Masayoshi Minoshima interview from Tōhō Gairai Ihen #1 Full JP>EN translation

Hello everyone, I’m dareka00, before you read the interview I have just a few things to say :
First I would really like if you could give me any feedback, anything will help 🙂
In relation to this I would like you to keep in mind this interview probably comes from a heavily edited friendly discussion and I stayed as close as possible to the original text so some parts can sound a bit weird.
One more thing, I use the Revised Hepburn way of romanization which means long “O” (Ou) and double “O” (Oo) are romanized as “ō” (O + macron) you can read more here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese
If you want to support, you can follow me on twitter  (https://twitter.com/Dareka00EN) and since this translation is already a few weeks late, I’ll let you read the translation now.

Masayoshi Minoshima interview from Tōhō magazine (Gairai Ihen #1)

Preface:
He is especially known for [Bad Apple feat.nomico] on Nico-nico-dōga and his speciality is producing trance and club arranges*.
I welcome the representant of Alstroemeria Records, Masayoshi Minoshima to ask him about his relation with music, how he got involved in the music industry and more.

*Arrange = Music arrangement

First contact with Tōhō

I noticed you have quite a long history with Tōhō music.

Masayoshi minoshima (later abbreviated as M) :
I think I released my first CD at the winter Comiket of 2003.
That summer Tōhō 7 : Perfect Cherry Blossom came out, and I started my activities a bit after that.
Then, did you encounter Tōhō a bit before that ?
M :
My first encounter wasn’t at Comiket, it was at a doujin shop;
Tōhō 7 : Perfect Cherry Blossom CD front was displayed and that was my first encounter.
Wasn’t the jacket of Tōhō 7  the one with a shadow picture ?
It intrigued me so I looked at the back of the jacket and it looked like a danmaku so I thought “let’s buy it”.
From my memories it was unexpectedly entertaining, I ended up playing it quite a lot.
Before this game I was already into shooting games.

I see, which shooting games have you played ?
M :
I played titles that were not especially danmaku:
From Taito I played Gradius, from Treasure I played Radiant Silvergun and some more.
I never played a Dōjin game with a degree of completion as high as Tōhō 7 before, it surprised me.

What did you think about Tōhō soundtrack ?
M:
The first time I played Tōhō 7 , I really liked the music in the fifth stage when you fight Yōmu (Ancient temple).
I really liked her introduction (of Yōmu) in my first playthrough.
Yōmu comes out in the middle of the stage and you can’t skip her dialogue, I think the music is introduced that way to fit this chain of events.
In treasure games there is this kind of introduction, and because I really like that, I instantly thought this was cool.

From your point of view, which parts of Tōhō makes it this particular ?
M:
As expected I think characters stand out.
In other shooting games you don’t even remember the songs too,
they all have a player character but there is a lot of games where you have no idea who does what and for what reason.
If you go to a game arcade, you would see some promotional posters displayed but you would watch them and think “who’s this girl” ?
In that sense Tōhō put some emphasis on the story, this is why I think characters properly stand out in Tōhō, even in most commercial shooting games story is vague.

Talking about commercial productions, it’s commonly accepted that “Character games*” are a bit looked down on but Zun thinks that it is not the case.  (No I didn’t forget an answer )
Changing subject, while keeping an eye at Tōhō recently released games
do you think one of your particularity is to do arranges of old Tōhō games (PC-98) ?
M:
Personally I didn’t own a PC-98; Looking at the overall picture of those old songs, they have a minimalistic feeling attached to them.
Tracks with music loops are easier to make; Recent tracks have a lot of modulation in them, I often come across some parts which don’t go in the direction I want to arrange them;
It’s easier to take the intro and to go from there. …

* Character games (キャラゲー) are games made surfing the wave of popularity of a particular character.

Soon, I’m going to ask you about your music productions history but first :
What was the first piece of music you bought ?
M:
It’s a vague memory, wasn’t it 「JULIANA’S TOKYO」 ?
I think it was a compilation album.

Approximatively how old were you ?
M:
I was still in primary school.
My parents were renting an incredible amount of CDs, they rented everything regardless of the genra western music, traditional Japanese music.
Everytime we were in a car we were listening to these, during that time I got very attracted by techno ish music, music with the DJ speaking…
I was just in primary school but some songs touched me, I think JULIANA’s CD was most likely one of the first one to do so.

Were you interested in game music ?
M:
I was, Mainly in ZUNATA (Taito sound team) .
When I went to Gamers and other specialised stores, it was to look for them, I liked both music and games from Taito.

When did you make the jump from listening to music to producing music ? What was the triggering factor ?
M:
That was completely because of Tetsuya Komuro’s* influence.
I was listening to a lot of techno music when I discovered TRF;
the first songs of TRF were very loud techno, those were pretty JULIANA-ish.
After I discovered komuro’s music, I bought all the CDs they released and on top of that I was listening to TM NETWORK too…..
I was already completely into them, that was around middle school.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetsuya_Komuro

I think you were lovestruck by them at that period.
M:
I watched lives from Komuro where he piles up and plays on many keyboards,
I thought “that’s really cool ! ” and it influenced me.
But I got my hands on equipment to produce music  at an other occasion.

