Final Fantasy VIII
All translations by Tomo
All translations have been edited by the webmistress to correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and paragraphs added to break up blocks of text.
Liberi Fatali (Children of Destiny)
Japanese to Latin Translation: Tomo
|Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei.||
Wake up, my children|
|Cunae non sunt.||
The cradle is no longer|
|Excitate vos e somno, liberi fatali.||Wake up, children of destiny|
|Somnus non eat.||The peaceful rest is no longer|
|Invenite hortum veritatis.||Find the garden of truth|
|Ardente veritate||Burn all the falsehood of this world|
|Urite mala mundi.||With your burning truth|
|Ardente veritate||Lighten up all the darkness of this world|
|Incendite tenebras mundi||With your burning truth|
|Valete, liberi,||Goodbye, my children|
|Diebus fatalibus.||Until destiny guides us.|
Liner notes from Mr. Uematsu
I received a letter asking for me to answer a survey about me from DigiCube the other day. I was able to answer every question with ease, but I had to stop and think when I put down "I am always happy" when I had to answer the question: "When do you find yourself happy?" Looking over the past few years, I can't remember being unhappy. It may be just that I am spending my summit of my life, but it's not that I haven't had angry or distressing moments. Don't think that middle-aged men don't have any worries!
Well, if I count how many times I have been happy these couple of years, its number well exceeds the number of times I have been put down. I'm sure I am not the only one. Some of you may have no money, but enjoy spending time with your childen. You may have been fired, but found some freedom instead. If you have been dumped, you have another chance to start another affair. You may have received a low grade on your test, but maybe you love playing soccer.
We go through a great number of experiences. They fall upon you, so you are the one who must interpret their meanings. I think that those meanings that you have created become "truths." Even if there is one single event, there could be as many truths as the world's population. If you decide to interpret an event in a negative way, you can only find yourself caught inside an unhappy truth. We can't liberate ourselves from pain by looking back to our distressful past, for we are the ones who are eager to hold on to that pain. It may be a good idea to open up and say, "Here I am. I'm ready for anything!" as you disconnect yourself from pain. That is why I decided to have a change of mind this time. I declared to myself that I will accept any hardship, and they decided to give me all the hardship possible. (LOL) Right now, my body is like an old towel wet and soaked. ...But it was fun. Concentrating on something is my means of acquiring happiness.
- Nobuo Uematsu (1/6/1999)
Special Interview of Nobuo by Yoshitake Maeda
(Webmistress's note: The following special interview is found only in the limited edition of the FF8 soundtrack. Another interview, titled "Privately Attack Nobuo Uematsu With Questions," is found in both the regular and limited edition of the soundtrack, but it was not translated by Tomo.)
I don't know if he agrees, but I think I find a queer relation between me and Nobuo Uematsu. It first started when I started playing "Final Fantasy" on my Nintendo. The beautiful arpeggio at the title had an impact upon me that was as great as the fanfare in Dragon Quest. Since then, I have become a fan of FF music. I jumped on to the chance when I was brought up a plan about creating an arrangement of FF4 (2 U.S.) music in Ireland a few years later. Irish traditionals are one of my favorite styles of music, so "Celtic Moon" still is my favorite CD. I remember meeting Shannon Sharon, who is the most renowned accordion player in Ireland. Meeting Nobuo was a greater experience for me, though...!
Anyway, my ardor of Irish music increased significantly by this event. Since then, I have been going to every Irish performance in Japan, as well as Irish Cafes nearby. I was surprised when I found out that Nobuo went to the same cafe. He told me that he also had began to love Irish music, that he began to learn fiddle. At the same time I was into Irish music, I was also into Asian Pops. I even wrote a book called "Encyclopedia of Asian Pops." That was why I was excited to hear that Faye Wong was going to sing in FF8. I couldn't believe that Nobuo chose her out of thousands of others. Faye was born in Peking, and started off her career in Hong Kong as a vocalist. She led another new era in Asia as the best singer in the 20th century, too. Hearing that Nobuo chose her, I started to feel that he was my buddy. Of course, I don't know if he agrees. Where do you start when you start your job?
I read the screenplay first. I usually start with the main theme, but this is probably the hardest task.
Do you get to choose where the main theme comes in?
Yes. I usually choose between playing the main theme, like in the opening and the world map, but I don't know which song is the main theme this time.
Why is that?
At first, I was going to make the opening song the main theme, and to play it in various spots throughout the game. Still, I began to realize that I have always been playing the main theme in the world map. This time, I decided to experiment by not playing the main theme in the world map. In addition, when I created "Eyes On Me," both songs had become the main theme. I, myself, couldn't decide which one to be the main theme. That's why a main theme does not exist in FF8.
