My Friends

[April 2000 KALTA]


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Q: First of all, could we have your date of birth, your sign of the Zodiac and your blood type? (I also take it that "KALTA" is not your real name, but where did it come from...?)


KALTA : (hereafter referred to as K) April 17th, 1970. My sign of the Zodiac is Aries, and my animal fortune tells me that I'm a "koala". It seems that koalas are natural-born epicureans, and when all my friends try to guess my animal-fortune, they always tell me, "man, you've gotta be a koala".

As for my name, my real name's "Ootsuki Hidenobu" and KALTA's like a stage name that I go by. I could try to explain where it came from, but if you're willing to listen, prepare yourself for a novel...

First off, my family name used to be "Inoue" but it's been changed now to "Ootsuki". I remember that back in school, people really had a hard time remembering my name because it just didn't have enough impact. Also, there was a time when I used to be in a band with this Filipino vocalist and this Afro-American guy from the armed forces. Back when I first met these people, I tried giving them my name in alphabetized letters. They nodded and gave me this big, "OK! OK!", but afterwards whenever they tried pronouncing my name, it would always come out something like, "I-No-E Hedi-No-bo"... I'm like, "Who!?" (laughs). Because of this, I I started thinking about setting a stage name for myself, and that's when I ran into this so-called "channeler". This dude told me that he could "channel-in" to the spirit world and make contact with the spirits, so I got him to contact my spirits to find out more about myself. He told me something like, "You were born in the ancient city of Carthage, where the present day country of Tunisia lies." and at first, I thought, "you've gotta be kiddin' me!", but since the word "Carthage" means, "the new street" I sorta' took that and got the name "KALTA" from there. Woah, talk about a lo---ng story! I'm outta breath... And I'm only on a word processor (laughs).

And one final thing that I'd like to point out is that my grandpa is German, and so I'm a quarter German-Japanese. I think it's really complicating too, myself.

Q: You presently hold two jobs working as a composer/arranger and also as a drummer, but can you tell us a little bit about your musical background? (When did you first realize that you wanted to create music; when did you first begin to play the drums or compose and arrange your own songs; and also please tell us the reasons why you decided to start music... etc.)

K: According to my mum, back when I was still learning how to crawl around on my hands and knees; I used to grab a hold of the little dining room table, listen to the tune playing on the record or radio, and twist n' shake my lil' body along to the music while giving out these piercing little cries. During dinnertime, as soon as I got a hold of my chopsticks, I would start beating them against my rice bowl so the coating on my chopsticks were always peeling off, and countless number of my rice bowls ended up getting cracked. That's when my mum finally decided to get me some drumsticks for me to play with... and thanks to that, my life's been a ruin (laughs)!!

Also, I had an American uncle who gave me a stack full of American LP's and albums filled with some cool electric-sounding stuff, so I just played around with those everyday on my portable record player. In my case, I think it's more appropriate to say, "played around" rather than "listened to" (laughs). The first record that I ever got was the double-disc album by "the Ventures". Other than that, I listened to the "Beatles", who were the representatives of the GS (Group Sounds) at the time, a lot of "Elvis Presley", some Latin/pops-orchestra type of stuff, country/western, and classical music, so I was never short when it came to things to listen to.

The first time that I ever really got hooked on music was back when I was in elementary school, listening to this synthesizer-type music called, "Kraftwerk", and also listening to some Disco music (they weren't called club music back then) off of this movie soundtrack called, "Saturday Night Fever". After that, I learned to play the drums, and in junior high school started getting into some fusion music - both Japanese and foreign. And as sort of like an extension of that, I began playing jazz at the age of 15. After graduating from high school, I began listening to a lot of modern music, 70's music, and some progressive rock. Finally, once I started getting into rock music, I began to learn how to use synthesizers, and eventually went into computer-programmed music.

