Game Music Live – LivestRow Basiscape Band

LivestRow Stage & Crowd

As part of our series on Japanese game music bands, allow me to introduce LivestRow Basiscape Band. Known for their work on many cult classics including Muramasa: The Demon BladeDodonpachi Resurrection and, more recently, The Denpa Men series. If you’d like to see them perform in the West, let them know in the comments section below!

Please introduce yourselves.

Kudo: We’re all musicians who work for Basiscape, an independent music and sound production company.

工藤 吉三 Yoshimi Kudo (Guitar)
金田 充弘  Mitsuhiro Kaneda (Synth & Sampler)
千葉 梓  Azusa Chiba (Keyboard)

The three of us compose music for various games. Our concept is to arrange that music with an emphasis on rock and electronica, and play it in front of audiences at live shows.

LivestRow Kudo

How did you meet?

Chiba: Kudo and I joined Basiscape at the same time, but Kaneda was already there.

What was your first project together?

Kaneda: Ongeki~Game Sound Impact 2012~ – if it weren’t for that project then I think we might not have ever gotten together.

LivestRow Band

Why is game music important to you?

Kudo: As a first time composer the draw for me was that I could create music in a wide variety of genres, and also use trial and error to search for new sounds. Game developers are always thinking about what kind of new and interesting kinds of games aren’t on the market yet, so I think that they need new and interesting kinds of music to go with them.

Kaneda: I’m not much for looking back on things, but game music is my sole weak point. I have a lot of fond memories, though; so many that it’s kind of a problem.

Chiba: Growing up, I loved game music and always wanted to become a composer. I think if it weren’t for game music then I would probably be in another line of work right now.

What’s the difference between game music and other forms of music?

Kudo: Compared to passive kinds of music like charting tracks or movie scores, game music is based on the player’s active participation. So I think maybe it requires more of a connection with what’s going through the player’s mind.

Kaneda: To compare it to another kind of art, I think it’s a similar level of freedom that you’d find in manga. There are things you can do that just aren’t in other genres.

Chiba: I think it’s easily the looping background music. Music in other media like anime or movies leaves an impression, but due to the looping nature of game music I feel like it sticks in people’s ears more easily. It’s music that’s heard many, many times.

LivestRow Kaneda

What’s your favourite part of performing live?

Kudo: How much the fans get into the music with us is really important to me. It’s most fun when the fans are responding and reacting to the action and music on stage.

Kaneda: Kudo having fun and enjoying the live shows as much as he does [laughs]. Outside of that… sorry… the speed of my brain is having trouble keeping up right now, and I’m kind of flustered [pulls collar].

Chiba: Actually, more than having fun I feel nervous during live performances. But… yeah, when I’m composing I shut myself up in the studio, so when I play live I’m always thinking “What kind of people are here listening to our music?” so I think it’s probably looking out at everyone’s faces while playing during the show. It makes me really glad that so many people enjoy our music.

There were a lot of really large companies with bands appearing at JGMF. Is there anything difficult about being a smaller independent company?

Kudo: There’s a lot of appreciation and cooperation we receive from the other game companies involved, and so there’s never really anything difficult about it. Of course we’d like the people that come to see the LivestRow live shows to be interested in our music, but we are happy if they have interest in the games too.

Kaneda: I don’t really know how other companies operate, so comparing is kind of difficult. Every company is different. When I think of things we have to work hard at, I would probably say that it’s the permission on songs we choose to perform at our live shows. That being said, we’re always being helped out by the cooperation and appreciation we receive from game companies.

LivestRow Chiba

Your band is one of the more eclectic acts at JGMF. Where does your inspiration for so many different genres of music for so many different genres of games come from?

Kudo: Game music composition draws from the game’s art and feel of the game world, reflecting the distinctive pieces of that well. But I think that the reason for our eclecticism is probably because the three of us are all, musically, on our own paths. Using variety to make the game more appealing is something I’m always trying to do.

Kaneda: Working on different types of games, there’s always a tendency to want to create things that don’t devolve into stereotypes. Habit might be a better word for it… or maybe it’s know-how. It varies from person to person, and we’re probably always being tested.

Chiba: There’s the game’s atmosphere, the feel of the world, the concept art, and so on. Often we’re trying to create music that captures the impression we get from the materials provided to us by the client.

Would you like to perform live overseas if you had the chance?

Kudo: I’ve seen the crowds of people at live events for game music overseas before. I was surprised by the high level of enthusiasm, and at the same time it also made me really happy. It made me want to play in front of crowds like that. Speaking for myself, I’d definitely like to play overseas if I had the chance.

Kaneda: If that’s something that were possible then I’d like to do it.

Chiba: I want all kinds of people to hear our music, and so if there were demand for it then I’d like to do it.

LivestRow Centre Stage

Japan Game Music Festival 2013 Setlist
Xanadu (Dodonpachi Resurrection)
Caladrius Medley (Caladrius)
The Denpa Men Boss Battle Medley (The Denpa Men 1 & 2)
Opoona Medley (Opoona)
Seasonal Beauties (Muramasa: The Demon Blade)
Deep in Mountain and Valley (Muramasa: The Demon Blade)
Assault of Brave Flame (Grand Knights History)

Follow LivestRow Basiscape Band on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks to John Rozewicki for translating and Inagaki-san for photos and organising the interview.


Leave a Reply