[Interview] Hiroyuki Sawano releases a piano solo album “scene”. Talk about famous songs that have been reborn as piano songs!
December 24, 2021 18:00
The album “scene”, which is a piano solo arrangement of songs carefully selected from the soundtracks of anime and dramas by Hiroyuki Sawano, will be released on December 22, 2021. Originally created on the fan club site [-30k], this is a project to play your own songs on the piano. 19 of them are included in one album. Since it will be released at the end of December, it also includes one Christmas song that Hiroyuki Sawano loves.
In this interview, he talked about his encounter with the piano, his memories of making the original song, and his impression of becoming a piano solo. This is a must-see for Sawano fans, who can overlook his career as a composer.
This is a piano album that you want to relax and listen to.
──This is your first attempt at a piano solo album that Mr. Sawano himself plays. How did you come up with the production?
Sawano: About two years ago, I launched a fan club site called [-30k], and in it I created content that publishes piano performances at a pace of about once a month. When I came to think that it would be nice if I could play existing songs or play with ad lib, the songs would accumulate and I would like to put them together on a CD. At first, I was talking about trying to release it as a CD limited to live venues, but as the story spread, it was decided to release it as a CD for general distribution.
──Is that an album that summarizes the sound sources played at [-30k]?
Sawano: That’s right. There is only one song that has been replayed for this album, but the other 18 songs are the sound sources for [-30k]. That’s why most of the songs are sound sources that fan club members can listen to online. Besides, it’s embarrassing to hear it again as a CD because all the songs I decided and played with the mood of the moment, “Let’s try this song this time” (laughs). I would like everyone to relax and listen. You can study or work, or even before you go to bed.
──There is no doubt that it is a relaxing piece. Did you raise a new score to play on the piano?
Sawano: No, I didn’t transcribe a two-stage score for the piano. I used the score with the melody and chords I used to create the soundtrack, and played it freely. It’s easier for me to play. Originally, I didn’t play the classical piano crunchy, so I think I had to spend a lot of time practicing if I had to write a two-stage score and play it according to the score.
──How did Mr. Sawano get involved with the piano in the first place?
Sawano: I started playing the piano later than the other children, when I was in the sixth grade of elementary school. I’ve always been envious of a child learning the piano, but in our generation, when a man is learning the piano, he feels like his classmates make fun of him, so tell his parents. I didn’t. At one point, she casually said that her mother looked at my hand and said that she was suitable for the piano because it was thin and long, and she said, “If you say that, you can learn.” .. I really wanted to do it, but half of the time I started playing the piano because of my parents (laughs).
──It’s a boyish episode (laughs).
Sawano: I continued playing the piano until my first year in high school, but maybe because I started late, I couldn’t play classical songs, so I thought I should stop going to the classroom anymore. The last song I practiced with the desire to be able to play something was The Beatles’ Yesterday, which was mentioned in a music textbook. At that time, I wanted to touch the song, so I moved to the composer’s teacher’s classroom and started studying composition while practicing the piano.
── That’s where you started as a composer.
Sawano: I’ve been interested in the soundtrack of video works since that time, and at the same time I wanted to write pop music. Then, I got advice from my teacher that I should be able to play the piano on the score of melody and chords, and I feel like I’ve been up to now.
──You can get a glimpse of Mr. Sawano’s roots in the piano performance of [-30k].
Sawano: Not limited to [-30k], I only look at the score of the chords during live performances, so sometimes I play completely differently in the first and second rehearsals. Of course, there are some phrases that you have to play for sure, but other than that, I often play in the atmosphere of the place. In terms of personality, it’s more fun to play freely than to repeat the same way of playing according to the score.
──Does that mean that the songs on this album are only played at that time?
Sawano: That’s right. Even if it’s the same song, if you play it again, you’ll see something different. In [-30k], there were times when I played completely ad lib, for example, the first song “scene”. I liked phrasing, so I made it the title song of the album. The 16th song “PIANO [-30k] -001” is also an ad lib, and as the title suggests, it is the first song played in [-30k].
──You didn’t even have a musical score for these two songs. It is truly unique.
