aftershock Festival
Mon. Oct. 23 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
Fri. Oct. 27 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
Sat. Oct. 28 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
Sun. Nov. 5 - Devore, CA - Ozzfest