Engineers sound off on their love
for music and the listening experience
Q: Why don't we start with introductions, and then tell us about your connection to music.
I've been into music since I was a little kid and started guitar in 6th grade. My love for music grew from there and then I got involved with designing audio systems for Pioneer.
Satoru Yoshinari has the experience of performing in his own band as a guitarist and vocalist, while also writing lyrics, composing music, mix mastering and self-producing CD works. He has greatly contributed to the audio and sound design of this new AV receiver.
I manage the Origami Production music label. I really loved music as a kid and, though I gave up playing, I fell in love with music production. I worked at a major record company for about 8 years and during that time there was an artist that I wanted to produce on my own. I quit that company 11 years ago and started my own label, and so here I am.
After working at an advertisement company, Yoshiaki Tsushima joined Victor Entertainment, Inc. in 1998, and then origami Productions in 2006. He is in charge of animation BGM for this project.
Q: When was it that you knew that you wanted to be involved with music?
In elementary school I was huge fan of this show "Best Hits USA". My sister taped the show each week and watched it over and over again. I wanted to watch cartoons, but my sister was much stronger than I was, so I ended up watching it with her and bit by bit I started to enjoy it.
Q: You couldn't have known what those songs in English meant at the time.
Those 80's music videos were just so great - Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis & The News, and the other Western artists – and the MC of the show was brilliant. I just got more into it each week. Before I realized it, I was the one doing the recording! I was a little kid in his elementary school uniform listening to Van Halen (laughs). Whenever we had a school trip, they would tell me that I could bring whichever cassette I wanted to play on the ride there. I always brought Western music.
I know exactly what you mean (laughs).
At first, everyone is in shock with their mouths open. Then there'd be one guy who would say, "What was that stuff?" and I'd say things like, “I know! Good stuff, right?” and be so happy to make a new convert. That's where it all began. Later I started going to concerts and experiencing the excitement of listening to music live. Live music is great, but I believe that there are some things that you just can't experience live, that you can only get from recordings. I still get a huge thrill from listening to an artist on vinyl or CD.
My father was the one who influenced me the most. He would borrow these vinyl song collections – quite regularly, almost like clockwork - and then he'd record them onto cassette tape and listen at his leisure. Music was just a regular part of my daily childhood life.
Q: So your love of music was also because of your family.
That's how it started, yes. I think it was during elementary school that my interest evolved by listening to a Japanese pop band called ‘Mr. Children'. I could tell just from the tone that their songs were filled with a deep melancholy and it was those kinds of songs that really moved me. In high school, I found out about this great band, Green Day, and when I heard their album Dookie, it just blew me away. These experiences further deepened my interest and pushed me another step toward where I am today.
Q: Which artists or songs had the most impact on you?
The first song to ever make me cry was by Mr. Children. They became hugely successful because of their ability to combine heartfelt lyrics and haunting melodies. Listening to their songs, I thought, 'this is what it truly means to express a feeling'. It changed my life.
Q: You both are very similar in that you help people get more enjoyment out of their music. What does that mean for you to "enjoy music"?
It's like when you listen to music and your body just starts moving, or you suddenly find yourself singing. When you're sad, it makes you sadder. It deepens emotion and really attacks all of your senses. Besides that, it's also a good way for total strangers to become friends.
Exactly. When you first meet someone and you realize you like the same music, it's like you just want to high-five them or hug them right then and there. Music crosses generational boundaries and you can connect with people from different countries who speak different languages. The idea that you can listen to music that was created before you were born is just mind-blowing. That's the real power of vinyl and CDs, right there. That's what we're selling. We are doing what we can to make music that is timeless. When we make a song, we ask ourselves if someone a century from now would want to listen to it. That's what's important to us.
Q: What was it that made you want to go from a listener to becoming someone who brings music to others?
It's actually hard to express something's true value with words. But with music, it just comes across naturally. When you want to express something beyond political borders or language barriers, I feel that the easiest way to do that is with music.
As a kid, when I had someone listen to a song I liked and they began to like it too, that was just the best feeling. That song would be planted in their heart like a seed where it would grow and begin to create its own original story that is unique to that person.
Q: So it's more than just relaying a message.
Songs become a part of people's lives. It starts as "my" music, but then becomes theirs. It lays down roots in your life and someday when you're listening to it, it makes you think of an earlier time. That's the real power of it, and why I want as many people as possible to listen to more and more music.
to be continued Vol.2