Do you get a general picture by reading the screenplay?
There is a secret page for SQUARE staff in the SQUARE home page that includes character designs, screenplays, etc. I print them out because I don't like reading on computers. Then, I start taking notes by blocking scenes by their moods. This way, I can get the general picture of what kinds of songs and how many of them I must write.
Are your song themes affected by the main characters?
Yes, yes. I won't be able to express the emotions of the heroes just by following the plot. For example, I won't be able to tell if a girl is brave and strong or kind and modest by just reading the plot. I need to see how she looks like and how she dresses to have a better idea. The dialogues aren't usually complete at first, but reading them is crucial, too. It's important to know when their emotions are at their height, but it usually takes until a month before release for them to finish the ending dialogue...! (LOL)
Why is it that there are no character themes this time?
Did you realize that? I found that the effect of character themes wasn't as great as I thought in FF6 and 7. It is reasonable to have character themes if each of the main characters has their own highlight in the game, but in FF8, the "main character" is focused in a single couple of Squall and Rinoa. Considering "Eyes On Me," I let the other characters take a step back music-wise.
It's a change of subject, but what kind of an environment do you work in?
I usually come to work on time, turn on my keyboard, and then decide to work. I don't have expensive equipment in my room. I have a hard time trying to learn new machines, so I stick to my old ones. It's a waste of time to go over the manual, search my hard drive, or go get a floppy disk just trying to find a single trumpet synth. I could be coming up with a great melody in the very moment! The only instrument I used is the "Roland SC88," which is a beginners' synth that costs about 50,000 yen (about $400). Just one. The maximum simultaneous sound is like 64 or 128, and I don't need to worry about quality unless I want to have a special traditional instrument. I can't say that its symphonic re-creation is the best, but it has most that I need. Best of all, everything costs only 50,000 yen. I hear that people say that "Nobuo is surrounded by computers these days," but the truth is that I'm really bad at computers.
What do you think of the evolution of gaming machines in music?
Everything is becoming simpler in that I can do anything I want. Because I can have sound sampling in PSX or SNES, it's even possible to surprise the audience by orchestrated hits. Still, I think everything isn't perfect yet. I don't think there is meaning to using sampling to mimic real instruments. If I were to use sampling, I would like to use it in a hip-hop kind of way. I think we're in the midst of a transition from synth game music to recorded game music right now.
What about the NES era?
The NES had only three tracks, and each of their sounds was very unique. I had to focus on the melody itself and think about how each chord will move the audience. I struggled to produce originality in the same three tones, just like any composer from that period. It's amazing to listen to how each of us -- Konami composers, Koichi Sugiyama, and Namco composers -- each had totally different creations by using the same three instruments. There was an originality in "Game Music" back then. In the future, game music will not be much different from movie soundtracks.
Why did you decide to put a vocal song?
Actually, some of us came up with a plan to use a famous vocalist in the ending of FF7. It didn't go through because the plan was too abrupt, and there were no themes or reason in the story for a vocal song to suddenly come up in the ending. On the other hand, the "song" has a meaning in the FF8 plot, and it closely relates to its main characters. That's why I wrote a ballad that I thought would suit the theme. Then, I asked everyone to bring in CDs with vocalists who would match it. We listened to countless CDs in our staff meetings, but none of them seemed to match our expectations...until one CD was played. Everyone looked around and asked, "Who is this...!?" even though it was the first track in the CD. We didn't have second thoughts. Some of you may ask why I chose Faye Wong, but I can't just say that it was my instinct. I didn't even know her when I listened to her CD, but her voice and mood seem to match my image of the song exactly. The fact that she was Chinese fits the international image of Final Fantasy, too.
What kind of a person was Faye Wong?
I wasn't the one who participated in the negotiation, so I couldn't get to know her at first. Still, I found out that she was extraordinary as I gathered her information. She accepted our offer, but the recording had to take place in Hong Kong due to her schedule. Thus, I organized an orchestra and gave her a copy of the tape before everything. Her style was to concentrate alone for a while before recording, and sing in a one-shot deal. She also liked to sing in complete darkness. I have to say she had mystic qualities.
Her mysteriousness is one of her traits.
I think we each received different impressions of her. Still, her skill as a singer is superior. Her voice is truly heavenly.
Do you think game music and regular commercial music would merge together someday?
