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Susumu Hirasawa

Date of Birth: April 2, 1954
Place of Birth:
Tokyo, Japan
Education: Tokyo Designers Gakuin College
Favorite Food:
Tofu and Sesame
Favorite Drink:
Japanese Green Tea
Favorite Movies: KIN-DZA-DZA

Web address:

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RocketBaby: At what age did you become interested in creating music?

Susumu Hirasawa: At the age of 12

RB: What is your first instrument?

SH: Electric guitar

RB: How did P-Model start?

SH: Before I started P-MODEL, I performed as Mandrake, a progressive rock group 20 years ago. As I began to realize the style of progressive rock fell into just an entertainment music that lost its link to our generation and society I discovered punk rock. I felt punk rock was the most useful style, and so I broke up Mandrake and formed a new group which has taken hints from punk style and used a lot of synthesizers. This is P-MODEL.

RB: Please describe your music? How has the music changed from the beginning till now?

SH: In 1979, when P-MODEL started our activity, the style was called 'Techno Pop'. The young P-MODEL of those days was aggressive, you could call it 'Electronic Punk'. After that, from 1989, I began my solo work . There are four definitions in my solo work: ancient, modern, symphonic and abstract. Recently I have added two more definitions: Asia and cyberspace. The work for the BERSERK soundtrack is included with the solo projects.

RB: What is the philosophy of your music?

Berserk: the Dreamcast game

SH: Firstly, I have learned an archaic world view from the technology, but then I try to fill up the present with learning about the spiritual field. The interesting thing is, that sometimes a computer give us a mythological projection as well as a scientific one. The process where matter is disposed in an unknowable way via a small box and the result given, may create an impression that it is like a mysterious box which performs a secret ritual of metamorphosis. Also when "Cyberspace" is visualized in film scenes such as Sci-fi, the psychedelic visuals or its analogies used suggest "supra-existance". Our subconscious's may be projecting a primitive figure of the universe that our ancestors had understood, as a religious experience into the area called Cyberspace, where data, which has no physical body, exists above the restriction of time and space. Now, in this time where we are trying to restudy our lost-world view and spiritual activity under such names as the Ecology movement and New Age movement, I think the computer is also a tool which gives us important feedback of ancient spiritual activities which lurk in our subconscious.

RB: Describe your music and Internet technologies?

SH: In the past the musician couldn't make her/his albums without big money and the support of other organizations. Therefore, we had to make a contract with record companies and were forced to be under their umbrellas. The use of digital technologies has relived the musician from these restrictions, and the musician can now make CD albums without the support of record companies. The Internet also lets us learn how to deal with "advertisement" and "pipeline." Also, it gives us the good chance to collaborate with musicians who live where you cannot see face to face. I had worked with an Austrian electronic musician and an American motion graphics artist.

RB: How will the Internet enhance how the composer and listener interact?

SH: I suppose very few composers desire to interact with the listeners, and although, Internet technology has already enabled the composer to make an album collaborating with listeners, it must be the composer's desire to make music and confide her/his imagination or performance to the interactive media. More important than technology is that the composer be willing to change their minds. Without the changing, being interactive would not link to being creative. How will the Internet enhance creative interaction between the composer and listeners, it all depends on composers' thinking. There's one example of what I've done - the Interactive Live show(IL). The latest one was, building a bridge via the Internet using real-time CG on the screen in a live hall. The show followed a story: I played a role of a bridge builder who was going to fix a machine called 'WORLD CELL' in the farthest world. On my way to the farthest world, there are two huge valleys confronting me. The story couldn't go ahead without building bridges to either the left or right sides of the valleys. The story and songs branched off depending on the direction which was chosen by what I called 'Relieving Bridge Guild.' The guild consisted of audience members who could not come to the concert hall and accessed the performance via the Internet from their home or office. The Guilders commanded the "bridge-building" to the computer in the hall via a CGI program on the website. On the website, there were CG stone blocks as materials for bridge-building. Using the CG blocks, they virtually built bridges to the left or right sides of a particular valley as they wanted. The computer commanded by the CGI program built the bridges gradually. That scenes were projected on the screen as CG animation in the hall and the story went ahead automatically depending on which bridge crossing was built first.

RB: Who are your influences?

SH: A Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa, Nikola Tesla, many pioneers in quantum theory, Carl Gustav Jung, she males in Thailand

RB: "Air on the Wiring" is similar to Wendy Carlos' "Switched on Bach". Are you influenced by Bach? Wendy Carlos?

SH: Yes, I am.

RB: How did you become involved with Berserk?

SH: The creator, Kentaro Miura, said he was a fan of mine and hired me. He also told me that he made Berserk listening to my music.

RB: When did you work on Berserk?

SH: I worked on the music for Berserk TV series in 1997.

RB: Are there any differences between the Berserk animation and Dreamcast game?

SH: The major difference between the Berserk anime and Dreamcast game is the tripping rhythmical sound that is synchronized for the game. It was quite difficult to make the rhythmic sound without destroying the heavy dark images of Berserk.

RB: How does your solo music differ from P-Model?

SH: P-MODEL makes a point of using electronic music and keeps staying in the field of Techno-pop for preference. My solo work has a more unconfined style and is conscious of my voice and lyrics.

