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News ► Nomura & Shimomura Joint Interview for KH Orchestra



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Sign

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KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour- concerts kicked it off last night with their first show in Tokyo. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase all sorts of exclusive merchandise at the venue, such as the official music album, baton, and brochure!

Within the brochure was an in-depth interview with Series Director Tetsuya Nomura and Composer Yoko Shimomura; their first ever joint interview in fact! The two discuss their history working together on the KINGDOM HEARTS series, thoughts on the music, planning for the concert, and more. 

  
   

The First Joint Interview

Surprisingly, this is your first joint interview. Can you tell us about when you met?
YS: I'll bet Mr. Nomura doesn't remember (laughs).
TN: I don't. I don't remember meeting any of the staff for the first time. We should've done this interview then. I don't remember what happened fifteen years ago.
YS: I remember it clearly. When I joined the company, I went around introducing myself to everyone. When I got to Mr. Nomura's desk, he turned around and said, "I'm the monster guy, Nomura." I wasn't sure if "monster guy" was a job title (laughs). Someone then pointed out that Mr. Nomura was working on the monster art.

When did you first come to "notice" each other?
TN: I want to say during the production of Parasite Eve in LA.
YS: I remember asking him about the concept of FINAL FANTASY VII. I hadn't had a chance since we were never on the same team. We finally were, and that's when I also learned about his doodle art.
TN: That's when I started drawing them.
YS: It was a while before the production of KINGDOM HEARTS.

Why was Ms. Shimomura chosen to do the music for KINGDOM HEARTS?
TN: She was available (laughs).
YS: That's it? (laughs)
TN: There were a few candidates, but the coordinator of the sound department at the time recommended her saying she showed the most promise. My reaction was, "Oh, her. Shimomura."
YS: What was that supposed to mean? (laughs)
TN: After the first title, I had her stay on because I don't like changing pivotal members of the staff midway.
YS: You probably don't remember, but when I decided to go freelance, you came to see me.
TN: I did?
YS: You asked me about my plans after I quit. When I said I had no idea, you told me you didn't care whethre I worked here or not, you wanted to keep me on the series. That's when I realized freelance was a real possibility. It's a pretty great story!
TN: I don't think the guy who said that is the same guy who's here right now (laughs).
YS: Don't ruin my story!

It Was Supposed to be Scrapped...

How do you communicate during the development process?
YS: For KINGDOM HEARTS I would suggest music to Mr. Nomura--
TN: I usually make requests through someone, so we didn't talk much directly.
YS: For the first title, I brought you a demo MD. I left it on your desk and sent you an email about it. I remember talking to you on the phone too.
TN: I don't remember that at all.
YS: Generally, I would talk to someone else regarding which type of song should be in which part of the game, but I handed your the demos directly. I would submit them to a planner on the project first, though. I remember some of the songs getting rejected because there was no use for them, but then later finding out that you heard and liked some of them. "Dearly Beloved" is one example. I thought it had been scrapped, but then I saw in an interview you had said, "I don't remember scrapping this!"

