Interview with Akira Yamaoka (RocketBaby)

Date published: 2001
Source: RocketBaby

Born: February 6, 1968 Tokyo, Japan
Education: Left Tokyo Art College
Favorite Drink: Coffee
Favorite Food: Soybean Flour
Hobbies: Cooking
Influences: Steve Strange of Visage
Favorite TV: Gachinko (Japanese TV Program)
Favorite Book: Fairy Tales
Favorite Music: All sounds which are not logical and have originality with cool feeling.
Favorite Movies: Bound
Sound Tools: Emagic LOGIC AUDIO, Emagic EXS24, Emagic amt8, Phrazer Infinity and more...

RocketBaby: How did you become involved with the Silent Hill Series?

Yamaoka: It is the opposite. My sound and soul called "Silent Hill" to this world. In any case, I think it is destiny that we were supposed to meet each other since it is only myself in this world who can express the sound of this title.

RocketBaby: What are the most important qualities of your Silent Hill Music? How would you describe your musical style?

Yamaoka: The sound of Silent Hill , that is, all information from hearing has the power to determine your mind. This is not being done intentionally. The moment you first listen to the sounds of Silent Hill, your emotions dip into the world of Silent Hill. I suppose I could say that my style is "Master of Puppets"?

RocketBaby: How will the music for Silent Hill 2 differ from the original Silent Hill?

Yamaoka: Expressions of "anger" and "sadness" are the same. It is just my ways of expressing those emotions have more variety.

RocketBaby: How do you create music?

Yamaoka: There are sound creation tools in every environment, wherever I exist. This is not limited to my workplace. My kitchen is included as well. Thus, I don't go through the creation process like an artist where he takes a deep breath and place his fingers on the piano keyboard. "Create music whenever I want to" – this is my style.

RocketBaby: How do the limitations of the PSone and PSX 2 2 effect your music?

Yamaoka: Both consoles have their own limitations. In my case, I regard any kind of limitation as a very important element in creating anything. There are free environments of no limitation; it could be time or tool, or anything. If those things became free of limitation, I am afraid that the creators would be so neglectful. If things come out of negligence, it would have no meaning of existence at all. As for me, I happily accept the limitation of hardware.

RocketBaby: How do you over come the limitations of the game consoles sound capabilities?

Yamaoka: In consoles, my thought reaches to the players in the same field for sure. It means you connect your console to the TV monitor and play games. It also means nobody connects his console to your car audio and play games. With this reality, I always ponder on how sound reaches your ears in a cool way, in a sure way than any other software. There is not a methodology such as "by using this tool and if I do this..." Yet, I have capability of bringing about the result which nobody can think of. It is obvious if you compare the sound of my Silent Hill and other software.

RocketBaby: When and how did you become interested in music?

Yamaoka: Originally, I was planning to become a molding artist, not a musician. As for me, there are not any differences between music and art as it is the same means of expression. As for my current self, creating music is what I am. Thus, I do not regard myself as a "music creator." The first song I created was when I was in punk rock music group in high school.

RocketBaby: Why do you create music?

Yamaoka: As I said above, what I am currently is music and the way expressing myself is a thing which stimulates the hearing (sound) What I am going to create in the future might become "vision," not "hearing." Or, it might be hearing & vision? That is a combination of music and picture.

RocketBaby: Any advice for those who want to create music?

Yamaoka: You should have a way to look at things objectively. A creator is a living thing that can easily get into his shell. There have been many creators who have done "easy is good." In actuality, many of them made a living by being that way. I feel disgusting even just to get close to them. I do not want you to become like those people. Also, I would like you to show appreciation to all created matters.