[Translation] Persona Super Live 2017 Pamphlet Interviews

There’s a lot of random stuff in this pamphlet but most of it isn’t really anything new or interesting… There are interviews with Shoji Meguro, Tetsuya Kobayashi, and the performing artists though, so here’s those.

Atlus please release the 2017 bluray so I can throw money at it :(


Tetsuya Kobayashi

Began his career as a professional keyboardist at the age of 21. After gaining experience as a musician, now he mainly works on music composition, lyrics, and production for anime soundtracks, opening themes, insert themes, and game soundtracks over a wide variety of genres. His Persona-related works are the Persona 3 movies (all 4) and the Persona 4 Golden anime.

Q: So, the Persona works that you were involved with were the Persona 3 movies (P3M) and the Persona 4 Golden anime (P4GA).

Kobayashi: Yes. I was only an official composer starting from the second P3 movie, but I did help out a bit with the first one as well.

Q: What did that entail?

Kobayashi: The game was 10 years old, and they didn’t have any music data in a format that could be used for a film. We had to reconstruct it into a usable format, as well as create outros since the original BGM was designed to be played on loop in the game. That’s what I worked on for the first movie.

Q: How did you do it?

Kobayashi: I received the game soundtrack, and recreated it entirely by ear with similar tones *laughs*, then added the outros…

Q: It sounds like the first movie was the hardest *laughs*

Kobayashi: I’d done that kind of work before, so it was totally fine, although it requires a completely different skill set from composing.

Q: And then you composed new songs for the second movie and onward?

Kobayashi: When they told me that I’d be in charge of everything for the second movie onward, I was like, “Is that really okay!? Not that I’m complaining!” *laughs*

Q: What was it like reproducing the “Persona” sound?

Kobayashi: Honestly, I had a lot of trouble with it. When I tried to reproduce Meguro-san’s style, I just ended up with an inferior ripoff. Neither the producer nor the director liked my first attempt. After I realized that there was no point offering the job to me if I wasn’t going to express my own style, I gradually got better reactions from everyone.

Q: How many retakes did you need to come up with something satisfactory?

Kobayashi: At first it took about 10 takes for a single track, but once I got out of my slump, everything I made was received well. Just when I thought everything was going well, P4GA happened, and I was back to struggling with the very first track *laughs*. Each entry in the Persona series has a different mood. It was a valuable learning experience.

Q: The music is a different genre in each game, but were there any common points?

Kobayashi: Looking at things like chord progression, I think Meguro-san has his own characteristic, self-taught style. Normally you’d have a teacher or mentor telling you how music should be composed, but Meguro-san isn’t restrained by any of that. That’s why he can create music that’s different from the rest, and everyone loves it. He’s really cool.

Q: What led to your involvement with Persona music?

Kobayashi: It began with the first Persona concert. Various circumstances just happened to lead to cancelled plans in my schedule, and I was wondering what to do with my newfound free time. There was some talk about concert work, and I recalled enjoying playing Persona 1 in my high school days, so I went for it *laughs*. That ended up leading to working on the movies and anime too, and here we are now.

Q: What’s your favourite Persona song that you’ve worked on so far?

Kobayashi: Hmm… For P4GA, I made a lot of one-off songs that only played for certain episodes. The one I personally think I did the best job on was the song that plays during the Magatsu Izanagi fight. (Episode 7 insert song: “Ying Yang” / Vocals: Shihoko Hirata / Lyrics & Rap: Lotus Juice)

Q: That was an exciting one!

Kobayashi: It was really popular, but that had its ups and downs. I was happy that people liked it, but some online commenters were praising Meguro for it. *laughs*

Q: Even though you made it! *laughs* Was it frustrating?

Kobayashi: No, I was glad that it blended in with the rest of the work. If anything, I wouldn’t have liked it if people thought it felt different. I’m happy that they thought it was Meguro-san’s song.

Q: What was your favourite from P3M?

Kobayashi: The one that played before a battle scene… that Kawamura-san and Lotus-san sang… What was it called again? *laughs*

Atlus Representative: “Self Redemption”, right?

