Questions from July, 2002
From Eiki-san. I was wondering what language the girl (?) chorus you can hear towards the very end of the first track on the Xenosaga soundtrack, is singing in. Ifd really like to know what the lyrics mean!
Thatfs a made-up language. I asked Ms. Eri Kawai, whofs the one singing on the track, to write the lyrics (?) for it. The songfs theme was supposed to be eGenesisf (laughs)
What musical genre do you think your songs fit in to? I wonder if music like that of Xenosaga would be classified as classical for instance? Also, Xenogearsf music sounds like some foreign countryfs ethnic music to me. Ifd love to know whether therefs a certain musical genre at the basis of your work.
Hmm, what genre would they fit into? Come to think of it, Ifve never given this much thought myself. My classical songs canft really be considered classic, as the ethnic music Ifve done canft really be classified as such either. Putting a positive spin on the issue, you might also take that to mean Ifve got my own original style (laughs). I consider my musical foundation to be jazz music actually. My father used to listen to that a lot when I was little you see. Not what you expected? (laughs)
From Ms. Yumiko Itou. Hello. Ifve fallen in love with your songs ever since Chrono Trigger, and I would really like a chance to meet you in person once. Do you have any plans for something like a live performance in the future?
People often tell me I look good in photographs, so maybe itfd best to avoid meeting me in person (laughs). A live performance huh? Not a day goes by without me thinking about wanting to do one, but Ifm afraid my performing skills just donft cut it. Outside of a live performance though, I have various other plans in the works.
I recently got to play Chrono Cross and think the gamefs opening song is really cool! I can hear a lot of different instruments are being used in the track, but I was wondering if you could you tell me what they are. At the songfs start I guess itfs some kind of flute being played as I can hear the performerfs breathing c
The songfs melody line is played on a Japanese instrument called eShinobuef. The flute you can hear playing in the second part of the song is a Shakuhachi. For string instruments I used among others a bouzouki, an acoustic guitar, an electric upright bass, a violin, a viola, and a cello. For the percussion I used so many I donft really remember what they were (laughs).
Could you tell me what some of your favorite instruments are?
Hmm, Ifm really into string instruments lately, like the guitar and violinc
Since you mentioned before that you respect the work of Jerry Goldsmith, I was wondering if your use of an anvil in Xenosagafs orchestral pieces was influenced by his music.
No, it wasnft actually. In fact I donft recall ever having heard an anvil in one of Jerry Goldsmithfs songs. I just thought that, since itfs often used in intense scenes in Hollywood films Ifd try using it myself here for once.
From Kogi-san. As game music is sometimes used for TV programs in Japan I was wondering if TV stations actually approach you, asking if they can use one of your songs. I think I recall some of your songs being used as BGM on television as well. Each time I hear one of my favorite songs being played on TV it really gets me wondering about things like through what kind of process they were selected, or whether the person in charge of the music at the TV station might be a fan of game music.
As game music is sometimes used for TV programs in Japan I was wondering if TV stations actually approach you, asking if they can use one of your songs. I think I recall some of your songs being used as BGM on television as well. Each time I hear one of my favorite songs being played on TV it really gets me wondering about things like through what kind of process they were selected, or whether the person in charge of the music at the TV station might be a fan of game music.
Since listening to your songs aroused my interest in Irish music I was hoping you could recommend me some good CDs in that genre.
First, Ifd have to recommend a double CD album called eBringing it all back homef, a standard purchase if youfre into Irish music. This one has a lot of famous Irish musicians performing on it. Since itfs an omnibus album I think youfll be enjoying this one.
Mr. Kazune Yodo. Ifm thinking about composing songs on a PC in the future, but do you suppose a Mac would be a better choice for this than a Windows system?
There actually seem to be quite a lot of people composing songs on Windows systems these days. A lot of good software has also come out. I myself will probably keep on using a Mac until Apple goes down under (laughs)
From a-ku-san. Ifd like to know what your studio (atelier?) looks like, so I can see what kind of environment you compose your songs in.
My workplace is dirty and small, really no place a human should be allowed to work in (laughs). Ifd really like to create a real studio for myself someday soon.
From lingeron-san. When Ifm composing I often feel the work doesnft come natural to me. When I create a motif and link it to another, even if the result sounds nice, I still always catch myself worrying about whether another motif might work better there. Because of this Ifll end up being unable to complete the song. Itfs the same with, for example chord progression, where Ifll find myself thinking whether I might be able come up with some other, better chords. Have you ever experienced something like this? If so, what do you do when you get stuck like this?
Yeah, I can really relate to what youfre saying. Itfs something Ifm constantly struggling with myself. If Ifd be more decisive Ifd get my composing work done a lot faster, but in reality I lose a lot of time thinking whether there couldnft be a phrase, arrangement, or some cord work that would work better in a song (laughs). When Ifve got the time for it, I tend to really flesh out my songs like this, but when I donft I make sure to put whatever flashes of inspiration I have to good use.
