January 17, 1973 Ichinoseki-city, Iwate-ken
Education: Secret :)
Favorite Drink: Japanese Tea and
Favorite Food: Spicy
food (Some Chinese noodles, curry, etc.)
Hobbies: Cars, Shopping, etc.
Music [in general]: YMO [Japanese Band "Yellow Magic Orchestra"]
For Game Music: Gradius, Exed Exec, Thexder,
Favorite Game(s): Xevious, The Tower
of Druaga, Samurai Spirits
Favorite Movies: Close Encounters
of the Third Kind, Star Wars, AKIRA.
Studio Gear: PowerMac
G4/533MHz (384M) Key[board]: KORG 01/Wpro, KORG Prophecy,
Roland D70, Yamaha DX7
Module: Akai S01, Yamaha RY20, Roland SC55-ST Effects:
Boss SE-50 Mixer: MX20 Audio Card: M-Audio Audiophile
Sound Tools: Steinberg Cubase
5.1VST, Propellerheads REASON, Propellerheads ReBirth, Macromedia
SoundEdit16 and some [other] small tools...
RocketBaby: At what age did you become interested in music?
Takeshi Abo (TA): The first time I especially
got interested in music was...
when I was 8 or 9,my father purchased a record, which had one piece
was fully performed using synthesizers, and he told me, "This
is all played by
one single person." At that time I had imagined some huge,
out of a sci-fi movie, (in a hidden, "secret base") controlled
by many equipments,
playing the piece. I loved such idea, thinking "Synthesizers
sound like magic!,"
and became interested in them.
Afterwards I grew up listening to Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO),
also listening to recorded tunes of NES games or arcade game music.
I bought a personal computer (Shard X1G) and became really hooked
music digitally. The first time I composed my music was when I was
I still remember; it was a horrible copycat piece, but back then
I was amazed
about having made a piece by myself.
RB: How did you get started in the game making business?
TA: When I was nineteen, I sent a demo tape
to StarCraft, was then interviewed and
accepted. Actually, they had offered me job once beforehand, but
at that time
I had declined due to some issues. The fact that I had been re-accepted
when I applied again after one or two months shows how nice HR personnel
RB: What is your process for creating music?
TA: It can vary... After entering chords,
thinking to some degree about their
progression, I may then add bass and percussion, or along creating
part, I may cut and paste the base... I may also construct very
recording piano part over and over. So the method varies by the
RB: How do you overcome the limitations of the hardware
you are working on?
TA: Since it is [console] game music, naturally
it is restricted by the hardware
capability of the console. However in terms of creative processes,
I would say
that such limitations give more appeal; I like [digitally] entering
RB: What inspires your music?
TA: [My] Emotions, the things that I
see and hear, and [other] influential things.
[NOTE: He really put it in this somewhat vague, figurative
RB: Please share your experiences on the following games:
Can Can Bunny (NEC PC-FX [CCB Extra] and Sega Saturn [CCB
Premiere 1 and 2]):
For PC-FX's "Extra", I was writing
internal sounds' PSG tunes and music data
directly with assembly, but because it was time consuming I had
to make my own
MML [? No idea here...] and that
was a big pain. Music to Premiere 1 and 2 for
Sega Saturn was made in rush, but I remember enjoying working on
This required many imageries and other very demanding
factors [to the music], and
was very troublesome. It did not have the limitation of [hardware]
source, and because of that coming up with something satisfactory
Memories Off (PS/DC):
With sufficient work time I was able to smoothly
create pieces, which was exactly
what I wanted to make. The story [of the game] must have also helped
my creative imagery.
My dream project is to release
a CD under my name!
Aim for movie soundtrack! (A dream should be ambitious, right?)
-Takeshi Abo 2002
I experimented with some chords that I usually
do not include, while also making
sure to preserve the quality. The vocal piece was originally just
a BGM, so with
lyrics I remember it had become a very difficult song.
[NOTE: "The vocal piece"
is my addition. He did not clarify what the last sentence is about...
It is also possible
from the original that it could mean "All vocal pieces"
were this way...]
This was a wrap up / summary of previous releases,
so I created just a couple
of pieces. The setting [of the game] was sort of a digital world,
so I tuned
the pieces in a "digital pop" style.
First Sunny Side:
I had to make sure not to destroy the image of existing
music, while also
increasing the quality and adding arrangements to the works; was
This is actually my favorite work. I like ambient
music, so although
what I made here is not the most favored by the general public,
personally recommend this. It is sad, but unfortunately not many
end up sharing the same opinion as I...
(At the time of writing, this is not yet released)
Despite composing within
short time frame, I am very satisfied that I was able to come up
high quality pieces that I personally like. This also includes some
techno pieces, and [out of all] I enjoyed working on these pieces.
Might and Magic III:
This was my first job at StarCraft; I remember
making over 60 pieces.
Unfortunately the SNES version of the game was never officially
went on sale
and it can not be found in the market.
[Q: Was the version he worked on specifically (only) the SNES
I recall many memories from that time when I listen to the music
of this game.]
I made this toward the end of FM sound source
era, with quite interesting
composition style. Unfortunately at the time PC9821 series were
popular, so I feel that it may not have been heard by that many
[Along with the pieces from this] I recall my favorite contemporary
with complex use of FM sound source, such as "Rhyme Star"
RB: How do you think game music today compares to classic
music nowadays has greatly changed from before. Earlier it was
[consisting of] monophonic electronic tunes, but now it [game consoles]
generate very good sounds, comparable to that of regular samplers.
other hand, I somewhat feel that the sounds are used more wastefully,
maybe is my bad analysis... The game music that I was listening
to when I was
a student had very high hardware barriers, and I was attracted to
which skillfully used myriad's of techniques within such restrictions.
As a person
who has lived through the golden age of FM sound source, I guess
I have more
passion for the [music from] past.
RB: What advice would you give to those who want to create
TA: If one really loves music and actively
engage yourself, I believe that one's wish
will become real. Always have challenging spirits! (This is also
a word for
me myself, too...)
RB: Any final thoughts?
TA: I will continue to put a lot of effort
into my works; please watch my actions
closely! For close, I would like to add a little introduction of
Other than music (Description of the pieces from the works I had
hands on, to
downloadable music made with FM sound source), it includes pages
for my hobby,
the automobiles (HONDA Prelude SiVTEC) and others.
If you are interested in game music or automobiles,
please take a look at
Translation by Shinsuke
A big thank you to Mr. Abo for taking the time to chat.