Interview with Kouji Ohsumi
Known for his work behind the scenes as a composer and pianist and now for his solo work with the album release of “Palette” in 2011, Kouji Ohsumi took time to answers a series of questions for our readers.
For those not familiar with your work, will you please introduce yourself.
I am a Japanese composer. I have learned many genres of music. Currently, I am combining those to create my original music in hopes of delivering the charms of instrumental music.
At what age and/or at what moment, did you realize that a career in the music industry was for you?
I want to have a career in the music industry since I was little; around elementary school.
How old were you when you started playing the piano?
When I was 1 year old, I played with keyboards, but I began my lessons when I was 12.
From classics, Ravel. From jazz, Bill Evans.
Out of all the artists you have composed pieces for, is there any one artist or group of individuals that stick out from your memory the most?
Paul Oakenfold. I was not too familiar with trance music but working with him made me realize how talented he was.
For a composer and arranger, how is the process different when composing music for yourself than when you are composing for others?
When I am composing for myself, I try out things that is not allowed according to traditional music theory. I just go with anything that I want to do even if it is off the main stream of composing. However, when I am asked to compose for others, I do not push my ego too forward; and respect the client and the music and work with my fullest ability. When both client and I have that attitude, great magic can happen and new ideas can come to produce greater product. Therefore, I like working with others.
What inspires you to continue and why?
In Japanese, “Music” is written with the letters that means “Enjoying Sound” ; however, when it becomes a career, there are numerous hardships. In a ratio, hardship is 9 and fun is 1. But that 1 is so valuable and irreplaceable that it allows me to continue.
On your Myspace profile, you state that you consider yourself a visual artist. What visuals do you wish to portray to your listeners when they listen to your music?
Even when people look at the same thing, how they perceive it is different. The act of composing a music piece is conveying the image of the creator into sound and vision, which is a personal action, so I want the listeners to freely feel whatever they feel. I actually got comments from people and then think, “Oh, that’s how they perceived it!” which even made me happy.
In five words, please describe what music means to you.
Beauty, Sadness, Fun, Culture, and Life.
For the record, some of your fans are wondering if you have or will you consider playing live any of your songs from your album “Palette”?
I have only played for recording and video shoot, but am considering live performances in the future.
Besides music, what are your other interests?
Movies. I feel that movies are synthetic art. I am also interested in fine arts.
Thank you from the opportunity for this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
There are many music that has not yet been shaped out, that is still inside my head. I hope to present those music to you all.
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