I think that the blend of ethnic and individual style is just right in all of your songs, and I was wondering what kind of instruments you use to create this kind of music.
I donft think the instruments I use are that unusual (it appears Ifm the who thinks so though -laughs-). When I use ethnic instruments therefs a strong sense of personality to the tone color, so Ifll use a sound like that of stings or pads to make those blend in with the entire piece. There are various ways to match sounds like this so Ifll try out several things in order to create the right feel for the song.
I hear there are only three songs from the Xenosaga soundtrack that use the PS2fs built in sound module, but I was wondering what those three songs are. Also, how are the songs other than the ones using the PS2 sound module and those performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra played? While they donft use the PS2 sound module they seem to loop smoothly, so I was wondering how they were createdc
There are 4 songs that use the PS2 internal sound module, eBattlef, eFinished Battlef, eU.M.N. MODEf, and eLast Battlef. All songs except for those performed by the London Philharmonic I created on my computer. Other than most game music up until now, Xenosaga doesnft have a lot of looped songs does it?
From Ki-yo-san. I love your music and listen to it a lot but there is one thing Ifm wondering about. When you record songs, how much time do you record per song? For instance, music played during battles goes on forever, but how you record a piece like that?
Thanks for listening to my music!
Rather than being recorded, those looped songs you are talking about are created digitally on a computer that will play them for as long as you like (laughs). We only use recording to capture wave files
From choku-san. Ifd like to hear what your rock and Japanese-style music sounds like!
Have you listened to Creid? Therefs a strong Irish flavour to the album, but depending on how you listen to it, you could take the music to be Japanese-style rock as well I think.
From Garas the 14th-san. What songfs sheet music do you have in mind for this yearfs fan club premium?
Right now itfs scheduled to be the full score to eNephilimf (itfs not like we ever released less than the full score for anything thoughc -laughs-)
I really like the accordion, so if you ever were to compose a song that has the accordion as its main instrument Ifd love to hear it. What instrumentfs sound do you like the most yourself?
I tend to use the kind of sounds I like myself for the songs I compose, so that means I love whatever kind of sound you can find in my music.
Ifd like to work at a leading game company in the future but do you think that you need to have some special kind of talent (like you have) to get into a company like that? One more thing Ifd like to ask is what kind of work you did before you became a famous composer (before you received requests to compose game music).
I think having a sense of individuality is more important than having some special talent. In the end nobody needs a composer whofll compose the same kind of songs everyone does, so I think itfs important to be able to create something only you can. Before becoming a composer I did some theater work, effects work, and synth manipulation among others.
In one of your answers from last June you replied saying eIfm not very good at playing any kind of instrument! (laughs)f, but for sure you did perform on keyboard for Chrono Crossf opening track right? (I believe there are a number of other songs you performed on keyboard for as well) Did you take the chance performing yourself here because you wanted the performance to be faithful to the image you had in mind for the song? And did you think about asking someone to play the song instead?
The part I played wasnft that difficult, so I felt I could do it myself (laughs). To put it shortly, I played a part that wasnft all that important and thus couldnft have ruined the image I had in mind for the song by itself.
Out all of the songs youfve composed which one do you like the best? I like really like the music from Chrono Trigger myself (songs like, for instance, eFrogfs Themef, and eFanfare 1f).
Thatfs a secret.
Thatfs to say, I actually like all of them.
I make sure not to include songs I donft like myself on my albums (laughs).
From Mr. Jinkei Shinmi. Thank you for being so precise in your response my last question. However, looking at your answer it immediately stuck my mind that Ifm not cut out for this. I guess things arenft looking good for me. While you didnft attend a four-year university you are such a great composer, but do you suppose I can become a good composer while not going through a four-year university as well? Ifve come to feel like a normal music university is just impossible for mec I donft want to run away from this, but do you think things will work out if Ifm just motivated enough?
This is no good at all.
Nothing will come from this kind of negative thinking. If youfre just motivated enough things will work out for sure! I often get down thinking Ifm no good myself. I often think of running away too. But I think therefs nothing you canft do if youfre just prepared to put effort into it. If anything, I believe that above all else thinking youfre no good is vexing and unforgivable at that, so when this happens I put all my effort into thinking more positively as to turn around my situation. Itfll be okay! If you really love music and are willing to go at it with the spirit youfre willing to die for it, surely a path will open itself for you. If only just for one time in your life, try to believe in yourself.
When you were in junior college did ever publish any self-financed CDfs, or in some kind of form put out songs for others to listen to? And this is a rather general question, but when you look back now at the songs you wrote when you were going though junior college, how do you feel about them?