In your mind, which song is the KINGDOM HEARTS song?
TN: "Dearly Beloved" is used often; it's a great song. But the title is hard to remember. What does it mean?
YS: Someone precious to you.
TN: Oh, really? Well, now I know. "Precious." Like The Lord of the Rings (laughs).
YS: I didn't use the internet back then. I was using a dictionary and saw it and thought, "This is it!" I can't believe it's been fifteen years and you can barely remember the title... Speaking of titles, there's a song called "Sunset Horizon" in the KINGDOM HEARTS II secret movie. I didn't want to use the word "sunset," but you did; the poor mediator had one tough job. Don't you remember?
TN: No... I wonder why I wanted to use that word so badly.
YS: I can't remember why I didn't want to use that word (laughs).
TN: I wonder if it's because I often went to Sunset Boulevard during the production of KINGDOM HEARTS II (laughs). Nevertheless, all your titles are hard to figure out. Some are in English, some in Italian. What is it you're trying to do? (laughs)
YS: They're generally in English, with a little bit of variety thrown in the mix...
TN: None of your titles help me realize, "Oh, that song!" You shold keep them simple.
YS: My English isn't very good... A part of me would like to name them in Japanese...
TN: We've come this far, it'd be confusing if we switched now (laughs). When I'm making a trailer, I have to listen to every song because I can't tell which title goes with which song. You should've named them in Japanese from the start!
YS: There was a discussion regarding naming the songs in English so they'd be understood by a wider audience.
TN: Speaking of song titles, I remember during the production of KINGDOM HEARTS II, we'd been referring to Roxas only as "the mysterious boy," but you named a song after him and put his name out there.
YS: That you remember (laughs). It wasn't supposed to be released yet because it was a spoiler, ut it went out anyway. It was supposed to be released after the game.
TN: There was a reason we'd stuck with "the mysterious boy" since the beginning... See, this would've been a perfect opportunity for you to use one of your hard-to-understand titles! (laughs)
YS: But all of the other characters' themes were named after them. Anyway, it went on to become a popular song so it all worked out.

Not Living Up to Me

Mr. Nomura, what's your stance regarding the music?
YS: During KINGDOM HEARTS Concert -First Breath-, he said something I'll never forget. He said, "I demand only good music." It was a compliment; I was thrilled, but at the same time, I felt I was shouldering a great responsibility. (To Tetsuya Nomura) You must remember that.
TN: No... (laughs)
YS: When I was creating a new song for 0.2, you told me "You're not living up to your own standards." I wasn't living up to myself...

So you're saying all the songs are great.
TN: That's why I give them the OK.
YS: Sometimes the team says yes, but Mr. Nomura says no.

What song required the most back-and-forth?
TN: That I remember. The music from Twilight Town.
YS: "Lazy Afternoons." You said it was lacking "melancholy" and "wistfulness." Remember?
TN: I do. I ended up telling you exactly what I wanted.
YS: After he told me, he green-lighted the first title I submitted.
TN: I generally don't specify what I want.
YS: I wish you would...
TN: It's not a good idea because you'd put too much focus on that. I have a certain image in my head, and I'll keep asking for more until I get it.
YS: I'd love to know what that image is...

Mr. Nomura, what kind of music do you usually listen to?
TN: I don't listen to a lot of music, and I don't play any instruments. I don't know why I'm so picky when it comes to music; at least I'm aware that I am.
YS: When a song is rejected, I ask why, and the response generally begins with, "I don't know much about music" and continues with "I just know something's off." That "something" is what I'd like to know (laughs). But maybe now knowing is how we manage to keep creating something new.

Who's your favorite artist?
TN: There are a few artists I like, but lately I've been into loud rock (a genre born from heavy metal and hard core rock).

Favorite instrument?
TN: I like the tones of a piano.
YS: It's hard to choose, but I've played the piano for a long time; it will always be special.

Are there any other KINGDOM HEARTS concerts you'd like to see come true?
TN: Rock.
YS: Rock!? With a band? Were'nt you saying before that you wanted a musical?
TN: A while ago. When I watched the movie Les Miserables, I thought, "We should do a musical!" But I wanted to incorporate it into a game, not an on-stage production.
YS: There was a musical number in KINGDOM HEARTS II. That was rough.
TN: In Atlantica. But that was a music game. I wanted a musical cutscene.
YS: Thank goodness that never happened... (laughs)
TN: Well, I was watching a show the other day, and it had a musical number. It made me want to create a musical, a production where everyone bursts into song.
YS: No...

