Nobuo Uematsu Talks Music and Concerts
03.12.04 - 1:41 AM

In an interview with Music 4 Games, Square Enix composer Nobuo Uematsu covered a wide range of topics ranging from concerts in Japan and abroad, music styles and the bankruptcy of DigiCube. Even Uematsu himself apparently did not know who will publish Square Enix's soundtracks in the future, after former publisher DigiCube collapsed over a debt of 9.5 billion yen ($85.65 million US) last year. Uematsu also spoke out against digital music and file sharing on the internet, remarking that he viewed music as a whole package, including cover art, booklet design and liner notes. Mostly however the interview dealt with questions related to music itself, though.

Asked whether he has ever thought of composing a soundtrack using only orchestral or electronic sound, the maestro admitted he had tried to use only traditional instruments when working on Final Fantasy IX, but evenutally did not reach this goal. Regarding the possibility of persuing his solo career more actively, he said he would be interested in writing songs with lyrics, provided there were any offers on the table. Uematsu also voiced some criticism against the classical music industry. While expressing his love for orchestrated music, he explained classical musicians would have to overthink their role to lure people back into the orchestra halls. By viewing themselves solely as artists and not entertainers, they would miss the chance to attract a younger audience. In this aspect, Uematsu hopes the upcoming Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy concert in Los Angeles prior to this year's edition of Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 will help to get a younger audience interested in classical music.

Talking about the difference in popularity of game music in the US and Japan, he said it would take a star composer to lift the American game music industry into mainstream and out of the shadow of Hollywood's film composers. Last but not least, Uematsu praised the symphony concert held in the Eastern German town of Leipzig last year as part of the Games Convention 2003. The event, which marked the first time Japanese, American and European game music was performed in one concert made him realize the real value of his work: Bringing people who share a love for music together, instead of creating hostile environments.

The Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy concert will be performed in Los Angeles' new Walt Disney Concert Hall on May 10th. Nobuo Uematsu is currently working on the soundtracks for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Final Fantasy XII.

Chris Winkler