Penny Blood Creators Radio #5

M: Good evening everyone. It’s 9 PM now. Can you hear us? We’re glad to see so many people here again.

K: Thank you.

M: Now’s your chance to go to the bathroom or get a drink or something. We hope you’ll stick with us for the next 30 minutes. The typhoon passed right through Niigata, but it seems like Kyushu really got hit hard.

K: Yeah. But there’s another one coming.

M: There’s going to be a new one over this three-day weekend. Oh, Kaida-san sent me a request. Hirota-san, can you send one too? Kaida-san is now a speaker.

A: Can you hear me?

K: Yes!

A: Good.

M: We can hear you very clearly.

A: Thank you for having me on.

K: Thank you for being here.

M: We live in Bandai, in Niigata…

K: Hirota-san’s here.

M: Okay, he’s a speaker now. Maybe he’s adjusting his mic.

H: Good evening. Thanks for having me.

All: Thanks for joining us.

M: There’s a St. Marc Cafe in Bandai, and right next to it there’s a place that sells taiyaki. I always buy them, right? The ‘chestnut creme’ flavor was so good.

K: Really?

M: Is it just me? I always buy taiyaki every time I go buy there. I’ve probably eaten around 20. They’re so good. So if you ever find yourself Bandai, you should get some taiyaki from St. Marc Cafe. Wait, no, it’s not at the cafe, it’s at the place next to it.

K: That place is part a chain, right? You don’t need to be in Niigata to buy that taiyaki.

M: Okay, guess not.

A: I want some.

M: Please give it a try! I was just trying to introduce some good food from my neighborhood. That reminds me, Hirota-san, have you settled into your new place yet?

H: I managed to clean up and settle in a bit, but I realized that moving once you’ve gotten up in your years a bit can be life-threatening.

All: (LOL)

H: I really felt like my life was in danger.

M: The latest Creators Desktop, which shows off Hirota-san’s stuff, is up. It shows off some cool instruments as well as some weird ones.

K: Folk instruments, too.

M: I was really impressed when I saw the fox mask. I was thinking “He snuck that in there on purpose!”

All: (LOL)

M: I did the same with my lightsaber. I knew you wouldn’t fall to impress me. Where did you get that mask?

H: I was born near Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. So I bought it around there.

M: Wow, so it’s the real thing.

H: Yeah.

M: We’ve asked Kaida-san to prepare her Creators Desktop next, I think.

A: I have to clean up first. It’s a big mess. I need to get started.

M: Okay, five minutes have passed, so let’s get started. Good evening everyone, I’m Machida Matsuzo!

H: I’m Hiro-chan!

A: I’m Akarin!

K: Huh?

M: Okay, thanks.

A: That was painful.

All: (LOL)

M: Thank you. I can’t sleep with my legs pointed toward Kaida-san anymore.

A: Really painful.

H: I like how we got to hear Kato-san saying ‘Huh?’

M: She forgot to throw a jab at us. Okay, so episode 5 of Creators Radio has finally begun. The purpose of this radio show is to present all the Penny Blood fans with tidbits they can only hear here. I hope you’ll all enjoy the next thirty minutes.

First off, this is sort of a prologue, but thank you all for voting on the Goliath character designs.

K: Thank you.

M: It was another 24-hour vote, and Design A was the winner. Do you have any comments, Kato-san?

K: They’re all beloved children to me, so I was just curious to see who would win. It seems like B was the least popular… But that was the one that got the most direction from Machida-san right up to the end, and personally, I feel like it’s the closest design to the taste that embodied the previous Shadow Hearts games.

M: True. It only ended up that way because I kept micro-managing it. When it was completed, even I became nervous about it would be seen. That’s why I told people to stay sane when voting on our last radio episode. But there were a lot of people on Twitter who liked both B and C. There was even an idea about sticking the steam engine from C on A’s back, so maybe we could do that an ultimately make it a Mazinger Z-esque…

All: (LOL)

M: A Japanese-made super robot edit was also sent to me, so you can keep that in mind for the power-ups.

K: A’s going to get all those power-ups?

M: Yes. Well, but…

K: (LOL)

M: Well, regardless of what I think up, Kato-san’s the one who has to draw it, so…

K: I’m the one who has to actually make it work.

