Bombers' Notebook

Bombers' Notebook

Ongaku Concept Interviews: yamazo

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    Recently I had the opportunity to interview anime composer yamazo! Maybe you don’t recognize his name, but he’s worked on Sword Art Online, Ace of Diamond, Encouragement of Climb, and Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, just to name a few. I asked him a few questions, so read on for more!

Q: What made you first become interested in playing music, and how did you get started working as a composer?
A: It was “L’Arc ~ en ~ Ciel”! I thought Ken’s guitar playing was cool. And I was equally impressed by his composition. The first opportunity [to get into the industry] was when I got to know a producer in SNS. My music was adopted for a “musical piece competition” through him. I was taught various things by him (advice, except the music theory necessary for the industry).
Q: What’s your composing process like? How do you approach writing for vocal songs differently than BGM?
A: Both vocal songs and BGM are the same. I sing while playing the guitar or piano. Let it Be. ;) But it does not go very well all the time…
Q: How did you learn music theory, and how do you use it when composing/arranging? I remember “My Independent Destiny” having a lot of cool jazz chords in the bridge before the guitar solo.
A: In fact, I did not study music theory properly. I write with a sense that was cultivated by listening to much music, and thinking about what is suitable each time. Though it is a shameful talk, I do not understand the difficult theory. Of course I will understand it minimally! Probably…
Q: What are some of your musical influences (favorite bands, artists)?
A: There is a lot, innumerably! “L’Arc,” as I answered in the first question; also MR. BIG, Foo Fighters, NIN, Richie Kotzen, Linkin Park, Avril, Daughtry, Lost Prophets… Anyway, there are many! But I think more of my influence is J-POP.
Q: Are there any projects you’re working on now that you can tell us about?
A: I’m sorry, I can’t answer anything about work.

So there you are! Yamazo is a brilliant composer and arranger, in particular I think his string arrangements are very intricate and they’re worth a listen. You can follow him on Twitter @yamazoo. Thanks again to him for agreeing to the interview! He was super nice and easy to talk to, and I really enjoyed being able to do this!

For some examples of his work…
“My Independent Destiny” from Sword Art Online
“Face to You” from Sword Art Online
“SOLITARY BULLET” from Sword Art Online II
“Bokura no Tsubasa” from Haganai NEXT

This interview has been edited slightly, for grammatical purposes.

interviewJoshua Taipale