Interview with the Mega Man 1 & 2 Sound Team: Takashi Tateishi
The NES' Mega Man and Mega Man 2 might have been released over 20 years ago, but their scores created by Manami Matsumae, Takashi Tateishi, and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi continue to fondly remembered to this day. Following our group interview, the three musicians agreed to talk on a one-to-one basis about their works after the Blue Bomber.
In this interview, Takashi Tateishi discusses his journey since leaving Capcom. He reflects on how he largely retired as a composer to become a sound programmer and coordinator for various Konami titles. He subsequently discusses how he helped to found the first virtual idol, Shiori Fujisaki of Tokimeki Memorial, and currently serves as a music producer for the artists Mami Kingetsu and Motoyoshi Iwasaki at his studio Most Company.
Interview Subject: Takashi Tateishi
Chris: Aside from Mega Man 2, your other known scores at Capcom are Willow, LED Storm, and Side Arms Special. Could you discuss your musical approach for each of these titles?
Takashi Tateishi: I aimed to create melodies that people could hum along with, or play in their bands. At that time Capcom's sound staff was primarily comprised of people who majored in Music at music schools or technical colleges. I didn't go to a music or technical college, but while I was majoring in Economics at a normal college I was in a band. So I liked the kind of music that bands perform.
Chris: In the early 1990s, you left Capcom to work at K2. Why did you spend such a short time as a composer at Capcom overall?
Takashi Tateishi: Back then Capcom was in Osaka and I wanted to work in music in Tokyo, so I left the company.
Chris: Following your brief times at Capcom and K2, you worked extensively with Konami for cartoon-to-game adaptations such as Tiny Toons Adventures 2 and Batman Returns. How did working on such titles compare with working on Capcom games?
Takashi Tateishi: You know a lot! Even I'd forgotten about those things. I wasn't a composer on those games, though, and instead worked as a sound programmer.
Chris: During your later years at Konami, you worked in recording and coordination roles for games such as Suikoden and Gokujou Parodius, as well as albums such as Policenauts F/N and the Kukeiha Club Pro Fusion series. Could you discuss what your responsibilities were on these eminent productions and what you brought to their overall quality?
Takashi Tateishi: Wow! You know about that? I don't think there's anyone in Japan who knows that much.
Like stars in the night sky, many young composers overflowing with talent were enlisting at Konami. So many talented composers Akira Yamaoka, Michiru Yamane, Miki Higashino, and Motoaki Furukawa, and the list goes on forever. Kinuyo Yamashita-san, who became famous through Castlevania, is also from Konami.
Surrounded by such geniuses, I felt that "I can't live up to these people. I'll quit composing." So I almost entirely stopped composing. I primarily became involved with voice recording and music production work that involves recording in a studio.
Chris: More recently, you have served as a producer for vocalist / lyricist Mami Kingetsu and composer / arranger Motoyoshi Iwasaki. Could you discuss how your collaborations with these two artists emerged and developed? What is it like to represent them?
Takashi Tateishi: I met them when producing Tokimeki Memorial 15 years earlier. They are both very talented people, so I requested to produce for them. I enjoy freely producing music for both games and anime.
Chris: With these two artists, you have produced numerous character theme songs for the Tokimeki Memorial series. How does composing and producing such songs compare with working on instrumental game music? In particular, how have you developed an appropriate sound to represent the series' main character, Shiori Fujisaki, alongside her voice actor Mami Kingetsu?
Takashi Tateishi: I said it earlier, but I was originally involved with a band that included vocals, so I prefer producing vocals to composing instrumental music. My projects with the gaming world's first virtual idol, Shiori Fujisaki, became a company sensation, and it was a wonderful accomplishment for the industry when her album entered the Oricon Top 10 Chart.
Chris: As the founder of Most Company, you, Kingetsu, and Iwasaki have also been involved in many projects. Could you tell us a little more about what you're up to now? Many thanks for your time today and best regards for the future.
Takashi Tateishi: Most Company is a young company. I believe we will work hard from now on to create a new sound.
All images on this interview are copyright of Capcom. Many thanks to Ippo Yamada, Akari Kaida, and Don Kotowski for coordinating this interview. Thank you to Ben Schweitzer, Christopher Ling, and Shota Nakama for their help at various stages in the translation process. Finally, thank you to the staff at Inti Creates and Capcom for their cooperation.