by Jay Villain
HRH: Hello, Tyler it’s very nice to speak with you. Being that you also did the soundtrack for the first Halloween remake in 2007; can you tell us how the Halloween II soundtrack differs from the first?
Tyler Bates: In doing the first Halloween, we weren’t exactly sure how much Rob’s film should deviate from the storyline, characters, and musical themes of the John Carpenter film. With H2, Rob decided that we would not concern ourselves so much with the original film, and just do our thing in the Rob Zombie context. I think this approach freed us up a bit to experiment with alternative musical approaches for situations that are conventional in the realm of Halloween movies. Of course, we couldn’t go start to finish without quoting JC a time or two.
HRH: What are your thoughts regarding John Carpenter’s Halloween both musically and visually?
TB: I can’t imagine there being another film that has a similar impact on the horror genre as the original Halloween film. The silences in that film are great. The iconic themes have never been paralleled in my opinion. That original film really scared the hell out of me. I remember being 12 years old or so at the time, and living in a log cabin house in heavily forested area where we had dogs and horses and such. Anyway, my father used to make me take the trash out at night to this old storage shed at the edge of the property, which we kept pad-locked in order to keep the raccoons out. I’m sure my father enjoyed this. So, I would go out there in the blackness just waiting for Michael Myers to hack me to pieces while I fumbled for the key to that stupid lock. The funny thing is that our house was haunted (which is another story), and I would run fast as hell to the haunted house to seek refuge from the darkness and Michael Myers. I have never slept well since.
HRH: Where do you draw inspiration from?
TB: That’s a tricky question. I think first of all, you have to remain vital as a person. You have to maintain an influx of inspiring people, experiences, literature, music, etc., in your life, while being open and receptive to creative impulses. That said, it’s much easier said than done. There is no faucet of inspiration waiting to be turned on per se. Well, maybe inspiration comes from the stress of challenges and deadlines? Expectations … Probably all of these things when you’re talking about film music.
Rob’s material, in particular, dredges up the essence of unsavory characters I have encountered in my past, so I don’t necessarily need to imagine what these folks are like in real life. I already know them.
HRH: You’ve done so much in your career, what do you look for when choosing a film to score?
TB: I would like to think that I’m a chooser. I am probably as much a beggar still! LOL. We work in the service industry. Seriously, my first criteria are the people I work with. While I would love to live forever, you just never know how long you’re on this planet, and also, you never know how long the phone will ring, so I think that it’s really important to work with good people who are impassioned in the process of their work; driven by the desire to create something excellent. I don’t want to get stuck in a genre, but working with Zack Snyder, alone, is like writing for multiple genres on each film we do. A little less slashing would be good for a while.
HRH: What is your favorite genre of film to work on and why?
TB: I’m not sure. I am fortunate enough to work with filmmakers (directors and producers) that not only challenge me, but they expect me to explore new musical and textural concepts on each film, so I am far from being burned out. Ideally, I welcome strong characters and an exploration of their psychological state. That is always challenging and interesting.
HRH: Is there a specific director who you would like to work with?
TB: In terms of people I have not worked with yet? David Hayter and Guillermo Del Toro are very interesting artists. It’s difficult to say. There are so many fantastic directors whose work I love. I would be flattered to get the call.
HRH: From what’s being reported, Rob Zombie has no interest in directing Halloween III. If approached, is Halloween III something you’d like to pursue?
TB: Is Guillermo Del Toro doing H3? LOL The Halloween thing came by way of Rob Zombie. It wasn’t a gig as much as it was about us both seeing what we could do in the context of that world. I would be happy to do one with Rob, but otherwise, I am not sure.
HRH: What upcoming films are you working on?
TB: I have a few projects I am either currently involved with, or that will begin in the near future. I am not really at liberty to openly discuss them at this time.
HRH: How did you break into the industry scoring music for film?
TB: My brother was working on a very low-budget film in the early ‘90s, and they needed music but had no music budget, so they called me! LOL. I worked up a few pieces for them, and then the executive producer called me and asked me to score his next low-budget film. This led to work on friends’ films of similar ilk while I pursued business with my band, Pet. The band had some record label success but ultimately imploded in the late ‘90s. At that point, I reasserted my focus on doing films while painting houses to make my rent. Eventually, I didn’t have to paint houses.
HRH: Is there anything else you’d like everyone to know?
TB: The Halloween II score is out now on my new label imprint, Abattoir Recordings. The score is available digitally at this time. We will release a different album coinciding with the DVD release of the film. It will contain some of what is currently available, as well as previously unreleased material from both films. I wanted my own label so that I could develop cool packages for some of my scores, which will be very cool!
HRH: Tyler, thanks for taking time to answer my questions. I hope to talk with you again in the future.
by Jay Villain
Tyler Bates, whose previous works include Dawn Of The Dead remake (2004), Doomsday (2008), the Rob Zombie films The Devil’s Rejects (2005) and Halloween remake (2007) just to name a few; returns with a new soundtrack for Halloween II, which is also a Rob Zombie film.
Maintaining the tradition created by John Carpenter, Tyler Bates expands on the original “Halloween” theme during the first track. He does so without ever deviating from the original mindset. It’s even darker and more malevolent than Tyler’s previous work in 2007. This song is one of the most memorable ever written for a horror film. In fact, it’s so identifiable that even people with absolutely no interest in horror know of its origin. For all fans of this franchise, the “Halloween” theme is a staple that simply cannot and will not be ignored.
The Halloween II soundtrack is hauntingly eerie from start to finish; a perfect accompaniment for this film. Even without the visuals from the film, this soundtrack is the epitome of horror. Tyler Bates brings to life the soulless being that is Michael Myers using ambient and atmospheric sound to create a chilling mood. The suspense throughout is relentless, it keeps the listener on the edge of their seat and allows the imagination to run wild.
This CD is a must-have for anyone throwing a seasonal Halloween party, setting up a haunted house and, of course, all Michael Myers enthusiasts. Full of trepidation, Tyler Bates’ soundtrack for Halloween II does not disappoint.
MySpace URL: www.myspace.com/tylerbatesla
H2 Score Album Sequence:
1. Halloween Theme 2009
2. I Killed A Man
3. White Horse
5. Love Shack
6. I Won’t Let You Down
7. Killing Field
8. I Found Boo
9. Rabbit In Red
10. Can I See The Pig?
11. Van Kill
13. I’m Angel Myers
14. Brackett Finds Annie
15. We Are Family
16. H1 Killing Spree
Hardrock Haven rating: 10/10