I don't want to join the competition of pop music. "Eyes On Me" is still game music, although it will be released as a single. I'm not a pops pro, either. Also, game music still doesn't have the characteristics to compete with them. I think it's up to the composer's choice. Some makers would try to create a commercial "hit" of its music, like in the movie "Titanic." Others, like many of the European movies, totally separate from commercialism. That's why different composers will have different goals in game music, too.
Is it difficult to write music that matches the game's atmosphere?
Well, it is said that Final Fantasy is moving away from a "free game" more and more. We, as the creators, know this the best. Some criticize us for this, but we're doing this because we won't be able to find something new unless we try and go foward. If we aren't the ones who experiment, somebody else definitely would. We may stop at a dead end, or we might be able to find a new horizon. We won't know that unless we go on.
Was this idea of Final Fantasy present from the beginning?
...Maybe from about FF3j (unreleased in the U.S.). We have a lot of people who love movies, so maybe that's why we're trying to recreate a movie in a game. Still, we often discuss that we will never be able to catch up to movies just by trying to mimic them. Right now, we're in a land where no one else has stepped in. That is why we think we'll experiment as of now.
Does this "cinematic thinking" come important in song writing?
Yes, definitely. It would be strange not to have Hollywood-style music in the FF8 cinematic action CG movies. Still, I'm not a movie expert, so it's hard for me to write cinematic music.
Then, what genre are you best at writing?
I'm good at writing ballads in the '70s style. I love writing lyrical songs. Still, I try not to be too genre-specific because now is the time that we, game creators, need to find out what we really must do. My task is to make sure that I am able to express the emotions I want to, and not just brushing up on my skills. I think it will be a shame if we won't be able to cry as we play our own game. I think we had some success this time, in that meaning. What do you think?
Nobuo FAQ by DigiCube
Q: What did you want to become when you were a child?
A: My parents expected me to become a lawyer or a doctor, but I wanted to become a pro wrestler or an Olympic athlete.
Q: What are your positive and negative traits?
A: Bad: slacker, dreamer, don't have the basics down, can't think logically, doesn't stick to one thing, and a lot more. Good: I'm enjoying life, even though.
Q: What does your room look like?
A: The Tama River runs in front of my eyes. I wake up every morning refreshed.
Q: What is your favorite CD right now?
A: "The Gateway Experience" (developed by the Monroe Institute)
Q: When do you find yourself happy?
A: I am always happy.
Q: What does game music mean to you?
A: If there weren't game music, I wouldn't have been able to succeed as a musician.
Q: Have you ever been a scoundrel?
A: I've never had the time to, for I've been always into something.
Q: Did you get good grades?
A: I was too concentrated on something else that I usually forgot to study.
Q: Where would you want to live abroad?
A: I would like to spend spring and fall in Japan, summer in Ireland, and winter in Hawaii. That's my dream.
Q: What do you do when you are free?
A: I would go on a trip and drink beer if I have a long break. If not, I go to the movies, listen to music, TRY cooking, and play instruments. (All while I enjoy beer.) If I only have one day, I would hop onto my VESPA for shopping and spend the rest of my day slacking and while I drink beer.
Q: What is the first song you wrote?
A: I wrote a song in elementary school, but I haven't named it.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I would be a more responsible man if I had one.
Q: What is your favorite instrument recently?
A: I recently bought Fender's Telecaster.
Q: What was your New Year's Dream?
A: I remember working hard to finish FF8. It turned out to be a real dream as I got up and went to my job.
Q: Where do you usually roam?
A: Shibuya, Jiyugaoka, Futako Tamagawa, and Yokohama. I don't usually go to any other cities.
Q: What is the enigma that most bothers you?
A: What happens to people when they die.
Q: Where have you always wanted to go?
A: I don't think there is any place that I really want to go before I die, because it's possible to go anywhere these days if I want to. I would want to visit Nova Scotia in Canada, though.
Q: Who would you want to meet, including anybody from the past?
A: The first man ever.
Q: Do you think the Agastian Prophecy has been true?
A: It has been true till now, but I don't believe in prophecies. I do like occult stuff, but it's not that I believe in them. I wouldn't like to judge the unknown just from what others say.
Q: When was the last time you had tears?
A: I couldn't stop crying as I watched the FF8 ending. The graphics and sound created a beautiful harmony.
Faye Wong biography
Born: Peking, 1969
Debut: In Hong Kong as Shirlie Wong in 1989
After studying in the U.S., Faye released "Coming Home" and became world famous. Her singles include "Why for 100,000 times," "Heaven," and "Unconstricted." She produced with the Cocteau Twins, as well as various artists abroad. Her talent is not only famous in Asia but is highly renowned in Europe and America. She went to EMI in 1997 and has released 2 albums.
Translations by Tomo
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