Instrument-wise, I began playing the Yamaha Electone when I was 3 years old, began the piano from the age of 7 (I hated practice. Just like in the case of the records, I wasn't really "playing" the instrument, but rather "playing WITH" the thing, like a little toy), and finally the drums when I was 10 years old. I composed my very first song when I was 6. I would never forget the title of this song, but I'm too embarassed to say it right now (laughs). I also remember composing something on the Electone for a public performance of some sort... After that, I've kept on composing and arranging songs and I've also continued to perform in lives and gigs with my friends. When you look at it that way, I guess you could say that I grew up in a very nice little environment.

Q: What would you say is your TRUE title?.. The REAL KALTA Otsuki? (are you a drummer? or...?)

K: I get this question pretty often, but I've yet to find an answer for it (bitter smile on his face). I'm a music-lover deep down inside, and that's the way that I wanna stay, regardless of the genre that I listen to, the type of instruments that I play, or the type of songs that I compose. Whichever way you look at it, I would say that they're all ME. Because in my perspective, playing an instrument is similar to composing a song in real-time, and even when I'm composing a song, the feeling that I get when I come up with a great line in my head is still the same as when I'm playing the actual instruments. Even when I'm programming a song into the computer, I get the feeling that I'm playing the instrument, and if any of these things were missing, my music just wouldn't be where it is today.

But ultimately, I'd have to say that my TRUE identity is a "koala" (laughs). As long as you enjoy it... Great! Music is all about things like "soundin' cool" or "feelin' good!" or "havin' fun" or maybe sometimes even, "feelin' sad and blue..." What I mean by all of this is that there are many different theories out there, and all sorts of different ways to express oneself musically, but in the end, what we try to accomplish through music is all the same. And that is "to move people through sonic vibrations ", so no matter which title is the REAL "KALTA Otsuki", the end result will still be the same, no matter what.

Q: Now I'd like to ask you a few questions in regards to your relationship with Mitsuda. First of all, could you tell us about how you came to be friends with him?

K: I met him back when I used to be in this Latin-Jazz band with the guitarist Mr. HATA (who later went on to form the band, "GUIDO"). This Mr. HATA had a very close relationship with a certain producer, who one day came up to him and said, "how would you like trying to work with me on an arrangement album for a game soundtrack?" and it was during the meeting for this album that I first met "Micchan". This album turned out to be "THE BRINK OF TIME", the arranged soundtrack of the Super Nintendo version "Chrono Trigger".

Q: And what were your first impressions of him back then?

K: First of all, I was sorta' taken by surprise when I saw how young he was, and thought, "Hmm, you're mighty young, aren't you? lil' boy?" (laughs). No, but to tell you the truth, on the morning of the very first meeting, I got this real serious case of diarrhea and ended up being late for the meeting. Even when I finally reached the meeting room, I had to head straight to the restroom (laughs) so I really don't remember too much. But I DO remember that Micchan had this very solemn expression on his face and a fiery look in his eyes that made me think, "...hmm, you're really excited about doing this album, aren't you, lil' boy..." But then again, it could have just been that his eyes were dried out (laughs). But on a serious note, just as expected from a composer of a top-notch game company like SQUARE, he seemed to be a very reliable man.

Q: You've been very close friends with Mitsuda for many years now, but after getting to know him better over these years, how do you feel about him now?

K: I respect him. And I'm not tryin' to dis him or praise him or anything here. The amount of work that a game creator has to go through is tremendous. But still, he seems to somehow be able to calmly manage all this work, and still find enough time to go out drinking and go fooling around. Not to mention, he's got these really bad hair days sometimes, but he still has these looks that sorta' remind you of those young TV idols... man, I'm no match for him (makes me jealous sometimes)! It's strange but although I've known him for this long, his looks haven't changed one bit. But I really admire the way that he sorta' "fails to grow old". No, I mean this in a "good way" (laughs).