M: We’ll keep thinking about it. Anyway, we have two amazing guests today, so let’s move on. Last night, our 8th character, Roxane, was finally revealed. Some people may have already realized a vampire character was coming. She’s going to be a little different from the comical vampire family in the previous series, but since it’s the Roaring Twenties, the great jazz age…and since jazz was first invented by Black soldiers during World War I, we chose a Black jazz singer to be our vampire character.

Tonight, on our long-awaited second sound-centric episode, we’ll have Hirota-san talk with Kaida-san, who create our theme song for Roxane. Let’s hear what they have to say.

First, Kaida-san, please give us a little introduction and tell us how you got involved with the Penny Blood project.

A: Okay. I’m Akari Kaida. I’m a composer, lyricist, and arranger. I joined the industry when I joined Capcom in 1994… Geez, that was a long time ago. The first game I worked on was an arcade game that some people might not know of called Vampire Hunter (Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge).

All: (gasp)

A: From then on, I’ve worked on a lot of different games, everything from small games to big games like Resident Evil. My representative works are Breath of Fire III, the Mega Man Network series, and Onimusha 3. After working at Capcom for a decade, I went independent and got to work with an even bigger variety of companies on many different games.

M: Wow. You listed some very prominent titles. Amazing. You’ve created a lot of songs that we all know very well.

K: Yes.

A: I’ve been in this industry for a pointlessly long time.

M: Not at all. Okay, now can you tell us about what sort of image you had in your head when you composed the song for Roxane, the vampire songstress and our eighth main character?

A: Okay. When Kato-san showed me the art for Roxane, I thought, “Wow, she’s got a really nice body.”

All: (LOL)

A: “She’s really sexy… That’s not fair.” But she’s also got a darkness to her, she’s sophisticated, and she’s got a matureness to her even though she’s still young. In my mind she had a very smooth, sensual image. But she’s also got a matureness to her, so I thought a deep voice would fit her. So I decided I wanted to start with a deep voice and a bit of a gloomy atmosphere. That’s something I talked to Hirota-san about. I really thought hard about it. I thought it would be wrong to make it too cheerful. I wanted to mix that darkness with the simple type of jazz that was prevalent in the early 1920s. So it gets a little bit cheerful, but stays gloomy.

H: When Kaida-san was first introduced to me by the Mamma Aiuto I heard her music, and it sounded really cool, so I asked to bring her aboard. And then the conversation turned into “Well, let’s go out drinking.”

A: We need fuel, after all.

H: Exactly. So we went out drinking and started talking about Roxane. I told her about the keywords I’d gotten from Machida-san. Did we have art of Roxane at the time? At the very beginning?

A: I got it from the very start.

H: OK. So we drank and talked several times, and I thought the first draft that Kaida-san submitted was really great. It had a big band sound to it. There was a lot of brass band sounds in it. It was very extravagant. I thought it was great, it sounded like the kind of thing you’d hear in a jazz club. But right before I got the final version, Kaida-san said she did a little bit of arranging on it. Piano, bass, clarinet, and singing. That’s all that was in the song. And I thought “Wow… This really sounds like a song that’s being played to a small number of people.” It really expressed the underground nature of the character. I said “Amazing! Let’s stick with this arrangement.” Roxane sang in a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, right? She’s a vampire songstress, after all. I thought the song really captured that underground speakeasy atmosphere. It’s cheerful, but still gloomy. I thought it was incredible.

A: I do feel like I wanted to make it more extravagant, but I thought I could just handle that with a different song. I could just think about that another time. I wanted to make sure that the first song properly captured her background.

M: The song was really sexy and moving. Back to what you were speaking about, Hirota-san, did you and Kaida-san collaborate in any way besides just drinking together?

H: Basically we only ever drink together.

A: Mostly drinking.

M: Wait, does that mean this song is a product of you getting really drunk and singing?

A: Do you want me to make that version too?

H: Drunk Roxane Version.

A: I can do it.

M: Sorry. You talked about wanting to make an extravagant version, but I think it makes sense to start with her singing at an underground speakeasy. At the same time, we released the “Apricot Club” location from our image board. It’s really the Cotton Club, but we can’t actually put that place in the game, so we changed it into the Apricot Club. Eventually I think she’ll sing an extravagant song at that club in the game, so I’d like to have Kaida-san make another song to express that shift from the underground speakeasy to the extravagant club.

H: I can’t wait.

A: Good idea.

