Q & A

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July 2002 June 2002 April 2002 March 2002 1999 - 2000



Questions from June, 2002

You often use sampled "voices" in your songs, but where do you get these samples?

(from Yasunori)
I usually get them from a rights-free sample CD. These samples are great because you can do stuff like change the pitch and fool around with the various voices and make melodies out of them.


Hello! I'm a high school student dreaming of someday becoming a composer like you. I was just wondering, how old were you when you decided on pursuing a career in music composition?

(from Yasunori)
It was back when I was in high school. For more information about my background, please refer to my PROFILE page.


I was wondering, will there ever be a guitar score published for "Chrono Trigger", "Chrono Cross" or "Xenogears"?

(from Yasunori)
As regards to "Chrono Trigger" and "Xenogears", the rights to the songs don't belong to me, so I'd say a guitar score for those two games would be virtually impossible to publish. "Chrono Cross", on the other hand, may be possible because I still own the rights to the songs. If there are enough demands out there, we MAY publish a guitar score for it someday.


I'm presently learning to play the "koto" in my school club, and I've learned that traditional Japanese instruments such as these (like the shamisen and shakuhachi) use a different method of notation from that of the most commonly-seen western style notation. As a composer, do you also have to study the different notation styles of each instruments?

(from Yasunori)
Well I DO study up on the instrument itself and its sound character (although the koto and shamisen aren't really my favorite instruments to work with). One thing I can say is that when you write for different instruments, it's mandatory that you know the key range of the instrument. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to get the best sounds from the instrument, and in the worst case, the musician may not even be able to play it at all!


Previously, I read a question about whether you would be willing to take on the sequel to "Xenosaga", which you answered, "I'm not sure yet, since I still haven't received any word about the next game". But if you DID receive the offer, do you think you would accept? In my personal opinion, I can't imagine what the Xeno-series would be, without your music.

(from Yasunori)
I'm sorry, but I'm still not sure yet (laughs). I don't think I can make a decision only by "assuming that I received the offer". Besides, I think it's a bit too early to be talking about things like that.


I know that there must be at least a few songs that you've written so far that have been turned down, but is there a possibility that you may upload these songs on your site someday for your fans to hear?

(from Yasunori)
When a song gets turned down, I basically take it to mean that "it wasn't good enough nor up to my standards", so the chances of it ever being released to the world are slim to none. But to tell you the truth, I haven't had too many songs turned down so far in my career (although I DO have a countless number of songs that I've turned down, myself). I guess it's because I always get plenty of background information beforehand and build a solid image in my mind before starting to write.


I was wondering, will PROCYON STUDIO ever be hiring any new employees in the near future? I'd like to know how I can become a member of your staff. Also, would it be possible to become your apprentice someday?

(from Yasunori)
I'm sorry to say this, but we have no plans of hiring any employees at this present stage of business. If our business at PROCYON STUDIO CO., LTD. begins to expand, and we find a need to increase staff members, we may hire new employees... but even still, we will be looking mainly into people with a good amount of experience working in this business, because we're a really small company and we don't have the time or money to invest in hiring newly graduates and teaching them from scratch. And as for an apprenticeship... I have no plans of ever taking anyone in as an apprentice because... well, there's nothing that you can ever learn from a person like myself.


Will there ever be an Electone score published for "Xenosaga"? Right now, I'm playing the songs on my CD and trying to play along with it, but I can only make out the melody and it sounds very lonesome without the rhythm part to back it up. Also, I wanted to ask you, what is your favorite instrument to play?

(from Yasunori)
I'm sorry but we don't have any plans of publishing an Electone score from PROCYON STUDIO, but (as always,) if there's a publisher willing to publish such a score, I'd say that it's still possible.
As for my favorite instrument to play, I've been practicing the guitar these past few years... but with very little improvement.


Why do you think that there are so many people in the music industry that like progressive rock?

(from Yasunori)
Hmm... I wonder why too?
Maybe it's just because many of the composers today happened to grow up in that period of time. You never know. The next thing you know, you'll be seeing the next generation of young composers saying stuff like, "I grew up listening to nothing but Morning Musume. They're my biggest inspiration!"...but then again, maybe not.