Q: What are some of Mitsuda's good characteristics? (if there are any... that is)

K: On a serious note (you mean to tell me that you weren't serious up till now?) I've always admired the way that he's built up his own stance as a musician and how he has the abilities to retain that stance through his ambitions. Also, he is very honest to himself, which I believe is the reason why he never seems to get too over-confident and remains so aggressive and light-footed. This decisiveness that he has, when it comes time to make critical decisions and his ability to put his words straight into action, are some of his marvelous traits worth noting and as you can tell by the number of people that visit this site, he's got a way of touching people's hearts with his music.

This might be a wierd way to put it, but I think that he's an "overly-passionate man" and also at the same time, "has a few bolts loose in his head". He emits this mysterious aura that makes you think that he's gonna make something big happen - for better or for worse (laughs). I think it's fun being around those types of people, because they really have what it takes to CREATE something new. Also, he's very compassionate towards other people, and not to mention very strict towards himself. But there are places where he's really loose around, and when I say loose, I mean REALLY LOOSE (laughs).

Q: Is there anything about him that you just can't stand? Something where you just have to say "please, spare me this!" or "wa---it a sec! Now THAT's going TOO far!"

K: I don't think there IS anything. But then again, he's no saint either (laughs). I really shouldn't be the one to talk here because I tend to cause even more stress on people around me. Oh wait... I just thought of one thing. Whenever you're having a conversation or working with other people, I know that you must get real frustrated or stressed out sometimes (or at least I think so), but you've gotta stop trying to hold back that rage and frustration during the conversation and letting it all just explode the minute you step away (laughs).

Q: How did you feel when you first received word about working for the arranged album of "Chrono Trigger"? (Did you know that such a genre actually existed?)

K: Well, I knew that they had such a genre, but I never knew that they had such things as original soundtracks and arranged albums. When I first received the request for this job, the word was that this album was going to be something like an acid-jazz type of album, and also since this was my first time ever taking part in a CD production, I was really looking forward to it. I was like, "Man, I wonder what's gonna go on next!?"

Q: That work (Chrono Trigger) was Mitsuda's debut as a composer, but what did you think of his music, at the time that it came out?

K: Honestly, at first I couldn't understand it too well. Or actually, I think I may not have been listening to it deeply enough (laughs). To be REAL frank with you, I used to be one of those guys who sorta' looked down upon game music. And also, the original songs were so different from the acid-jazz songs that I originally had in mind, that I started thinking to myself, "How the heck am I supposed to do this!". But as I went on doing my work, I began to realize that Micchan's songs had these many different elements which made it fun to arrange. After that, I even began listening to the original soundtrack while driving around in my car (laughs). Later on, I also had the opportunity to play the actual game, but that's when I realized how well-made his songs were as a "soundtrack". I think that by playing the game, I was also able to understand the true "meanings" of these songs.

Q: After listening to his music in "Tobal No.1" and also taking part in the arranged version of the "Xenogears" soundtrack, "CREID" (both of which you participated in as the arranger), have your impressions of his music changed?

K: I think the core part of his style hasn't really changed but his musical elements have started to become more and more abstract, and even more fun to fiddle around with. It may sound strange for me to say something like this, but he's begun to put on a lot of strength in his composition style, and in accordance to that, his sounds have begun to put on more strength as well. But in "Xenogears", I got this impression that he dropped off much of his excess strength, but in place of that, he thickened his "Mitsuda-color" and made them sound even more sophisticated. When I heard his newly formed sounds, I was so excited that "I couldn't wait to arrange his songs," literally. I also believe that as an arranger, I myself have begun to... hmm, how do you say this... begun to sorta' get a "feel" for his music... or begun to understand how to "reach" his music. I think the more you work with a person, the more that a piece of that person begins to seep into you, and vice versa. In a way, I think that I was able to fill in on Micchan's missing parts, and in the same token, Micchan was also kind enough to leave space for my music. And as a result of that, we've succeeded in creating an album that leaves much more space and freedom for the listeners imagination. I think that this is an extremely vital part of music.

Q: Lately, it seems that you've also begun to take on the role as composer/arranger in many games as well (if you don't mind, could you give us the title of the games that you've worked on so far?), but after becoming directly involved in game music yourself, what are your feelings upon this genre of music? Have your impressions changed any?

