Interview with CocoeBiz. C=CocoeBiz, K=Kenji Ito
C: First, I'd like to say congratulations on the initiation of your English homepage. You have a lot of fans overseas, so how do you feel about the fact that your music has been able to cross over and communicate with people across the ocean?
K: Thank you very much! Shortly after I was hired at Square, I went with a number of employees on a company trip to Hawaii. One day I came across a game shop in town, and spotted the overseas version of "Seiken Densetsu", a Gameboy game I'd done the music for. I thought, "Wow, so it's even available in Hawaii", and was very excited. And then, I remember pledging to myself never to work carelessly or hold anything back in my work.
C: The Romancing SaGa and Seiken Densetsu series have derived a great deal of support from your "ItoKen Sounds". Was the music you composed for those games inspired by any particular images? (Inspirations from outside the game material itself)
K: No, not particularly. I usually completed the music based on images I got from the game.
C: You've written the music for a lot of games now. From where do the images within your music come while you're composing?
K: This is basically the same as above. Of course, I read and hear a lot of ideas from other music, movies, and books, but not so I can refer to these images when writing my own music.
C: You regard Culdcept 2 as your best work. Why is that?
K: It was the first project I worked on after leaving Square and I had a lot of memories of it. Additionally, I handled all aspects of the sound production: composing, arranging, and sound design. It gave me a lot of confidence for all work afterwards.
C: You started playing the piano when you were 4 years old. What do you think was the motive for this?
K: According to my mother, I was interested in the sound of the piano I heard from a classroom we often passed by. She asked if I'd like to learn how to play, and apparently I said "yeah!". It seems I was also more interested in the electone than in the piano, but my teacher at the time said "Piano is the most fundamental of all instruments, so let's start with that". And I never had the chance to play an electone. (laughs) But now I'm very grateful that I learned the piano.
C: Is there anything you find particularly difficult about composing?
K: I often find that, depending on my mood or the situation, melodies will not come to me. I struggle with myself when I confront this situation, and always wonder how I am able to keep on top of these things.
C: Now that you're a freelancer, what are some things in your career that have changed? (Good things or bad)
K: One good thing I think is that I've acquired a greater sense of responsibility. Also, perhaps my personality has matured a little bit. (laughs). On the negative side, my daily life has become extremely irregular. It's not good for my health. I'm aware of it, but because I no longer compose regularly within a set part of the day, there's nothing I can do about it.
C: Can you say anything about your upcoming guest appearance with the Black Mages at their live show in January, 2005?
K: I've never been involved in a big event like this, so I'm really looking forward to it. I think I'll have a lot of fun.
C: Thank you very much! Perhaps we can do another interview in the near future!
Interviewed & Interview Contents by Kahori Ezaki (CocoeBiz., L.L.C.) Contents Translated by James McCawley. Editorial Supervised by Kahori Ezaki (CocoeBiz., L.L.C.) Contents may not be reproduced or published without the permission of CocoeBiz., L.L.C.