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Interview with Masashi Hamauzu (RocketBaby - February 2002)

The following interview was carried out by RocketBaby.net, a sadly defunct site that once interviewed numerous game composers. Square Enix Music Online is hosting the interview to avoid it being lost forever. The translation was by Shinsuke Fukada.


RocketBaby: When did you first become attracted to music?

Masashi Hamauzu: During Kindergarten. I composed my first composition in high school, but do not remember it exactly. Some of my early musical influences were Hiroshi Miyagawa and Ryuichi Sakamoto.


RocketBaby: When and why did you start working for Squaresoft?

Masashi Hamauzu: When I finished college about six years ago. I joined because I liked games. The first game I composed music for was Front Mission: Gun Hazard.


RocketBaby: Who is the Squaresoft colleague you most admire?

Masashi Hamauzu: Ryo Yamazaki (Synthesizer Operator). He possesses all fundamentals of music in his senses.


RocketBaby: How has working on Final Fantasy changed your life?

Masashi Hamauzu: This is not limited to [work on] Final Fantasy; it provided me the opportunity to acquire more music skills. The extent of my music has became much bigger in all aspects.


RocketBaby: Besides time what was the most difficult aspect creating the music for Final Fantasy X?

Masashi Hamauzu: In most aspects I did not experience difficulties.


RocketBaby: What is your favorite Final Fantasy X music not written by you and why?

Masashi Hamauzu: "Guadosalam" composed by Junya Nakano. The arpeggios, placement of instruments, and disbursement of harmonies are wonderful.


RocketBaby: What process did you use to create your music for Final Fantasy X?

Masashi Hamauzu: Created as I regularly do with MIDI. There is one piece that I composed that was not used in the game.


RocketBaby: How did the Final Fantasy X composers interact with each other.

Masashi Hamauzu: Actually there was not much interaction; it was mostly individual work.


RocketBaby: How did the music of past Final Fantasy titles help or hinder Final Fantasy X's music?

Masashi Hamauzu: There were no restrictions placed on me to follow the styles from the past works. So I was able to create completely original music of my own, and did not particularly need to keep the past works in mind.


RocketBaby: What element of Final Fantasy X are you most proud of?

Masashi Hamauzu: It was one of the few games that I have worked on which I enjoyed playing.


RocketBaby: What are your thoughts of Mr. Uematsu and how has he influenced your work.

Masashi Hamauzu: He is a very youthful person, but he has not influenced my music.


RocketBaby: What advice would you give those who want to create game music?

Masashi Hamauzu: I wish that they remember that game is only a medium, and that they should remember to specialize and concentrate in composition.


RocketBaby: Would you share some of your experience working on Saga Frontier 2?

Masashi Hamauzu: I can't think of particular memories, but I was very satisfied to have been able to compose outside the field of conventional "game music."


RocketBaby: Any last words?

Masashi Hamauzu: Final Fantasy X was a great opportunity to enrich my composition skills.