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Archive:Yoko Shimomura's personal memories

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"Yoko Shimomura's personal memories"
Highlights

  • Yoko Shimomura shares memories for the development of various tracks in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Interviewee(s)
Publisher(s)
Square Enix
Date
24 December 2020

Dearly Beloved -Swing Version-[edit | edit source]

Published December 1, 2020.

"I've always wanted to make a swing arrangement of Dearly Beloved—finally, it's officially in a game! Apparently, one of the team members loves this track so much, they've listened to it over 100 times already. Or perhaps it's over 200 times by now, lol. Definitely more than I have!"

Hand in Hand[edit | edit source]

Published December 2, 2020

"Originally, there was no plan for this song. As I was playing Traverse Town, I thought that I wanted to write a song that captures how Donald, Goofy, and Sora look like they're having fun running around in fights. The song just popped into my mind! I asked the team to use it as a battle song for the later parts, and they put it in the game."

Wave of Darkness I[edit | edit source]

Published December 3, 2020

"This was performed live alongside the trailer at the LA show of the 2017 Orchestra concert. The trailer was a surprise, shown after the main performance had ended. Some of the audience didn't realize and had started to leave, so the conductor shouted, "Excuse me!!" at them from the stage. Great memories, lol."

Stranded Beyond[edit | edit source]

Published December 4, 2020

"It seems to start as a delicate, ethereal song: until the string melody at around 1:04 kicks in with a really heart-wrenching sound. It might sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet, but when I listened to the performance of this part in the actual recording, it filled me with an unspeakable sadness and despair."

The Afternoon Streets[edit | edit source]

Published December 5, 2020

"In contrast to the twilight feeling of "Lazy Afternoons", the theme of this track is "the time when lights start to come on in the town"—a happy and gentle time, of warm lights spilling from windows and the smell of people making dinner. Why, then, does it evoke a strange, mysterious loneliness?"

Dismiss[edit | edit source]

Published December 6, 2020

"I had quite specific instructions for this song. 'Include this melody, and that refrain—but not that refrain...' At first, I thought it was an impossible task, but it actually came together fairly easily. Almost like this song already existed."

Another Side[edit | edit source]

Published December 7, 2020

"This was the last song I wrote as an employee at Square. I watched the secret movie over and over again, with its mysterious world and feel, and timed the track to the movie as I wrote it. Apparently, Tetsuya Nomura thought the piano phrase of the beginning fit Organization XIII, so it became their theme afterwards."

Darkness of the Unknown[edit | edit source]

Published December 8, 2020

"When writing this song, I was careful to make sure that it could transition to the next song at any moment, depending on the form of the final boss. It's actually split into three tracks for use. They were written to be played back-to-back, so they were recorded as one connected song for the soundtrack."

Traverse Town[edit | edit source]

Published December 9, 2020

"each loop is only 34 seconds long. There's no introduction and the melody starts right away. But I think the simplicity is actually quite good. Just because you'll be listening to a track often or for a long time, doesn't mean it needs to be long. Right?"

Rowdy Rumble[edit | edit source]

Published December 10, 2020

"This song came about because I wanted to try writing a battle song where the same repeated phrase has more elements added to it, bit by bit. One time, due to a mistake, the demo version of this song was played at an event before the track was complete. I was at the event and I turned white as a sheet, lol."

Rage Awakened[edit | edit source]

Published December 11, 2020

"This song has had the honor of being used repeatedly, even in a promotional video. The request for the secret boss always comes as "mysterious man" so I write the song thinking, 'Who are you?? Who could you be!!' and imagining lots of possibilities."

Sora[edit | edit source]

Published December 12, 2020

"Originally, I was planning to use a different melody for Sora's theme, but when I started working on the credits towards the end of development, this refrain just popped into my mind. It was like Sora just came flying into the my head from somewhere. I was like, 'This is so Sora!!' So it became his theme."

Kairi I[edit | edit source]

Published December 13, 2020

"Even though Sora's theme is from KH2, for some reason, Kairi's theme has been around since the beginning. And three different versions of it! Having said that, there's barely any difference between the versions in I and II. I couldn't decide which chords were best, and in the end, the team used both versions."

Roxas[edit | edit source]

Published December 14, 2020

"I've mentioned this in interviews before, but this song just came together really quickly when I tried playing it on the piano. It's quite a short song, and there's not even a chorus part. I had no idea he would become such a popular character...! At the time, I was debugging like, 'Wait, where's Sora!?' lol."

Lord of the Castle[edit | edit source]

Published December 15, 2020

"When I work on writing fast piano passages, I create the data for the songs by playing them at a slower speed (because I can't play them fast lol). We didn't record it live for KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories, but we did for KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 ReMIX, and Benjamin who performed for us at that time also joined the concerts after that."

L'Impeto Oscuro[edit | edit source]

Published December 16, 2020

"This is a song which was cutting it very fine when we were making it—in that when we were going to record it we hadn't yet gotten the all OK from the director. It was during the recording that we got the thumbs up for it, and when I heard that I left the studio skipping after we finished!"

Guardando nel buio[edit | edit source]

Published December 17, 2020

"I asked Mr. Tetsuya Nomura, who was away on a business trip, to listen to this song from the speaker of his phone so that he could listen to the demo. Sorry for all the talk about working on these songs so last-minute! When he was listening to it, I believe Mr. Nomura was on a station platform—I felt so sorry about making him do that!"

Fate of the Unknown[edit | edit source]

Published December 18, 2020

"This song inspired both Aqua and Terra's themes. It was inspired by the secret movie in the Keyblade Graveyard. 'In the next couple frames, this and that will happen, so MAKE SURE you insert this phrase!' I told myself while writing this song. It was a LOT of fun."[1]

Vector to the Heavens[edit | edit source]

Published December 19, 2020

"The title for this song was inspired by the fact that Xion's name is derived from mathematical imaginary numbers. The word "Vector" also originates form the mathematical term of the same name. As to what Vector means here...where do your thoughts and your heart go?"

One for All[edit | edit source]

Published December 20, 2020

"This song is probably the one which got its title the fastest in KH history (complete with the battle). I thought to myself, 'Nope, this is the only title I can have!' lol. I created this song whilst keeping in mind the idea of marching, forming a line, and courage—but while still keeping it a little comical and fun?"

Monster Smash![edit | edit source]

Published December 21, 2020

"The first 10 seconds of this song were made quite early on, and only those 10 seconds got the provisional thumbs up. This song was actually completed at the end of development. However, it kept playing in my head over and over whilst I was working on higher priority songs which hadn't yet gotten the thumbs up!"

Destati[edit | edit source]

Published December 22, 2020

"I've mentioned this a few times in interviews, but this is the first song I wrote for KINGDOM HEARTS. There have been performances of it in concerts, different arrangements of it and soundtrack recordings, etc., but actually the first time it will be used in a game in its full 'Destati' form is in Melody of Memory!"

Happy Holidays![edit | edit source]

Published December 23, 2020

"Christmas is just around the corner! I wanted to write something which expressed the fun atmosphere, the sparkling lights and a world of snow—and that's how this song came about. I think if you take a listen to the song and compare it to the one in Arendelle from KINGDOM HEARTS III, which is also a world of snow, you might feel that these two songs are a little different!"

March Caprice for "Melody of Memory"[edit | edit source]

Published December 24, 2020

"Just as the title suggests, I was asked to make a marching song for the first Kingdom Hearts. The tempo of the song has changed for Melody of Memory, so I thought to myself that you wouldn't be able to march to it, but you can still do a quick march! Let's keep moving forward and walk on!"

References[edit | edit source]