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 Post subject: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:32 am 


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I got a little freaked out after finishing this one - In the interview, there are no actual pictures so I was looking across the web when I found ANOTHER interview with KHDN here:

http://www.squareenixmusic.com/features/interviews/khdn.shtml

Thankfully it is NOT the same interview.. I realized this after my heart rate calmed a bit, and I was able to read the first few questions. SO... here we go with another interview. This time from Shooting Gameside #3.
Once again, thanks to all who have purchased a copy through me - your financial support allows me the time / opportunity to do these. If you would like to support what I do and buy a copy of this book, please PM me and we can work things out. I won't stop doing this, but every dollar made counts. :wink:

As I always say before these translations: If you notice any glaring mistakes, or are able to translate some parts in a better way then please let me know via PM. This translation took me MANY hours to complete - and if you appreciate it and would like me to have the time to do more, PLEASE consider purchasing something from the link in my sig. This work is purely my own, and it you choose to post elsewhere please at least give credit to me for the translation. I reserve the right to edit this translation as I see fit.


Exploding Sound! Composer File on
Milestone Inc. Sound Division

K.H.D.N.
Kou Hayashi Daisuke Nagata

Featuring sound creators who create cool shooting sounds that exhilarate you without you even realizing it!


This time we highlight the sound unit K.H.D.N. of Milestone Inc., which creates game music that expands beyond the boundary of the nature of video games, and doesn’t cease to grasp the heart of the fans by the enigmatic view of the world!

Interview by GERTACK! (Hand Rapid Firing Health Promotion Committee)

Image

<Work Examples>
2004: Chaosfield
2005: Radirgy
2006: Karous
2008: Illmatic Envelope
2009: Radirgy Noa

– First of all, I’d like to ask two of you at K.H.D.N. about your starting point in video games. What were the video games you were into when you were kids?

Hayashi – Although arcades were unsafe places for kids to go at the time, and we weren’t supposed to go there, we kept going by avoiding being noticed by our parents and teachers. The game I still clearly remember was “Pole Position.” It was the first time for me to get first place in the hi-score ranking, and I got to do the name entry. Even though I was not the best player there, I was still very excited to be able to experience my very first name entry.

– How about shooting games? Were you already playing them then?

Hayashi – Eventually I began playing shooting games at the arcades too but the first time was on the Famicom, it was “Xevious,” I believe. I got really into it, and was extremely fascinated by the graphics of the arcade version.

Nagata – “Solvalou” was amazing - the way the Nazca Lines were drawn was amazingly beautiful…

Hayashi – That’s right (laugh). Because the graphics were so enticing, we gravitated to the games made by Namco. That led us to listening to video game music extensively. For games on Famicom, three PSG sounds plus one noise sound were being used. I thought it was amazing how they could come up with such a wide variety of melodies just by those. Up to that point I had no interest in music, but started programming sounds on my MSX. Do you remember the magazine called “All About Namco?” It had pages with the sheet music of various games. I programmed the music and thought “It really played “Metro-Cross!” But something was different even though it was created using the same PSG sounds.” Later on, when I became a professional programmer, I learned many things that were missing in that one (laugh).

– So were you were already determined to devote yourself to video game music at the time?

Hayashi – That’s possible. Back then, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be in the future by reading many books, it came to me that I wanted to land a job in which I could create something. But I didn’t want to be a writer, or in the literary profession. I knew I wasn’t cut out for that. Then I asked myself, “What do I enjoy doing now?” And it was video games and video game music. Among the two, I realized I was more suited for video game music. But it was different from being in a band or becoming a musician because the motivation was coming from the love for video games.

– What’s your story, Nagata?

Nagata – I had a Famicom too, but I played on some game console that came out before that and the screen on it scrolled horizontally in a jerky, uneven manner. The machine was not a cartridge type so you could only play the one game that came with it. The terrain in the game was very complicated if I remembered it correctly… think it was called “Scramble.”

– Oh, I see, the LSI game right?

Nagata – I think you’re right. Other than that, you could get the machine with a game resembling “Pac-Man,” I think it was called “Packri Monster (laugh).” My entire family played it. Then the Famicom came out and I played games like “Mario” or “Golf.” As far as shooting game goes, I played “Xevious,”. Later on, I put a lot of time into both “Star Force” and “Star Soldier”.

