Quick Beats: Mega Man Composer Manami Matsumae On Ocarinas And Bohemian Rhapsody

Mega ManImage: Capcom

Throughout the Nintendo Life Video Game Music Festival we’re speaking to a range of composers and musicians for a mixture of in-depth interviews and shorter, sharper (and perhaps a little goofier) Q&As where we ask just ten rapid-fire personal questions; we’re calling these shorter features ‘Quick Beats’.

Following on from our recent in-depth interview featuring her, Jake Kaufman and Marc-Antoine Archier discussing chiptune in the the modern era, we were lucky enough to have legendary composer Manami Matsumae answer 10 daft musical questions, too.

So, sit back and prepare to hear her thoughts on some classic bands, musical heroes, and the one thing she’d save from a burning building…

What was the first song or album you remember buying?

When I was a junior high school student, I saved up my allowance to buy Queen’s Jazz. I listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody” a couple of years before that—it blew my mind and I became a huge fan. I love “More of That Jazz” from Jazz. The part at the end where tracks from Jazz appear in fragments is too cool to put into words.

What was the last music you listened to?

I listened to Genesis’ “The Cinema Show” for the first time in a while. Phil Collins’ drumming was really cool, and I love the irregular meter and long keyboard solo in the latter half.

What was the very first video game you wrote music for, and how do you feel listening back now?

It was a Capcom project called Ide Yōsuke Mējin no Jissen Mahjong [Master Yōsuke Ide’s Real Mahjong, published in 1987 for the Famicom—Ed], which I composed a classical piece for. When I listen to it now, I feel nostalgic, like, “I wrote this, huh?” It’s been more than thirty years, after all.

Which piece of yours are you most proud of?

Since they all have a piece of my heart, I feel proud of every project I’ve been involved in.

Which piece by someone else do you wish you had written?

Each piece by another composer is complete in its own way, and I don’t feel like there’s any room for me to step in. So, nothing, really.

What do you listen to while you’re driving?

I like to relax when I’m driving, so I often listen to Jazzy music like the CDs First Circle and Still Life by the Pat Metheny Group.

Do you have a musical hero?

Queen, Asia, Toto, Pat Metheny, and so on. I love each of their musical sensibilities.

Which decade had the best music?

I love ’70s and ’80s music even now. The melodies were clear, and they provide the foundation for my compositions.

Ocarina, harp or bongos — which magical instrument do you take on an epic adventure?

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