Interview: Composer Brian Tyler
Mon, 24 Jun 2013 06:31:30
As far as composers go, Brian Tyler remains one of the most diverse, dynamic, and daring in the film industry.
On Iron Man 3, he reflected Tony Stark's internal struggle with intense and contemplative orchestration that's equally epic and entrancing. Meanwhile, in Now You See Me, he brought magic out of the music, mirroring the movies' wonderful heist trickery. He's got a lot more up his sleeve though.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Brian Tyler opens up about both Iron Man 3 and Now You See Me.
What dictates your musical choices more the plot or the characters?
They're tied together. I always find that the story sets the mood, and the characters need to be identified by who they are. Their themes are always affected by whatever the mood is. In something like Iron Man 3, it's deceptively tricky because you're talking about a character who has gone through this transition. He was a wild billionaire playboy who's brilliant but has an attitude. After The Avengers and him starting this relationship with Pepper Potts, he was concerned about other things and became the reluctant superhero. Depending on where the character is in his or her life, it definitely affects the way I'm going to write the music. That's why you hear this reluctant superhero vibe. It's very prevalent.
Did you instantly connect with Tony Stark?
I really loved the movies. I remember seeing the first movie and thinking it was awesome. Tony is such a great character for our time. With superheroes, there needs to be something in there your inner child wishes you could do—whether it's flying or turning invisible. Being this guy who has all of the best one-liners and is a brilliant scientist but has all this cash, he's living the life. That's the fun part about it. He's a unique superhero in the sense that he didn't want it all. He was thrust into this position, and it's really his brain that's his superpower. His mind has created this suit, and that's physically the character. It's such an interesting character, and Robert Downey, Jr. brings so much to it. That goes a long way to make it feel like a really fun ride. The music is there to support that and reflect his superhero persona. At times, it reflects his Tony Stark persona. You really have these dueling personalities.
The music manages to be both intimate and epic. Is it important for you to cover both ends of the spectrum?
It's really important. This movie, especially in contrast with the others, has a dark side where he's physically separated from his suit. In a sense, he loses his superpowers. This happens in classic superhero stories. In those moments, you need to dial it down and create a loneliness. That's why there are pieces like "Isolation" in the soundtrack and in the movie because he's really going it alone. He's just using his wits to do his thing. Of course, he also cares so much about Pepper, and there's a true danger of losing her as well. That plays into it as well.
How different was Now You See Me?
They couldn't have had less to do with each other [Laughs]. It was awesome. It's a heist movie meets illusion. Those are two things I love. I grew up watching magic shows. I do a little magic myself. I love to do sleight of hand and things like that. I really got interested in close-up magic. At the same time, I love heist movies. The idea of robbing a bank is timeless. To combine these two things, which has really never been done, was ingenious. At times, the music needed to be a throwback to a different era. It has this groove that owes itself to Lalo Schifrin scores. It has this swagger to it from the late sixties and early seventies. On the other side, there's a magical Harry Potter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind vibe. Those two unlikely bedfellows are really anchors. That was a challenge, and I'm really happy with this film.
Who have you been listening to?
I've got Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pretty Lights, Major Lazer, Hans Zimmer, Alex North, more Radiohead, Animal Kingdom, Black Sabbath, Boxer Rebellion, Joy Formidable, Glitch Mob, Big Black Delta, and so much more. It depends on the day!
Have you heard Brian Tyler?
Be sure to check out Brian's website!