Brian Tyler interview: ‘Clouds’ composer
“My thought was that I would write a score that he would have written if he continued on,” explains Emmy nominated composer Brian Tyler of his score for “Clouds.” He is referring to Zach Sobiech, the teenage singer-songwriter whose real life battle with terminal cancer is at the heart of the Disney+ film. The composer describes his work on this project as a unique and “emotional experience.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Clouds” is a film filled with Sobiech’s actual songs, and Tyler says that “altered the way I approached” the score. He had to create something that fit with and responded to the folk/pop vibe of Zach’s tunes. “I would listen to his mixtapes during the last two years of his life,” the composer reveals, “what he was listening to, what inspired him.” He hopes his score not only honors Zach’s legacy, but reflects the type of musician he would have grown into. “It was almost like trying to channel Zach,” admits Tyler, “I wrote the theme based on what I felt he would have written.”
In order to find the particular recording sound, Tyler focused on the idea of hearing the score filtered through clouds. “Since you can do anything with music,” he explains, “you almost need to artificially limit yourself.” The composer played every instrument in the score himself, which includes everything from guitars, to harps, to glockenspiel, and also provided vocals. Using his heavenly, “through the clouds” concept, he synthesized many of the instruments to create “this distant canopy of sound that felt like a memory.”
“It’s such a celebration of Zach and a celebration of humanity,” says Tyler about the score and film as a whole. That triumphant and celebratory sense is felt in the finale of the film. His loved ones spy a clear “Z” formed in the clouds, Tyler’s score surges in a cathartic bloom of sound as the credits appear. He wanted the moment to feel “anthemic and joyous” as a call for viewers to “live each day like Zach did.”
The busy composer also worked on the drama series “Yellowstone,” providing the score for the third season in a row. While he admits that staying with certain series for many years could produce burnout, he has no worry of getting bored creating western tinged music for this series. He gives credit to creator Taylor Sheridan. “He changes it up so much, it forces me to challenge myself,” says Tyler. “It just inspires me to continue to expand.”