M: Once the Double Kickstarter ends, we’ll start working on the actual game… Actually, I think everyone’s hoping, along with us, that you’ll make more songs for the game. Hopefully we can gradually get you to agree to it. What do you say?

A: Definitely. I’d love to.

M: Really?

H: Yay!

A: Of course.

M: Since we have two super composers here, Hirota-san, is there anything specific you’d like to do with Kaida-san for Penny Blood? We’ll be listening as fans too.

H: She said she’s a lyricist too at the beginning, so I’d think it’d be nice to have her write the lyrics for Roxane’s songs. The singing in her theme is so great.

M: Yes it is.

A: Ah… At first I almost did write lyrics.

H: Kaida-san sang the song herself, you know.

A: Oh no.

H: Husky and sexy. When Machida-san told me about Roxane’s image, he mentioned that she’s a jazz singer, but she’s also a dhampir, half-human and half-vampire, so she also has a “demi-human” element to her. So I hope Kaida-san can sing using ultrasonic waves for the music that’ll be in the main game.

All: (LOL)

A: You wouldn’t be able to hear it…

H: It’d be nice to add some demi-human effects to the finished songs. Something fun.

A: That sounds fun.

M: I see. You’re thinking of Roxane singing a song when she’s in her vampire form.

H: Yes, exactly. Hmm. It’d be cool if some of that bled out as she was singing.

M: Yeah, that’s a good idea.

A: Good idea.

H: The more she gets absorbed in it, the more her vampiric nature comes out. With that in mind, I think the jazz Kaida-san creates could be used as environmental music for the 1920s. It could be played as sounds of the era. And maybe I could add some experimental, club music-esque effects to it. I could do some experimental remixes of that jazz. That would be cool for points when the scenes change. Collaborating like that sounds fun.

A: That does sound fun.

M: Yeah. Let’s definitely do that. I feel like the game just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Like it’s going to end up as something bigger than I can even imagine. I’m really happy.

H: Did you study jazz somewhere, Kaida-san?

A: I did a jazz piano course in university. But I’d always loved jazz even before that… This could end up becoming a long story, so I’ll need to be careful. I think I may be unusual here compared to other composers, but I just really liked idols. One day, an idol happened to sing a song that had a big band arrangement to it, and I thought: “Wow, what is this? This sounds so cool!” That’s how I ended up falling in love with jazz. Up until that point I had considered taking an exam for Osaka University of Economics, but when I saw an announcement stating “We’re starting up a jazz course,” I jumped on it and suddenly decided to go to a music university instead. I’m weird like that.

M: It’s amazing that you were able to make it work, though.

A: That’s the kind of mindset I had when I was starting my university education. Now that I think about it, the history was always there, so why didn’t I study about it? I sort of regret it now.

All: (LOL)

H: The truth is, Kaida-san and I got together with some other people for a band session.

A: Yeah.

H: We tried playing Roxane’s song, too. It sounded great live.

M: That’s awesome.

A: But I was thinking “Why did I write such a difficult song?” Then I tweeted “I wonder who wrote this…”

H: Oh yeah.

All: (LOL)

M: Wonderful. I hope I can get to hear it live too someday.

H: Of course.

A: I never think about actually performing the songs I write, so when I have to actually perform them, I’m left thinking: “Why did I do this?”

M: But don’t you hum it while you compose it?

A: I think everyone has different styles, but personally I just go through everything in my head.

H: She sent me the chord progression, and when I saw it, I thought: “Wow, she’s really smart.” It was incredible.

A: I said I go through everything in my head, but as I’m doing that, I’ll stop and think: “Hmm, what was that chord again?” And then I’ll figure it out and think “Oh, so that’s how it’s supposed to go.”

H: It’s really interesting. It suddenly switches from a major key to a minor key. It suddenly gets dark. Modulation, I guess you’d call it. It’s really interesting. Just looking at the score is fun.

M: Each composer has their own way of working, I suppose.

A: Everyone has their own style.

H: I had Kaida-san look at my score, and she was objecting at my chords.

A: He’d written “Push Two” on something.

H: I was thinking “I wonder what would happen if I turned this into a chord…” And it just ended up like that.

A: Oh, I knew it. So you aren’t really thinking of things in terms of chords, you just think of something cool in your head, and you don’t know what it technically is music-wise, so you think about all that stuff later.

M: So sometimes you just suddenly get inspirations for your music?

H: Yeah.

A: Yeah.

