August 6, 1965 Tokyo, Japan
Favorite Drink: Tea
Favorite Food: Japanese foods, ethnic
Favorite Book: "The Hotel New
Hampshire" by John Irving
Favorite Music: Opera, Classical,
Favorite Movies: Simple movies
Studio Gear: PowerMac
G4/533MHz (384M) and many instruments
Sound Tools: ProTools,
Like Heaven (J)
RocketBaby: At what age did you become interested
Yuki Kajiura (YK): I was completely influenced
by my father. He loved opera and classical
style songs, so I was forced to accompany his songs on the piano
since the age of seven.
The first song I composed was for my grand mother, when I was (probably)
old and I had to go to West Germany because of my parent's transfer.
The title was
"Thank you, Good-bye". The song's score still remains.
Since then I rarely made compositions
till my late teens.
RB: How did you get the job for Noir?
YK: The director Koichi Mashita invited me
to join in. I worked with him on the animation
RB: Noir has a unique sound, how did you select
the musical styles used?
YK: There is no specific reason. For me, it's
strange that there is a tacit understanding that
BGM has no song (only in Japan?), so I made the BGMs of Noir very
naturally. I did not
want to disturb the story line.
I think I was considerably inspired by the director
Koichi Mashita. He was very good at stirring up my imagination.
His order for making music was very abstract and interesting. He
didn't talk such the way of speaking as "like that music",
instead, he spoke like "with a feeling of falling beyond the
universe." I felt that he expressed his wishes about the music
with it’s breadth and scale, rather than It’s quality.
The director offered me a challenge with words, and I accepted it
with music. That was the way of the creation.
As a composer, what attracted me to Noir was simply
that it was the work with very few restrictions.
I set out to compose the music my way and I was able to complete
the music my way. It seemed like
that creators of pictures and music had each other's own way, and
after that mixed them up.
RB: How Long did you work on Noir and what is
your favorite tune?
YK: About half a year, but almost all of the
music was finished in the first month. I'm not sure
because I have not counted, maybe I wrote sixty or seventy music
cues if you include the short
Let me see, if forced to decide the best one, it
is "Canta Per Me". There are rare opportunities
to release the music of such atmosphere, so during the work on Noir
I carried out what I had
Memory of the work... pretty desperate, because there
was not enough time.
It was like I had literally ransacked all of my stock for creation.
RB: Like "Canta Per Me" "Indio"
is one of most impressive tunes. What emotion did you put
into that music?
YK: In fact, I wrote "Indio"
long ago, when I was young. I got the impression from Noir that
youth of the girls were very specific. "Indio" was the
work of my youth, and maybe I could never
write it, especially its lyrics, if I was not young, Because I decided
that the "youth" of the music
including its immatureness matched the girls' atmosphere, I dared
to use "Indio" in Noir.
RB: What inspires your music?
YK: Various things...pictures, especially
books, I think. Soundless media gives me the
imagination of sounds. But sometimes a conversation with someone
It's really various.
RB: Why do you create music?
YK: That is a endless question for
me. At the end of my teens, when I started making music for
real, I thought seriously "music, or die". Everyone has
the instinct of self expression, right?
As a scheme of self expression, I had decided that creating music
was more suitable for me
than drawing, writing, or speaking.
But the motivation changes naturally as I age or
I write music as my works. Basically there is
a simple reason that I love music anytime, and I'm sure there are
desires or frustrations that
the music I create tomorrow may convey something to someone more
than that of today.
But recently I often have to write more music over my desire of
creation, so sometimes the
motivation tends to be ambiguous in my mind.
I can't create music without the feeling of
love for music, so always I'm making effort to keep
the love for music in any situation. It comes to be all of my energy.
RB: Please explain what type of music See Saw
YK: When See-Saw was an amateur
band, it consisted of six women. Our vocalist left See-saw,
and we scouted around for a new one. At such time Chiaki, who was
a younger sister of our
drummer in those days, came to see the session at the studio, and
casually I asked her to
sing a song. And then I found she had the ideal voice I wished,
so I persuaded her to join us
although she never had an experience of band activity.