I sent out a lot of demo tapes, but nobody ever got back to me about them. That would be because the songs I wrote in my college years were such awful creations one would think twice before putting them on salec (laughs). I canft stand listing to them myself anymore.
Who wrote the poem that appears in the opening demo to Chrono Cross? Could it be that you wrote it yourself!? (laughs)
You mean those lines from the diary?
Those were written by the gamefs director, Mr. Masato Kato. I love those lines myself. You see, back when I received the scenario, the opening melody came to me just by reading those lines. Anything well done tends to get my creativity flowing.
From Mr. Ed Fear. Ifm presently studying Japanese and have a great interest in the meanings of kanji (Japanese characters) used in Japanese names. My question to you would be, whether you know why you were given the name uNTv(Yasunori) by your parents (I personally love your name). Also, if you had to pick one character from your name you like which one would it be? Sorry for asking about such trivial things (laughs).
I remember my father telling me my nameuN Tv(Yasunori) was created be taking the eNf (Yasu) fromu¿ìÆNv(Tokugawa Ieyasu), and the fTf (Ten or Nori) fromu«Tv(jiten or dictionary). It seems the Mitsuda family lent their name to various generals throughout the Sengoku period. The characters I like most in my own name are those of my last name uõcv(Mitsuda). To my father who thought up my given name, Ifm sorry (laughs).
In the future, would you like to try taking on the music for the Final Fantasy series some day?
To be honest, Ifm not really interested in the Final Fantasy series. Of course, if the world view and scenario of the game were to fit my music I might like to try my hand at composing for itc
From Ms. Alexis Brooks. Ifm presently living in the United States, and itfs really hard to get your hands on copies of your CDs around here. Their prices are also really expensive compared to regular CDs. Would you consider someday putting up a website where overseas fans like myself could buy your CDs?
I often hear stories like this. It seems the prices are fairly steep. Ifve asked Digicube (the sales agency for some of my albums) to distribute CDs overseas before. My talks with them didnft bring about any positive results however, and it seems unlikely to expect any overseas distribution from their side. But this doesnft mean Ifve given up on the matter. Ifm thinking of other ways for overseas fans to get my albums at a cheap price so please put up with the current situation just a bit longer. Ifm sure things will be heading in a positive direction from here.
* Please take note that a good amount of time has passed between the original posting of these questions on Yasunori Mitsudafs Japanese site and this update. Most of Mr. Mitsudafs CDs have since become available to overseas fans at more reasonable prices. For those looking to purchase his work please refer to CocoeBizfs where a variety of his albums are currently available.
From Mr. Steven Lowry. Hello, Ifm a big fan of your work. The music you composed for Chrono Cross above others holds a special place in my heart, particularly the song eThose Imprisoned by Fatef, which helped me through a rough period in my life. If you donft mind, could you tell me what your thoughts and feelings were at the time of this songfs creation?
As the songfs title says, I composed this song thinking that nothing could be more sad than to have my life be bound by fate. At the same time I imagined the anger at that fate being to have to battle those who once walked beside me as friends.
Is the composing business a lucrative one? (Judging from your pictures you seem rather thin. Itfs no good for a famous composer such as yourself to look as thin as a toothpick you know. -laughs-)
To be honest, thinking in terms of time and money, I wouldnft say itfs very lucrative. Things like equipment donft come cheap either. I tend to lose weight only when I donft have time to sleep, so itfs not like I donft get to eat properly (laughs). I guess the composer business is a risky one.
From Mr. Gerald Lee. Are there any books or other materials you used as reference in order to master the various musical styles you use?
I never read any genre-specific reference materials, but I have read materials on things like the special characteristics of certain instruments, or how to arrange for orchestras. Since I donft have a particular musical genre I dislike, I tend to listen to a lot of different CDs (mostly out of interest, admittedly), which is also my main source of reference.
Ifm sorry, but Ifve got two things Ifd like to ask you. Firstly, how do you feel towards Mr. Nobuo Uematsu? He is above you in age isnft he? Is there anything you learned from him or any influence you received from him musically? As for my second question, Ifd like to purchase some of your CDs, but is it possible to get them though this site?
I know him as a nice guy who likes a good drink (laughs) There are a lot of things I learned from him. I never received any influence from him musically though. Ifm my own person, and our conceptions about music are completely different.
One of my albums eAn Cinniuintf, is sold though my own label, and is available for purchase online. My other albums are sold though various distributors, so your only options are to either get those directly from them, or to buy them at a foreign import store.
*At present there are a variety of Mr. Mitsudafs albums available from CocoeBizfs.
Do you have any plans to sell the Xenosaga album through your eOur Millennial Fairf website?
Xenosagafs soundtrack is already available for purchase so we wonft be selling this album though the eOur Millennial Fairf website or the eSleigh Bellsf label.
*As this album went out of print due to Digicubefs bankruptcy, a newly recorded version has since become available through the Sleigh Bells label.