Composer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Bates’ work resonates deeply throughout film, television, video games & pop culture at large — from critically acclaimed blockbusters such as John Wick and Guardians of the Galaxy to WGN’s Salem and Zack Snyder’s groundbreaking 300. An adept and versatile music mind, he develops a distinct sonic palette for each project that is reflective of the director’s unique brand of story-telling and emotion, whether it be sweeping epic grandeur or sheer terror. His creative process remains true to the spirit of innovation and collaboration.
“Regardless of genre or style, I am true to myself while, my intent is to create music personally tailored to my directors’ unique sensibilities related to storytelling and emotion,” he explains.
Born in Los Angeles, he discovered Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Frank Zappa, Yes, Rush, John Coltrane, Kiss, and more as a child by visiting the record store with his avid music enthusiast mother every Tuesday when new music was released. Relocating to the Midwest, he began playing in his first bands outside of Chicago during high school.
Years later, he headed home to L.A. He started scoring films for director and producer Cassian Elwes, and formed the band Pet. The latter inked a deal with Atlantic Records in addition to contributing a song to the platinum-certified Crow: City of Angels Soundtrack. After a decade of writing film music, he scored Zack Snyder’s reimagining of Dawn of the Dead written by James Gunn, igniting longstanding relationships with both. His soundtrack for Snyder’s 300 quickly became one biggest-selling score albums of the 21st Century. 300 was followed by further collaborations with the filmmaker such as Watchmen and Sucker Punch. A partnership with Gunn evolved from the 2006 cult favorite Slither and led to Super and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which became the third highest-grossing film of 2014 world-wide. Throughout Bates’ career he has worked with iconic and influential filmmakers, including Academy Award® winner William Friedkin on Killer Joe and Rob Zombie on The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween, and Halloween II.
His imprint on the gaming world is apparent in his music for Killzone Shadow Fall, God of War: Ascension, Army of Two: The 40th Day, and more. Bates’ work in TV spans a wide range of styles from Showtime’s Californication to Audience Network’s highly popular Kingdom. An on-camera performance for Californication is where Bates met Marilyn Manson, kicking off another focused and fiery creative alliance.
Bates co-wrote and produced Manson’s THE PALE EMPEROR, which bowed at #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and Rolling Stone proclaimed, “#1 Metal Album of 2015.” “Cupid Carries a Gun” became the main title theme for WGN’s hit series Salem, while “Killing Strangers” figured prominently in Keanu Reeves’ John Wick. He also held down lead guitar duties on Manson’s Hell Not Hallelujah Tour and his 2016 arena tour, playing to a half-million fans alongside metal giants Slipknot.
“Writing songs, making records and performing, is what I did from an early age,” he says. “Working with Manson has brought these aspects of music, creation, production, and guitar playing back into my life, which has invigorated all facets of my creative work.”
Beyond co-creating Manson’s forthcoming SAY10, 2017 sees Bates score for Charlize Theron’s The Coldest City; John Wick: Chapter Two, co-composed with longtime friend Joel Richard; the Gunn-penned and produced The Belko Experiment directed by Greg McLean; and the mega-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn. Ultimately, Bates’ natural ability to connect with his collaborators yields music that not only becomes part of the film and television zeitgeist, but that resonates with authenticity to audiences around the globe.
“My job is about storytelling and emotion,” he leaves off. “I want an authentic intent to register with viewers. My best work begins with a personal connection to a director and then translates into a connection with the audience. I’d love for the music to be an extension of a feeling from the movie. People can carry that with them.”