Yasunori Nishiki - The J-Pop Exchange Exclusive Interviews
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J-Pop Exchange Exclusive Interview with Yasunori Nishiki

Yasunori Nishiki J-Pop Exchange Radio Show Exclusive Interview


SeanBird (J-Pop Exchange): Hi, thank you for taking the time to speak with us…

Yasunori Nishiki: Thank you so much for this great opportunity.

SeanBird: If you do not mind, please tell us something about where you were born and where you grew up. Was it in a large city or a smaller town?

Yasunori Nishiki: I was born in a prefecture called Kanagawa, which is located right next to Tokyo. The place is pretty close to the city center, but not too crowded, and so I grew up in a regular residential part of town.

SeanBird: Did your interest in music begin in your childhood? How did you become interested in music?

Yasunori Nishiki: If I remember correctly, I started piano when I was about five, but I wasn’t one of those kids who took practicing seriously. I think it wasn’t until I was twelve, when I got interested in a Japanese band called Spitz and I bought myself a score for the first time to play their songs on the piano, that I actually got serious about music.

SeanBird: Please tell us about your musical studies and training.

Yasunori Nishiki: As I said earlier, yes, I’ve been playing the piano from an early age.

SeanBird: How and when did you decide to pursue a career in music? Was it always your intention to pursue a career in music?

Yasunori Nishiki: Well, I think the turning point was when I decided to try the entrance exam for a music college. But even after that, the idea of pursuing a career in music was still somewhat hazy because during my time at the college I didn’t really believe that my musical ability could actually earn a living. I was interested in game music and the making of video games, so I went in for job interviews at gaming companies. I got a job at Konami, and fortunately I was able to work in a section that made game music.

SeanBird: Can you give us some insight into your writing process? When you compose music, how do you progress from inspiration to creation?

Yasunori Nishiki: Well, usually music doesn’t spontaneously just materialize for me; it is more like during the process of reading the background information and story of the game, I visualize what type of music goes well with the program, and that’s when I get inspiration for the song. From there, I usually compose the general outline on the piano, and I continue to arrange it until I’m satisfied.

SeanBird: Who are your musical influences?

Yasunori Nishiki: Hmmm. In terms of classical music, I’ve always loved Bach. I’ve listened to the music numerous times since I was little. For game music, I have to say Mr. Nobuo Uematsu had a huge impact on me, because I was really into playing Final Fantasy since I was young. I still listen to his music all the time.

SeanBird: What music do you listen to?

Yasunori Nishiki: In part because my work deals with that kind of music, I often listen to instrumental music, songs without lyrics. I mainly listen to game music, cinema music and anime music.

SeanBird: How did you become involved with composing music for television?

Yasunori Nishiki: After working at Konami for several years, I became independent, and at the time of when I was leaving the company, there was talk about a plan for a new TV show, which some of the seniors from my school were involved with. They were nice enough to invite me to work on the project. That was how I became involved.

SeanBird: Please tell us about the scoring process behind Granblue Fantasy the Animation. Where in the process do you, as a composer, become involved? What were your experiences?

Yasunori Nishiki: Mr. Tsutomu Narita, the main person in charge of the music composition, and I are close in age and we sometimes eat out together and talk about music and what not. When it was decided they were going to make Granblue Fantasy the Animation, Mr. Narita kindly reached out to me and asked if I could help out. The timing for me to join the production was relatively early, in the storyboard stage – and I believe we had the offer at the beginning when the backbone of the story was forming. So, I joined the team, and although scoring for anime music was not my first time, because I had been working with game music, which I can say is composed quite differently from how anime music is created, I was still able to have this very valuable experience.

SeanBird: Please tell us about the scoring process behind the game Octopath Traveler. Where in the process do you, as a composer, become involved? What were your experiences?)

Yasunori Nishiki: With Octopath Traveller too, I joined the production in the initial planning stage – from the time when the storyline and the game system was completely different from what we have now. I think at first I was asked to compose the theme song and battle songs so that they could make a pilot. I had been making game music but there weren’t that many titles where I was the sole composer for all songs, and have the whole responsibility over the music production. So, in that regard it was an invaluable experience.

SeanBird: Are there particular instruments that you prefer to use in your compositions or orchestrations?

Yasunori Nishiki: I use the piano mainly, but sometimes I use the guitar, depending on what I’m working on.

SeanBird: Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you would like to talk about?

Yasunori Nishiki: I can’t give out any details, but I have a few game projects going simultaneously. I also plan to continue the TV gig that I currently have.

SeanBird: In conclusion, is there anything you would like to talk about that we have not discussed thus far?

Yasunori Nishiki: It was kindly brought up in the questions, but I’m working on the music for the title called Octopath Traveller. Please give it a listen if you are interested.

SeanBird: Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

Yasunori Nishiki: Thank you for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.

More Exclusive Interviews:

Kenji Kawai

Shinji Miyazaki


Special Thanks To:

Faith Melina Scantiello
Jenna Cook
Jesse Bonanno
Carey Proctor Brandenburg