CocoeBiz Interview

Interviewed & Interview Contents by Kahori Ezaki of CocoeBiz., L.L.C. Contents Translated by James McCawley. Editorial Supervised by SQUARE-ENIX. Reprinted with permission from CocoeBiz., L.L.C. Original article can be found HERE


Exclsive Interview with The Black Mages

At a press conference following the show, the exhausted members of the band readily agreed to an interview. The interview was held on January 22nd, 2005 at Club Citta. We would like to thank Mr. Yoshida of SQUARE-ENIX for his kindness and his support in making this exclusive interview possible.


CocoeBiz: Are the Black Mages considering doing an original album, apart from Final Fantasy music?
Mr. Uematsu: Um, well this is just my view, but I'm not thinking of doing an original album. But it would be interesting, and I am willing to create something new as TBM, like the theme song for Mr. Murahama (a Japanese K-1 Fighter) we did this time. (This piece was played as an encore on the 1st day). If we said "So let's all quit SQUARE-ENIX (laughs) and just play music like this!", maybe it would seem like we could do new pieces. But it would be as if we were debuting a new band, and I think nobody would buy our original album with brand new pieces! (everybody laughs)

Playing FF music is more fun and relaxing, because everyone already knows those tunes, and the most important thing is, I can be myself by creating FF music. Because we enjoy playing the music, I think the audience also relaxes and enjoys the live shows. I'd like to get to the next step by getting on the "Final Fantasy trampoline"

CocoeBiz: Thank you very much. We will be looking forward to your future activities. Now, how do you feel after the show?
Mr. Fukui: I made some mistakes during the live show, so I'm disappointed and feeling blue...(laugh)

Mr. Kawamori: I was in a cold sweat as the TBMII tunes are very hard and difficult to play. (laugh)

Mr. Seito: I feel blue, too. I should have done a funnier MC (speaking)... (All laugh)

CocoeBiz: Awareness of this live show has filtered throughout the world. Could you give us any thoughts on or messages for your growing foreign audience?
Mr. Hanyuda: When I heard people from around the world were hoping for live shows, I had a sense of excited disbelief. I look forward to the day when we can meet them all, and in the meantime I just pray that people will keep enjoying TBM CD's, and that the world will find some peace....

Mr. Fukui: When it comes to the international arena, the level of musical skill is very high, so to compete at that level, I think we need to speak in English so we can maintain the "Black Mages Style". There are many fans that actually look forward to hearing our MC on stage. So...I don't think our speaking would be understood internationally... Hey, should we go to English conversation school?

TBM ALL: Yeah, ok, let's go! Should we go to OO ?! (An English conversation school's name)

TBM ALL: Yeah, let's go, let's go! (laugh)

Mr. Uematsu: Taking on the challenge of a foreign show would be very cool, and worth doing. But personally, I want to loosen things up. I mean, doesn't it seem like a bunch of middle-aged salarymen in a rock band going to America to play a concert would look kind of silly? But I'd like to make it possible by enjoying it.

I think it would be great if we could bring this idea to fruition. We could show that these are not dreams that must be abandoned in middle-age, that you can continue to pursue exciting ideas no matter how old you are.

Every day for me is a pleasure, and constantly tackling things with a sense of joy has enabled me to do things like this concert. Having a good time has nothing to do with race or language. You can communicate the delightful without the aid of words.

Mr. Sekito: A 17 year old kid from Los Angeles sent me a video of his live show. Instrumental rock is a pretty rare thing, but this guy heard our albums and decided to play music like ours, and thatís what was on his video. I was enormously pleased by this. If I might exaggerate, I'd like to be a good example for playing instrumental rock. So whether through foreign shows or the ones we're doing here in Japan, I want to continue my activities with this group for as long as it takes to help popularize instrumental rock.

Mr. Kawamori: Working with The Black Mages, even the conversations we have during rehearsals are fun. And I think that entertaining atmosphere is reflected in the actual show.

Like Mr. Uematsu said before, we're going to keep pursuing whatever's fun for us. I hadn't really thought about going overseas with the group, but if that enjoyable atmosphere can translate throughout the world, then perhaps we could make it to other countries. That would certainly be another fun venture to consider.

Mr Okamiya: Itís a privilege to be carried along in the company of Nobuo Uematsu and the Final Fantasy name. Mr. Uematsu has become famous abroad, and the instrumental nature of his music surmounts all barriers of language, so as far as an overseas performance goes, well, I donít know if we can do it or not, but I think if it would be something enjoyable for all of us, we should go for it.

CocoeBiz thoughts:

All the members of TBM were entertaining throughout both the show and the interview. They're all enjoying the experience of playing as The Black Mages, and they conveyed their feelings to the many fans of FF music. I felt that even though Mr. Uematsu has become really big, he treats his bandmembers and the Final Fantasy name with the utmost care. And the most impressive thing is, I felt that he's a man who continues to give us lots of dreams.

I recall being deeply affected by Mr. Uematsu's statement that, ďNo matter how old you are, you can keep pursuing dreams and whatever excites youĒ. The Black Mages album, full of such emotions from all the band members, is a must-listen.

During the MC at the concert, they pointed out that while the first album utilized sequenced drum tracks, the drums on the second album were played live. There's a world of difference in the depth and breadth of the sound. I've listened to both albums, and I think the overall balance and organization of sound on the second one is improved over the first. Whether or not you went to the show, pull out your CD's again and listen for it! There are also apparently plans for a 3rd album!