I read in the booklet of "Xenosaga Original Soundtrack" that you used an instrument called the "low whistle" in the song, "Kokoro". I just wanted to know, what kind of an instrument is a low whistle, and also could you give me the names of a few low whistle makers?

(from Yasunori)
It's a tall metal flute-like instrument (an octave lower than its counterpart, the "tin whistle" or "penny whistle"). I don't know the names of any makers but I'm sure there are alot of manufacturers in Ireland that specialize in making low whistles.


I often go around record stores and try choosing albums just by looking at the title and cover, but have you ever done that before? Also, are there any artists that you are particularly interested in right now?

(from Yasunori)
Actually, that's the way that I choose most of my albums (laughs)!It's definitely fun, but I wouldn't say that it's the most efficient way to go. Artists that I'm interested in at the moment I'd have to say, "none", especially since I haven't gone out to buy CD's in a long while. I think it's about time for me to go on another "CD shopping frenzy".


Like you, I too am a progressive rock lover, and I just wanted to ask you, what kind of progressive rock bands do you like listening to (my personal favorite is "Yes")? Please tell me if you have any Russian progressive rock bands that you recommend.

(from Yasunori)
Of course, I like "Yes" too!
Other artists that I also like listening to are "Goblin" and "Mike Oldfield".


I've heard that the piano score for "Xenogears" has gone out of print, but is there any way that you guys can bring back the score from PROCYON STUDIO?

We're sorry, but the copyrights to the songs in "Xenogears" don't belong to us, so the chances of us reprinting the score from PROCYON STUDIO are close to zero. If you would still like to get your hands on the score somehow, your best bet would be to try sending some requests to either SQUARE or DOREMI Music Publishing and ask them to reprint the score.


Hello. I'm a 15 year old junior high student and I'm dreaming of someday becoming a composer like you. My question is short and simple. How do you come up with melodies when you are composing? Do they just automatically pop into your head or something?

(from Yasunori)
Well, there are many different ways.
Sometimes, they just simply "pop into my head", and other times I come across a melody when just fooling around on the keyboard, and... also there are times when I hear melodies in my dreams.


Would you ever consider arranging other composers' works? Personally, I would love to try listening to your arranged version of "Secret of Mana". The songs themselves are not too bad, but the sounds of the Super Nintendo are a bit too "mechanical" to me...

(from Yasunori)
If I were asked (by the copyright holder) to do an arrangement, it's possible, but otherwise I'd say chances are slim. Arranging other people's works is a pretty tough job, and besides... Mr. Kikuta has his own arranged album out, so I think it'd be best to try listening to that instead.


I've tried using JASRAC's search engine to see if "Chrono Cross" was listed, but didn't find anything. Does this mean that I can create MIDI's and upload then onto the net?

(from Yasunori)
No, even if the title doesn't come up on JASRAC's list, it IS illegal to upload any "Chrono Cross" MIDI or MP3's onto the net.
There are various ways that copyrights are protected; sometimes game companies hold the rights, and at other times, an individual composer holds the rights. In order not to infringe upon other people's rights, my advice is to check with the copyright holder before uploading anything onto the net. Otherwise, you may end up being fined an extraordinary amount of money for copyright infringement (although I personally don't have any intentions of "hunting down" anybody).


How much time did it take to complete the songs for "Xenosaga"?

(from Yasunori)
Almost a whole year.
Well, actually to tell you the truth, I wrote most of the non-orchestra tracks in the last two months before the mastering-up process. What's tough is I can't start off composing songs right after a project is started. I have to wait until the game gets developed to a certain level, so that I can get a grasp of the setting and the entire image of the game. But that doesn't mean that I can wait forever, because I still have deadlines to meet, you know. I really wish that they could give me more time and let me start composing after the entire game is completed. Since sound is the last thing that is put in when making games, it's always the sound team that has the toughest deadlines to meet.
If we're going to improve the music and sound in games, I think game companies need to rework their scheduling so that the sound team gets a more descent schedule to work with.


