How did you start making game music?
Meguro : When I graduated graduate
school, my parents told me that I should have a stable job. I
wanted to have a job as a composer. So I thought about what kind
of musical jobs are good, and were I can get a stable salary.
I choose the job of game music and I joined Atlus.
How long have you worked for Atlus? What was the first game you
I have worked at Atlus for five years, and my first game was Persona.
How many games do you work on per year?
I work on one game every two years.
RB: What are the
positives and negatives about being a staff composer?
The positives --- I can make a stable living as a staff composer.
I don't have to manage the business by myself. Also, they can
do big projects even if they don't have great abilities as a composer.
( Is it me?!) The negatives --- I can't get my royalty.
RB: How long did
you work on Maken X? How much music did you write? How much freedom
did you have? What influenced your music?
I worked on Maken X for a year and half.
The period of composing music was about 6 months to 1 year. During
this time I composed about 40 tunes. I wanted to have much more
discretion. Regarding the restriction of the hardware, it was
hard. Because I can compose by using the internal sound source,
but I could use 400KB capacity per 1 tune. If I compose with the
former form, there were more freedom. There were some instructions
(genre and mood of music) from my boss, my director and my producer.
So I try not to get any influence from others.
RB: How closely
do you work with the other Atlus composers?
Regarding Maken X, I composed most of the
music. After I got some instructions, they let me work freely.
I did not work so closely with other composers, but during the
work, I would meet ( for vain talk) about the game with the other
RB: Any specific
memories about working on Maken X?
I had a hard time with 3D sickness. When
they made the US version of Maken X , they recorded the English
dialogue in the US I had a very good experience there.
RB: Why do you
I want to make an impression upon the audience
(it's a joke). To tell you the truth, I just want to rock!
RB: How do you
create your melodies?
I wait until God comes down to me.
How long did you work on Persona? What were your influences for
the music? How much music did you write?
I worked on Persona for about one year. Since I started work immediately
(correctly, before I entered the company), I had no time to take
it easy. I just managed lots of work which were prepared for me
rather than getting influence or inspiration from something. They
let me overwork. I composed ten to twenty percent of the music.
RB: Any specific
memories about working on Persona?
I could not go home for two months. But
it's all right, because when I came back home, I found the last
place Giants ( Japanese baseball team) had won their division.
Who are your influences and why?
Actually I think I got a lot of influence
from the Japanese fusion group, "The Square". It's surprising.
When I was a junior high school student, I was grown up musically.
I used to listen to The Square a lot. I don't think that my melodies
and chord progressions are similar to them, but my musical characteristics
are good, smooth linked tunes.This part may be influenced from
The Square. (" The Square" just broke up while I wrote about this
interview.) Since I'm easily influenced by various music, I try
not to listen to the music carefully. I just listen to the mood
of the piece.
RB: What are the
positives and negatives about creating music in Japan?
The positives--- When Japanese sound companies
begin to sell their new tools, I can get them right away. The
negatives--- It takes a long time for foreign sound tools to arrive
at their agency. When working in a foreign country it is very
enjoyable and I get excited about the cultural differences. I
compose at the place where I feel calm. You know, I wait until
God comes down to me. For me it's better to work in Japan.
RB: You have composed
music for many platforms. Which is your favorite and why?
My favorite platform is the latest model
available. If I use newer models, the range I can work with will
be much bigger. When I make a tune with 200KB or 300KB, it's hard
to get satisfaction about my ideas. In our company which has RPG
development, we make most of the sounds by using the internal
sound source. The newer console models have more sound ram, which
will increase the volume of music which is played by the stream.
What I'm working now is a great project which uses a lot of the
stream reproduction. They are the parts which I had not been satisfied
with before, because there were the restrictions of the previous
platforms. I hope you enjoy it!
RB: Please tell
us about your work on Devil Summoner Soul Hackers?
I composed fifty tunes and had less discretion
than Maken X. The capacity of sound ram was much less. (100KB
Any specific memories about working on Devil Summoner Soul Hackers?
I don't remember about it at all. My psychiatrist
often says that when people have terrible experiences or abuse,
they seal their own memories...(It's a joke)
RB: What is your
favorite work that you have composed?
It's the ending tune (jazz type) of Maken
X. I hope you enjoy my next work!
RB: Who is your
favorite Atlus composer?
Mr.Kurokawa. I like his jazz type music.
RB: Who would you
most like to make music with?
Diana Leaves. She sings the ending tune
of Maken X with her jazzy and soulful voice. She is so great!
RB: What does your
music tell us about you?
In the property of the game music, I can't
express my music freely. For instance normal musicians say,"Listen
to the soul of Rock!". When I compose, I always care about this.
I try not to destroy the world view of the game. I try to think
that music is a part of the background and throw away my ego as
much as possible. I hope the users can feel the emotional parts
which I have felt: anger and sorrow from the pictures or the scenarios.
RB: Who is your
favorite overall game composer?
I don't know about game composers very well. The tunes of the
Sega Saturn version of Sega Rally are cool!
RB: Any advice
for people who want to compose music?
I can't tell about it haughtily. I think it's good not to use
the fake techniques.(Ex. using functions of automatic composing
or easy break beats) If you cultivate your ability of composing
steadily. You will become a good composer.
Translated by Yuko
RocketBaby would like
to thank Mr. Meguro for taking time to chat with us. Special thanks
to Atlus and Kaoru Murakami (Atlus).