Kobayashi: Yeah, that! Normally when I do work for TV anime, once I give them the music they’re free to use it however they want. Sometimes this means that tracks get used differently from how I intended. It’s a necessary evil. However, for movies, I can create music that perfectly matches the scenes. I lay out the framework on the piano while watching the footage and add some punch to the explosive parts. It makes me really happy if they use it and I see it line up in reality. *laughs*

Q: Were there times when they didn’t use the tracks?

Kobayashi: The one I’m talking about right now was the 2nd take. The original piece was grand and fitting for a movie, but the producer told me to make it “sharper”. But after revising it, it was a perfect fit, so I’m glad for that.

Q: It must be tough having to do retakes.

Kobayashi: It’s my job to make things that satisfy everyone, so. *laughs*

Q: Could you tell us what to look out for at the concert?

Kobayashi: Our concert this time is designed around being faithful to the original game music. However, the arranged tracks are really arranged… It’s a bit of a spoiler, but we have a really dynamic arrange with multiple songs overlapping. I think it’ll surprise you. Also, in past concerts I played the piano myself while the electric piano was done electronically with performance data. I thought live music would be better though, so this time we added a keyboardist. He was actually my keyboard student 10 years ago *laughs*

Q: Teacher and student performing together!? I’m looking forward to it. For our final question, Kobayashi-san, how would you define “Persona music”?

Kobayashi: That’s a tough one. Honestly, I think it’s simply what Meguro-san has built up. Nothing more, nothing less. That said, if you try to make a Meguro-style song, you can only end up with an inferior copy. It’s quite mysterious *laughs*

Q: Despite that, you’ve managed to create your own splendid style of Persona music. Thank you for the interview; we’re excited for the concert!

Kobayashi: Thank you. Please look forward to it!


Shoji Meguro

Atlus sound composer. He worked on many of the company’s games–even if you narrow it down to just the Persona series, he’s been developing his unique sound all the way from Revelations: Persona (select tracks only) to Persona 5. He also worked together with Kobayashi for the Persona 3 movies.

Q: Your songs have always been popular, but it feels like you made your break with P3’s rap BGM. How did that come about?

Meguro: I think the biggest influence was how in P3, game elements like character proportions and UI changed a lot [from prior installments]. I really got a strong feel for it when I saw the UI animations, and the impact led to the first song I composed for P3, the second semester theme (Changing Seasons). So, I think that track is very symbolic of P3.

Q: The regular battle theme that we all know for its “Baby Baby Baby” lines (Mass Destruction) also stands out, but it’s actually surprisingly relaxed?

Meguro: Yes. I generally don’t make songs very fast to begin with, but for this song, my biggest consideration was how long a battle would take for the average player. The tempo determines whether or not the hook will come before the battle ends. I thought it’d be nice if people didn’t get bored of fighting because they’d be thinking, “Oh, the hook is coming up so I’ll draw the fight out longer” *laughs*

Q: So basically you prioritized direction over system-related aspects.

Meguro: Yes. System-wise, it’s annoying to make the music change when the weather changes *laughs*. Not only does it have to change at night, but if it’s raining then it has to change even more… *laughs*

Q: Has the number of tracks for each game been increasing?

Meguro: It has, especially in P5, even though I was originally asked to make the same number of tracks as I did for P4 *laughs*. In the end we mobilized the general sound team.

Q: What’s the composition of the sound team?

Meguro: There are 5 people, but one of them is dedicated to sound effects. There are multiple projects in development concurrently, so people are brought in sequentially based on availability. Kozuka was mainly working on P4DAN, but we brought him in for the latter half of P5 as well.

Q: It must be tough with all of the spin-off works. They have a lot of vocal tracks, so is it hard on the artists too?

Meguro: It is, but compared to P3 and P4, P5 has slightly fewer vocal tracks.

Q: Really?

Meguro: In P5, the character proportions and settings are more realistic, so it was harder to create matching vocal tracks. The music in general was more chill and relaxed, making it difficult to add vocals. That’s part of the reason why we used Lyn-san this time.

Q: What does that mean?

Meguro: We were looking for someone who could sing authentic soul music, and Lyn-san’s vocals were perfect for the realistic, relaxed songs we wanted for P5. Kawamura-san and Hirata-san are also wonderful vocalists with their own characteristics, but those were more suited for P3 and P4… It’s hard to put it into words *laughs*

Q: Come to think of it, starting with P3, each mainline title had a different aesthetic.

