of Birth: 1969
Place of Birth: Tokyo, Japan
Favorite Food: Has a lot of preferences for foods.
Usually smokes, but never drinks or takes drugs.
Listens to almost any kind of music except what is too hard.
Sound Tools: Apple Power Macintosh7 600/200 (+CPUaccelerator G3/366)
Discography: Again(FrogmanRecords) Circuit'72 (Soup-disk/silverstone) Mind Edit (Soup-disk) Mind Syndicate (Soup-disk/vinyl LP) From The Bedroom to The Whole Universe(compilation
from Frogman Records) Out of Perspective (sampler from Soup-disk) "Sonic Drive" from Sega Touring Car Championship
(Marvelaous Entertainment inc.) Front Mission Alternative (Square Soft/Digicube)
"Electric Blue" (RiowArai mix) from Kitchen
Works by Andrei Zueff (Frogman Records) "After Image" (opera mix)' "After Image"
(rain-shower mix) from Nobukazu Takemura (Childisc)
This months interview
is with the techno/funk/ambient composer of Squaresoft's Front
Mission Alternative. This 30 year old self taught musician
was born in Tokyo and started composing music in his bedroom studio
during his junior high school years we he got a synthesizer. In
1994 he sent a demo tape Japan's frogman records and released
his first CD in 1996. In 1997 he contributed the track "Sonic
Drive" to Sega Touring Car.
did start your music career?
Arai: In junior high school,
I got a synthesizer and started to make music in my bedroom studio.
How did you get the job for Front Mission Alternative?
The director of FMA wanted to use a composer out of the company,
then a staff member who was my friend offered me the job. Because
I wasn't on the staff of Squaresoft, I tried to make music which
was different from any conventional game music. Indeed, FMA project
director wanted me to do so.
How much did the FMA development team influence your work?
Musically they set me free, so there were no problems. But there
was a consensus that it would be techno sound.
How much did corporate Squaresoft influence your work?
I felt very good at work, because they gave me enough money and
didn't make any complaints about my work.
Was there anything you wanted to experiment with, but couldn't?
In the Playstation's system, there are two ways to play music:
on one hand music is totally converted, and the other hand the
sound modulator is programmed in PS. In the case of FMA we used
the latter, so what I could express with music was very limited.
For example, sounds were very cheap and there weren't enough effects.
So, it was very experimental for me to make music with that system.
How long did you work on FMA, and at what point in the development
cycle did you start?
It took me about a half a year to make the music for FMA. I took
part in FMA project at the start, but what I was involved in was
FMA development team were
responsible for the total sound system operation including sound
you be working with Squaresoft in the future?
If they make me an offer and set down a good condition, I'll work
When composing what influences your music?
Anything around me, anything I feel. Also, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
How would you describe for us your non-game music?
RA: To put it simply, it can be categorized
as techno. And there are so many elements such as drum'n'bass,
triphop, hiphop, ambient, and so on. But, however, it is different
from all of them. I can't put my music into words, so I just want
you to listen to it. I have already released three original albums.
Please refer to Web_Site_Again (www.venus.dti.ne.jp/~riow/) in
detail. I also want to make soundtracks for movies or anything
Is there a different thought
process for your game music and non-game music?
In the case of game music, contents of the music have to be related
to that of the game. When I made the music for FMA, there were
systematical limits such as the number of sounds. On the other
hand, in the case of my original albums, I am basically free except
fitting music into the color of the label in some degree.
How did you come to work
on Sega Touring Car?
As well as FMA, they wanted to use musicians outside of Sega,
so an acquaintance of mine informed me of this project.
RB: Was there a
specific style the team at Sega were looking for? Was Sonic Drive
something you already composed or was it original for the game?
RA: They hoped the music would be
exciting for driving and fit the racing game. The track was original
for the game. I made three tracks and they took "Sonic Drive."
The other two songs were used for FMA, because I thought they
shouldn't be wasted (STC was an year before FMA).
How Sega and Squaresoft differ in their attitudes about music?
I didn't feel so good when I worked with Sega, because they made
many demands on me. On the other hand, Squaresoft depended on
me and there were no demands. I composed almost of FMA without
seeing any picture and selected tracks for each scene myself.
Do you play games?
I seldom play video games. I have nothing to say about them, except
I don't like RPG's.
What is next for you?
Now I have a plan for a game, but I cannot tell you about that
yet. In August (1999), my new original album will be released
in Japan. Later it will be also distributed in America. Please
refer to Web_Site_Again(www.venus.dti.ne.jp/~riow/) for details.
What do you think of the next-generation of game consoles and
their sound design?
As game consoles develop, we can do more in the system, so I want
to try new possibilities as well as I can.
is the future of game music?
I think a game does not always need music. We should have
a choice to have music or not have music. As well as movies, we
need to make an experiment.
Do you have a favorite game composer?
Anything you would like to add?
I'm not a game composer but an artist, so I want you to listen
to my original albums as well. When I make other works, please
try them too. And please give me a job.
would like to thank Mr. Arai for chatting with us.
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