I've heard that Mr. Tomohiko Kira of ZABADAK and his ex-bandmate, Ms. YokoUeno participated in the album, "CREID", but do you like listening to ZABADAK too? If you were to make an arrange album for "Xenosaga", I would love to hear it being sung by Ms. Yoko Ueno again!

(from Yasunori)
To tell you the truth, before I met them, I only knew the name of their band and that was about it. Fortunately, I got introduced to them through a certain acquaintance of mine, and after listening to a couple of their albums, I found out how talented they were and also realized that we had alot in common musically. Just at the time, I happened to be working on "CREID", the arranged album of "Xenogears", so I decided to ask them to play for me in the album. I would definitely like to try asking them to join me in an album again someday.


I read on this homepage that you're thinking about publishing a piano score for "Xenosaga", but if you were to publish this, when do you think that it will be out in stores? Also, will this include all the songs in the soundtrack? I would definitely buy it if you guys were to publish it!

(from Yasunori)
Rejoice, my friend!
For the piano score for "Xenosaga" is already underway. Although the publication date is still undecided, a piano score for "Xenosaga" will be published from Doremi Music Publishing. This time, I handed them my original score, so I think the piano arrangements should come out pretty close to the original tracks. As soon as we get more information concerning this Xenosaga piano score, we'll be sure to inform you on the INFORMATION section of this homepage.


Hello. I'm a big fan of your work in "Chrono Trigger", and I've been looking high and low for the "Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version" and the arranged album "THE BRINK OF TIME". I've been around CD stores, SQAURE's homepage, SONY MUSIC's homepage, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Can I still buy this album if I order it in stores? Or is there anywhere where I can purchase them online? Please let me know because I would do ANYTHING to get my hands on these albums!!

(from Yasunori)
Hmm... Sorry, but I'm not sure either. CD's from this period of time may not be too easy to find these days. I think your best chances would be to try checking all the CD shops and to try seeing if you can still order a copy... The same thing happens to me too when I go looking for older albums of the artists that I like. But when this happens, what I do is I go around the older CD stores and try to see if there are any left on the shelves. The rest is up to you... Good luck!


I reaaaaaally really want to hear the song that was played in the Xenosaga promotional movie back in the 2001 Tokyo Game Show, but do you plan on releasing it someday? Or is it already out in stores somewhere?

(from Yasunori)
Sorry, but that song in the promotional video wasn't written by me. It was used sorta' like a demo to give fans an image of the entire game. It's a pretty famous song by the Bulgarian Voices, so if you buy one of their "the Best" albums, I'm sure that it'd be included. The title of the song is "PILENTZE PEE".


Hello, I'm a 11th grade high school student and I've just began to compose music on my PC. The only equipment that I have right now are a few softwares and that's about it, but I'm thinking about someday entering a college of music in order to pursue a professional career in music.Unfortunately, I don't have too much of a musical background just yet. I've been playing the Electone for 6 years since the age of 4, and have also been playing the piano for 2 years but have quit both instruments. Since then, I've entered the school brass band, but that hasn't worked out too well either, and I haven't had too much chance to practice my tuba. I know that it may sound like a long shot, but I want to create music for video games someday, and I think that the best way to go would be to enter a college of music. Could you please give me some advice on what I should do to get in, or at least tell me a little bit about your experience? I know that this is a really rude and annoying thing to ask of you, but anything that you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.

(from Yasunori)
Well, I never went to a music college myself (only a junior-college of music), so there's not much advice that I can give you there. But from what I've heard, you need to have a professional tutor to teach you from early on and also study anything and everything that has to do with music (well, unless you're a natural born genius or something).If you're seriously considering on entering a college of music, maybe you should start by looking for someone like that.


Do you have any plans of publishing the score for "an cinniuint"?

(from Yasunori)
If there are enough demands, it's possible. But thinking about all the time and money we have to put in, if we were to actually publish it, I'd say chances may be a bit slim.


I've completely fallen in love with Joanne Hoggs' beautiful voice and ust recently bought 2 of her IONA albums. I was just curious... which song is your favorite out of their albums, and also which song made you decide on choosing her as your vocalist?

