Game Music

“100 Million Ton no Bara Bara” Sound Interview with Hideki Sakamoto

December 22, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook “100 Million Ton no Bara Bara” Sound Interview with Hideki Sakamotoon Twitter

Want to spice up your list of New Years’ Resolutions with activities like rock climbing, torch welding, and ripping apart huge flying airships? Come February, you’ll be able to do all that on your PSP, thanks to SCEJ & Acquire’s latest collaboration. Your team needs to climb aboard an invading airship and start cutting away at that metal monstrosity, piece by piece, to send it crashing to the ground.

So what would this sky high adventure sound like? We watched the trailer video and then asked Hideki Sakamoto what that catchy song is all about. His company Noisycroak was hired to work on the game’s audio, and being the CEO has it’s benefits, like getting to pick which projects to work on himself!

Read our interview to find out how Hideki envisions the sound of 100 Million Tons.

OSV: Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to talk about your recent work for the upcoming title, 100 Million Ton no Bara Bara for the PSP.

Sakamoto: I’m very grateful you provided me with this kind of opportunity. Thank you.

OSV: When first approached about this job, were you selected personally to compose the sound, or was it assigned to the Noisycroak company in general?

Sakamoto: Initially the request came to Noisycroak. After that, when they explained the contents and design of the game to us, it was considered that the genre of music which I specialize in was the best match for this game, and so I came to be in charge of the composition.

OSV: About the theme song that plays during the 100mt trailer, what are the lyrics about, and who sings the vocals?

Sakamoto: Actually, it’s been a while for me to compose a theme song for a game. I started production thinking I wanted to convey the contents of the game through something compelling, like a voice and lyrics, and I had to make sure that it did not stray too far from the image of the music used in the game.
So I wanted to maintain the instruments I had used, and the slightly ethnic fragrance based on an Oriental Scale, and then add to that the expression through a voice, which has a limited range, making sure the music would reverberate in the hearts of all the users in a straight and simple way, with an easy-to-remember melody.

I had decided so many things I wanted to do that there were times I had no idea what the motif was going to be. It turned out to be a song that really made me feel the agony of birth. But then one time, when I was sitting in front of the keyboard, this melody string just popped into my head. It was pretty easy going from there on.

The lyrics were made by the producer of the game, Hidehito Kojima. He’s a very multi-talented man, being able to both produce a game and write song lyrics. As for the song itself, I asked a friend of mine, Naoko Koyama, someone who I have always had a lot of respect for as a musician and a singer. She accepted very pleasantly, and she will even sing the song at her future concerts.

OSV: The characters in 100mt seem to be very tiny, how did these small characters affect the sound design and instrument choices?

Sakamoto: Not just the characters, but the Battleship and the layout are really cute too, don’t you think? [Laughs]

The instruments I used in the game this time include the trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet, snare drum, bass drum, timpani and lots of ethnic instruments like the sitar. The characters in this game scurry about at their hearts’ content on top of this battleship, so I wanted to express appropriately speedy and minute movements through the sax and clarinet, both instruments that excel in quick phrases. The large and heavy movement of the battleship on the other hand, I wanted to express with a sound of worn metal, so I made use of the trumpet and trombone, instruments that firmly support the basis of the song.

OSV: The music almost sounds like it is being played by kids’ toy instruments, was that style chosen to give a more playful or innocent tone?

Sakamoto: Actually, the performances were handled by veteran brass and woodwind players. This has been another quite difficult score for us [smiling wryly] and we had trouble finding people who could handle the performance… so the instruments we used are all completely identical to those used by professional orchestra and jazz players.

But I had envisioned a consistent image of “fussy and hurried, but still fun,” so if the music comes across as being ‘innocent,’ I think that’s because of how it has been arranged.

As for the direction we decided to go in, at the very first meeting Mr. Terajima, who’s in charge of the battleship design, gave me a CD and said “What do you think of this?” and that was the start of it. The CD was focused on brass instruments, but the performance was crude and rough. But it had a very distinct flavor. I really liked what I was hearing so I decided to go with it immediately. I remember thinking at that exact moment “This is what I’m gonna do!”

