Takeshi Abo
Takeshi Abo

Born: January 17, 1973 Ichinoseki-city, Iwate-ken
Secret :)
Favorite Drink:
Japanese Tea and Water
Favorite Food:
Spicy food (Some Chinese noodles, curry, etc.)
Cars, Shopping, etc.
Influences: For Music [in general]: YMO [Japanese Band "Yellow Magic Orchestra"]
For Game Music: Gradius, Exed Exec, Thexder, Ys, Sorcerian.
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 249
Sound Tools: Steinberg Cubase 5.1VST, Propellerheads REASON, Propellerheads ReBirth, Macromedia SoundEdit16 and some [other] small tools...

Val Sounds

Credits Include:
See Below


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 that
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, impressive instrument
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), and then
also listening to recorded tunes of NES games or arcade game music. Later
I bought a personal computer (Shard X1G) and became really hooked to entering
music digitally. The first time I composed my music was when I was about 16.
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 was...

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 rhythm
part, I may cut and paste the base... I may also construct very slowly, by
recording piano part over and over. So the method varies by the occasion.

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 music in
such ways...

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 ways.]

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
[? 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 it.

Snowboard Extreme:

This required many imageries and other very demanding factors [to the music], and
was very troublesome. It did not have the limitation of [hardware] internal sound
source, and because of that coming up with something satisfactory was hard.

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 to highten
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...]

Kid Mix:

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 very painstaking.

Perfect Insider:

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, I would
personally recommend this. It is sad, but unfortunately not many people
end up sharing the same opinion as I...

Ever 17:

(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 with many
high quality pieces that I personally like. This also includes some ambient
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 version?]
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 not very
popular, so I feel that it may not have been heard by that many people...
[Along with the pieces from this] I recall my favorite contemporary games
with complex use of FM sound source, such as "Rhyme Star" and "StarFire".

RB: How do you think game music today compares to classic game music?

TA: Game music nowadays has greatly changed from before. Earlier it was
[consisting of] monophonic electronic tunes, but now it [game consoles] can
generate very good sounds, comparable to that of regular samplers. On the
other hand, I somewhat feel that the sounds are used more wastefully, but this
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 the sound
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 music?

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 my homepage...
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
my site.

Translation by Shinsuke Fukuda

A big thank you to Mr. Abo for taking the time to chat.




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