RB: What are your favorite P-Model and solo works?

SH: Sim City: In this album I could build up new musical styles of myself deeply inspired by Thailand. P-MODEL: In this album I could nearly realize 100% of my ideas that I had been thinking of while P-MODEL took a long break.

RB: What are your least favorite P-Model and solo works?

SH: One Pattern: This album was made in uncomfortable circumstances- a record company, visual staff, etc... that I didn't like. Orgun-3: I was tired of dealing with it. :)

RB: Glory Wars is an image album inspired by what?

SH: By the novel "Glory Wars". The author who also did Detanator Orgun wanted an image album for his new novel.

RB: Share your expereinces in making the music for Detonator Orgun?

SH: Joining the Detonator Orgun project ( 3 OVA's) in 1991expanded my range of music. That experience was helpful in making the music for Berserk.

RB: What is the future of your music?

Orgun battleOrgun's Tomoru

SH: Recently, I keep feeling I am not exactly sure what my occupation is. To me music is simply a source for communication, as IL (interactive live show) tells you that. As I spend time and interest in making music, I spend the same time making videos, dealing with computer technology and doing performance on the Internet. Therefore, the future of my music would be an advanced performance which puts all those things together.

RB: What kind of music do you listen to?

SH: It's difficult to answer. I usually do not dare to listen to music. In that circumstance, if I dare to say the most familiar music, it will be my music. Because I have work on the mixdown for them.

RB: Have you performed overseas?

SH: Yes, once in Thailand

RB: Tell us about your work with the Amiga? What kind do you use? How does it compare to other computers?

SH: Most of my activities are greatly supported on AMIGA. Composing, arranging and the main system of IL are fully supported on it. You might not believe me but I still use a 10 year-old AMIGA. Only one thing is assisted by PC that AMIGA is not good at: output of Japanese characters. The PC is the latest spec machine, Pentium III 800MHz. :)

RB: What is the future of Amiga?

SH: It is incalculable. But they are still not completely terminated.

RB: Why do you use a virtual drummer? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

SH: Basically I don't like a tribe of "musicians" very much. I have decreased the number of musicians around me. As a result, one day I noticed P-MODEL had no drummer, and it was the first reason why I conceived the idea of using the virtual drummer. The second reason is, it was useful to give the audience an experience which is a sense of my situation now: in between digital space and the traditional physical performance world. The third advantage of the virtual drummer is "he" is not so stinky and the backstage area will never be a smelly room. The disadvantage is "he" cannot handshake with the audience.

RB: Miburi is very impressive futuristic suit. What is it like to use and wear? How does it affect your music?


SH: Unfortunately, the maker has been developing Miburi to be comfortable to wear and have an appearance closer to clothes. The maker hopes it will be more widely adopted by a greater variety of musicians. However, I don't think a Blues artists will use Miburi. I prefer to wear the original design that I've used like a medical appliance or an electronic torture tool, so I wish it wouldn't develop any more. Unfortunately, you need hard exercises to play music with Miburi. So if you think Miburi is a musical instrument, it would be ironically suitable to show a performance which breaks the playing style of the traditional musicians. Therefore, it suits me fine. In IL, Miburi has been used as a controller of computer graphics and sound modules, that is to say, it's been used as to play a virtual instrument in the virtual space.

RB: Describe the Tubular Hertz?

SH: It is one of the tools a musician uses to make his stage presence more exciting. The structure is very simple, iron pipes are juxtaposed like a pipe organ press with leverage of a synthesizer keyboard engaged below. It also controls sound modules and computer graphics. Anyway, Tubular Hertz is a ridiculous name, isn't it...?

RB: Tell us about the audience interaction with the virtual door, big balloon sensor and light sensor? How does than improve the concert experience.

SH: First of all, I'll tell you more about the Interactive Live show. IL is a concert that reflects reactions from its audience. You can say it is role-playing concert which is hyper-linked to numerous scenes. There is a semitransparent screen, that covers the entire stage, between the audience and my location behind the screen on stage. Real-time CG animation and video images are projected so that the audience can see me, while images on the screen and my real body are synthesized. The concert has many branching stories and the audience can select the direction to go at junction points in the story. For example, I become lost in a room. At that point, 2 doors appear on the screen and the audience is asked to select one. This question is done by using text information on the screen. There are many ways to let the audience select one door, but the use of calculating the volume of their shouting is mostly used. The message "Which door will you open?" appears on the screen and a meter to show the volume of their shouting. The audience then raise their voices when the message "Shout if you want to open left door" appears, and thus the meter shows this volume. We then collect their reaction to the right door in the same way. The door which gets the greater response opens as the result. There are some other ways to reflect reaction from the audience in concert. Such as throwing the 'Big Balloon Sensor' into the audience (this balloon plays music when it interrupts a laser beam), or by selecting the story by using camera flashes which the audience bring into the show. As I told you earlier we also do such things as let teams on the Internet build bridges across two valleys on the stage screen.

RB: Any advice for musicians just starting?

SH: "MUSIC will NOT be a good example of how to create your music."

RocketBaby would like to thank Mr. Hirasawa for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview. Thanks also to Mika Hirano and Intelligentsia for use of Images.

MP3 courtesy of Mr. Hirasawa and Chaosunion.

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