Quick Beats: Final Fantasy Composer And VGO Founder On Road Trip Music, Rock, And The ’80s

Bros On The Road - Final Fantasy XV
Image: Push Square

Throughout the Nintendo Life Video Game Music Festival we're speaking to a range of composers and musicians for a mixture of in-depth interviews and shorter, sharper (and perhaps a little goofier) Q&As where we ask just ten rapid-fire personal questions; we're calling these shorter features 'Quick Beats'.

Today's quick beats come from the composer, performer, and founder of the Video Game Orchestra, Shota Nakama, who tours the world (at least, not during pandemic times) with a rock band and an orchestra, doing fantastic live covers of iconic video game music.

Image: Shota Nakama

Nintendo Life: What was the first song or album you remember buying?

Shota Nakama: The opening song from Dragon Ball Z: CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA.

What was the last music you listened to?

Right Now by Van Halen.

What was the very first video game you wrote music for, and how do you feel listening back now?

I think it is Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns? I rarely listen to my past work because once the gig is done it is in the past. Maybe I should listen back sometimes.

Which piece of yours are you most proud of?

Bros on the Road from Final Fantasy XV.

Which piece by someone else do you wish you had written?

None. I enjoy their music!

What do you listen to while you’re driving?

Random rooms on Clubhouse. I only listen to the Rooms that give me knowledge and new perspectives.

Do you have a musical hero?

Richie Blackmore (The original guitarist of Deep Purple, Rainbow), Alan Silvestri (Composer of Back to the Future), and all the artists who made musical history.

Which decade had the best music?

'80s. That was the time when you could not magically fix any performance issues with technology, and you had to actually sing and play well. The musicianship of the people back then is just so beyond.

Ocarina, harp or bongos — which magical instrument do you take on an epic adventure?

Probably none. I want to absorb all the unique sounds of nature during the epic adventure.

If your house were on fire and you only had time to grab one keepsake before you flee to safety with your family, what would you take?

My very first guitar that I still have with me.

Our thanks to Shota for speaking with us. Check out the Video Game Orchestra YouTube channel for their live performances, and follow Shota on Twitter to keep up to date with his adventures.

Be sure to read our previous Quick Beats interviews with the likes of Austin Wintory and Darren Korb, and keep an eye out for plenty more in the coming days as the Nintendo Life VGM Fest continues.

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