Hear a preview of the epic John Wick: Chapter 4 soundtrack

Co-composer Tyler Bates describes creating the epic score for the action franchise’s fourth installment: “It’s the longest score that I’ve ever done in my career.”

Composer Tyler Bates admits that he and writing partner Joel J. Richard had to seek help from the internet to fully understand the script for the Chad Stahelski-directed John Wick: Chapter 4 (out March 24).

“I, personally, am not a martial artist, and I am not an authority on kung fu,” says Bates, who, with Richard, has composed the scores for all four films in the Keanu Reeves-starring action franchise. “I had to have Google open the whole time. I kept Googling all these different weapons that were referenced that I’d never heard of before, just so I understood a little bit more about the specifics of what was happening visually. The script should probably have a glossary at the back of it, because there’s a lot of detail in it, and that comes truly from Chad Stahelski, and his passion and his commitment to martial arts.”

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’. MURRAY CLOSE/LIONSGATE

The film’s soundtrack album is released digitally March 24 and kicks off with the instrumental “Big Wick Energy.” Who was responsible for that title? And did they take the rest of the day off after thinking of it?

“That would be Joel, my composing partner,” says Bates, whose many other soundtrack credits include 300 and Guardians of the Galaxy. “Joel’s like my brother, and when we score the John Wick films, we share our music, and that inspires conversations and inspires new ideas, [but] at the end of the day, when it came to naming all the tracks, I deferred to Joel.”

The album features pop star-turned-John Wick: Chapter 4 cast member Rina Sawayama on the single “Eye for and Eye” and Bates’ daughter Lola Colette on a new version of the Martha and Vandellas’ hit “Nowhere to Run.” Bates also collaborated with the band In This Moment for a song titled “I Would Die for You.”

“‘I Would Die for You’ is a song that I wrote with Maria Brink and Chris Howorth of In This Moment and [also] produced,” says Bates. “Chad, literally, out of the blue, called me up, and he’s like, ‘Yo, Tyler, do you know this singer, I love her, Maria-something, she’s in this band, In This…?’ I’m like, ‘In This Moment?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that’s it!’ I said, ‘I’m actually working on their new record right now. [Laughs] They are real fans of John Wick, which is really cool.”

John Wick Chapter 4 soundtrack

The ‘John Wick Chapter 4’ soundtrack. LAKESHORE RECORDS

With John Wick: Chapter 4 clocking in at just short of three hours, Bates and Richard were tasked with producing a lot of music for the film, whose cast also includes Ian McShane, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and the late Lance Reddick, among others.

“Chad prefaced sending the script to Joel and I with a desire to expand the scope of the score, because the scope of the film had increased so broadly,” says Bates. “I wasn’t totally imagining that we would create a two-and-a-half hour score! It’s the longest score that I’ve ever done in my career.”

This might be a cheeky question, but does Bates get paid by the minute of music he produces?

“Hell, no! Are you kidding?” he says. “It’s definitely time to get another job. But to be part of something like this is such an honor and a privilege. Music means so much to Chad, and he’s a real rocker, but he also loves classic film scores, and classic movies, and it was really great to be able to imbibe the appreciation of all that with him. He’s marching to his own beat and I love that about him. He’s a disruptive filmmaker and any time that a filmmaker is willing to step out on the plank like he does, I’m all in.”

John Wick 4 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is released digitally by Lakeshore Records March 24. Exclusively hear the tracks “I Would Die For You” and “Grave Accusation,” and check out the album’s track-listing, below.

Track List

01. Big Wick Energy

02. Nowhere to Run – Lola Colette

03. Sand Wick

04. Change Your Nature

05. Continental Breakfast

06. Wick in Osaka

07. High Table in Osaka

08. A Grave Accusation

09. Grief on a Train

10. I Would Die for You – In This Moment

11. Of Mincing & Men

12. A Grave Situation

13. To Get Back In

14. Killa’s Teeth

15. Ambition and Worth

16. Dog Lover

17. JW, Loving Husband

18. Stairs Arrival

19. Marie Douceur, Marie Colère – Manon Hollander

20. John Wick Rises

21. Paris Radio Intro

22. Chess Club

23. Urban Cowgirl

24. Quite the Mess You’ve Made

25. The Ex Ex

26. The Ex Ex Chapter 3

27. Arc De Triomphe

28. Wrong Train

29. Sacré-Coeur Sunrise

30. Pistol Procession

31. Ten Paces

32. Twenty Paces

33. Helen A Handbasket

34. Eye for an Eye (Main) – Rina Sawayama

35. Cry Mia River

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