K: You want to know what I've worked on? Well, on the N64, I worked on this game called, "64 de hakken Tamagocchi Minn-na de Tamagocchi World". The title's kinda' long, but it's a rather simple board game. The soundtrack for this is out in stores now, and with the singles track included, it's got 72 tracks recorded... man, talk about a machine-gun recording! As soon as this soundtrack was released, a lot of the variety shows and TV programs started using these songs in their shows, so I'm sure many of you have heard bits and pieces of it somewhere or another. I still can't believe that I put a vocal track on a N64 game (laughs).

I also worked on the Game Boy title, "Robot Ponkottsu" and also the N64 version called, "Robot Ponkottsu - The 7 Oceans of Caramel". All the three titles that I've mentioned above, I've been working on with this musical unit called "O" (as in the 15th letter of the alphabet). On the GB, "Robot Ponkottsu", even though it's consists of only a 3 voice polyphony and 1 noise track, we've received complaints that "it's got too many tracks of sound, and not to mention very NOISY!" (gives a bitter smile).

Next, I made the BGM for this Dreamcast game called, "Super Producer - Mezase Shou Bizu Kai" in which the users can do their own arranging or re-mixing within the game in order to train and produce their own characters and eventually become a virtual super producer. This is basically a music game so I really put a lotta' effort into the BGM. It's packed with a heavy dose of trip-hop, digi-rock, and techno-ish sounds (laughs). The soundtrack for this one also hit the shelves a while back.

Besides that, I've also taken part in "Baku - BomberMan 2" which both Micchan and Mr. Kira worked on, and just the other day, I began a new project with a another game company. So... you want to know how I feel about making my own game music now... ? First of all, it's a lot of hard work. I mean, other than the fact that you've got a countless number of songs to write, you also get much of your time eaten up by the composing and arranging process. Not to mention, compared to other types of music production, you have to deal with all these little limits and restrictions such as the number of channels you can have, and also the size of the sound files you're permitted to use. A while back, this job would have probably required much more technical knowledge in the computer field than today, and I'm sure that the restrictions that I mentioned above were even more strict back then. I can just imagine how difficult it must have been - the process of creating an effective BGM in such an environment. I mean, back then, there were no such things as DTM's (Desk Top Music), and being a game music composer required something much more than just knowledge about music and computers; and just as if you had to practice an instrument in order to become a musician, I really feel that the job of a game music composer was a very specialized occupation. To put down someone like that, would almost be the same thing as putting myself down and also would be a huge disrespect to all other musicians in general.

But nowadays, since new hardware is being developed at a tremendous pace; not to mention sound quality being improved and functions being added in shorter time spans, a regular musician with even the minimal knowledge in sequencing can create game music. To put it in another way, even if you don't know how to play an instrument, as long as you know how to use DTM, you can create your own game music. Of course it's also possible to directly insert songs that you've recorded using actual live instruments too. The borderline between regular music and game music is slowly starting to fade away, so from now on I think that game music has to stop lowering itself to the level of being "just another BGM" (sorry, to put it this way), but rather solidify their position as a respectable form of entertainment in the music world. We have to develop music that'll be able to compete in the same ballpark as other types of music as well, or otherwise "game music will always remain to be JUST game music". I think from now on, more artists from the music industry are going to start taking part in the making of game music - just as in the case of movie soundtracks. And I think it's very much possible that one of these days, a hit song will come from one of these game soundtracks... I really believe that it's up to us to make that happen.

Q: After starting to take on the role of game music composer for yourself, do you ever feel that there is a difference between your style of music and Mitsuda's style? What would you say is the distinct difference between your music and Mitsuda's music?