Who's your favorite Disney character?
TN: I've come to like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Figaro's cute too, the cat in Pinocchio who's always staring at the goldfish. I also like the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Conveying the Concept with Music and Video

How did the concerts come to be?
TN: I've been saying we should do it for a long time now.
YS: So have I, and so have a lot of fans.
TN: We've tried several times, but it just never happened.
YS: It took a while to go from "wanting" to "doing."
TN: Speaking of fans, there's a reason I wanted the opening night to be the day after KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX was released in Japan. This doesn't apply to the overseas fans, unfortunately... After the previous concert, many people said it made them want to play the games all over again. We decided to release the games the day before, so people can go home and play to their hearts' content after the concert.
YS: I hope people don't stay up all night playing the night before the concert and end up falling asleep during the performance (laughs).

How did you decide on the program?
YS: I came up with a rough plan, which Mr. Nomura checked.
TN: I wanted both concerts to be connected, like two halves. This time all the music will be accompanied by video, and that will convey the concept and emotions even better. I can't tell you exactly what the program will look like right now because the video still needs to be edited, and new songs will be announced. The plan may change.

Are you directing the videos?
TN: I plan on working closely with the movie director like I do when making trailers and such.
YS: It's like creating a trailer for each song. It must be rough...
TN: I want to make sure the music fits just right.
YS: It's a live performance; that might be difficult.
TN: I plan on treating this like any other project.

The Concert is Like Any Other KINGDOM HEARTS Project

Are there different themes for the previous concert and this one?
YS: We wanted drama. We wanted the audience to feel as though they're playing the game; we wanted to tell a story. We needed to keep the popular songs, but have variety. Some songs were better suited for a wind ensemble, others for an orchestra, some both. We had a plan.
TN: The plan was good, but I had to make some changes (laughs). Some songs were too similar. I wanted "Hikari" performed in the last concert; she didn't.
YS: I wanted the concert to end on a happy note, which is why I wanted "Dearly Beloved."
TN: But I stood my ground and that was that. Aren't you happy the concert didn't end with you performing the last song, a nervous wreck on stage? (laughs)
YS: Stop!
TN: I can just picture you backstage. "I messed up!"
YS: I wasn't that bad! I got better with every performance.
TN: Don't use the concerts for practice! (laughs)
YS: I was nervous; I'd never played on such a grand stage with a wind ensemble. And if it were the last song, I wouldn't have performed!
TN: I didn't get a chance to watch the first concert as a spectator. I only caught a glimpse during rehearsals, too.

Do you plan on participating in the overseas performances?
TN: As many as I can. I want to go to Singapore. The LA performance is around the same time as E3, so there's a good chance I'll make it to that one too. I'm not sure about the others. (To Yoko Shimomura) You're going, aren't you? On your own dime?
YS: There's no way I can afford that! (laughs)

What would you like to say to the audience?
TN: This concert is like a KINGDOM HEARTS project, just like the games and other productions. We have video to accompany the songs this time, but as they'll be performed by different orchestras in each country, no one knows how it'll all come together in the end. I'm excited to experience the different performances in each country. During the last concert, even the Tokyo and Osaka performances left varying impressions despite both of them being held in Japan. Concerts are live and you never get the same experience twice; it's an appealing factor that I hope everyone is looking forward to.

Source: @RedMakuzawa,

 

gosoxtim

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they so funny toether like epehemera and skuld
 

catcake

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So cute xD I'm glad Shimomura is holding Nomura back from going full musical, Atlantica was... quite enough.
 

Muke

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Huh, this was really fun to read through! Seems like Nomura is quite a forgetful person lol
 

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I've typed up a full transcript of the interview which can be read in the OP :)
 

VoidGear.

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That's kinda cute. Shimomura is as sweet as always. xD
 

gosoxtim

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so dearly beloved meaing is someone presious to you did not know that
 

Muke

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so dearly beloved meaing is someone presious to you did not know that
it's… basic english?
dearly = very much, beloved = dearly loved/a much loved person

idk, I always knew "dearly beloved" = someone who's precious to you… since, you know, you can say "my dearly beloved" and stuff.
 

gosoxtim

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it's… basic english?
dearly = very much, beloved = dearly loved

idk, I always knew "Dearly Beloved" means someone is precious to you… since, you know, you can say "my dearly beloved" and stuff.
i always thought it mean loved you know how priest said it at a wedding
 

VoidGear.

