At Japan Expo, we had the honor of interviewing Akira Yamaoka, known for creating the Silent Hill Original Soundtracks.
First thing’s first: How has your time been in the US been?
I’ve been to America a couple of times. I feel like I’m getting on the train to go to the next town over and the next one after that.
Do you compose music in your free time?
I don’t do it at my free time. It’s actually quite hard when you think about it, it’s like okay I have free time I’ll make music. No I must tell myself “I need to focus to make music” then go and do it.
Which instrument do you enjoy working with the most?
I definitely like working with the guitar.
How does the process of composition normally go, and how detailed is your brief?
It’s really hard to explain, so when I checked with someone that knows about this whole concept there’s basically already something there in terms of an idea. The problem is how to get there. I start to play a song and tune and think “hm that’s not right” and do a trial and error to make adjustments.
Sounds like a storyboard with what you want but how to get there is the question.
Yes definitely. It’s like the same thing, you have basically an idea on how a story goes and figure out how to make something from there.
With your long 25 years of experience you’ve also seen lots of technological shifts in your work. Any techniques from your earliest days that may be a lost art today?
There’s a lot of technical changes in the past 25 years, but the idea behind making sounds for games actually isn’t much different than when I first started. But I do want to change this. I do feel there isn’t much going on in terms of being different. As much as technology advances, but I can’t quite meet the technology. I would like to get closer to using that into my works.
In that case, has there been a piece of technology that you have been advancing such as a tool that has made your work even more interesting or find potential but haven’t quite gotten there yet?
I would love to use Morpheus as a way to get music creation up to its technology.
Is the experience of working on a song with vocals significantly different than without?
With me there’s no difference, it’s just a matter of replacing a human voice with something else.
We’re randomly curious: if the world were to end today, what would your last meal be?
Hahaha. Sweet and Sour Pork.
Very good taste.
We thank Akira Yamaoka and the translator very much for their time at Japan Expo. We look forward to returning next time.