K: Definitely. Even though we're both musicians, we've got our differences; such as - one of us started his music career as a composer and the other as a performer, and also one is a melody-maker while the other is a track-maker. It's interesting how if we tried composing/arranging a song using the exact same sound modules and even the exact same preset sounds, we would still both come up with something totally different. But to a certain degree, we're both being influenced and reshaped by each other's music. Like I said before, whether it's because it "sounds cool" or "feels good" we all try to accomplish the same thing. And because our methods kinda' differ here, what "sounds cool" and "feels good" sorta' differ too, but we still have a lot of things in common. I don't know what it is that I'm trying to say here (laughs) BUT! in conclusion - our faces are different, and therefore our brains are totally different also... Geez, that makes even LESS sense!!

Q: What kind of jobs have you taken part in recently, besides game music (perhaps you could tell us a little bit about "Folder"...)?

K: The only non-game related work that I've taken on lately is this album, "Folder" for Avex Trax. Ah, wait. Maybe not. On "Folder", I worked on making the cover-arrange version of the famous hit single, "I Want You Back" by Jackson 5 and the song, "ABC" also done by Jackson 5. In addition to this, in the album, "7Soul" that went on sale this March, I contributed one of my songs which I composed (song and lyrics) and arranged. Yes folks, you heard right. I wrote the lyrics (laughs).

I also took part in this compilation album, "TEN PLANTS2" in which Micchan's "Ginn iro no Leica" is recorded. I arranged the songs, "Ashita no Tenki" by Mr. Uematsu and also "Mimie-chann" written by Mr. Hayashi, but everyone tells me that it doesn't sound like it's been arranged by the same person.

As a drummer, I've been performing as a regular member of this Jazz piano trio called, "Tanaka Nobumasa KARTELL" for the past 2 years. This June 23, we're planning on releasing our debut album, and if you'll allow me to PR for a second here, the album name is "Odd Or Even" and it's going to be published by this record label called, East Works Entertainment. This pianist, Mr. Nobumasa Tanaka, also participated in 2 of the tracks in "THE BRINK OF TIME".

Besides this, I'm also playing the drums in 2 songs off of "Ame ni Utaeba", an album by the artist, "Nanao Tabibito" who works under the "Oolongsya" office, owned by Mr. Takeshi Kobayashi. And also, I'm playing drums in another 2 songs off this album by Mrs. Ayaka Kushibiki, which happens to be tied up with the theme song for this TV program called CDGroove. I plan on becoming a "late bloomer", so... I guess I'm making steady progress here (laughs).

Q: What type of jobs do you enjoy taking on the most?

K: I LOVE being in the recording studio. As a composer, or as a drummer, either way - whenever I'm in the studio, I feel that "this is MY place". And whatever kind of work that I take part in, knowing that my strength and talents as "Hidenobu 'KALTA' Otsuki" is required for a job, brings me much happiness and also gives me the strength to overcome any obstacles.

Q: You're an extremely versatile person and have the skills to take on any type of music, but what would you consider to be your best or favorite genre of music to work with?

K: Again, I'm not really sure myself (laughs). But as a composer/arranger who works mainly on computer-programmed music, I kinda' have this feeling that I'm best at making dance-type music. I also think that it's the genre that I feel most comfortable working with. But because of the fact that I'm also a performer, whenever I create songs using a computer, I become overly-conscious of "that certain groove that can only be felt through computer music - and not through live performances" and so I tend to go for more of that techno and trip-hop style sounds. But I'm the kind of guy who goes crazy over new things (laughs), so I'm easily influenced by other people's music and my favorite genre keeps changing constantly. I remember that back when we recorded "CREID", there was a period when I really got hooked on Celtic music.

Q: In which musical direction, are you planning on taking your activites? Also, what exactly are your dreams for the future!?

K: We--ll, being an artist, I'd like to try establishing my own place in music. If you take a look at Mr. Kira, for instance, he's got his own band, "ZABADAK" which is something like his own home ground, and wherever he goes and whatever job he takes on, he's got his own trademark "Kira sound". The same goes for Micchan... I'd like to make an album where I can tell everyone, "THIS is my sound that I wanted to get across to you people!" Work-wise, I'd like to try taking on some more work within the J-POPS genre, and give back to the people all that I've received from music. I believe that it's the best way that I can contribute to the music community.