Hyashi – On second thought, can I include “Choplifter” in the shooting category? If so, I think it’s the very first shooting game I ever played.

– Yes you can (laugh). Was it the Famicom version?

Hyashi – No, it was the Cassette Vision version. I played it at my relative’s place. I assume it was very similar to that of Famicom.

– I see that you were quite familiar with the machines other than Famicom back then.

Hayashi – I could not own a Famicom because my parents were against it. They never bought me one. Then they ended up getting me an MSX but I had to persuade them so hard to buy me one by telling them that it could also be used for keeping a family budget journal (laugh).

Nagata – I was first using Family BASIC more often than the game software. The frequency of using Family BASIC increased as the time went by. That made me a subscriber to “BaMaga (a Micomsoft Basic Magazine)” The next machine I got was an MSX. When I just got my MSX, I was not so attracted to the Famicom that much. It wasn’t until I got MSX2+ with the attachment of FM pack that I started programming a whole lot.

– I’ve heard MSX1 was made by CASIO. Is that machine you are talking about? The MX-10 possibly?

Nagata – Yes, that’s correct. The keyboard was made of rubber, which made it incredibly hard to type (laugh). I played games on it but eventually went back on programming with Family BASIC since my friends were doing so too, but I kept subscribing to “BaMaga.”

– If it wasn’t for your friends, maybe you would not have immersed yourself in Family BASIC again?

Nagata – Yes, you can say that. On top of that, one day one of my friends let me listen to the arranged sound of “Gradius” recorded on a cassette tape. I was like, “what the hell is this!?” I listened to the tape over and over again obsessively. I sort of remembered the tape also had a “TwinBee” sound too…

Hayashi – The very first video game cassette tape I bought was “Namco Video Game Graffiti Vol. 1.”

– I assume that back then Namco and Konami were very influential.

Nagata – For me, Namco was the one that influenced me the most. “Gradius,” “TwinBee,” they both bad great drum sounds, technical noises, I was significantly attracted to them. Because Family BASIC prevented me from creating strong drum beats, it was the MSX I that I went to for rhythm production. I also remember putting my cassette deck next to the TV set to record the sound of the Famicom version of “Terra Cresta.” That’s how I got interested in video game music.

– Regarding your music compositions, what games influenced you the most in your compositions?

Hayashi – I know it would sound strange to you, but I didn’t like shooting game music at all when I first heard it. I couldn’t think about any shooting games that I considered to have cool tunes. Recently, there were a few shooting tracks that I rediscovered to be rather amazing while working on the CD series “Retro Game Music Collection” released by Team Entertainment. Now when I listened to the sounds that didn’t do anything for me back then, I often found myself thinking, “man, these sounds are nice and edgy.”

–Among all of those, what is the one makes you think, “this is it!” most?

Hayashi – “Darwin 4078!” The sound of the game is so creepy (laugh). It’s super edgy! At the time the sound tended to get canceled out and was hardly audible in the other sounds in the arcade, but now by listening to it with a new set of ears, I have thought to myself, “actually it really was great music.”

Nagata – To me, it was Konami. MSX’s “Gradius 2” and “Knightmare” were among the best video games for me. Especially “Gradius 2”, which had such amazing sounds. It had been manufactured with its own sound source chip SCC that enabled the great sounds to be produced.

– As your backgrounds suggest, both of you are shooting game music composers, is there anything you guys are conscious of at all times while making the music?
Nagata – There is the norm in what shooting game music should sound like for better or worse, but now being a composer myself, I have the pleasure of changing them. Up to now, by following the rules and manners, the composers almost unconsciously included the exaggerated enthusiasms and the tensions in shooting video games, but I wanted to break the common sense. For instance, I wanted to create some music that was unenthusiastic. Won’t you agree that making enthusiastically courageous shooting game music is too safe?

– Can you tell us how K.H.D.N. was formed?

