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Shootie HG on Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack

December 22nd, 2011 by Tony Garsow

Chances are you’ve probably heard of “Crazy Chocobo” by now in Final Fantasy XIII-2, a game with an eclectic mix of song types and with a bigger focus on vocal arrangements. Shootie HG is the voice and the arranger behind two Final Fantasy XIII-2 tunes: “Limit Break!” and “Crazy Chocobo”. You may be familiar with his work if you’ve ever played Devil May Cry 4.

Via the Square Enix Music blog, we have a new interview, follow the link below to read on.

Q: How did you get into playing music?

My journey began when my uncle gifted me a guitar on my 9th birthday. Inspired by listening to hard rock and heavy metal music, I had always wanted to be a successful performing and recording musician. By the time I was 12 I was playing in a Metallica cover band and soon after was writing and performing original music… it was very noisy!

Q: Any memories through music in your youth?

In my mind, the guitar saved me from my younger years and kept me out of trouble. My father and grandfather were always performing music in their bands and they helped me realize that pursuing the dream of music could be a reality. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be supported and encouraged to follow that dream. One year my brother gave me his drum machine, I bought an old 4-Track cassette recorder and from there songwriting, producing and recording became a passion and took on a life of its own.

Q: Do you play any games?

When I was very young I used to play games with my step-father, brother and friends. We started out with ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, ‘Risk’, ‘Empire’ and all of the popular board games at the time. When the NES came out with 8-bit graphics my gaming life changed… it was amazing! These days I play mostly FPS, RPG and RTS style games on the PC and some games on the next generation consoles. In reality, I need to play less games and more music, but gaming is so FUN! Maybe I’ll see you online sometime?

Q: Tell us about the first time when you met 「FINAL FANTASY」 franchise.

Almost a decade ago a friend of mine let me borrow FFIX for the PlayStation. I used to play on the NES with games like ‘Ultima’ and ‘Destiny of the Emperor’, so I immediately fell in love with ‘FINAL FANTASY IX’. From there, I have bought many of older and newer versions of the game franchise and have enjoyed them very much. For me personally the FF games are the best RPG game out there, which is why it is such an honor for me to have contributed on the FFXIII-2 soundtrack.

Q: You worked with us as a vocalist on this project. How did you feel about?

I felt confident, yet challenged. In my opinion, the song that was written by Mitsuto was a very traditional style gaming song with a cool and edgy feel. I felt a little apprehensive because I didn’t want to alter Mitsuto’s style in a way that would ruin the integrity of his composition. After I submitted my first demo for the song, Mitsuto was encouraging and allowed me to be free with no limitations. Truly a remarkable, life-changing and memorable experience! Gratitude…

Shortly after, I was offered the opportunity of performing and arranging, in its entirety, a second song for the soundtrack. One morning after submitting a demo for the second song, I received an email from Mr. Kawamori. That email included an audio file of a keyboard solo that Mitsuto recorded. Mr. Kawamori was asking me to make the melody sound a little more like the keyboard composition on the audio file. When I listened to the track I heard the most crazy, shredding keyboard solo with such amazing timing and pitch wheel effects! Since I only had a few days to complete the song, I felt it would be impossible to play like this without more preparation. It was a humbling opportunity in which I applied my best and am proud of what came out of it. I’ve always said to my peers, “If you want to get good at something you have to work with people that challenge you.” Working with Mitsuto and Mr. Kawamori was an amazing experience that added to the growth and enrichment of my musical skills and life.

Special thanks to Mitsuto Suzuki, Keiji Kawamori and Atsushi Suganuma for changing the history of my life for the better. Cheers!

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