Interview with Kinuyo Yamashita by Raven
his is an exclusive Chapel of Resonance interview with Kinuyo Yamashita, the first music composer of the Castlevania series. She is the mind behind such unforgettable classics as "Walking on the Edge," "Wicked Child," and "Poison Mind."
Raven: It's nice to meet you. I'm writing this letter as a representative of The Chapel of Resonance, a Castlevania fan site. We are always looking out for new information about Castlevania. We found that you wrote the original score of the first game in the series. Even now, fans enjoy listening to the original soundtrack and still think it is wonderful music.
Yamashita: Thank you for the e-mail. I'm very happy that you feel that way about my songs.
Raven: The fans have some questions about the compositions you wrote for Castlevania. I know that you're busy, but if you have time, I would be very happy if you could answer these questions.
Yamashita: First of all, I was only employed at Konami for about two and a half years.
During that time there were some confidential things, and so there are things I can answer and things I can't.
Please understand this.
Raven: Please tell us about the process of writing songs. Why did you have an interest in writing video game music? How do you write it? (For example, do you write on a piano and then take the songs you like and convert them into a digital version?)
Yamashita: Up until I joined Konami I had never played video games and so I didn't even know about compositions for video games. Writing music these days has become much different than in those days. When I wrote the songs for Dracula, I played a synthesizer, my boss listened to them, and if they were OK, I would write the score and while looking at it, I would pound the data into the computer.
Raven: I think that the first Castlevania was a beautiful achievement. How were you selected to be the composer of it?
Yamashita: Thank you very much. When I first entered the company I was charged with Dracula. Rather than being chosen, I think the way it happened was I was just put into it, if I'm not mistaken.
Raven: Please tell us a little about how you felt working with the Castlevania team. How did everyone feel about it while they were working on it? Who was the person who first came up with the concept? Please tell us their name.
Yamashita: I'm not sure.
Raven: What did you think of the Castlevania series in the beginning? How do you feel about it now? Are you still interested in it?
Yamashita: It was the first game that I made, and so I still really love it. They were the first songs I had written, and so I still think about them. From when I left Konami, I didn't really keep up with how the series changed.
Raven: You don't work on the current Castlevania games, but what are your feelings about them?
Yamashita: The only Castlevania game I worked on was the first Nintendo Castlevania game. I didn't participate on any others. I don't know about any others, and so I can't comment.
Raven: Changing the subject slightly, many of your fans think that the Mega Man X3 score is your most beautiful soundtrack. Please tell us a little bit about it.
Yamashita: Thank you very much. I had just started working on the Megaman series, and up till now I think I've written songs that are better than the songs on Mega Man. There was a lot of pressure.
Raven: What inspires you when you write video game music? When you write scores, from conception to completion, there's no limit as to what you can do, and so please tell us a little about it.
Yamashita: Now I'm not writing a score. I recall a melody and play it on an electric piano, and then I proceed to write it on a computer. After that the process is done by game hardware and differs from system to system, and so I can't explain it.
Raven: After the first Castlevania game did you write the scores for any others?
Yamashita: I have written many songs for many games.
Raven: In the first game, you are credited not with your real name, but with the name James Banana. Was this your pen name? Was it the name that your team gave you?
Yamashita: I left the company Konami, and so it was their way of adding me to the credits. My real name, Kinuyo Yamashita, appears in other games.
Raven: Finally, please tell us about the song "Vampire Killer". To me, "Vampire Killer" is an unforgettable song. Please tell us about the evolution of this song. How you feel about the newer versions of today? It's a pretty important song, and so please tell us a bit about it.
Yamashita: I'm sorry, I haven't heard the recent versions and so I can't really answer.
Raven: Thank you so much for always working so hard on your music for us. Your fans of Castlevania are still listening to your music today. From all your fans, thank you very much.
Yamashita: Thank you very much. I'm very happy.