And as for my dreams... I want to live a happy, full life with my family, friends, and all the people I've come to know through music. Eventually, I want to be able to look back on my life and say, "Ahh, what a wonderful life it's been!" and when I die, I'll make sure that I die laughing!.. And I'm definitely gonna' live to be over 100!! The way I see it, people who choose to become musicians, do so because they want to live happily and enjoy life; but I also think that in order to do that, they have to be able to share that happiness with the people around them.

Q: Your girlfriend, Ms. EDO (singer, Miss Miki Koizumi) has participated in the chorus of Chrono Trigger's arranged version album, "THE BRINK OF TIME", and has also recently taken on the role as the voice trainer for Kirche's vocalist, Ms. Noriko Mitose, am I correct? How is she doing? Also, what kind of jobs and activities has she been taking part in recently?

K: She rarely takes on any jobs where it requires her to sing anymore, but sometimes she performs with me in live performances, and also sings in the chorus for Mrs. Keiko Masuda, a former member of the "Pink Lady". Besides that, she's been pretty busy running from place to place as the voice trainer for music schools, record companies, and production companies. She's basically my "lifeline"; the one who keeps me alive and fed (laughs). Oh yeah, by the way, although she may seem like a cute little fawn, whenever she steps away from her home, she suddenly changes into a fierce "wolf". What AM I talking about here? And as for Ms. Mitose, I see her sometimes too. She's a very amusing person (laughs). We have to go drinking together someday.

Q: Do you have any plans of working together with Ms. EDO (in making an album, for example)?

K: We haven't planned on producing anything, but we've been talking about it. I mean, having two musicians together like this, it would be a waste NOT to create something together. I can't reveal the image of the album just yet, but we've been thinking about making something really insane and outta' this world. Whenever we try to work on something together, we always end up getting into a fight and driving each other insane anyway, so either way, it's gonna end up being the same. And oh yeah, I've also found out that things go alot smoother when SHE does the composing and I take care of the arranging. Hmm... all this talk about this album has really got me going now (laughs)!

Q : Are there any plans of you two getting married...? (you can skip this question if you'd like...)

K: We keep mentioning it, but so far there aren't any definite plans. We're both caught up in our own lives, and we don't really have the time to be thinking about that sort of stuff! Also, after being together for 10 years, you start to lose sense of what it really means to "get married". I mean, I see young couples, younger than either one of us, getting married, having kids, and getting divorced. It's really a strange feeling. I sometimes get this feeling like we're some old couple that's been together for many many years (laughs). But I still want to have kids, so I guess I have to get married someday... What's this got to do with this homepage anyways...!?

Q: What kind of jobs would you like to take on with Mitsuda in the future?

K: I'll do anything! I'd especially like to try working on an original album with Micchan! Then I'd work as the arranger, remixer, or drummer and just fool around with the songs until I completely mix up his sounds (just kidding. laughs). Whenever you get two people together to create something, whether they have similar or different tastes, you have an endless possibility of making something totally new and different. Even when opinions don't match sometimes and sounds just don't come together like they should, if you keep working at it, (to explain in mathematical terms) the two creator's powers become multiplied, rather than just simply added. I believe that Micchan and I have this "multiplicable" relationship with each other (laughs).

Q: And now, if you would please send a word out to Mitsuda!

K: I love you, man! Even when we're both old and wrinkled, I hope that we can still remain to be close friends and share a couple of brews together while telling dirty jokes to each other (laughs). You've really got a way of making some fantastic music, so please continue to share that wonderful world of yours with the people around you! And I also want you to become even more famous than you are now; that way, I can boast about you to all my friends (laughs). Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you out. As for myself, I'll work hard too so that one of these days, when we go to a nearby bar to share a couple of drinks, the people there would be like, "Hey! Check THAT out! It's Mitsuda and KALTA... sharing drinks!! WOW, I didn't know those two were friends!" (laughs). Well, anyway, I know how musicians tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles, so... work hard, but don't forget to watch out for your health too.

