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Our first ever interview is with the accomplished composer of Ehrgeiz and Tobal 2. This 32 year old musician who was born in Tokyo and started composing at the age of 19. In college Mr. Nakamura who is self taught started a band with some friends and played guitar.

E-mail: nakataka@kk.iij4u.or.jp
Website: www.kk.iij4u.or.jp/~nakataka/

7-4-00: Update- Mr. Nakamura is currently working on 2 unnamed games for the PlayStation 2, and as yet an unreleased solo disc. He recently formed the company Brainstorm Inc., a company dedicated to sound for games.

Born: July 1967, Tokyo Japan Favorite Food: Sushi Favorite TV show: X Files

1992 Out Runners (arcade)
1993 Virtua Fighter (arcade) Ghost Hunters (sega theme park)
1994 Virtua Fighter 2 (arcade) Virtua Fighter (sega saturn)
1995 Virtua Fighter 2 (sega saturn)
1996 Virtua Fighter Kids (sega saturn) Virtua Fighter 3 (arcade)
1997 Tobal 2 (psx)
1998 Ehrgeiz (arcade,psx)

Ehrgeiz (digicube sscx 10025)
Tobal 2 (digicube sscx 10007)
Virtua Fighter 3 (toshiba emi tycy5522 tracks 2,6,8,10,12,20,21,25)
Virtua Fighter Kids (toshiba emi tycy5520)

Rocketbaby: How long were you at Sega, and what made you leave for Dream Factory?

Takayuki Nakamura: I worked for Sega for almost seven years. At which time I felt very limited at Sega and decided to change my employment.

RB: How did you feel limited at Sega?

TN: I did not feel Sega's work was charming or interesting.

RB: Do you work exclusively for Dream Factory?

TN: Until now I worked exclusively for Dream Factory, however later this year I will be freelancing.

RB: Were there any differences in the attitude towards music at Sega and Dream Factory?

TN: In my preparation there was no difference. There was more pressure at Dream Factory since I did all the music.

RB: On the Virtua Fighter series you were involved with the original music, arranged music or both?

TN: I was involved with all versions.

VF3 logo

RB: How closely did you work with Yu Suzuki?

TN: I heard what styles would be good directly from him, while each tune was written to his exact specifications.

RB: Tobal 2's music has many styles (funk, jazz and rock), what influences your music?

TN: I like the music styles of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Jeff Beck.

VF2 for Sega SaturnVF Kids

RB: Was there any pressure to keep the music similar to Tobal No. 1?

TN: No.

RB: Did you refer to Tobal No.1?

TN: Very little.

RB: My favorite tune of your is "Grope after the truth" from Tobal 2. It really wowed me when I first played the game. What is your favorite composition?

TN: My favorites are Ehrgeiz's "Opening(short ver.)" and "Tobal 2".

RB: The music to Ehrgeiz seems to have a harder edge than your previous work. What were you trying to do different?

TN: With Ehrgeiz I tried to make the music simpler than Tobal 2. The reason for this is the image of the game must be considered, and there was not as much time to pound out the tunes for Ehrgeiz.

RB: Did you work with Nobuo Uematsu on the Final Fantasy tracks for Ehrgeiz?

TN: No, he came only to hear the song which I had arranged.

RB: What did he think?

TN: He was very pleased with the tune which I arranged of his.

RB: At what point do you become involved with each game,and how long do you work on each project.

TN: I participate at the time development begins and I work for about three months.

Ehrgeiz opening movieEhrgeiz "battle on the bridge"

RB: When not working what kind of music do you listen to?

TN: I listen to music of all kinds. A recent favorite is Hikaru Utada.

RB: Do you have any influences in the videogame music world?

TN: I did not know the industry so much until I started at Sega.I came to know the genre well through the Master System and Genesis. I like the seniors at Sega as well as the Final Fantasy series.

RB: Do you play games and what are some of your favorites?

TN: Yes, I like to play Unreal and Diablo.

RB: Do you play Tobal 2 or Ehrgeiz?

TN: I like both games, but I think Tobal 2 has a better replay and a higher degree of quality.

Women of Tobal 2The men of Tobal 2

RB: Are there other creative outlets that you would like to explore, such as film or pop music?

TN: Ofcourse, I am looking to work in other industries.

RB: Do you perform your game music in concert?

TN: So far, I do not have such plans. However, I want to in the future.

RB: What makes Japanese videogame music so good?

TN: I think the reason is the Japanese like the music of Jazz and techno.

RB: What do you think of the next generation game consoles and there sound capabilities?

TN: I don't know. I have not heard the sound of the PS2 or Dolphin yet. However, I think the sound chip that Sega uses is good because it is by Yamaha.

RB: What is your studio gear?

TN: This is what I have in my home studio: Apple Power Mac G3 233DT, Opcode Studiovision, Digidesign Pro Tool, Emu Protues 1 XR, Korg TR-Rack Korg M3R, Korg 01/W, Roland SC-88VL, Roland MC-505, Akai S200.

Tobal 2' EponTobal 2's Chuji

RB: In the past I asked you if there would be a Tobal 2 remix disc and you said no. The release for Ehrgeiz has arranged track included. Why are there so many remix discs in Japan(example Tekken 3)?

TN: Answering is a difficult problem. I think a lot of remix versions in Japan are the speculation of the record company. If a game is popular the chance of sales is raised for the company.

RB: Last question. What is you next project?

TN: I have had several offers, but have not decided on which one. I also plan to work on an overseas game this year. Please listen to my songs.

We greatly thank Mr. Nakamura for taking the time to chat with us. Look for more news on his next projects here at the Journal.

Nakamura in studio

Tobal 2 and Ehrgeiz images are owned by Dream Factory/Square
Final Fantasy VII images are owned by Squaresoft
Virtua Fighter 3, Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter Kids images are owned by Sega


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