Sawano: “scene” is a melodious song, and I was thinking of playing such a song before I played it, so I can still reproduce it, but “PIANO [-30k] -001” is really an inspiration on the spot. I played it, so I can’t do it again (laughs). I think you can play it if you wake it up on the score, but you have to practice a lot.
──Is it a song you played once?
Sawano: It’s strange, but when you write a score and play it exactly, the fine movements of your fingers that you made when you were playing freely without a score would be “What happened?” is.
“Team Medical Dragon” was a substitute for a business card as a composer.
── 16 songs are played from the soundtrack of each work. What were the criteria for song selection?
Sawano [-30K] I chose the song because I thought it would be the main theme of the work and the songs used in important scenes if I wanted the fans to enjoy it. Furthermore, in this CD release, I selected songs that became a turning point in my musical activities, songs that grew into standard live songs, and songs that I personally like.
── Not only anime but also live-action dramas and movie songs are recorded.
Sawano: Many of the drama soundtracks were done before being involved in anime. “Team Medical Dragon” is a work that has become a substitute for a business card as a composer in expanding the scope of work, and “Maou” is the first work to work on suspense drama music, and I have a strong feeling for it. ..
── “Blue Dragon” and “IRYU Team Medical Dragon-medley” are recorded from “IRYU Team Medical Dragon”.
Sawano: This is the second drama soundtrack, and I was able to try the sound I wanted to do. At first, the main composer was Shin Kono, and I was the supporter, but as the series went on, I was assigned a lot of songs. “Blue Dragon” is a song that the producer asked me to make a song with a theme, and I remember making it with enthusiasm to make it impressive when it was played in the work. With that flow, I decided to make a vocal version.
──It’s the insert song “Aesthetic”. Aika Sekiyama was in charge of singing.
Sawano: The response to “Aesthetic” has made it possible for people in the industry to know my name. I was evaluated by the music I wanted to do, so I was able to create a virtuous cycle in which I could pursue my favorite sounds in my subsequent work. In that sense, the encounter with “Team Medical Dragon” was a big part of my career.
── “IRYU Team medical Dragon-medley” is a medley as the title suggests.
Sawano: Three songs from the soundtrack are connected. It’s “pain,” “DRAGON RISES,” and “spirit.” “Team Medical Dragon” has a lot of favorite songs, but I played the one I especially liked.
──The soundtrack of “Team Medical Dragon” has many heavy songs, but when it comes to piano solos, the delicacy stands out.
Sawano: The tempo is also slow, so you may feel that way.
── “LiVE / EViL” is recorded from “Devil”.
Sawano: I wanted to do the suspense drama soundtrack for a long time, and the first offer came to “Maou”. I had a stock that I definitely wanted to use as a theme song for a suspense drama when I got a chance, so I used “LiVE / EViL” almost as it was. The piano version of this song has also changed to a moist feeling.
── In addition to the drama songs, “from sunset to sunrise” is included from “Taiyou no Uta”.
Sawano: “A Song to the Sun” may be a minor work compared to “Iryu Team Medical Dragon” etc., but this “from sunset to sunrise” is a song that I always play when practicing the piano. What is it? It’s more comfortable to play than to have a feeling for it. Actually, only this song is recorded on the piano at my workplace, not in the recording studio, due to the influence of Corona. The recording environment is not as good as other songs, but I thought it would be better to record it without fixing it so that I could remember the situation at that time.
──In the case of home recording, there are no specialized engineers, so it’s all done by one person.
Sawano: On the contrary, I was too particular about it, and I re-recorded it if there was something I didn’t like, so it was actually the song that took the longest to record.
We arranged the songs used in important scenes on the piano.
──First of all, there is “Attack on Titan” in the anime songs. The third song “You SeeBIGGIRL → Thanks AT” is a song that connects two soundtracks.
Sawano: “You See BIG GIRL” is used in impressive scenes in the work, and I chose it because it is a song that is very popular with fans. “Thanks AT” is the theme song for Season 3, and AT is the initials of director Tetsuro Araki. Thanks to Director Araki, I was able to meet a work called “Attack on Titan”, so I played this song with gratitude.
── Another song, “Call your name,” is in the 17th song. The original song is a song with vocals by mpi and CASG (Caramel Apple Sound Gadget). This was also used impressively in the play.