Q: Finally, could you please leave a word out to the readers of this column!?

K: Well, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read this long long interview. I know that Micchan receives much of his strength and support from the many people who come to visit this site, so please continue to love and support this "overly-passionate man, who ought to be loved (but still has a few loose bolts) - Yasunori Mitsuda", and also while you're at it, please continue to support me along the side (laughs). And also, from looking at the BBS of this page, it seems that there are a good number of you out there that are aspiring to become game music composers. But let me just say that in order to become a talented musician, the likes of Micchan, it requires an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, decisiveness - as well as the strengths and skills to back-up that decision, and above all, the "trained ear" of a pure music lover with the ability to absorb and take in any genre of music. I'd also like to say that if you have the time to think or worry about other small things in life, you should devote more of that time into writing more songs. Also, you need to love music to the point that you are willing to take on any kind of challenges. Those are some of the facets of Micchan that I've witnessed so far (although I've seen other facets as well. laughs). I wish all of you the best of luck in bringing your dreams to life! Finally, although I hate to sound like I'm trying to publicize myself here (laughs), if you've read this "My Friends" column and have become interested in knowing more about this "Hidenobu KALTA Otsuki" and his activities, please send me an E-mail to my address below. I am also planning on starting up my own homepage around June or July, but until then, I'll be sending out my CD and tour information via E-mail. Thank you very much!!

mailto:kalta@ra2.so-net.ne.jp

I hope that I will have the opportunity of meeting all of you people someday...

PS: I'm sorry for taking so long to send in this interview!

Mr. KALTA, thank you so very much for taking time to carefully answer our questions. I know that you've been suffering from a cold and haven't been feeling too well these past few weeks, but I hope and pray that you'll get well soon. First of all, I must say, you never cease to amaze me, the way that you take on so many different activities in your distinct powerful way. Personally, whenever I think about you, Mr. KALTA, before I get the image of you as a composer, I get this image of this super-awesome drummer. I'm not sure if you remember, but I've been to one of your jazz lives before and your performance was incredible - to say the least! I just wish I could show everybody here how amazing your performance was! I think when it comes to music, Mitsuda has his own distinct style that only HE can create, but I believe that you also have a very intense and individualistic style of music that only YOU can create also (and having the ability to blend that in so skillfully with other people's works - is your unique gift as an arranger). I hope that you will continue to polish up on this special skill of yours, and also go on to create some even more cool-sounding music. Also, I hope that you and Mitsuda will continue to inspire each other and create many more wonderful works together. I am confident that you two have the ability to build the pathway to a whole new, unprecedented world of music. And finally, let's get a comment from your friend and also good rival(?), Yasunori !!

Mitsuda: I remember the first day that we ever met almost as if it were yesterday. It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since then. Boy, how time flies. I've taken on so many works with KAL-chan (KALTA) since then, and looking back upon them, I'm very pleased how each one of them has turned out to be such interesting works - containing very "thick and juicy" contents. I remember that until I met you, I didn't know a single thing about live recordings, but thanks to you, I've been able to learn so much more about the whole recording process. Your unique "KAL-chan arrange technique" has really left a strong impact on me, and I think a good example of this arranging technique can be heard in the album, "Gun Hazard". In this work, I decided to implement many of my "KAL-chan arranging" techniques that I aquired from you through the arrange work in "THE BRINK OF TIME" (laughs). Also, another point worth noting is that you taught me the joys of working in a studio. Hmm.. maybe I'm praising you too much here (laughs) but anyway, I wish you much luck in your live performances, and also all your arranging, composing and producing work that you may take on in the future. I'm also going to ask you for your help whenever I decide on doing a live, or whenever I decide on recording the drums, so when that time comes, I hope that you'll be kind enough to lend me a hand. Thanks!