Last week, with help from our friends at Sony Music and Milan Records, we premiered two tracks from the soundtrack to this season's Fanfare of Adolescence. Today, to celebrate the recent full release of the soundtrack, we are happy to publish an accompanying interview with composer Hiroyuki Sawano!
Before diving into the interview, make sure to give the soundtrack a listen! You can find it available through many different music providers here.
Crunchyroll: Could you talk a bit about how you were selected to compose the soundtrack for Fanfare of Adolescence?
Hiroyuki Sawano: Shizuka Kurosaki, a producer I worked with on Aldnoah Zero and Re:CREATORS over a year and a half ago, was interested in the music for my drama productions. I received an offer from her because I thought such an approach would suit this coming-of-age story.
Many anime fans associate your music with fantasy action. Was it a challenge for you to work with a series that was much more grounded and realistic?
Rather than a challenge, I thought it would be interesting to try my own sound approach to the music I was creating. I made a lot of songs that were close to everyday music and emotions, similar to the approach of the music I had been working on for TV dramas.
In previous interviews, you have said that you prefer composing music before seeing any completed animation. What about this process empowers you as a composer?
When I create music after seeing the completed animation, for better or worse, I am pulled to the animation in a certain extent, which sometimes narrows the range of my musical approach. I would like to expand my own imagination rather than to be too close to a work of art.
Were you familiar with jockeying at all before starting this soundtrack? Did you do any research to become more familiar with it?
I had never bought a ticket or been to a racetrack, but Mobile Suit Gundam UC had collaborated with JRA and I knew people who had seen the Derby, so I felt that it was not that far away. I didn't do any research.
All of your soundtracks have a unique feeling that really matches the series they were composed for. What sort of sounds or feelings were you trying to convey in the soundtrack for Fanfare of Adolescence?
Since this is a coming-of-age ensemble drama, I made it with using a fresh sound. I was also conscious of creating melodies and arrangements that would be more emotional during certain scenes.
I love how the track “Fanfare of Adolescence” balances huge, sweeping orchestral sounds with moments of quiet, intimate piano. Could you talk a bit about why you made that choice?
The order for the main theme song included the words "orchestra" and "band," so I decided to create a sound that I hoped would make the main characters look forward as they face adversity. I added piano because I also wanted to express the sadness and freshness of the song through sound.
You've talked before about why you prefer having English lyrics in your song. Is it the groove and resonance that made you use English for this track too? Could you talk a bit about the lyrics in the song “RUSH” and the meaning behind them?
I think I told the two vocalists, Benjamin & mpi, that I wanted the lyrics of the song to emphasize the momentum and dynamism of the race. From there, they came up with lyrics that match the worldview of the work and emphasize the sound and groove of the music.
Was there anything about Fanfare of Adolescence that was a unique challenge when writing the music for it?
This was my first time working on music for a coming-of-age animated project, so it was personally refreshing to create fresh music and everyday songs. Every piece of music I created was very rewarding. Even though I had produced a lot of drama music, I think often about what kind of sound approach I could try now while composing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring composers and those who want to pursue a music career who might be reading this article?
In both composition and presentation, I believe that the key to moving forward is to not stop and worry about whether or not something is good or not good enough before you do it, but rather to take on challenges to the best of your ability. In the process, it is important not to waver your beliefs and ideas.
Is there anything you would like to say to fans of your music around the world?
For Fanfare of Adolescence, I believe we were able to take a different approach to the music production from the grand-scale worldview of the work, and I hope you will enjoy expanding your imagination from the sound.
About Hiroyuki Sawano:
Born in Tokyo in 1980, Hiroyuki Sawano has a scope of activities centered on the “musical accompaniment” of visual works such as drama, anime, and movie. He is most well-known as the composer for global anime sensation Attack on Titanas well as franchiselike Promare, Blue Exorcist, Kill la Kill, The Seven Deadly Sinsand more. He is also actively engaged in creating and arranging music for other artists. Sawano launched a vocal-driven project under the name “SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]” in the spring of 2014.