What is your favorite of your own soundtracks?
MT: It has to be Killer7.
And, of all game soundtracks in general, not yours?
MT: Oh, from other composers?
Maybe not the best, but what you like; your choice of best five, or good five.
MT: I think I haven't even listened to five game sound tracks!
Well you said you liked games before you came... They don't have to be current.
MT: Let me see... I like the Fire Emblem song and stuff. What else? And...
MT: (Laughs) Mappy! Back in high school I played it on the piano in the music room, and it made me popular. Also Xevious. I like music from the Namco shooting games too. I love the BGM of Galaga Plus and Druaga.
Tim Rogers: Older games had more of a pop music feel to them. Games today are somewhat overly complicated and thematic.
MT: Yeah, just listening to the music, the old games were more interesting.
Do you ever make your own music outside of games?
MT: Yeah. I've been writing music since I was in elementary school. When I listen to the tunes I wrote back then, I think "Wow, I was innocent." They're not... twisted, or convoluted and I'm not quite sure where to use them (laughs). Yeah, if I had time I would like to write more music. Recently, I've been providing the songs I write for personal reasons to Beatmania, so even if I write a song that I like, it eventually becomes game music.
The soundtrack for Earth Defense Force is very different from a Grasshopper soundtrack, and I wonder sometimes if you save your best work for Grasshopper.
MT: Umm... That's true. To be honest I always have a few prewritten tracks on stock that are waiting for the right moment to make a debut. I try to use them on Grasshopper titles, but in the case where they are rejected, the songs go back into the reserved stock.
Status-wise, a piece that has been rejected by Grasshopper once can never be used for Grasshopper again. I feel sorry for the song if it's never used, so I use it for other titles. Every song that you write yourself is like your own child, so ideally, you want as many people listen to it as possible.
D3/Sandlot's Earth Defense Force 2017
And were you in-house at [Earth Defense Force 2017 developer] Sandlot before you came to Grasshopper? I know you did lots of music for them.
MT: Ah, so when I was working for Grasshopper, Sandlot was previously part of the company we were in before, so lots of my coworkers went there.
I was in charge of the sound for several of their titles, but no, not in-house. I was part of Grasshopper, but just helping Sandlot with their music. I guess it was sort of like freelance.
So I assume you're saying that Sandlot was another company that came out of Human? [Human Entertainment was a large Japanese game developer that went out of business in 1999, splintering into many smaller companies.]
MT: That's right.
So there's Sandlot, Grasshopper, and who else?
MT: Spike, too. Of course my coworkers went all over the industry, but let me think about who actually started a company. Right, there was [Hifumi] Kouno, who made [Steel Battalion co-developer] Nude Maker. I did some of their sound, too.
You must be busy! And you're still doing music for Sandlot and Nude Maker?
MT: Yeah, when I have time, I mean when they bring something up, we have those sorts of discussions...