Audio: On the Score with Tyler Bates

By • July 29, 2014

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

Tyler Bates’ film scores have often been about playing the unexpected. Weaned on the musical mother’s milk of Frank Zappa, Gene Simmons and Pyotor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the composer has steadily developed an exotically unique voice capable of alt. rock action grooves (“Get Carter”), blood-and-thunder orchestra (“Conan”) and retro-psychedelic atmospheres (“Baadassss!”). His quirkily impactful work has drawn such equally offbeat filmmakers as Rob Zombie and Emilio Estevez, collaborations that have ranged from the terrifying dissonance of “Halloween” and “The Devil’s Rejects” to the porno grooves of “X-Rated” and “The Way’s” path of Zen calm. But it’s Bates’ filmmaking partnership with Zack Snyder that truly put the composer into the superhero zone, first giving ethnic electric guitar and symphonic muscle to the impossibly buff Spartan last stand of “300,” then creating a surreally haunting and ultimately tragically orchestral sound for the ironic anti-heroism of the “Watchmen.”

Where Bates created a tapestry of Metallica head-banging, Pink Floyd vibes and Wagnerian anguish for DC’s decidedly serious band of costumed brothers, then the composer’s newest, and biggest foray into comic book cinema is all about playing the John Williams influenced straight man to funny, awesome mix tape of a decidedly out-of-place Terran named Peter Quill – aka Star Lord. He’s one of the motley crew that includes a sexy green assassin, a tattooed brute, one monosyllabic talking tree and a pissed off rocket raccoon – all of whom are tasked with saving the universe with attitude to spare. These refugees from Marvel’s lesser-known quadrant might not have the box office gold cache of The Avengers. But then, it’s that kind of seditious challenge that’s fueled the partnership between Bates and “Guardians” director James Gunn. Rising from the writing ranks of Tromaville’s “Tromeo and Juliet” and “Terror Firmer,” Gunn has brought that upstart studio’s love of blood, guts, sex and satirical humor to his directorial work on “Slither,” and “Super” (and let’s not forget “Movie 43’s” “Beezel segment), gonzo pictures about mutant flesh-eaters, crazed vigilantes and a devilish cartoon dog that have inspired Bates to plunge into a ghastly, lurching orchestra, a rocking religioso sense of righteousness and berserk toon music.

(L) Guardians of the Galaxy (R) Tyler Bates "cameo'ing as a Ravager

But make no mistake that “Guardians of the Galaxy: is in a whole different, and far more expensive affair – which makes the studio’s call to use the duo a sign that they’re going to break just a bit of their superhero mold with their fourth, and definitely most way-out picture to hit this summer. Sure it’s the songs like “More Than A Feeling” and “Cherry Bomb” that are getting the advertising play. But once inside the multiplex, audiences will likely be way more impressed by the massive score that Bates has unleashed, certainly his most cosmic in stylistic expanse yet. Given the kind of giant, heroic theme that inspires big, yellow-colored sci-fi titles, Bates thematic score fuses a laser swashbuckling symphony with sinister militarism, choral hosannas with heartfelt, intimate emotion and a sense of ethnic space exoticism as powered rocking guitar work and metallic rhythm. It’s a score with an exhilarating sense of propulsion, perfect for the spaceship that carries these a-hole outcasts on their planet-hopping mission to thwarting Thanos-sponsored villainy. Bates “Guardians” is one part heroic tradition and the other in-your-face attitude, an energetic embodiment of its heroes that convinces you this is the new Marvel franchise to beat.

Now on a new episode of “On the Score,” Tyler Bates talks about the challenge of creating an epic score that works on all oddball and old-school blasters to create his space in the Marvel universe.

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Click above to Listen Now or Click Here to Download

a Buy the Soundtrack: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
a Buy the Soundtrack: SUPER
a Buy the Soundtrack: WATCHMEN
a Buy the Soundtrack: 300
a Visit Tyler Bates’ website

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