Interview of Saori Kobayashi - Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary re-arranged album
Mar 25, 2018 — Hey guys,
It has been a while since I last posted an update. I didn't want to come back to you until I could fulfill my promise ie provide an exclusive interview of Saori Kobayashi to our community.
Before we start, I want to tell you that this community keeps growing day after day. In the last update, we had 700 followers on Twitter. We now have more than 840 and more friends from Japan are joining us now that we have some Japanese tweet translations.
So I am glad we are getting closer to my wish of gathering all Panzer Dragoon fans around the world in one place to interact conveniently.
The present petition is also being very successful although a little bit behind our Twitter, so please do keep sharing about our campaign and community :)
So a few months ago, we were amazed by the announcement of a PDS re-arranged album. And recently, we have had another amazing announcement from SEGA themselves making the original soundtracks of the 4 original games available digitally. You can purchase these in iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon Music (and maybe other providers to be confirmed?). So along the Resurrection re-arranged album, we have a good opportunity to show SEGA we care about this series of games. And even players who did not originally play the games can enjoy this marvelous music. Please share it with them.
Alright, let's begin.
So let me first give special thanks to BraveWave (https://twitter.com/BraveWaveMusic) and Alexander Aniel (https://twitter.com/cvxfreak) without whom none of this would have been possible.
We are going to start with our questions/answers session. I will share with you all useful links at the end of this article (where to order the re-arranged album, the Terra Magica album...) so be sure to read until the end :)
Ow and apologies about the format here. Change.org doesn't let me do bold text or any cosmetic aspect so it will only be plain text :/
I still like the idea of sharing this with you here via this campaign, especially as most questions come from you the fans.
Here goes for the interview:
Dear Saori Kobayashi,
Thank you for accepting to answer a few of our questions.
We are having this chat today because you (and BraveWave) have graced us with a gorgeous album of re-arranged songs for Panzer Dragoon Saga's 20th Anniversary.
• How do you feel about it being finally available digitally, and physically very soon? How was the reception so far?
° "I’ve heard many positive reviews about the arrangement and I am very honored. I’m glad we were able to release this project on time".
• Alexander had a chat with RadioSEGA recently (you can listen to the podcast here, which I strongly recommend : https://soundcloud.com/panzerdragoonworld/the-manic-monday-show-s3e02-alex-aniel-from-brave-wave-productions-05-feb-2018). He suggested the making of this album and the fact that fans would like it. What did you first think about the proposition? Were you hard to convince?
° "It wasn’t hard to get me onboard. Rather, I was quite happy to get this offer. It’s also thanks to Alex that we were able to have 5 songs performed with live instrumentation. Production was difficult, but it was quite fun".
• There is something a lot of fans would like to understand, me included. When composing the music for Panzer Dragoon Saga, what kind of indications were you given? Was it a script? Did you have to play the game or watch footage of it?
Were you directed in terms of the actual music itself or were you free to compose to match the game sequences i.e. events, areas? Any special inspiration you would like to mention?
° "I wasn’t given any specific direction other than to carry on the feel established by Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, which was in development at the same time as Saga. Otherwise, I could do whatever I wanted so long as the director felt it matched the game. I was inspired by Middle Eastern and European folk music, but with a bit of a sci-fi atmosphere too".
• I suppose revisiting your own songs has brought back many memories. How different was it this time to re-arrange your songs, compared to the original directions you were given? Did you follow those same directions but with a different interpretation musically? Or did you work from the existing songs to make them sound different? What was your process? Was Mr. Tomonori Sawada involved?
° "Even though the melodies already existed, I didn’t have access to the actual music data from the original game. It was quite difficult in that sense. When arranging, I had to be mindful of keeping things fresh, yet familiar for fans. This arrangement wasn’t going to be heard during gameplay, so that was another factor. And of course, after 20 years, I have evolved as a musician as well. I did this work all on my own, although Tomonori Sawada did listen to each track and gave his approval as well".
• Are there any songs that changed a lot while working on them? Whether on the original score or on the re-arranged album? Fans are always interested in unreleased versions of songs...