Sawano: The original song is a rock ballad. There are other popular songs such as “Attack on Titan” and “The Reluctant Heroes”, but when I think about playing on the piano, I thought the melodious “Call your name” would be comfortable.
── There are 3 songs from “Mobile Suit Gundam UC”. First of all, the third song “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM UC-medley”.
Sawano: I selected and connected songs that I had a strong feeling for in “Gundam UC” and songs that I often selected when playing a piano solo live. “ON YOUR MARK” “THE UNIVERS” “UNICORN” “GUNDAM”, and finally “EGO” intro is included. The soundtrack for “Gundam UC” was made with the intention of making a song that strongly extruded the melody, so it went well with the piano solo.
──How about the 10th song “RE: I AM MARIE”?
Sawano: It’s a soundtrack version of “RE: I AM” sung by Aimer. The title “RE: I AM” is an anagram of Aimer’s name, but some fans noticed that it was also an anagram of Captain Jinnemann’s daughter Marie. I thought it was good, so when I made the soundtrack version, I included Marie’s name in the title (laughs). When I asked the fans to vote on what kind of song I wanted to arrange on the piano with [-30k], “RE: I AM” and “Into the Sky” in the 14th song came to the top. I decided to take up these two songs.
──Both are popular vocal songs. The fifth song is “ΛSHES → Inferno”, which is a combination of two songs from TRIGGER’s theatrical release “Promare”.
Sawano: These are the two songs that were important in the play. “ΛSHES” is a melodious song that was suitable for playing on the piano, and “Inferno” is a song that is called “promare”. “Promare” is a work that I have been particularly fond of in my recent work, as the fast-paced play by director Hiroyuki Imaishi and screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima and the music I wanted to do matched well. It was fun to make, and I was able to make a good balance between vocal songs and orchestra songs, and I was able to use them in a good way even in the play. “Inferno” is also a popular live song, and the wonderful reaction of the customers is memorable.
── “κr0nё” is selected from “Guilty Crown”.
Sawano “κr0nё” is a piano and orchestra version of “βios”. Originally, it was a melody I made when I was working for “Team Medical Dragon”, and I thought it might suit “Guilty Crown”. Since it was made with the piano in mind from the beginning, this piano solo is also close to the original song. In addition, Daisuke Takahashi of figure skating used it at an exhibition or something, and I remembered that as an opportunity to play.
──The 9th song following “κr0nё” is “KABANERIOF THEIRON FORTRESS” from “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”.
Sawano: The main theme of “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”, which later became the ending “ninelie”. Therefore, if you like “ninelie”, I think you can listen to it as a piano version of it.
The last song is my favorite Christmas song
── Personally, I was happy that “WATER LIGHT” was included from “Sengoku BASARA”.
Sawano: I used the melody I made when I was 19 or 20 when I was a student, wondering if it would suit “Sengoku BASARA”. It’s a melody that has been around for a long time, so when I was playing the piano, it came out casually. I decided to play it firmly after a long time, so I picked it up in [-30k]. The original song has a different atmosphere because it has a rhythm, but I think it was a melodious song.
──It’s strange to say that “Sengoku BASARA” is a historical drama (laughs). Isn’t it a new genre for Mr. Sawano?
Sawano: It was a work in which Date Masamune spoke English, so I was able to freely create rock songs, and I think it suits me. If it were a more solid historical drama, I wouldn’t have been able to make that kind of music, and I think I couldn’t speak to it in the first place (laughs).
── “Ξ (Kusui)” from “Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway of the Flash” is recorded in the 13th song.
Sawano: It’s an indispensable song for my work this year (2021). Actually, when I first selected the song for “scene”, I hadn’t shown it at [-30k] yet, so it wasn’t included in the candidates. But when I played it on the piano, I wanted to include this song.
── “Eri0ne $” is played from “The Seven Deadly Sins”. This song is also popular with fans of the work.
Sawano: That’s Elizabeth’s theme. I arranged it many times during the series, so I think it left an impression on the viewers. When I was young, I made this song when I was about 22 years old, and I wondered if it would fit the “Seven Deadly Sins”. I’m sorry for talking about stock from a while ago (laughs).
──Before hearing that story, I thought that all the songs were written for the work. That’s how the world view fits.