(from Yasunori)
The first IONA album that I bought was their third album, and it was after listening to the fourth song, "Chi-Rho" that I knew that I wanted to ask her to sing the ending theme of "Xenogears".


When did you first start learning music? I'm a freshman at college right now, but do you think if I start studying now, I can become a composer like you someday?

(from Yasunori)
The VERY first time that I started learning was back when I took piano lessons when I was 4 or 5, but it wasn't until my Junior year in high school that I seriously started learning. As for your second question, it's possible to become a famous composer... but to become a composer like me is impossible, since there's only one me.


What is your policy towards your work?

(from Yasunori)
To create songs that only I can create.
To continue to learn and grow.


This may sound like a bizarre question to ask, but please bear with me if you will. Recently, I've noticed that when I listen to your songs, I feel this wind gently blowing upon me. Even when I'm inside a room and with the windows shut tight, I feel this little wind. At first, I thought that it was simply my imagination, but it feels so real that I don't think I'm just imagining it. As a composer, do you do this intentionally? For example, in one of my favorite songs, "Shebat, the Wing is Calling" just as the title states, I can feel a refreshing breeze flowing. And also in the song "Chronomantique", this may be due to the rhythm, but it feels as if a warm tropical breeze is blowing. It could be that I'm imagining all this, but even still I think that you have a magical way of capturing winds and other natural elements and blending them into your music. I know you don't go all the way out to some tropical resort to capture the warm breeze or anything like that, but then again, I don't think it can be explained simply with just some musical theories... How do you manage to do this?

(from Yasunori)
I feel very honored to hear that.
As a little kid, I always loved nature since I grew up in the countryside. I think part of that can be seen (or felt?) in the music that I write. Since memories take many years to fully digest, I think that most of the things that I experience as a grown-up today aren't reflected in my songs. If you can feel the winds and the grass-filled countryside within my music, I think that this could be part of the reason.


I'm just curious. Do you speak English in addition to your native language?

(from Yasunori)
I can't speak English!
Whenever I have the chance to travel overseas, I always think to myself "how great it would be to be able to speak English!", but so far I've made very little progress.


Is it really true that you were asked to do the music for "Final Fantasy XI", and also, what do you think about Mr. Masashi Hamauzu's style?

(from Yasunori)
Yes, it's true, but at the time I had my hands full with "Xenosaga", so I had to pass up on their offer. As for Mr. Hamauzu's style, I think that he's a very talented composer and that he composes some very nice pieces. I'm really interested in seeing how he's going to grow and develop as a composer.


Is it true you composed the music or some of it for the "Mario Party" games. It doesn't really sound like your style.

(from Yasunori)
I composed all the songs for "Mario Party 1", but only on 1 ("Mario Party 2" was composed by a different composer). I tried to put a Latin-like taste to all the songs, so in that way, it may have sounded a bit different from my usual trademark sound.
But to tell you the truth, I really enjoy writing songs like this too. I think of it as "my interpretation of Mario" (laughs).


How much time does it take you to compose an average song (such as "Scars of Time")? I am a fellow composer, and I am rather curious.

(from Yasunori)
It depends.
When I'm pushed by deadlines or when I'm on a roll, I can write 2 to 3 songs in a day, but my bad habit is I tend to use as much time as possible to write songs. Also, when I'm in a slump, I can go about 10 days without being able to complete a single song. But at times like these, it's important to just "let the song sit for a while".
If I were to give you some examples, the ending theme of "Xenogears" took an awfully long amount of time, just making the demo. But "Scars of Time" on the other hand, took only a day to write (of course I'm talking about a rough sketch here). But if you include all the time required for the recording and mixing, I guess it took a pretty long time to make too.


How many/which instruments can you play? Also, what do you use to compose your music (i.e. staff paper, sequencer, etc.)

(from Yasunori)
There isn't a single instrument that I can REALLY play (laughs)!
When I compose, I use a piano (keyboard) and computer.


If you got an offer to work on the next Chrono game would you accept?

(from Yasunori)
It depends on the content. If it sounds interesting, and if I really feel that the game requires my sound.