M: You just have your “Eureka!” moments. Like a true genius.

A: There are times when I get nothing at all.

All: (LOL)

M: That’s a relief.

H: I’m excited to collaborate with Kaida-san.

A: Me too.

M: I’m excited too. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about, Hirota-san?

H: There were things I ended up not being able to do with the Shadow Hearts series that I’d like to make sure I do with Penny Blood. With the older games, I explored folk music a lot, using different rhythms and musical scales. I’d just hear something cool and then do my own arrangement and put it in the game. But with this game, I’d like to have reasons for why a particular musical scale is the way it is. I want to study the cultures behind the different folk music and make sure my respect towards them can be heard in the music. That’s something I regret a bit about the older games. I want to make sure my respect properly comes across. Now that we’ve gotten this amazing chance, I want to do my research and make sure I get the message across this time.

M: Very respectable. You’re basically saying people will be able to feel the history through your music.

H: Yes. I don’t want to just use something the way it is. I want to arrange it of course, to fit the game it will be used in, so it will be fictional folk music, but I want it to contain elements of real history and culture. I want to put respect in to the music I create.

M: Wow. We study history before we create the characters and other things for the game, and now you’re basically talking about doing the same thing with the music.

H: That’s absolutely necessary when it comes to writing a story, isn’t it?

M: Yes. But you’re right. Your older songs are all great, but when I listened to what you’ve done for Penny Blood this time, they felt a lot deeper to me, no matter which one I listened to. And that’s probably thanks to the mindset/focus you just talked about adopting. It’s already showing itself in your work.

H: I’d be really happy if that was the case.

M: Sorry for the bad segway, but there’s actually one more song you have yet to reveal, isn’t there?

H: Oh, yes.

M: Emilia’s song. Kato-san’s favorite.

K: I forgot about that masterpiece…

M: I’m really curious as to when it will eventually be revealed… But after hearing what Hiro-chan just said, I feel like if I listened to it again now, it would probably really move me. Right?

H: Right. It’s still just the first draft, so I want to keep working on it with Kaida-san’s help and make it better. The next song we’re revealing, Emilia’s song, is really the core of Emilia.

A: I can’t wait to hear it!

M: We only have a few updates left, so I’m sure it’ll come out in one of them soon. I think this is the same for Kaneko-san, but… We only find out what’s going to be in the next update the day before it’s released. So with that in mind, we’re excited. Oh, and this isn’t a song, but I also can’t wait to show everyone the design for Baby Cthulhu.

Okay, 30 minutes have passed, so I think we’d better start wrapping things up. Do either of you have anything else you’d like to say?

H: I think everyone here is interested in the game and has already supported us a great deal, but there are probably a lot of people out there who still don’t know about Penny Blood, even though they may know about our previous games. We only have one week left, but I hope we can all keep trying to spread the word. It’s fun how “live” everything is. It should become a good memory for everyone.

M: Making memories? That’s what this is about?

All: (LOL)

H: That’s about it.

M: How about you, Kaida-san? A word for the fans, please.

A: Personally, I’m nothing but excited about the development and release of the game. So I hope we can keep spreading the word. It’s such a good opportunity, so I hope we can get the game out to as many people as possible.

M: Thank you. Now, it’s about time we ended things. Next time will be on Monday, the 26th, at 9 PM. We’ll be inviting on Nishimura-san from Bee Tribe, the Armed Fantasia development team, as well as Iwasaki-san and Watanabe-san, the production producer and visual director from Shade, the development team for Penny Blood. They worked hard on the video content we released for the campaign, so we’re hoping we can have them talk about their passion to everyone.

To wrap up, I have another little tidbit for you. In a conversation article with Kaneko-san, I talked about adding monologue scenes into New Game+ for Penny Blood. I really want to implement that. It’ll allow people to play through the game without knowing anything the first time, but then uncover more depth about the story after learning how it all plays out. You’ll be able to figure out what the characters were actually thinking at different points, etc., which should let you play the game in a whole new light. I really hope I can put that into the game, and I hope you’re excited for it.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Hirota-san and Kaida-san!

H&A: Thank you!

H: See you again sometime.

All: (LOL)

M: One week left in the Kickstarter! Let’s band together and do this! Fans, listeners, everyone, please lend us your strength so we can make this campaign go out with a bang! Thank you!

All: Thank you!

M: See you next time! Bye!

H: Bye!

A: Bye bye!