INTERVIEW: JUJUTSU KAISEN Music Staff Shares Insights

The JUJUTSU KAISEN TV anime series may be over, but the complete soundtrack is on the way later this month. We had the special opportunity to interview the music staff behind the JUJUTSU KAISEN soundtrack including music producer Yoshiki Kobayashi (Dr. STONE, Haikyu!!, My Hero Academia and The God of High School), composer Hiroaki Tsutsumi (Dr. STONE and Ahiru no Sora), composer Yoshimasa Terui (Houseki no Kuni), and Arisa Okehazama (The God of High School). 


What was it like to work with the rest of the music staff? How is it similar or different from working alone?

Tsutsumi: I think there is an advantage to having three people working on a project together as it allows for a wider range of musicality and interpretation, and that adds more colors to the work. As we spend the production period being inspired by each other’s music, we can also grow and improve the quality of our work. One of the differences from working alone is the way a motif is scattered and distributed in each piece.

Terui: This was my very first experience creating soundtracks, so I was relieved to have a three-person team. Working with experienced creators and music producers was a great learning experience for me, and the three of us were able to create a wider range of music, which I believe was the effect the director was aiming for in JUJUTSU KAISEN.

Okehazama: It was a great learning experience for me to work on a single production with three people. I was able to learn a lot about how other artists create music for different requests, their production methods, tricks, and instruments they use, etc. I got a lot of ideas from them.

 

How did you become involved with JUJUTSU KAISEN?

Kobayashi: I have been the music producer for most of the films that Toho has produced, and I was invited to work on this production as well.

Tsutsumi: Mr. Kobayashi, the music producer, asked me to join.

Terui: I had worked with Mr. Kobayashi, the music producer of this project, before on the opening song of Land of the Lustrous (YURiKA’s “The Waves on the Mirror’s Surface”), and that was the reason why he asked me to work with him this time.

Okehazama: I met Producer Kobayashi on a different production, and I asked him to listen to the demo I had made. That led me to get this job.

 

How would you describe the musical styles of each of the three composers and how are they unique?

Kobayashi: Having been in a rock band himself before, Mr. Tsutsumi is good with rock music. He is also experienced in soundtrack production, so he has a wide range of skills that can be applied to any type of scene. He is skilled in composing for films, so I trust him. Mr. Terui’s music is characterized by a rock sound with minimal music and jazz elements. Ms. Okehazama is good at creating sounds using synthesizers, and she can write beautiful melodies. Her music is great for scenes that are filled with emotion.

Tsutsumi: Mr. Terui’s music has a very high density of individual notes, and the tone and ensemble are very unique. If you just listen to it once, you get drawn into the world of his music. Every time I hear his guitar sound it makes me jealous. I find that Ms. Okehazama’s music is very attractive because of the precise combination of live instruments and synth sounds as well as her ability to create excitement when combined with the scene. She has a lot of ideas and is able to respond to various emotions and situations with grace, which is something I want to learn from her. I think my music has the characteristic of expressing one big world by creating each part and using many types of sound. I think my style is “image-first,” where the tone and detailed motifs are created first.

Terui: Mr. Tsutsumi has a lot of experience in soundtracks, and he is very skilled in creating sounds that blend well with the visuals. He is also great at producing the right effect and the flow of time in the music. I also think that his background in creating progressive rock sound had come to life in JUJUTSU KAISEN. I know that Ms. Okehazama is quite young and has not had a long career as a soundtrack musician, but I was impressed by her fresh and memorable sound and addictive melodies. I especially like the use of staccato with string instruments in her works for this production. As I have been mainly working as an artist, I think I am good at presenting impact and originality as well as coming up with unique interpretations of the scenes. However, through this production, I’ve discovered many things that I am lacking and things that I want to try in the future, and I strongly feel that I can grow more and more.

Okehazama: Everything Mr. Tsutsumi works on is presented with great quality, and I felt that he is very skilled in adding expressions. His production is also very speedy and responsive, and I always want to learn from him. I think that Mr. Terui’s music has strong originality. I honestly envy him because he has the ability and sensibility to express himself, and you’d easily recognize his music as soon as you hear it. 


Special thanks to Crunchyroll and the staff for their time and opportunity. JUJUTSU KAISEN is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

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