Takenobu Mitsuyoshi has been for almost 20 years now as one of SEGA’s most prolific and hardest working composers. He had his start in SEGA SOUND TEAM and its SST Band, and went on to compose music for many of SEGA’s most memorable arcade games. Possibly my most famous of these are DAYTONA USA, where Mitsuyoshi first came into video game fame for his catchy English vocals and fast tempo music. While this is by far his most famous work, he has been part of many other soundtracks of great fame, such as Shenmue, Space Channel 5 and Burning Rangers.
Now, he has released his second vocal collection CD, From Loud 2 Low Too, featuring his most famous vocal work in game music. Mitsuyoshi was generous enough to take the time to discuss his latest CD with us, so check out what he has to say.
Hit the jump for our interview.
OSV: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and answer some questions! Let us step a bit back in time here, How did the idea of the first From Loud 2 Low (FL2L) come about? Was it your idea or did Hitmaker Records approach you to do it?
Mitsuyoshi: On HitMaker, we had a personal home website called SANPE. It had daily articles about live event reports and so on. One day, we posted an article called “Who will release a complete solo album first, Hiro or Mitsuyoshi!?“ This was the beginning of From Loud 2 Low, and I started to focus on what direction to take. I always wanted to make a vocal album, so I got to fulfill one of my dreams.
OSV: Was the first FL2L produced in only a small limited run?
Mitsuyoshi: Yeah, Basically, we could not use a lot of money on making the FL2L. Today when I make an album, I record it overseas with my connections, but back then it wasn’t possible. In fact, do you know where we shot the cover picture? It was the hot water supply room at my company! [Laughs]
OSV: Did you have complete freedom from Hitmaker on what songs would be on the CD?
Mitsuyoshi: Pretty much, “Night In H.A.P” and “I feel so good…” are original songs, and made it onto the CD without any trouble.
OSV: Now onto From Loud 2 Low Too, your most recent release collecting your different works. Who came up with the idea and was there a big difference between working on the new CD compared to the Hitmaker release?
Mitsuyoshi: I remember that Wavemaster’s director asked me “Don’t you want to make another FL2L?” I said, “Yes! I want to do that!” Basically the approach to this album was very much like the first CD, with the biggest difference being that the second CD is a ballad collection.
OSV: FL2L Too is a 2-disc set. The first CD contains many of the same songs featured on the first FL2L. Was this done so that fans would have the chance to hear the material from the old CD? When we met at Symphonic Shades in Germany, I remember you being very surprised to see the original FL2L CD!
Mitsuyoshi: Yeah, I was really surprised when you showed me FL2L! [Laughs] Basically, this album(and FL2L Too) is still not for sale overseas, so I had no idea how you got it! The first album sold out 6 years ago, and we could not re-press it anymore. Every time my fans would ask how to obtain FL2L, I didn’t have answer for them, So when I decided to make this album, I wanted to make it 2 discs so that fans would be able to finally hear it.
OSV: One song on this CD is quite unknown: “I Want To Meet You Again” (またここで逢いたい). This song was only released on Sega Moba’s website, correct? Why did you choose to redo this song in English?
Mitsuyoshi: Yes, this song originated with Sega Moba campaign song. It’s composed by Tsuyoshi Kaneko, who was in charge of sound on SGGG. We met during work on that game, and he is also one of my friends. When I sang the original version, I planned to make an English version as well, so we already had English lyrics for this song. Sadly I didn’t have get the opportunity to record it in English back then, so I did this time and asked Mitsuharu Fukuyama to arrange it to a TAKE6 style. Fukuyama is also part of our sound staff.
OSV: How many original tracks did you make for FL2L Too?
Mitsuyoshi: “NRT” is the only new original. I already decided to record only one original song when I was planning this CD.
OSV: During your stay at the hospital, we spoke a lot about a song we both are very fond of, “Solitude,” which was recorded for the Virtua Figher Animation. You expressed interest in re-recording “Solitude” in English. Was that song ever planned to be on FL2L Too?
Mitsuyoshi: Actually, in the beginning I was speculating that “Solitude,” for licensing reasons could not be included on this CD, so I decided against re-arranging it. However, the publisher later made it clear I could actually include the song on this CD. So if I have a chance again some time, then I want to do it!
OSV: You demonstrate amazing skills at composing and performing music, with anything from energetic race music in Daytona USA, orchestral epics in Shenmue and slow emotional songs such as “Just Smile” and “Solitude.” What style do you prefer most yourself? The more uplifting and high energy songs or the sad, softer ballads?
Mitsuyoshi: I think with age, this has changed. When I was younger, I was making only fast-tempo music, often to fit the games, such as Virtua Fighter, DAYTONA USA and so on. But now, with more experience, I almost feel more charm in emotional music, so now I really love slow and softer songs.
OSV: Another thing we spoke about was the idea of an originals-only CD. Are you still thinking about doing a CD like this?
Mitsuyoshi: Yeah! If I ever get the opportunity, I wanna do it!
OSV: You have mostly composed music for arcade games. Do you miss doing music for console-based games?
Mitsuyoshi: [Laughs] I don’t really miss it, but if someone approached me to do a console game, I would like to try it to see how it feels. In fact, now that I think about that, I really want to compose for PC games sometime.
OSV: Can you tell us a little bit about some upcoming projects you are working on?
Mitsuyoshi: [Laughs] I told you when we met, It’s a secret!
OSV: Now last question. Many fans are asking this. If SEGA wants you to do the music for DAYTONA USA 3, will you accept the job?
Mitsuyoshi: Yes, absolutely. I will then put all my effort and power into it, because I have to overcome my previous work on DAYTONA USA
OSV: Again, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, and for being such a great supporter of OSV. We hope for all the best on your future projects, and hope we will see you on OSV again soon!
Mitsuyoshi: Thank you too! I really want to make it possible for the whole world to be able to listen to my music!Tags: From Loud 2 Low Too, Interviews, SEGA, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Vocal