Sawano: When I was an amateur when I was accumulating stock, and when I was just starting out, I was enthusiastic about using this song for my work, so I was happy to be able to do that. is.
──The 18th song is “piano BLUE” which can be said to be the climax of this album. The medley from the soundtrack of “Blue Exorcist” is 7 minutes and 31 seconds, which is the longest song on this album.
Sawano: The three songs “i-AM”, “HEiW @ → KiZUN @” and “BLUE” are connected. We have selected melodious songs from “Blue Exorcist”.
──What kind of work was “Blue Exorcist” for Mr. Sawano?
Sawano: It was a work of the world view that I wanted to do, and I was able to make it freely, so I feel that I greedily took an experimental approach to each song. In addition, since it was the first work in collaboration with Aniplex, I was motivated by the desire to connect it to my future work. I remember making it with enthusiasm so that people would think that there was an interesting composer.
──Through this piano solo, I heard a lot of stories related to each work. In that sense, “scene” is also an album that gives you a panoramic view of Mr. Sawano’s trajectory. And the last one is the Christmas song “Silent Night”.
Sawano: When the Christmas season comes, I like Christmas so much that I only listen to Christmas songs. Among them, I chose my favorite Christmas song. Actually, I wanted to include this song, so I asked him to release the album just before Christmas (laughs).
──The Blu-ray of the first limited edition contains the pattern of “Hiroyuki Sawano LIVE [emU] 2021 Special Program”. Finally, please tell us about this video.
Sawano “Hiroyuki Sawano LIVE [emU] 2021” is a live concert held by an audience in February of this year. I was able to make various attempts, such as featuring works directed by Tetsuro Araki and playing many works with Yuki Kaji, with contents that were close to the soundtrack. I wanted to expand the form of this kind of live performance, so I recorded it on Blu-ray this time. I hope you will see this and look forward to the future development of the concert.
A composer who plays an active part mainly in drama, animation, movies and other drama accompaniment. In 2021, SawanoHiroyuki [nZk] 4th album “iv”, “Flash of Hathaway”, “Attack on Titan The Final Season”, in which various vocalists such as Taiiku Okazaki, Aina the End (BiSH), and Yuuri participated. , “The Seven Deadly Sins of the Movie: Cursed by Light,” “86-Eighty Six-“, and “Kingdom -Joint Army Edition-” released original soundtracks.
■ PIANO solo album “scene”
First-run limited edition CD + Blu-ray 4,290 yen (tax included)
SACRA MUSIC / Released on December 22, 2021
Regular CD 2,640 yen (tax included)
SACRA MUSIC / Released on December 22, 2021
- Blue Dragon (from the drama “Team Medical Dragon”)
- MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM UC-medley (from “Mobile Suit Gundam UC”)
- YouSeeBIGGIRL → Thanks AT (From the anime “Attack on Titan”)
- ΛSHES → Inferno (from the movie “Promare”)
- LiVE / EViL (from the drama “Maou”)
- IRYU Team Medical Dragon-medley (from the drama “IRYU Team Medical Dragon”)
- κr0nё (from the anime “Guilty Crown”)
- KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS (from the anime “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”)
- RE: I AM MARIE (from “Mobile Suit Gundam UC”)
- from sunset to sunrise (from the drama “A Song to the Sun”)
- WATER LIGHT (from the anime “Sengoku BASARA”)
- Ξ (From “Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway of the Flash”)
- Into the Sky (from “Mobile Suit Gundam UC”)
- Eri0ne $ (From the anime “The Seven Deadly Sins”)
- PIANO [-30k] -001
- Call your name (from the anime “Attack on Titan”)
- pianoBLUE (from the anime “Blue Exorcist”)
- Silent Night
Hiroyuki Sawano LIVE [emU] 2021 Special Program introduction
- MOBILE SUIT ～ GUNDAM
- Perfect Time
- Dragonsin Gong4N
- Zan LLL Asei LL ~ Demon Dragon G @ Ki LL
- PRO // MARE
- BangBangBUR! … n?
- Hill Of Sorrow
- “Attack on Titan” suite
- Advance st-hrn-egt20130629 Giant
- Zero Eclipse
- Blue Dragon
(Interview / text / Takashi Suzuki)