DeathSmiles Original Soundtrack Liner Notes
Junya Inoue - Graphic Designer
This is Junya Inoue, the graphic designer who worked on the creation of the world and the sound production for DeathSmiles. It was an honor to work with Mr. Namiki for the first time with this game. I had loved his music (or, as I call them, his Namiki melodies), and I respect him very much. But for this project I wanted something very different. I told him "I want you to keep the Namiki melodies, but express a gothic horror worldview." He went about establishing a wonderful foundation of "gothic horror Namiki melodies" emphasizing guitar, and on top of that utilized dissonances excellently for the horror element. He did an excellent job of conveying the world of DeathSmiles.
With those gothic horror Namiki melodies, I requested a main theme of sorts, a mysterious waltz, a high tempo piece, a piece with an ethnic feel... and so on. I made requests for each stage, and thinking about it now, they seem too detailed. But he responded to each one of them with excellent music. Even when I made additional requests for him to use various sound effects in the stages, he responded wonderfully, with a playful spirit. I am amazed by his talent and adaptability, and am grateful that he was able to open up the world of DeathSmiles so much. To me, to give this soundtrack a score of a billion points would not be an exaggeration.
Among the new things we tried out was an ending song. I asked Takayuki Hirose, my friend and an active indie musician in Okayama, to do it. I felt his deep and noble voice was very appropriate in a gothic horror world. In the ending, the main characters are forced to make an important choice, and he responded to the game's story, putting Windia's feelings into lyrics. He sang excellently.
All of the music from DeathSmiles is presented on this soundtrack in full; I want you all to experience anew the world of DeathSmiles in a way that you cannot hear in arcades.
Takayuki Hirose - Ending Song
There are times in people's lives when a period (the punctuation mark) must be placed down, and they must begin again. In life there are choices, and in this song I expressed my desire for people to realize the best direction (the best way), and follow it through to the end.
Manabu Namiki - Composer
It has finally arrived, all you fans of the angels. The soundtrack CD for the gothic horror action shooting game that came out last autumn, named Deathloli...I mean DeathSmiles, has been released at last! So, let's get on to writing about the music.
At the first meeting, graphic designer Mr. Junya Inoue, the father who brought the world of Deathsmiles to life, gave me plans and illustrations he had drawn himself that explained the contents of the game. By that point, I had already been drawn in by the worldview and visuals, and we were both motivated by a desire to see this project through, so we discussed it frequently. He already had some definite ideas regarding the music, and he requested the following: "a combination of gothic horror themes and your own shooting music," and "freedom from the normal Cave sound."
Well, this was a challenge in every sense of the word. What is "gothic"? What is "loli"? From that day forward, wandering through nothingness, carrying the wounds of the name of fate filled with love and aestheticism, beautiful young women...I pondered these words every day. (Translation: My head was filled with Goth-loli girls.)
Working on composition every night until late night, when my soul, filled with waves of hatred that approached from the darkness, cried out, and in order to resist the ominous curses emanating from the monsters that had been cast out of paradise, I gave myself over to one rapturous flash of the church modes...I had that kind of resolve. (Translation: Troubled by lower back pain, sleepiness, and sounds in my room, I punched in notes and played out organ solos.)
And, the music recorded on this soundtrack is the result of that environment — that paranoid self-questioning (laughs) that I returned to repeatedly. As you will understand if you listen, I used elements of rock, techno, film music, classical, ethnic, and symphonic music, and worked to match the visuals of each stage. That is what I aimed for in the music. Mr. Inoue had very definite directions for the music, and since he placed a good deal of emphasis on the cutscenes that run throughout the game, listening through, I believe one can feel its dramatic qualities very strongly.
Basically, there are day and night stages for each area, so the music had to reflect these separate colors, and I wrote distinct motifs for each area. If you pay attention to the melodic progressions and tone colors in each stage, I am sure you will notice. Additionally, I tried to express night and day differently in the boss themes as well. In this way I found many ways to "free myself from the normal Cave sound," and I think that all of you players will appreciate something different from the usual, something fresh.
So, the most pressing problem was how to combine the style of shooting game music I had developed with the aesthetic of a gothic lolita worldview, and in response I tried out featuring live guitar. I will allow Noriyuki Kamikura, whose beautiful and passionate guitar playing can be heard on every track, to introduce himself to all of you.
Noriyuki Kamikura - Guitarist
Mr. Namiki told me 'I leave it all to you,' so I was able to go wild and do whatever I liked, and I loved playing for him. I put in solos that reflected my own tastes (laughs). Of course, the guitar solos, like the game, make you want to stand up and face any difficulty with passion! I hope you enjoy them with the music as well as with the game.
Manabu Namiki - Composer
Well then, I have said so much about the music of Deathsmiles, but how did you like it? I hope you love both it and the game for a long time. I would love to hear how you felt about it, and I will wait for your responses. I have nothing but the deepest gratitude for all of those who were involved at every level of the production of the game and its soundtrack, and for all of you fans who bought them.
Dreaming of meeting those girls again one day, somewhere...
April 15, 2008 - Manabu Namiki (Basiscape)
Liner Notes Translated by Ben Schweitzer. Do not republish without written permission.