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i always thought it mean loved you know how priest said it at a wedding

So you mean you thought "Beloved" is supposed to be an adjective instead of a noun?
I thought so, too, at first, but honestly, the overall meaning doesn't change too much.
 

Audo

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uh, there should definitely be a musical.
y'all these games are literally based on disney musicals.

stop pinnin nomu down, let his dreams soar.
 

DefiantHeart

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Heh chu can see both of their personalities very easily in the interview. ^_^ Now we have a reason why Kingdom Hearts ish so scattered, Nomura forgets it! Lol, jk. XD Jokes aside though, Nomura reminds me a lot of myself, mostly with the forgetting part... and I'd probably be less stubborn with "giving the green light" on things. Interesting interview. :3
 

Sephiroth0812

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This is so hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.
Nomura is such a dork and Shimomura such a sweety. Too bad I can't attend any of the concerts but I sure hope they WILL eventually release an album of it (and I will import that one from Japan if I have to, just like the 10th Anniversary Fan Collection OST) and the videos and any "story relevant-stuff" will be covered around here.

Also:
YS: There was a musical number in KINGDOM HEARTS II. That was rough.
TN: In Atlantica. But that was a music game. I wanted a musical cutscene.
YS: Thank goodness that never happened... (laughs)

I think Shimomura is speaking for quite a portion of the fanbase here, lolz.
 

Grono

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YS: There was a musical number in KINGDOM HEARTS II. That was rough. TN: In Atlantica. But that was a music game. I wanted a musical cutscene. YS: Thank goodness that never happened... (laughs)

Wow, this is so painfully self-aware it hurts. At least they knew it was bad xD Although it makes me scared that Nomura wanted to have a musical world! xD
 

Beamer

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They are so adorable together! I know Shimomura's talked a lot about how Nomura pushes her to do her best, but it's so nice to see him talking about how he really cares about how the music is top-notch, himself.

Seriously though, Nomura is worse than me about forgetting stuff...
 

Zapt

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What a cute and hilarious interview!

I finally found someone who have worse memory than me! and its Nomura Lol! :D

Who's your favorite Disney character?
TN: I've come to like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Figaro's cute too, the cat in Pinocchio who's always staring at the goldfish. I also like the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

They are his favorites and none of them appeared in any KH games yet :p
 
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Sign

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I like how Nomura remembers almost none of their good times together but remembered when Shimomura accidentally leaked Roxas's name to the world.
 

LightUpTheSky452

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This was a fun interview to read:) These two seem like they have such a fun dynamic... Even if I do feel like Nomura-san is a bit too hard on Shimomura-san sometimes!

I'm always going to want my XV musical, or a musical game from Nomura in general. Give it to me!

And this even MORESO makes me think it could've been good, because there actually would've been no stupid mini-game section with this one! It could've just been talented singers breaking out into something like Apocalypsis Noctis during cutscenes and it could've been great!

-sobs, because we'll never get something like this-

...I'm a musical fan, who actually thinks that a game musical could work and work well if done right. Leave me alone.

Edit: Also, Epic Mickey stuff and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland confirmed for KHIII? (Note that I'm not serious.)

Also, I remember how Nomura said he's had to keep a lot of notes when it comes to the series over the years, and it seems like he should keep them about other things, too! I kid.

Anyway, I'm even MORE excited to go to the concert now, since apparently they're going for a drama feeling to make it seem like the games. Sounds interesting!
 
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Rydgea

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LOL, I love how they are digging into eachother. xD

Also, is Anne Hathaway some sortof Muse for Nomura? He was cited for wanting to incorporate a musical after seeing Les Miserables and likes The White Queen from AiW.

loved this <3

Nomura, and his selective memory
 
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