Hayashi – It couldn’t happen at the time of the establishment of Milestone. We were just being active as the sound department. The story goes back and forth in time, but the very first company we worked for was Compile. The music created at that company was for a wide range of genres including “Puyo Puyo”. Soon after, when Milestone was established, we thought, “we should make our own music which we like, this time around.” With the composition of “Chaos Field,” we knew we wanted to make tunes that could be played at clubs, it was already a concrete plan at the time of the creation of Milestone. If I remembered correctly, it was after the conclusion of the soundtrack for “Karous” that we officially started being active under the name of K.H.D.N.

- What types of compositions are you interested in?

Hayashi – My specialty is minimalist music while I compose regular music. On the other hand, Nagata’s music is more melodious. For this reason, I might want to try out that sort of music next. It think it would so cool (laugh). It is also important to make sounds that are extraordinary or matching the time we are living in as well as expected sounds with strong rhythms. To me the games Namco created had strong impressions on them that you could enjoy a wide variety of genres of music as you played their games, it was what led me to the video game industry and subsequently why I entered the field, and became even more aware of the significance when I started working as a professional composer. For example, the music for “Mappy” was really loveable and the compositional quality of its music was very high. For “Metro-Cross,” even the old-timey genre of Charleston-style tunes were used. I didn’t notice those things when I was a kid but did realize them as an adult. Game music introduced to me the near-infinite varieties of music genres. The club sounds we make have their roots too. They may have originated from techno music but changed into Death Techno and Minimal, and match with the trends of the times. And they should provide other incidental cultures other than video game itself.

Nagata – I don’t think the genre “videogame music” exists. I think the genre has been used in a very uninspiring way. But the fact is that all sorts of music genres are being played and compiled in video games. I think it is as simple as that.

Hayashi – That’s exactly why video game music is fantastic. We used a jazz melody for “Rolling Thunder,” and for “Frogger,” copyrighted music. Like that, the freedom to use whatever music we wanted resulted in the music satisfying both the composers and the end users. In the manner, the game makers continue on with their attempt to take in wide ranges of music, and senses of the composers are very crucial in that.

– So it is not simply about following the trend.

Hayashi – Merely following the fashion is not the type of the culture we are creating. But we do actually crossover and match the type of the culture into our own. We succeed if we do that well. Maybe elementary school kids will play “Radirgy” and discover the House music genre, which most likely they wouldn’t have known otherwise.

– Please tell us your favorite music that you have composed so far.

Hayashi – It is “Snowfield Story” tune in the Snow stage (the area 6) in “Zanac Neo.” I listened to it on a snowy day, thought to myself, “This is some really nice music,” even though it was not my work (laugh). “Zanac Neo” was the turning point in my work. As of that time, I started taking risks with what to include and exclude based on certain rules. It’s still very memorable to me. Then, Trance music had just become popular and I could use it in the video games I was working with but never did. I would say, the music in “Zanac Neo” could be categorized as the genre positioned somewhere between the super trendy Trance music and videogame music. If you’d ask me what was my most favorite “Zanac Neo”tune, it’s got to be the music “Intruder” in the area 8. Unfortunately, the music for “Zanac Neo” is not out on CD, so let me suggest you to listen to it in the BGM Test within the game soft (laugh).

– How about you Nagata, what have you got to say about generally called Senkura (a nickname for the stage 1 BGM “1000 clouds” in “Karous”) ?

Nagata – About that, I have nothing to say personally.

Hayashi – But still it was impressive.

Nagata – Shooting games created by Milestone are usually motivated by anger (laugh).

I didn’t have any special thoughts for “Senkura” either. My favorite music ought to be the tutorial music “Hermit Network” of “Illvelo.” As I mentioned earlier, about “thinking outside the box,” although there is no one who makes shooting music in hip-hop style, well, it won’t match with the video game anyways, but since Milestone does both video games and shooting music, I believe that we can incorporate hip-hop into video games no problem.

– I think almost all the games that have hip-hop sounds in them are quite lame…

Nagata – I think the reason for that was that the hip-hop music was integrated into the games for the sake of its popularity, as the music genre in general, by the people who do not actually like hip-hop. Among foreign video games, the “DefJam” series is a perfect example of that. The fighting games simply had some rappers’ tunes used as the BGM, I was like, “I’d rather listen to the CDs released by the artists if I want to hear their tunes.” You would not call that “game music”. Hip-hop is hip-hop. It is not a video game music genre. If you want to use hip-hop in video games, you’ve got to modify it so that it fits into the nature of the game. I think that’s very important to do that.

