Could you explain why you chose the piano for the main instrument?
‘It was just my intuition at first. Later, I understood more about it when Shimomura taught me about the characteristics of the piano. It creates a strong tone when the key is struck and then the sound begins to fade away. Such an effect is unique to the piano, so it’s the best instrument to render the vivacious character of Kokone. Her explanation made me realize why I was seeking piano music for the movie. I asked her to compose the theme music for each character first, and the music for Kokone and Ancien are mainly played on the piano.’
‘The rest of the theme music is for Bewan, Heartland, Momotaro (the father), and finally, Hearts.’
‘That makes theme music for 6 characters altogether. The overall soundtrack was created based on these themes, which helped me to grasp the whole image of the music.’
‘Kamiyama made suggestions regarding the musical image of the other characters, such as ‘Momotaro’s music should be played on the guitar, as his image is that of a rock ’n’ roller’ and ‘Heartland’s should be more glamorous than the others.’
‘Additionally, I asked for some adjustments from her, making this music more comical or reducing the seriousness in a piece.
Are there any scenes which exceeded your expectations when the music was added?
‘For instance, the scene where Watanabe is intruding into Morikawa’s house became funnier with the addition of the music. I’d never used such an effect before. I wanted to evoke emotions with the music in the movie, and I think she did well to express feelings which wouldn’t have been possible without her music. I believe music in movies is an apparatus to control emotion. She managed to convey many emotions which cannot by expressed with just pictures and narratives. It also made the movie seamlessly come to a crescendo. Sometimes, I have to decrease the audience’s mood in order to bring them to an emotionally heightened state later, and her music managed to control their emotions. It must have been hard work for her because each piece of music is rather long and there are so many of them.’
I’d like to ask about the main theme song, ‘Daydream Believer’. Why did you choose to remix such a popular song?
NB: Daydream Believer was originally released in1969. It was written by John Stewart and recorded by American rock band The Monkees. 20 years later, in 1989, Japanese rock band The Timers released a Japanese version written by vocalist Kiyoshi Imawano. The Japanese version is so well-known that it is still used in various TV commercials and covered by Japanese artists even today.
‘I think its lyrics describe the subject matter of the story well, something Kokone comes to understand in the end when she knows the whole backstory. I’d been listening to the song repeatedly while writing the scenario, and I was wishing I could pick this song as the main theme song. My wish was granted as I received permission to use the song as a Kokone Morikawa cover.’
In the Japanese version of the song, sung by Kiyoshiro Imawano, it’s said that the ‘she’ of the song is his long-lost mother whom he’d never met. It resonates with the subject matter in the movie, which is ‘a dream’ and ‘reflections towards a person who has left’.
‘Exactly. I knew about the implications of the song, as I have been a fan of Kiyoshiro since he was in the band RC succession. The lyrics incorporate anastrophe, the inversion of the typical word order in a sentence, and that allows the listeners to apply them to their own situation, to one’s lover or someone who has passed away. You also can interpret the lyrics as someone who has left you because you’ve been idly daydreaming all the time. I wanted to use the song because I highly regarded it for its capacity to allow listeners to interpret it as they pleased – and that’s the wonderful nature of music.’
You arranged the song, didn’t you, Shimomura? What were your thoughts when arranging the song?
‘Kamiyama told me the same story regarding the song at a meeting. Perhaps, he was even more enthusiastic at the time. [laugh] The song, in which he found great inspiration, would be sung by high school girl Kokone, so I thought it was required to be arranged for her. However, I knew I shouldn’t arrange the song radically, as it’s too famous to change its image. I wanted to keep the basics of the song and arranged it in such a way as to strengthen its charm. Kamiyama told me my first arrangement was too feminine and mellow when I submitted it. Arranging songs mellowly is a usual method to create a feminine atmosphere. However, he wanted Kokone’s lively energy in the song. I focused on the balance between femininity and vivacity while I was arranging the song. We talked about The Monkees version of the song, which rendered an image of cheeky boys both lyrically and rhythmically, rather than mellow, emotion filled nature of Kiyoshiro’s arrangement. [laugh]’
‘The Monkees’ original is almost playful, isn’t it?’
‘I agree. I tried to arrange the playful image of it to a song for a girl with minimal change in the melody. Musically speaking, the boyish image is created by a shuffle rhythm, which is based on triplet subdivisions of the beat, so I arranged it into an even rhythm, dividing each beat perfectly in half. Moreover, when I was arranging the song, the first notes that came in my head was ‘D-C-D’, which was partly the same as the theme song for Kokone, ‘D-C-D-C, B-A-B-A’, which I composed first for the movie. I felt that I must use the melody and my arrangement was created from the accompaniment for the melody.’
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