OSV: Do other songs in the game follow the same playful mood as the trailer music, or are there other dramatic styles as the story progresses?

Sakamoto: The theme song we used for the trailer is very memorable and catchy, but the music used in the actual game is a lot more like background music. Because I always focus most on melody when composing, there isn’t a single melody-less song in here, but contrary to the theme song which was made to convey the contents of the game in an easy-to-understand way, I decided to create the in-game music in such a way that the player would become more absorbed in the game.

So for battle scenes I obviously chose lively and dynamic songs, and for happy, sad, scary and funny events I created several appropriate songs to set the mood. And of course, as you progress in the game, the music will become more exciting, and especially the ending theme is something I ended up really enjoying, so please do your best to finish the game!

OSV: Did you utilize any live instrument recordings of your own, or was the music done entirely with synth and samples?

Sakamoto: As I stated before, most of the instruments are live. I only used synth sound sparingly. So I had to create sheet music for every single song in the game.

In general, the group of brass instruments contains what are called “transposing instruments.” For instance in this case, the trumpet, sax and clarinet. Put in very simple terms, this means that these instruments, when it says “do” on the sheet music, do not in fact produce the note “do.” To explain why this is so would take too long, but what it boils down to is that when it came to writing the sheet music my head felt like it was going to explode. I’m used to it by now though.

Also, with brass instruments you have to take the breathing into account. As an extreme example, telling someone to hold the same note for 5 minutes straight is completely impossible. What can easily be accomplished by a synthesizer can be impossible to pull off with live instruments. I believe that it is that kind of restriction that plays a very important part in the expression of music. I spend a lot of time and effort on recording, because I want to achieve that restricted expression.

OSV: Approximately how many peices of music did you write for this title? Was it a long challenge or did the inspiration come naturally?

Sakamoto: Including the theme song, I made 25 different pieces. I composed and arranged all of them myself, but everything apart from the theme song went pretty quickly. I think it took me about one week in total for the entire soundtrack.

Composing music is something that is very hard to plan in terms of time though. There’s cases like this where each piece takes anywhere between several dozen minutes and several hours, and then there’s cases where it could take months.

Maybe this is just me, but I tend to be satisfied with the pieces I make really quickly. On the other hand, those that take me way too much time end up sounding annoying or preachy or otherwise just not very good. Of course that does not include bigger pieces of several dozen minutes. In that respect I am very satisfied with the music I made for this game.

OSV: Well, we want to thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Sakamoto-san.  It’s been great to learn more about the sound of 100mt, and we wish you continued success.  Thank you very much.

Sakamoto: Thank you! When this game is released in Japan it is actually relatively closely followed by the release of another game I scored: Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman: 3D, so please check that out too.

Thank you for providing me with this precious opportunity.  I will keep on studying the truth of music in the world of video games, so please keep rooting for me!

100 Million Ton no Bara Bara Official Website:

Noisycroak Corporation Official Website:

Interview by Carl Larson of Moonraiser Media LLC
Translations by Justin Pfeiffer of OSV and Tim van Ingen.
Photos provided by Hideki Sakamoto of Noisycroak Inc.







実は作詞は本作品のプロデューサーである小島英士(コジマ ヒデヒト)さんによるものです。プロデューサー自ら作詞なんて多才ですよね。歌は私の友人で、ミュージシャンとして歌手として、かねてより尊敬していたコヤマナオコさんにお願いしました。とっても快くお引き受けいただいて、今後コヤマさんのコンサートでも歌っていただけることになっているんですよ。





















100 Million Ton no Bara Bara Official Website:

Noisycroak Corporation Official Website:

Interview by Carl Larson of Moonraiser Media LLC
Translations by Justin Pfeiffer of OSV and Tim van Ingen.
Photos provided by Hideki Sakamoto of Noisycroak Inc.

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