– Was there any difficulty you experienced while composing the music?

Hayashi – It would be the remix music for the strategy guide DVD for “Under Defeat” called “The Soldier of Fortune – Under Defeat.” I couldn’t help feeling the pressure to arrange the music created by Shinji Hosoe. I worked on it at my parents’ house in Hokkaido by bringing a lot of the composing equipment with me. The process didn’t usually go smoothly. Before that, when I worked on the “Karous” music, I was troubled in the making too. I made “one thing reality” in the stage 2 first, but something was not working right.

– Did it cause you to do many retakes?

Hayashi – Basically we don’t do retakes. We do occasionally reflect on our work by uttering, “this is not working” or “it should’ve been like this,” after composing and listening to the music. I know it’s strange but we are usually more attached to the unsuccessful pieces than successful ones (laugh).

Nagata – I don’t remember struggling with composing much. If I must say something about it, I’d mention the time I arranged the music for the “Radirgy” series. There were so many arrangements to be made. “Radirgy Massive” was basically an arrangement of an arrangement, so it was actually difficult to make it unique but at the same time I could avoid the tedious task of making a piece of music from the ground up. Because I have been doing this job for 15 years, I hardly suffer from these beginners struggles. My real challenge right now is to push my work to the level I can consider “cool,” however I think that is the hardest and most interesting part of the process.

– So you make your music using your instincts gained through your experiences….?

Nagata – And we don’t make music according to what the clients want us to do - we get to make what we want, so it is somewhat easy for us to come up with ideal pieces. Therefore, it makes it really difficult for us to work when we have to follow the client’s order because then we have figure out and guess what they have on their mind as the “right music”.

– Would you say that within Milestone you can relatively make whatever you want.

Nagata – That’s right. We also don’t pick on one another.

Hayashi – Yeah but creating sound effects can be really difficult because they are usually for Nagata and the programmers’ directions, I have to understand their intentions and catch up with the increasing number of sound effects.

– How do you think shooting game sounds should evolve?

Hayashi – I want the composers to pursue their beliefs regardless of what the directors and producers might impose on them. I think it is important to be able to voice what they think is good. It’s crucial not to change your work just because the directors and producers tell you it’s not working. You should be able to suggest your own ideas of music and sound effects to them. As a result, the director would tell you, “what a nice approach!” That feels really good, so I really wish that the composers would continue on fighting for what they truly want to make. The game music I was impressed with listening to recently was “Strania -The Stella Machina-“ thinking, “G.Rev gave a lot of thoughts into making this music.” Hopefully I don’t sound arrogant when saying that (laugh). We could’ve made some music for them too based on our own interpretations but the actual music they came up with is something we could’ve never come up with, so I’d like to give a lot of credits to the composer who made it.

Nagata – Although there is always in me what I think the music should sound like, but am not only focusing on just that. Because I like to present my work reflecting the game’s world’s view and tactility, I think it is more fun if each aspect of the video game can stand out in the music I make. When you are tempted to say, “goddamnit!” it is usually when someone else created a piece of music completely you were unable to do, not when he did something similar to what you did. So, I really hope that each composer without sucking up to anyone do their best all the way through the making of his music.

“Milestone Sound Collection” is a good bargain, it’s really cheap.

Nagata – Now, we are happy about the album because people are buying it, and getting a good response from them, but considering that it contains 100 tunes, meaning 48 yen apiece, that’s not that much. In hindsight, it was worthwhile to release the CD since it encapsulated what we were doing up to the point.

Hayashi – Every CD we release, there is a certain theme to ourselves, in case of “Radirgy,” Nagata came up with the title “Good Bye” for it, we said to each other, “this must be it”. We began our participation with “Chaosfield,” and “Radirgy,” and “Radirgy Noa,” thought now would be a good time to recapitulate our activity. During this period of time, some of our members left the company, the title “Good Bye” must have also meant for their departure, not as a negatively but embracing the meaning of “thank you, good luck”.

