Interview: Nobuo Uematsu

Nobuo Uematsu visited Stockholm for the second Distant Worlds concert in Sweden in the summer of 2010. I met him a few hours prior to the concert.

Can you tell me about your memories of the very first Final Fantasy concert?

It was Symphonic Suite: Final Fantasy, which was performed a few months after the release of Final Fantasy II back in 1988. It was certainly a new experience to be called up on stage. I got quite nervous due to it being the very first time for me.

Did that concert feel different compared to the ones you attend nowadays?

The big difference is that I as of today have been attending quite many concerts and I’m not as nervous anymore.

Consider your record label being named Dog Ear Records, I’m wondering if you think dogs can appreciate your music?

I don’t know, but I really love dogs and wish I could write music that even they would appreciate.

Can you tell us about your childhood years? What future aspirations did you have?

Despite my dad being a teacher, I didn’t really like to study. My grades were anyway quite OK, but it was just because I was forced to study a lot. However, I really excelled at gymnastics. It was my favourite subject in school. There was a big hype for gymnastics at this time. A lot of people got interested thanks to the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964. I was one of them. I had a dream of winning a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympic Games. However, sometime after I had finished elementary school, I came to the conclusion that winning an Olympic medal would not guarantee any big income. I therefore started dreaming of something else. After a while, I found interest in wrestling. In fact, I think that I would have been trying to become a wrestling star if I hadn’t starting composing music. I had a bigger interest in sports than music back then.

How was it to compose the majestic Ending Theme for Final Fantasy VI?

It was really different due to it consisting of so many themes. I think this piece would be a perfect fit for a concert someday.

Photo: Valtteri Jokinen

What do you think you’re doing in 10 years from now?

I hope that I have slowed down a bit. I always work towards, and feel the pressure of, deadlines. I’m a bit worried that you lose quite a lot of creativity when feeling too much pressure. I often have this feeling of the need to produce something, and at that stage it’s hard to keep fully focused and let your creativity loose.

What would you do if you got the opportunity to collaborate with Koji Kondo?

I’m impressed by Koji Kondo’s piano skills, so it would be amazing if I got the chance to produce a piano concert where Kondo performs his own music.

You’ve been a member of the band Earthbound Papas for quite a few years now. How did you come up with that name?

The band King Crimson has made an album called Earthbound, so we considered to use the same name at first. But since all of us are middle-aged men, we decided to add the word “Papas” at the end.