Meguro: P3 took place in a Tokyo-like city with an aloof protagonist, so the music was kind of a futuristic-style pop. I call that genre I made “Future Pop”. Next, P4 had a cheerful, sunny mood, so it was typical pop rock–easy to visualize for Japanese people. Well, I say ‘rock’, but it’s actually considered ‘pop’, or what people call J-rock, perhaps *laughs*. But P5 took a lot of thinking. I couldn’t figure out what songs would match such a realistic setting. At the very last minute, I thought that acid jazz, which was popular in the 90s, might work because it’s been long enough that it wouldn’t have the “lame” kind of oldness. I thought it’d fit an atmosphere like Jamiroquai’s early days, with a bunch of young people having jam sessions despite not being properly organized yet.

Q: It sounds like it must’ve been difficult. Did you struggle that much with any of the other games?

Meguro: Coming up with P5’s melodies took the longest. For P3 and P4, I only remember having some “disagreements” with the development side over the endings *laughs*. When the epilogue transitions into the credits roll, the part where I wanted to ramp up the music was different from where they wanted to emphasize the presentation. I had to revise “Never More” so many times! *laughs* Nowadays both sides compromise; we don’t argue anymore.

Q: Looks like everything’s mellowed out. *laughs*

Meguro: In the past, we even argued about minor things like whether to add an extra measure or not.

Q: Since you’re so particular about it, how would you define “Persona music”?

Meguro: Personally, I don’t really think of the Persona series as one thing. I consider each game separately–what music I should make for a game like P3, what songs would suit P5, etc. As I spoke about before, Persona changed a lot with P3, so even there was a definition for “Persona style”, I didn’t try to force myself to follow from the previous games’ example.

Q: The only music that hasn’t changed throughout the series is the Velvet Room theme.

Meguro: Now that you mention it, I made that song right after joining Atlus. My colleague’s friend was an opera singer, and I sampled her voice to make the song. It was a struggle for the hardware back then, and in the end, I could only fit the vocals at the hook. I also wanted to have a piano intro, but the higher-ups told me to move the hook to the front… I didn’t have the clout to argue back at the time, but I thought that since people would spend a long time doing fusions in the Velvet Room, everyone would hear the hook even if it wasn’t at the beginning. I still think back to that now *laughs*

Q: That’s true *laughs*. With today’s hardware you don’t have to worry about not being able to include vocals, but are there any other ambitions you have for the future?

Meguro: Hmm… not really *laughs*. People often point out the “sharpness” of my songs, but my goal has always been to create music that goes well with the product. I guess you could say that I try to go a bit outside of the box, so that you’ll think “What’s with this song?”, but when you hear it in-game, you’ll be surprised at how well it fits *laughs*. That’s what I aim for.

Q: I see. I’ll be looking forward to your next songs.

Meguro: Thank you *laughs*

[Concert Questions]

Q: What was your reaction when you heard that this concert would be held in Yokohama Arena?

Meguro: I’ve been there before to see Toshiaki Nishioka’s (pro boxer, former super bantamweight champion) world match! Nishioka was so great…

Q: Is there anything we should keep an eye out for in your costumes or performance?

Meguro: I’ll be the same as usual, but my first priority is not making any mistakes.

Q: What else should we pay attention to?

Meguro: Check out our new keyboardist and strings!

Q: Some encouragement for the artists!

Meguro: Lyn-san is by herself on the P5 team, so I’m rooting for her!

Q: What is your “treasure”?

Meguro: My family.

Q: Lastly, say something to get everyone excited for the concert.

Meguro: We’ll do our very best to put on a show that everyone will be satisfied with.


Yumi Kawamura

Vocalist for various songs, including the P3 OP and ED. She also sang the second ED for the Persona ~Trinity Soul~ anime. She also participates in chorus, voice training, and vocal direction for major label artists like Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro, and BoA.

Q: What was your reaction when you heard that this concert would be held in Yokohama Arena?

Kawamura: I was getting more excited by the minute *laughs*

Q: Is there anything we should keep an eye out for in your costumes or performance?

Kawamura: I might dance.

Q: What else should we pay attention to?

Kawamura: Maybe our dynamics with the dancers?

Q: Say something to the rival P5 team!