– I have been noticing that you have been giving much thought to the album titles.
Hayashi – I think as of “Karous” we began treating the albums as pieces of music and giving them legitimate album titles. Just adding the words “original soundtrack” after the game title is not too pretty. I wanted the soundtrack to be able to stand alone as a music piece by itself. The time was when we switched our label from Scitron, which sold the soundtrack for “Radirgy,” to SuperSweep that sold “Karous,” we wanted the albums to be more than just a collection of video game music, but also music pieces independently. Those things eventually led us to add the original titles to the CDs. Most people know the story about the CD title “Spring Rain” for the game soft “Karous” which since it was talked about everywhere, but for example, not the anecdote of the CD title “Bitches Blue” for “Illvelo.” The name was derives from the music title “Bitches Brew” of the celebrated artist Miles Davis. The reason why I chose the name was related to my wife’s ill attitude after giving birth to our child (laugh). I was not too happy to think of my own wife with such a dirty word “bitch” but still my impression on her then incited me to settle with the name.

– Sometimes extra CDs come with the albums you purchase, but is it easy to make those bonuses?

Hayashi – Usually Nagata makes them real quick but some people ask, “what is the point of adding another CD to the CD?” I’ve got to ask as many people as possible, “which CD is more worthy to you?”

Nagata – It is a lot of work to make both the main album and the bonus CD, but if it helps enticing people to buy the music, I am very content with that.

Hayashi – We can neither create bonus figures nor illustrate characters, but compose music is something that we can do. That limitation prompts us to put as much as we can into our work.

Nagata – Personally I have no hesitation for adding extra materials to the main goods. I am actually into adding more different bonuses to the main CDs even if shops selling our products increase exponentially and the store owners complain, “what’s the point of adding so many different service materials…” These days you can buy the CDs so conveniently on the Internet, so I’d like to reward the consumer for buying at physical items at the shops. If or when it’s possible, I’d like to attach a bonus material unique to each prefecture. That should increase the number of people who would actually shop at the real stores.
Hayashi – They will rate the popular bonus material for the particular prefecture and say, “ridiculously well-received regionally limited merchandises (laugh).”

– Tell us about the future of K.H.D.N.

Hayashi – I am thinking about making an image album for “Karous.” As the next step for “Milestone Sound Collection,” I’d really love to see how far we could reach in making good tunes. I don’t even know if it would sell, but I’d really like the challenge to come up with a K.H.D.N original album, which probably mostly would be comprised of video game music flavors.

Nagata – It will also be for the 15th anniversary of the activity of K.H.D.N.

Hayashi – Also it’s been 8 years since Milestone was established (laugh). We look forward to thriving more than ever.

– We too are looking forward to your prosperity!
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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:42 am 


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Great stuff :)

Thanks for all your hard work rancor
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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:20 am 


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Nice! :mrgreen:
Thanks for showing Milestone some love.
Much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:59 pm 


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These two love what they do.
Thanks rancor. Bookmarked and shared.
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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:52 pm 


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Thanks rancor! :D
Reading about these two guys is always a pleasure. It was also cool to see Zanac Neo mentioned, it is not a Milestone game but the soundtrack would definitely fit in one.

I don't know if it is a mistake or if it was like that in the original script, but this answer from Nagata makes it seem like Gradius and Twinbee are Namco games :
rancor wrote:
– I assume that back then Namco and Konami were very influential.

Nagata – For me, Namco was the one that influenced me the most. “Gradius,” “TwinBee,” they both bad great drum sounds, technical noises, I was significantly attracted to them. Because Family BASIC prevented me from creating strong drum beats, it was the MSX I that I went to for rhythm production. I also remember putting my cassette deck next to the TV set to record the sound of the Famicom version of “Terra Cresta.” That’s how I got interested in video game music.
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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:02 pm 


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Great interview!
I particularly think the music in Chaos Field is a work of art. <3
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 Post subject: Re: K.H.D.N Interview translation - Shooting Gameside #3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:20 am 


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So cool! Thanks for taking the time to translate this interview, rancor. Very much appreciated.

Haven't visited this forum in 4 years but a friend pointed me to your translation. Very happy she did.
k.h.d.n have and continue to be a strong influence on my own music.

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I particularly think the music in Chaos Field is a work of art. <3


quoted for truth. Chaos Field's OST is a wondrous album.
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