See-saw's concept is "Do the favorite
thing when we want to do it". It's A very easygoing musical
unit for me. Basically See-saw aims to perform pop music. Since
the early days I like impressive
melody, so we hope to write songs comfortable for us, melodies move
us deeply, with two of us.
RB: Please share your experiences on the following
It was very interesting, because it was my first
work of game music and I was interested
in video games.
Funk a Step I & II:
I love musicals, and I have intensity of thought
for stage work. It was the work with which
my dream had come true. Some tunes of the work are my favorites
I worked with some of my favorite musicians. We joined
to create a lavish production. It was
very impressive work for me.
"Boogiepop" is a very interesting novel.
Actually I started writing tunes and I couldn't stop to
empathize with each of the characters, but out of all of them I
seemed to feel particular
empathy with Kei Niitoki. I like Kei's theme as a piano tune, and
Echoes' tune is also one
"I think regardless
of its sales or popularity, a music composer and those who listens
facing each other one-on-one."
-Yuki Kajiura 2002
Even now I love the comics of EATMAN very much, as
well as the animation. I think it an honor
and I was truly happy to create music for the works I love.
In the work I wrote Italian songs for the first
time. There were few tunes, but I enjoyed
writing very much.
Shin Kimagure Orange Road:
A producer who is my acquaintance introduced
me. The producer approves of me since I was
in See-Saw and called on me to get involved. Since it was a little
a while ago, I can't remember
how many tunes I wrote. It may be double number of tracks included
on the sound tracks.
I rarely prefer such a love story of Jack and Jill like that, so
I worked with fairly fresh sense.
Blood the Last Vampire (PSX2):
I didn't refer to movies music. I remember
that I thought the game had a horrorific and quiet
atmosphere and wrote the tunes which didn't stand out but focused
on the atmosphere and
mentality. I like its quiet and nostalgic atmosphere all over the
game. I had the background that
I had worked on the music of "Double Cast", which was
one of the same series of "Yaru-dora",
so I got involved with the project.
RB: What are your strengths and weaknesses as
weakness is...I have to study music all the time, because I was
very late to get down
to music than other composers. Maybe my knowledge and experience
are far less than that of
the composers of same generation.
What is my strength? If I have one, it is my
selfish mind. I'm selfish, or rather, because of lack of
experience, I can create only the music I'm interested in. It may
be related to the character of my
music, but conversely it's my weakness of "one pattern",
since I can't create any music I'm not
interested in now.
RB: Do you admire any other game or anime composers?
Who and Why?
YK: Restricted to game or
anime composers, I have to say no. But of course it doesn't mean
that there are no composers to admire. Wherever in any category
of media, stage, game, anime
or songs, I admire the person who create the their own music at
RB: What is your process for creating music? In
what kind of environment do you create your music?
YK: Mainly I write tunes in my room
with piano, but if I hit on a melody when I'm walking, I write it
as a score. Though there are many ways to create music, I value
the first phrase that comes into my mind
(usually it is a melody, sometimes a rhythm or like a riff of synthesizer),
and regard the arrangement
as a decoration which emphasizes the phrase I want to express. I
make arrangement in the way as above, maybe a matter of course.
RB: What is your most treasured memory creating
YK: After all, I think that
listening to music is a personal experience. I think regardless
of its sales or popularity, a music composer and those who listens
are always facing each other one-on-one. So I'm
most pleased to have a message about my music from an individual
person. Impressions given
to me when I was an amateur and to my works now are treasured memories
better than anything else.
RB: What advice would you give to those who want
to create music?
YK: Advise..? It's difficult for me.
I don't have much experience yet, but I've got
involved with the world of music, largely as a result of my luck.
God only knows when
we have what kind of opportunity. I think there are quite a few
windows of opportunity
in our lives. It is most important that no matter what kind of music,
even if you feel the work
uninteresting, you should keep creating your own music to which
you feel proud. I think so.
RB: Any final thoughts?
YK: If my tunes I have created with my emotion
evoke some kind of emotion from those who
listen, that is my sincere pleasure. My daily life of creating music
is so happy to me. I wish
sincerely that my music which is born of my happy life brings some
happiness to all of you.
Thank you very much for enjoying the music of Yuki Kajiura.
Translation by Tetsushi
A big thank you to Ms. Kajiura for taking the time to chat. Special
thanks to Tetsushi!