Melodies of Storytelling in Jonathan Yates

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There is no secret formula to success. But many would say that your biggest achievements will stem from your own creative passion.

Passion, Resilience, Determination and Curiosity. These the four magic words freelance composer and musician Johnny Yates lives by, four simple principles that have been guiding him on the right career path since it all started. By pure chance; falling in love with another (now fellow) musician.

Though we are definitely sad to hear that the drummer did not get the girl in this story, we are proud to have been able to have a chat with Johnny for this Member Spotlight. His love for music and storytelling has few equals, a passion that transpires from each and every one of his words.

Johnny Yates - Composer from Johnny Yates on Vimeo.

Where are you from and how did you get into the industry?

I was raised in Bournemouth and explored my passion for music at a late age in secondary school. I fancied the drummer in my music class and this made me pursue to learn drums to impress her. It wasn’t long until I realised music was going to be part of my life and continued my education to become a contributor in the music industry. Also no, the drummer didn’t get the girl this time.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I’m based in London and now work as a freelance composer for television, film, advertising and games; contracted with agencies, directors and producers worldwide.

The Story Of Water - Main Titles from Johnny Yates on Vimeo.

Explain your creative style and process

Every campaign or project has a story to tell and I use my compositional process to communicate the narrative on screen. I make music and sound collaborate to create a sonic identity or a melodic theme for all multimedia platforms.

Music is an integral part to create an emotional response for the audience and it’s by keeping that in mind that I can compose music to experience these moments. I’m trained to perform on drums, piano, percussion, synthesisers, bass, guitar and have a vast knowledge of how to use musical instruments for my compositional works.

Channel 4 Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix from Johnny Yates on Vimeo.

Please provide one sentence about your spotlighted work on Creativepool

My profile shows my compositions in a variety of styles for documentaries, film, trailers, promos and commercials; composing cinematic film scores, hybrid drum ensembles, easy listening, contemporary pop, electronica to Japanese trailer music.

How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

Thousands of music software companies are providing innovative tools to express our artistry through a computer and allowing me to compose with virtual instruments that are sounding more authentic and close to the real thing. Recording live has never been easier whether it’s recording in a kitchen, industrial location or in a studio. Technology gives me the utilities to capture any sound to manipulate it into any audio shape, rhythm or soundscape I want.

My compositional process allows me to work remotely from anywhere and engage with clients around the globe using video calling or online streaming platforms.

Lamborghini Gallardo from Johnny Yates on Vimeo.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

There’s still a grey cloud when it comes to respecting our craft and the value we bring to the table. I'd like to see creatives receive the right benefits for their work and never be undervalued.

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Collaborating with industry professionals gives me a buzz and seeing their talents come together to create something special is a privilege.

I also like to always try something new or different through my compositional process so I can try to manipulate conventional sounds/instruments into new original musical elements. This gives me the energy to write more music everyday and I believe creatives should always look to thinking outside the box.

Bentley Motors - The New Mulsanne from Johnny Yates on Vimeo.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

My main goal would be to help making people happy. I’m motivated to stay healthy and fit so I guess it would be in the fitness industry, but I couldn’t ignore music and will always want to be a professional in the industry.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

I’ve been lucky to work on so many great projects. Composing the music for HSBC was a memorable one because it was my first major breakthrough to score music for a global company. Especially one of the commercials was about me saying thank you to my mum, and it felt special but also extraordinary that I had to write a music theme of myself Scoring to picture while watching yourself on repeat 100 times can feel like a lot.

How do you recharge away from the office?

Sports are a great source to feel good. I run 35 miles a week and play football to feel active and recharge my mindset.

Not a Game Documentary - Trailer from Villa Lunera Films on Vimeo.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives in the industry who are looking for commissions?

Four words: passion, resilience, determination and curiosity. You have to be passionate about what you do and the love you put into your work will show creatives why they want to collaborate with your idiom.

You need resilience through your journey as you’ll experience the natural process of continuous rejection until you get your one of many breaks. It’s a true learning curve to understand any mistakes on the way and you’ll evolve to improve your skills as a creative.

Determination is that drive you’ll need to push yourself to achieve your goals and curiosity will allow you to discover new ways to adapt your craft, opening new doors to find your signature style or sound.

What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

Bringing creative departments closer as a community to see more opportunities for rising creatives to show their talent visually, whether it’s on the TV, exhibition or all multimedia platforms to the public eye. This involves diversity for all people contributing in the industry.


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