Patreon: Support VGMO’s goal to create more Japanese composer interviews

VGMO is the leading resource for game composer interviews

VGMO: Video Game Music Online needs your help to keep interviewing Japanese game composers. Over the years, we have interviewed over ninety of the greatest game composers in Japan. In these often-extensive, semi-biographical articles, we’ve gotten to the heart of each composer’s musical style and philosophy. Along the way, we have captured what has made countless scores, albums, and concerts so special. Just some of the people we have interviewed include:

– Fighting champions: Yoko Shimomura (Street Fighter II), Yasumasa Yamada (King of Fighters), Keishi Yonao (Asuka 120%), Junko Tamiya (Strider), Ryuichi Nitta (Ninja Gaiden), etc.
– RPG heroes: Miki Higashino (Suikoden), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Noriyuki Iwadare (Langrisser), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chronos), Takeshi Abo (Science Adventure), etc.
– Top flyers: Hisayoshi Ogura (Darius), Shinji Hosoe (Dragon Spirit), Saori Kobayashi (Panzer Dragoon), Keiki Kobayashi (Ace Combat),Manabu Namiki (DoDonPachi), etc.
– Fearless explorers: Michiru Yamane (Castlevania), Tetsuya Shibata (Devil May Cry), Shusaku Uchiyama (Resident Evil), Yuji Takenouchi & Motoi Sakuraba (Dark Souls), Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid), etc.
– Versatile pioneers: Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage), Manami Matsumae (Mega Man), Yuu Miyake (Katamari Damacy), Tomoya Ohtani (Sonic; being published), Soyo Oka (Super Mario Kart), etc.
– Indie standouts: Godspeed, MintJam, Jun.A, k.h.d.n., etc.

The problem: high translation costs

Interviews with Japanese composers are important for many reasons: they provide fascinating insights for fans, give much-needed exposure for musicians, and contribute to our understanding of the development and history of video games and their audio. However, interviewing composers in Japan is expensive due to the need for translations. While there are a lot of amateur translators out there, in our experience, only semi-professional ones are able to provide accurate, polished interviews in a timely basis.  On average, each interview costs 120 USD (approximately half spent on the very difficult task of translating questions to Japanese, the other half spent on translating answers to English). This has come from my own pocket until now. Thanks to our recent fundraiser, we are able to publish eight new interviews over the next few months with some great Japanese composers. But we’ll need your help to do any more after that.


The solution: you select and fund our interviews

We greatly need the help of Patrons in order to keep interviewing Japanese composers on a regular basis. The translation costs are too high to come from my pocket alone and we would love for our fans to help us out. In exchange, we want to bring you into the process of selecting and contributing to our interviews. In the first instance, we hope to make 24 fantastic interviews happen with the help of Patreon. Ten of the interviews will be selected by the staff team of VGMO (see ‘Ten composers we choose’). Another ten will be selected by top-contributing Patrons (see ‘Ten composers you choose’) and a further four through user polls (see ‘And four poll-selected composers’). These will be published at a rate dependent on the number of Patreon backers; if we can secure 160 USD / month, all interviews will be published in the next year. Our interviews will be handled in a highly professional, efficient manner. We want to give our interviewees the best experience possible and, in turn, provide readers with a satisfying final product. For just 10 USD / month, you can get your chance to run your dream Japanese composer interview.

Ten composers we choose:

There are ten incredible composers we plan on interviewing in coming months with the support of Patrons:

1. Hirokazu Tanaka: Leading pioneer of NES and GB sound
2. Akira Yamaoka: Former sound director of the Silent Hill series
3. Toshikazu Tanaka: Composer of countless fighting games
4. Motoaki Furukawa: Popularised game music with Kukeiha Club
5. Yuichiro Sagawa: Director of the original rhythm game beatmania
6. Tamayo Kawamoto: Sound of Capcom and Taito arcade classics
7. Hiroshi Kawaguchi: Scored many of SEGA’s arcade hits
8. Shiro Hamaguchi: Made Final Fantasy’s finest orchestrations
9. Hayato Sonoda: Leader of the present-day Falcom Sound Team jdk
10. Koichi Sugiyama: 83 yo behind Dragon Quest’s discography

We also aim to interview several composers that speak fluent English in the next year. We will also continue to interview multiple non-Japanese composers to cover all bases in video game audio.

Ten composers you choose:

The first ten Patrons to pledge 20+ USD a month will be asked to select their own musicians to interview (available on a strictly first-come, first-serve basis; must pledge for four months). You will be welcome to select any interviewee you want and provide up to eight questions for them to answer. We will then arrange the interviews, translate the questions, ask if you want any follow-ups, and finally publish their responses. You will be listed as the lead author given you made this happen. Any Japanese speaker can be selected for interview, whether fan favourite or a largely unknown entity, and regardless of whether they’ve been previously interviewed by VGMO.

And four poll-selected composers:

The final four interviewees will be selected through a survey followed by a poll of all Patrons who have pledged 2+ USD a month. The top four choices will be selected for interview, while the remaining will serve as reserves if anything falls through.

Please note that, in our experience, interviews fall through about a third of the time. Approximately 10% of Japanese composers do not accept our interview requests. Of those that do, approximately a quarter of composers fail to respond after receiving questions (usually due to busy schedules or approval issues). We will ensure any no-responses won’t affect the output from the Patron. If a Patron-selected interview falls through, we will ask you to select another artist so you can still lead a published interview.

All funds raised up to 240 USD will go directly on making interviews with Japanese game composers happen. General site funds (e.g. hosting, core content) have been covered by a recent fundraiser and ad campaign; they will also cover translation costs for eight interviews currently in progress. Any further amounts raised through Patreon will go to stretch goals, i.e. removing ads, building a podcast, and making a possible Japanese tour. If you’re interested in supporting us, go to our Patreon now. Any help, large or small, is massively appreciated.

Posted on October 8, 2015 by Chris Greening. Last modified on October 8, 2015.

About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!

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