17 June 2007

TYLER BATES' update- The Watchmen, 300, and Halloween 9

You’re presently working on several projects at the same time; how do you manage to do do that?
TB-I simplified my schedule so there are no conflicts. While many composers are comfortable handling several projects at once, I prefer to give my undivided attention to each film and director. I am currently working exclusively with Rob Zombie on ‘HALLOWEEN.’

Would you tell us about the WATCHMEN?
TB-It is much too early to tell what the music for ‘Watchmen’ will be and what musical devices it will employ. It is my intention (like HALLOWEEN) to create a complete ‘temp score’ of original music before and during filming. This way if there is any specific “orientation” it is in reference to the body of music created for the film itself. I have never embraced ”temp scores” but I understand their necessity in the process of modern filmmaking. I would like to see film-scoring return to the process of old when composers wrote the score in advance to filming, and afterwards refined the music if necessary after principal photography. It sounds idealistic, but I think it is the only way to create a reasonably “original” body of music for a film.

La petite histoire...
Une image subliminale de THE WATCHMEN aurait été glissée par Zack Snyder dans un trailer de 300.

Plusieurs super-héros combattent le crime dans une Amérique de fin du monde. Vulnérables, humains, imparfaits, ils ont autant de qualités que de défauts et font pour la plupart ressortir leur côté sombre, mélange de cruauté et d'égoïsme.

And about 300?

TB- I first became involved in ‘300’ in May of 2004, just after the release of my first project with Zack Snyder, “Dawn Of The Dead.” He showed the ‘300’ graphic novel to me and asked if I was interested in creating music for a presentation he was preparing in effort to attract studio backing for the film. This ultimately entailed the creation of several pieces of music. Once Zack expressed his approach to making the novel into a film, we discussed that the music needed to feel indigenous to 480 B.C, expressed in a highly contemporized way. Percussion and vocals immediately came to mind in respect to the simplicity of musical structure centuries ago. I also thought of my friend, vocalist Azam Ali, with whom I was making a record with at the time. Because I knew the depth of Azam’s talent and techniques, I was able to utilize her voice for many characters within the the score far beyond your typical film score “oohs and ahhs.” I think she added a tremendous amount of emotion and personality to the score. In addition to the final score, Azam participated in the initial music sketches for the presentation, music created for a “test shot,” which embodied the majority of the score concepts, and several pieces of music written for which to choreograph various scenes during principal photography.

The ambient sound design aspect of ‘300’ is a consistent component in my scores. In discussing the films’ various locations, I was excited by the opportunity to create textural elements and soundscapes unlike anything I have heard in an epic film. The majority of this material is handcrafted in my studio. It was Zack’s idea to bring electric guitars into the mix. He is well aware of my history as a recording artist and touring musician. I am a guitarist by trade, so this was not a surprise to me. I did feel that in the scope of the “rock” element of the score would need to be connected to the more traditional aspects of the music. After work-shopping the many “rock’ pieces with a few friends who play in some of today’s biggest heavy bands, I then experimented with “detuning” the guitars and affecting them so that they became as crude as the on-screen weaponry. I also wanted to create a “rock’ sound without the use of a traditional drum kit, which I think worked out pretty well. Ultimately, the music to ‘300’ is precisely what Zack and I worked to create in a 2 1/2 year span.

You're actualy working with Rob Zombie on Halloween 9. What's about this new experience with Rob, and what's about the score? Are you working with John Carpenter?
TB-I have known Rob Zombie for several years, which led to him bringing me on board his last film, “The Devil’s Rejects.” When he was first asked to do ‘HALLOWEEN,’ he came to me to create our version of John Carpenter’s great classic theme for his presentation to the studio regarding his concept for the film. It went over well, and is now used as the music for the current theatrical trailer for the movie. I won’t be collaborating with John Carpenter on this project although that would be great fun. My collaboration with Rob is not verbally specific. The information is in his film. I do watch the film in its various permutations to see where he is going with the movie and how he feels about the structure at any given time. I also have the opportunity to see what he has done with the music I have created for “temp” purposes. He makes it fairly obvious what he wants the music to accomplish without making specific musical references. The film itself embodies the character of great classic films, although there is nothing cheesy about this movie. I would liken the first act to ‘In Cold Blood.’ It is insane. I have to say that it is a great challenge to augment what is taking place on-screen without being too heady. As I write this I feel like the music is headed in the right direction for this film. It is truly disturbing and raw. The music becomes a bit more traditional in the third act, and employs most if not all of the classic John Carpenter themes. The cinematography is a determining factor in the expression of these themes. They tend to work the best when they saty close to the minimalist approach of John Carpenter in the first ‘HALLOWEEN’ film. I anticipate that orchestra will play a large role in the music throughout the third act, but that doesn’t mean it will be less intense than the music in the first half of the film. We are still in the middle of this project so I cannot make any definitive claims about the film or its music other than it is scary as hell!

What's about Resident Evil: Extinction?
TB-I opted out of this film because their schedule pushed too far into a conflict with ‘HALLOWEEN.’

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