CHRISTOPHER TYNG is a songwriter, composer and producer who has worked with a wide variety of succesful artists, and has written music and songs for successful movies and television series in Hollywood over the past 20 years. As an integral member of the music team and the sole composer of the music scores on the TV shows "THE OC", "FUTURAMA", "RESCUE ME", "COVERT AFFAIRS", "SUITS" as well as many others, Chris has helped define and shape the sound and signature musical styles for these iconic and music-aware series, which in-turn have helped introduce and boost the careers of many bands and artists. Through his experience writing, recording, and producing everything from large live orchestras to punk-rock, reggae, folk, neo-soul, electronica and everything in between, Chris has honed a unique voice, thematic sensibility and a wide pallette of sonic production techniques with which to create memorable songs, movie and television soundtracks, and to produce new artists while helping them develop and refine their own musical identity.
So, What's your life story?
I was born in California, but brought up by the beach in Cape Cod, where I spent every day and night I could in, on, or around the water. Well, unless I was down in my basement playing music. My first band was called Capt. Steve and the Squids - we had a pink PA system.
Why the drums?
When I was 14, I had a slightly older friend who was selling his drum set to buy a Moped. I had been saving my money to buy a boat from the Sears catalog, which is why I bought his drums. Perfect logic for becoming a drummer.
Why all the other instruments?
Because when you're a kid and a drummer, everyone comes to jam at your house, and leaves their instruments there, because the drums are too much of a pain to move around. Curiosity, boredom... or it was raining too hard to go to the beach. Besides, it's hard to write too many songs on the drums that anyone else wants to listen to ...
Do you have a favorite?
Even though I'll always be a drummer at heart, most of the scores I write are based around keyboards. Most of the songs are written on guitar. As a general rule I love vibey, funky instruments that have more soul than pedigree... I usually write on an old 1953 S.S Stewart arch-top guitar, which here in the studio we call "Stew." Stew has a lot of stories in him... And I've got an old Wurly keyboard, that originally belonged to Loggins & Messina, that's pretty inspiring to write on...
Your credits include the music for "Futurama", "The OC", "Rescue Me", "Covert Affairs", "Suits" and a bunch of other movies and TV series?
Yes. But don't tell my parents... they don't want me to end up in the music business.
Who are some of your influences?
I love and am influenced by so many different kinds of music, both by brand new discoveries, quirky oddities and old classics. My music playlist might contain anything from King Sunny Ade to Samuel Barber to Martin Denny, from Sharon Jones & the DapKings to Brian Eno to Cake to Cat Empire, electronica and remix artists, reggae forefathers, film scores and newly discovered acoustic singer-songwriters and rock bands. Originally, I learned to play [well, ok, rock out in my basement] to Beatles and Led Zeppelin records. So first and foremost, I come from a song and band background. I grew up playing in a few different jazz bands. As a typical drummer, I went through a progressive rock stage; and Stewart Copeland [of The Police], Peter Gabriel, Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo were definitely all influences on me at some point. I also spent some quality time diving into a lot of african and world music, which has certainly influenced my sensibilities in writing film & TV scores. As a kid I got to spend a fair amount of time visiting the Caribbean, and I used to ask every calypso, reggae and soca band I saw if I could sit in with them. A lot of them actually let me... which in retrospect was really very cool of them. So the love of all that island-based music and that influence is jumbled in there too. Then I sort of "tripped" into scoring for movies and television... I was very, very, very lucky to receive a film music award from BMI [the performing rights organization] before I, honestly, really knew what I was doing. I was then even more lucky to have found myself under the mentorship of Basil Poledouris, who has to be one of the greatest film composers of all time - the old addage of someone "knowing more in his pinky" than I will ever know in my lifetime about orchestras, thematic development, and emotional melodic writing absolutely applies here. He's a huge influence that I'll always continue to endeavor to try to live up to. I also had the good fortune through that BMI award to apprentice under Mike Post, who wrote, or co-wrote, an endless number of famous TV themes in the 70's, 80's, 90's... and onward. Mike is brilliant at being able to identify a memorable theme or "hook" - knowing exactly what, and only what, is needed to make a memorable theme - I mean, really, who else could envision and make "DUH DUH" (the "Law and Order" two-note metal bar clang) happen as a theme recognizable in every household on the planet? I'd like to see me try to sell something like that to a TV studio now-a-days... my hat will always be off to Mike.
You have a pretty crazy studio with a control room floor that rotates, a dream list of boutique and vintage equipment and microphones, a machine room stuffed with computers, windows that disappear behind blackout curtains and a projection screen, and everywhere an endless array of blinking lights, knobs, glowing tubes, faders, a few old-school tape machines, and a ridiculous amount of LCD screens and touch-surface controllers. What do all of those actually do?
Hmmmmm... That's a good question? I have some non-industry friends who are convinced that we actually are not a studio at all, but a secret "mission control" for a rocket base [there's a real one of those somewhat nearby]. It does sometimes feel, on tech days here, like we are readying a space shuttle for launch... and "mission control" has sort of begun to stick as the name for our control room. Anyways, It's pretty fun to find out. I just twist stuff around me until the music sounds better. Or "worse," depending on what I'm hearing in my head at the moment.
Ok, so what's up with the name "Tyng"? That sounds like you should be of some asian descent...
It's actually Welsh. There's a Tyngsboro in Massachusetts that my family had something to do with sometime after the Pilgrims. Most people do a pretty big double-take, when they first meet me after hearing my last name beforehand... including a welsh cab driver in England, who swore up and down that it wasn't actually a welsh name... hmmmm...
ADDITIONAL BIO INFO COMING SOON...