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Kingdom Hearts III music interviews with Keiji Kawamori, Takeharu Ishimoto, and Tsuyoshi Sekito

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Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania, the official companion book for Kingdom Hearts III, released in Japan on February 28, 2019. The 736 page long book mainly serves as a guidebook and a detailed data book for everything in Kingdom Hearts III, but also contains concept art, character renders, and special interviews with the people who worked on the game. 

Here are three interviews from Music Supervisor Keiji Kawamori and as well as Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito. DISCLAIMER: This is only a tentative translation. It is possible that there are mistakes. These interviews could have potential spoilers, please be advised. 

Thanks to @lunesacree for the translations.


*Interview: Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Previously worked on: KH BbS, KH3D, KH 1.5, KH 2.5, FFVIII, FFX

Q: What kind of work were you responsible for?
A: Various duties related to creating the BGM, and direction of the music in the cutscenes.

Q: How do you feel about the evolution of the aspects of sound in the PS4 or Xbox One?
A: Though it wasn't used for the music in this game, effects processed through DSP (note: digital signal processing, which takes digitized audio, video etc and manipulates it mathematically) can be connected to things inside the game, or sounds that play at the same time can be used to make variations of the same track.

Q: Which point was the biggest struggle?
A: In the case of scenes where the video and music had to match up, we weren't able to put in any work until the length of time was decided exactly, so it was a fight against the schedule, but with the cooperation of the sound team, who has always had a hand in KH, we were able to make it through.

Q: Please tell us if there's any small gimmick that's hard to notice
A: Within the BGM, there are some parts that can be heard in surround-sound. If you have a chance, please play in an environment where you can use surround-sound.

Q: Which point did you fuss over the most?
A: In past works in the series, for each world there was just one field theme and one battle theme as the base, but this time around there are different arrangements matched up to various situations. Also, I managed to figure out how to make and adapt good arrangements for the melodies and incredible theme songs that Shimomura-san has made for us thus far.

Q: Which part of this production do you want us to hear?
A: Of course, the new songs, but it would make me happy if you could notice and listen to the various new arrangements of tracks from past works.

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
This time around, including cutscenes and smaller tracks, 200 tracks were implemented into the game, and the boss themes from past works are arranged slightly differently depending on the world.

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr3a7


*Interview: Takeharu Ishimoto (Music)

(note: He was once employed by Square but now works for THRILL)
Previously worked on: KH3D, The World Ends With You, Crisis Core: FFVII, Dissidia FF, FF Type-0

Q: Which scenes' tracks were you responsible for?
A: The Caribbean, Big Hero 6's scenes in San Fransokyo, as well as a lot of tracks for cutscenes and boss fights. In total, there were 21 tracks.

Q: Please tell us the concept for the tracks this time around.
A: KH is a large-scale series, so rather than tracks I personally wanted to make, the concept was to be very conscious of the "KH-ness" [of the tracks]. It was work that, along with adding my own personal touch, realized the explanations of the director, as well as an understanding of the worldview of KH, through songs.

Q: Was there anything ordered from the director?
A: Yes, strongly [laughs]. There were more and more orders to create certain songs first, or to decide the direction before work was done, so it depended on the song. There were times when just as I thought I was finished, I had to greatly polish up parts of songs after some back-and-forth, so it was fun.

Q: Which point did you fuss over the most?
A: The tracks in The Caribbean. Instead of "that song" that most people in the world know (note: the Pirates main theme, of course), I created new "Pirates of the Caribbean" tracks, and since it was a situation that doesn't often arise in one's life, I was really fired up. I think it's a good thing to get used to the tracks I made within the game.

Q: What kind of work would you like to try next?
A: I hadn't been involved with KH for a long time, so since I think I'd like to join in and make tracks for this title, I want to create tracks that will remain in peoples' hearts. It's a series that has fans spread out over a wide range of ages who are eagerly waiting, so I really think it's worth doing.

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
When I was rearranging Vanitas' battle theme from KH BbS to KH3, for a whole day, even when I went to the bathroom or took a bath, it was stuck in my head, and I was singing it before I realized. "What the heck is this song called?" I thought, unable to remember, and while I was eating dinner I realized "isn't it just 'Vanitas fight'?!" and burst out laughing alone. I wonder if I can convey correctly how much like a broken piece of junk I felt.

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr3bu


*Interview: Tsuyoshi Sekito (Music) 

Previously worked on: KH3D, FFVII Advent Children, FF Explorers, Brave Fencer Musashi, Chocobo's Dungeon 2, The Last Remnant, Seiken Densetsu: Rise of Mana

Q: Which scenes' tracks were you responsible for?
A: Arendelle, San Fransokyo, and the gummi ship, as well as Little Chef's restaurant and the festival dance, among others.

Q: Please tell us the concept for the tracks in this game.
A: Nomura told me "fun!", so the concept was "thrilling, exciting, bright and fun!!".

Q: The festival dance has two tempos; was this asked for from the start?
A: Yes. The characters that dance had two types of motions made that matched up with the two tempos, a normal tempo and a more energetic tempo, so work progressed [with this in mind].

Q: Which point was the biggest struggle?
A: Differentiating between the composition styles of the tracks for the gummi ship was very difficult. As you progress through the different parts of space, the enemies' attacks become harsher, so I added compositions with a progressively more serious image. The first sector of space you visit has a lively, fun kind of track, but the third incorporates a more heroic, brave melody, so I gave it a feeling of anxiety while also the image of giving the player a shout of encouragement.

Q: Which point did you fuss over the most?
A: The BGM in Arendelle. I made it so that it starts off light, then the feeling of making a dash for it increases, and by the end stages Sora and the others are being wrapped up gently by Mother Nature.

Q: Please tell us something you won't forget about the development process.
A: For the song in the festival dance, we asked a professional to do a live recording, and in spite of the tempo they were able to get the performance right, so a strong impression of "wow, pros are really amazing!" was left behind.

BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
Some songs used generally in various areas are unused tracks from KH3D that were greatly fixed up and polished. The reason the atmosphere of the intro sounds similar to a certain composition from KH3D is because, since things ended up this way, it can be said they exist as brothers and sisters to each other.

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqr3aq


Here are the other news stories that have previously come out of the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania:

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