Kawamura: I see you’re all dressed up, but don’t forget, you’re competing against the power of 11 years of history!

Q: What is your “treasure”?

Kawamura: The fans, staff, and highballs.

Q: Lastly, say something to get everyone excited for the concert.

Kawamura: With P5 joining the fray, we’ve got a 3-way battle now. Let’s rock!


Lotus Juice

Musical artist based in hip hop. He’s provided vocals (rap) for many titles, including P3, P3P, PQ, P4, P4A, P4G, P4U, P4U2, and P4D. His nickname is Aniki (Big Bro).

Q: What was your reaction when you heard that this concert would be held in Yokohama Arena?

Lotus Juice: “We’ve come this far!?” I was both worried and excited for the staging. I was also excited to have Lyn-chan joining the roster. Persona concerts are something everyone makes together, so I hope the audience will work with us, too. Let’s do it!

Q: Is there anything we should keep an eye out for in your costumes or performance?

Lotus Juice: One new thing is that we have 2 stages. I’ll be dancing there. For various reasons, I’m the only one with baggy pants, but I don’t think it detracts from our cohesion. Our costume manager is the best.

Q: What else should we pay attention to?

Lotus Juice: Definitely our new member, Lyn-chan. Also, this time our dancers are very heavily involved with the performance, so check that out. I guarantee that Persona fans will enjoy it.

Q: Say something to the rival P5 team!

Lotus Juice: Oyyyyy, Rinrin! I’m gonna pull your beautiful voice out of your vocal cords and turn it into a wax sculptureeee!

Q: What is your “treasure”?

Lotus Juice: Love

Q: Lastly, say something to get everyone excited for the concert.

Lotus Juice: Persona concerts have grown so much, and it’s all thanks to the development team for creating such wonderful games, Meguro-san and the rest of the sound team, everyone working on the concert on things like lighting and promotion, and all of the fans who come to see it. Personally, I always look forward to the next concert as though it’ll be the last, so I’ll be challenging myself more than ever to put on a show that you’ll all enjoy.


Shihoko Hirata

Vocalist for P4 and P4A. She began learning to play classical piano at the age of 6, but fell in love with soul music at 12, and began seriously getting into music through joining a band in university. She has studied Italian and gospel music and is recognized for her powerful singing voice. She loves salmon roe to the point where she could eat it every day.

Q: What was your reaction when you heard that this concert would be held in Yokohama Arena?

Hirata: AaaAAaahhhh! *joy*

Q: Is there anything we should keep an eye out for in your costumes or performance?

Hirata: Pop & Cute! It’s very “P4”!

Q: What else should we pay attention to?

Hirata: The dancers’ coolness and sweetness! You’ll definitely fall in love!

Q: Say something to the rival P5 team!

Hirata: We won’t lose to P5! The P4 team is raring to go!

Q: What is your “treasure”?

Hirata: My cat (Lebesgue Charlotte Hirata, age 4)

Q: Lastly, say something to get everyone excited for the concert.

Hirata: This year’s concert is amazing in every way! We’re pulling out all the stops, so please go all-out with us!


Lyn

P5 vocalist, appearing at a Persona concert for the first time. She began studying singing in 2008 when she encountered the works of American soul singer Donny Hathaway. After that, she did chorus and guest vocals for various artists, and she still continues her solo career today. She can freely manipulate her rich voice for both high and low tones.

Q: How do you feel about your first Persona concert?

Lyn: I’m always thinking that Persona gave me a lot of new experiences. My first time singing with a band, my first time at Yokohama Arena, and my first time dancing! Persona has allowed me to surpass my limits *laughs*

Q: Is there anything we should keep an eye out for in your costumes or performance?

Lyn: The combination of the Persona settings and our in-person performances!

Q: What else should we pay attention to?

Lyn: Basically, everything. Wonderful things will be happening everywhere on stage, to the point where you won’t know where to look.

Q: Say something to the rival P3/P4 team!

Lyn: I won’t go easy on you♥

Q: What is your “treasure”?

Lyn: Excitement.

Q: Lastly, say something to get everyone excited for the concert.

Lyn: This is a really, really special once-in-a-lifetime show, and I hope you’ll enjoy it even more than us! I’ll do my best to make that happen!

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