Fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead are sure to know who Bear McCreary is. Right around the 5-minute mark of each episode, when the theme song cranks up, even if you’re not looking at the television, as long as you can hear it, you know…it’s time. McCreary’s theme is one of the most recognizable tracks ever, and not just because it’s associated with one of the highest rated television shows, but because the music perfectly fits the series. Considering he’s scored some of the most memorable series and films in recent history, it’s obvious he knows how important getting the right sound is for a project, and delivers the goods.
A classically trained pianist, McCreary got his start as an assistant composer on the Battlestar Galactica series, taking over the position permanently after Richard Gibbs left. From there, he scored Eureka, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and the films Rest Stop and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End. McCreary’s resume is a long string of hit series and films from that point on, including work on Black Sails, Outlander, Da Vinci’s Demons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the ill-fated and cancelled-too-soon Constantine series, as well as the films Europa Report, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Colossal.
McCreary brings an innate knowledge of story craft to each project, working first on creating a stable musical foundation, which he can deviate from to create tension when needed. Building tension in scenes comes from knowing when to use silence and when to use music to change the status of that silence. McCreary takes a very hands-on approach to each project, working closely with the director so each scene has the desired effect. McCreary tends to stick with traditional instrumentation, though he’s been known to venture over to the experimental side, like using the Blaster Beam—an 18-foot-long pedal steel guitar—on the soundtrack for 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Though he has been known to go out on tour, showcasing his music to live audiences, recent years have proved too busy to fit that into his schedule. Perhaps one day McCreary will get the chance to take it on the road again. Fortunately for us, his music is available online through outlets like iTunes, and there’s plenty of OSTs to choose from. One of his upcoming projects is the soundtrack for Sony’s God of War video game reboot coming in 2018. We’re definitely looking forward to that game, and knowing McCreary is involved with the score means we’re in good hands music wise. The Walking Dead or Black Sails OST is great background music for your writing sessions, or whenever you just want to listen to one of the best working in the field today.