Interview with Riow Arai
Roughly a year ago, our subsite leader Dragon God introduced his fellow game soundtrack enthusiast (and loyal underling) Kero Hazel to the unique stylings of Front Mission Alternative, which we now have a review for. FMA was composed, strangely enough, by an established techno/dance musician who had little experience in the game music field, going very much against the traditional Front Mission grain. This artist was Riow Arai. Since then, DG and Kero have embarked on a series of wacky adventures, exploring the experimental world of Arai. Several weeks ago, DG sent an email with some questions addressed to Mr. Arai. An artist very dedicated to his fans, he responded with his usual enthusiasm and quickness. Here follows the fruit of that response.
1. Good day to you Mr. Arai, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I have produced six albums of my work as of right now. Most of these works were available only in Japan, but "Mind Edit" recently became available in other places under the British LEAF label.
2. When did you first realize that you wanted to become a music composer?
As for me, my first influence came in primary school when I began to make music. I received influence from various kinds of music after that.
3. One of your most famous works is Front Mission Alternative... how did you get to compose for that title?
I think for myself, and there really was nothing to it. But there may be such recognition of my name because there are a lot of game fans in the world.
4. How has music influenced your everyday life, outside of your work?
Music is the bread of life for me.
5. Your very first international CD, Disturbance EP, seems to be quite a success in the UK; what was your vision when you chose to sell your music overseas?
My music is instrumental and does not need any lyrics, so I think that it should be heard during the world. As far as the business side goes, it was a success, and I see it as the first of many steps.
6. What's the most experimental thing you've tried in your music?
7. What is your process to creating music? Do you plan your compositions in advance or do you simply work your way as you try with various samples?
Making music is like drawing a picture, I take something which does not exist in reality and yet it does at the same time. Because I want to build a musical world that is far removed from European music which uses a lot of samples, I try a music production method that is based on new structures.
8. What musical artist or genre has influenced you the most in your career?
Electronic music, techo, hip hop, others, all music.
9. Is there any advice you could give to people who want to become composers?
A musician should believe in oneself, and continue making music so that people understand it and continue to refine it.
10. Do you have any new plans for the future? Are you considering branching out into other genres?
I would like people to hear EP and "Mind Edit", since they were released together through British LEAF, and they're available throughout the world. In the future, I will continue making music that is not attached to a genre. I hope that each piece of music falls into a consistent genre of its own, to the judgment of a listener.
Dragon God and Kero Hazel would like to extend their deepest thanks to Riow Arai for taking the time to respond to our questions. It's not often that we have this sort of priveledge. Interested readers will be pleased to hear that Mr. Arai has an English website, with information and many MP3 samples of his work.
Back to the festivities.