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Home arrow Interviews arrow Q&A with Jun Senoue Part 1
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Sunday afternoon, and I’ve just travelled down from Newcastle to London’s Earls Court, in order to meet the most influential name in Sonic the Hedgehog Music, and Crush 40 guitarist extraordinaire, Jun Senoue. I greet him at his hotel, accompanied by the official Jun Senoue fansite administrator Pammi. We had a boat-load of questions lined up for the man, and after getting a sneaky listen to some of the music that will be gracing the next Sonic games, he had this to say:

T-Bird: What made you become interested in writing music as a career?

Jun: I started learning piano at the age of three. In music lessons at school we were required to get feedback from other students in the class and the comments were always that of praise, which game me a real confidence boost. I then started writing when I was 15.

T-Bird: Do you have anyone in particular who inspires you?

Jun: Almost every band and musician I hear! At Junior High School I listened to a lot of pop music like Duran Duran, The Police, Kajagoogoo etc… but once I loved to Central America there was a big lifestyle change – We had MTV 24/7, and I could listen to much more music – that’s when I started listening to harder rock. It was different to what I’d heard, and more guitar orientated, and inspired the purchase of my first guitar when I returned to Japan after I’d finished High School.

T-Bird: How did you become a videogames composer for SEGA?

Jun: I was in band that toured Japan; North to South.

Pammi: Did you release an album?

Jun: We did make a few demos, but nothing was released. My band stayed together until we finished the 4th year of University, which was when the band broke up. I didn’t feel right in the band, so I was thinking about either changing the band’s style, or starting a new band. I had a plan to either work at a Record company, an instrument company or a music company. A friend then suggested that I send a tape to a video game company, and I was like “Wow! Nice idea!” I sent a demo of three or four songs to SEGA and NAMCO. At the time, SEGA were developing the SEGA mega CD, and were looking to use actual recorded tracks instead of a sound chip, and that’s how I started work for SEGA.

T-Bird: Even though it’s a tough comparison, have your ideas and styles, as well as your approach, to making a track for a computer game changed?

Jun: If I had to compose the music for Shadow the Hedgehog in 1998 I don’t think I could have done it – I just couldn’t have produced the right atmosphere for the game with the technology and music scene at the time. I know what my style is, and I know what my favourite genres of music are. I listen to a lot of metal music, as well as other genres of music, and my inspiration is always there. The style of the music in the game does change, and it gives a great sense of progression.

T-Bird: Sonic has been running for 15 years now; how does it feel to have played an important part in making the music, know the success of the games?
Jun: 15 years ago I was just a fan too! I remember getting Sonic 2 and I loved it. When I was brought onboard to do Sonic 3…Wow! A dream come true! At that moment I was just one member of the massive SEGA team working on the games, and was one of the youngest – It was great! When I had to take control of producing music, about 8 years ago, I realised it was my duty to change the music. Sonic had to change a lot for the Dreamcast games; all of us [The SEGA staff] wanted a drastic change, one of the reasons I was picked to lead the music production. I’ve been able to do it my way since, and it’s been so much fun!

T-Bird: Can you say a little bit about any of the work you are composing for the new Sonic game set to hit the XBOX and Playstation 3? Are there any other projects that you are working on at the moment?

Jun: I’m not sure if I’m allowed to comment on some of that! I can tell you a little about the other work I’ve doing though. After Shadow, I’ve been working on a couple of games for the Japanese market – one is a baseball related game and the other is a football game. I’m now doing some music for Sonic Rivals for the PSP, although I’m not actually composing the music.

T-Bird: Any chances of working on a new Crush 40 album in the near future?

Jun: In 2002 we recorded about 21 songs. When we got together to write stuff for Shadow, we found that our fresh ideas were a lot different to the songs we’d written back in 2002 – our sound had changed. Johnny is pretty busy with his company, Axel is doing his thing; he’s pretty big in his home country. It’s hard finding time for another project, but we are discussing possibilities for albums. I am also very busy; I am writing some music for some friends at the moment, but I can’t comment on that though!

T-Bird: Finally – Do you have a message for the millions of Sonic Fans currently celebrating Sonic’s 15th Anniversary via your website and the Summer of Sonic website?

Jun: Thank you all for supporting our blue hedgehog and our music! It’s been so much fun, and a great pleasure to be a part of Sonic music, as the games are so great!
Sonic is a positive character – I try to write my music with positive messages. I hope all you guys hear those messages, and are positive in the things you do and with the people you meet!

T-Bird: Thanks loads Jun, we look forward to hearing more of your work in the near future!

Part 2 coming soon!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 August 2006 )
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