° "Most songs do go through a cycle of experimentation and that would be true for my work on Saga as well. There were some songs I had to change around due to feedback from the sound team. One unreleased song on the Saga album did eventually come out – that would be the track “Pirika” that was featured on the 2nd Akane album, Journey (1)".
(1) you can read more about this here and listen to “Pirika” http://www.bravewave.net/blog/2014/a-conversation-with-saori-kobayashi
• What are you most proud in terms of what you managed to do on the soundtrack? Do you have any favorite tracks? On the original score and on the re-arranged album?
° "I love “Nomad” quite a lot. I really liked how the soundtrack had an ethnic feel that wasn’t attached to any particular country, so I was quite happy to rearrange it using live instrumentation to achieve a new feel".
• Your music has influenced many people and some fans are trying to have a similar approach or try to reproduce your music. So, they have asked about the equipment you used when composing the original Panzer Dragoon Saga soundtrack. I guess there were many but maybe you can give us the major instruments and software? How different were they for this re-arranged album?
° "For the original game, I used Roland and E-mu sound samples. When implementing them into the Saturn, we ran into data size limitations, which restricted how we could use the sounds in the game. We downgraded the sound quality and performed various processes in order to create the soundtrack. Nowadays, I can totally control the kind of sound I want in the game, so that is quite fun and convenient, but if that were true back in the 90s, then perhaps the unique sound attributed to that era may never have been created".
• Obviously, the constraints of the Sega Saturn’s sound processor were absent this time. But how did it influence the original score? Did this impact how you decided to re-arrange the songs?
° " Definitely. The original score is the original score, so that can’t be changed. But for the arrangement, it allowed me to achieve a feel reminiscent of the original game’s sound, while sounding more modern and updated. I could also utilize the skills I developed since 1998 to improve the music".
• Are we going to get another release of the missing re-arranged songs?
Would you consider working on a Panzer Dragoon Saga remake, should this project happen? Or on a new Panzer Dragoon game?
° "I chose songs that I knew I could successfully rearrange. I don’t have any plans to arrange other songs at this moment. That said, if there’s a good project idea that comes my way, I’d be happy to think about it. If I’m offered to do something for a remake or sequel, I’d love to do that as well".
• How has your experience composing Panzer Dragoon Saga’s original score influenced your subsequent work over the past 20 years?
° "After I completed Saga, I realized that the sound I achieved in it was the sound I preferred to compose for. It was where my strength as a composer lies. I composed for Panzer Dragoon Orta and Crimson Dragon afterwards, which carried forward the sound I established with Saga. My band, Akane, also aims for a folklore-like sound".
• Outside Panzer Dragoon, is there a game or series you particularly like (even just for its music)? Any music composer that you admire and would like to work with?
° "I was working at Sega previously, where I composed for Game Gear games, so I’m quite fond of those. I also like games with story elements, such as RPGs. They have great music, too".
• You will be making a concert in America this year. Can we expect more dates? Any chance for fans to see you and hear you perform live around the world? Europe?
° "Yes, I’ll go anywhere where I’m asked to perform! I’d like for fans to hear my music live, from original songs, band songs and game music".
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions and we wish great success to the Resurrection album!
Do not copy/alter this article without my written consent.
• Official description of the Panzer Dragoon Saga Anniversary album
• Saori Kobayashi's official Blog (both in Englih & Japanese)
Where to order the Resurrection anniversary album:
• Digital only (Bandcamp)
° CD & Vinyle:
• North America (Fangamer) http://bravewave.fangamer.com/
• Europe/Australia/Middle East (BigWax) https://bigwax.fr/brave-wave/music/resurrection-panzer-dragoon-saga-20th-anniversary-arrangement
• Japan (Ebten) http://ebten.jp/p/4589753350267/
• Terra Magica album (it is a Saori Kobayashi album described as a love letter to her Panzer Dragoon fans, I strongly recommend getting this one) is digital only since the CD is now sold out
• -AKANE- album: Journey
• Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Panzer Dragoon Saga & Panzer Dragoon Orta original soundtracks are available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Music
About our campaign and community:
• Twitter https://twitter.com/PanzDragWorld
• Petition http://PanzerDragoon.World
• Facebook http://facebook.com/PanzerDragoonWorld
• Instagram http://instagram.com/PanzerDragoonWorld