Which is ?
M:
During middle school, I was in a Softmap in Akihabara, there were demonstrations of A-train 4 using sounds generated by a GS MIDI sound module;
These demonstrations were using sound modules : model SC-88 and SC-55, the music produced from these was good.
Because sound modules started to generally be internalized and to use frequency modulation, if you didn’t listen with a proper MIDI sound card it wouldn’t sound the same.
After seeing this demonstration I wanted to buy one !
So, with the money I got with a new year gift I bought the SC-55 module and A-train, in that package “myujirō”* was included.
At that time because I was listening to Komuro’s music, I bought Tm network’s music sheets and i tried to reproduce the music following the original music notes.
That’s when I started to produce my own music, I feel.

*Myujirō is the name of a package bundled with all sound modules containing a music sequencer called Singer Song Writer (no english wikipedia article available)

Have you ever tried playing a musical instrument ?
M:
I never played any  instrument.
I had some at my parent’s house but I never learned.
Both my parents own musical instruments, my father owns a violin and my mother owns a flute and a koto.

As we say, you are a music family aren’t you ?
M:
Actually, that’s not the case at all.
I never saw my parents play their music instruments (laugh).
They probably played a long time ago …..
Also they weren’t working in music related jobs at all.
But we were a family listening to a lot of songs, generally we were always in an environement filled with music.

That’s good
M:
From there with the influence of Komura Tetsuya, I wanted to buy a keyboard, I saved some money helping the family business and bought it..
At that period I was only making copies of songs .

*From the launch of his doujin circle to his professionalization*

Before starting up Alstroemeria records did you have any other dōjin activities ?
M:
Originally I was releasing my dōjin songs in a club playing original songs, Alstroemeria Records was created when I wanted to release my music arranges.
In the meantime that club has closed (laugh) .

When did you create Alstroemeria records ?
It was after I entered university.
I think Beatmania was popular at that time, wasn’t it the time when PC clones (of beatmania) appeared on the market ?
I wanted to try to make songs for these games, it was an occasion to make original songs.
At that period my interest for house and techno music widened up.

Did you meet the other members of Alstroemeria records at your university ?
M:
Not at all (laugh).
It was a solo activity;
Until I joined a group of authors making songs for the “bitmania style games” we mentioned earlier.
Alstroemeria records stayed a solo activity for a while, before Tōhō arranges I released only 1 CD of Key (Clannad) arranges, at that period I was completely in Key’s music, I liked them for a while.

When did you hear about Comiket approximatively ?
M:
Before i started participating as a circle I was already coming as a buyer, my Comiket participation history is quite old.
I think I went since high school, I was looking for Key stuff (laugh).

There was certainly a lot of Key and Leaf arranges at that time …
M:
I thought Tōhō arranges would be easier to do after listening to the original songs;
I felt my original sound module had a large variety of sounds so it made me want to change some parts here and there, I thought I could do it !

By the way isn’t there any history behind the name of your circle ?
M:
I used the name Triumphal records before.

You also released arranges for : Ragnarok online and also for a radio called “Nini Radio”, makes me nostalgic …
M:
Looking at that, it’s hard to grasp why but I think the game made an impact, I wanted to participate too with my circle (laugh).

W.. well it’s easy to cast the wrong spell …
During your activity as a circle, when did you start to get offers for original work ?
M:
3~4 years ago I would say.
First I did the opening of Battle Spirits then I did the ending of Nyaruko: Crawling with Love season 1 and the six endings of Nyaruko: Crawling with Love season 2, also I made some other songs.

What did you think when you got your first order ?
M:
Simply “Hurray”; before I received an order for an anime song I was starting to negociate to include some of my songs in rythm games, I thought this was the one opportunity I was awaiting.

Do you think you were influenced other Tōhō works ?
M:
I liked the way of what we call Chinese-scale-ish music’s melody was made.
I was influenced by various musics not only by Tōhō music, I like music so almost every music work I like influences me, game music too anime music too, music is my thing.

What’s your favorite original Tōhō track from the games ?
M:
I’d still say Ancient Temple, as for old Tōhō games it’s Bad Apple, recently I like Last Remote too.

What are your hopes and objectives for your future productions ?
M:
If I could get a proposition for the mainstream route it would be cool I think.
I’m specialized in music, I want to make a living out of music.

Do you have any advice for people who aspire to make music ?
M:
In the producing music for a living sense, I think you absolutely have to have luck it’s pretty difficult …..
On the song production side you need to listen to a wide variety of music and extract knowledge from it.
For example while listening to someone else work, you should understand what sound is playing;
In unexepected places dissonant notes can get mixed in, if you can become sensible at finding these, it’s a good sensitivity to have.

Can you please send a message for people listening to your music ?
M:
I want to keep producing the most cutting edge music mixing fusion for Tōhō arranges and to continue to excite everyone, thank you very much.

広告