Japan Expo '14: Akira Yamaoka Panel and Concert

Akira Yamaoka is probably best known for being the music composer of the Silent Hill series. He has also done music for may other games, like Beatmania, a couple Contra games, the Sparkster games, a few Gradius games, No More Heroes 2, Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, and many others. At Japan Expo 2nd Impact, the second time the expo has been in the United States, Akira Yamaoka signed autographs, held a panel, and even performed a full concert.

Most of the panel was a Q & A. Akira mentioned that there were a few autograph sessions during the expo, but they do not allow much time for questions, so he wanted to open up the panel for questions from the audience.

Masterful composer of Silent Hill and other games, Akira Yamaoka.

-Akira was at a Japan Expo in France once before, so this Japan Expo was his second one. He is very happy that people know him through Silent Hill and  that Silent Hill is known around the world. He had wanted to bring Japanese culture to the world, but 25 years ago, it wasn't really being done in videogames. He mentions Mario as an example. Silent Hill came out 15 years ago, but the idea for it started 18 years ago. He is happy he can talk about the game so many years later. To him, it's a mystery as to why Silent Hill has remained so popular.

-He worked with Suda 51 on No More Heroes 2 and said it was fun working with him. He wasn't sure if many people knew who Suda 51 was, so he explained that his name, Go Ichi, means "51" and lots of people went, "Oohhh," as they finally understood the name. Akira said that Suda 51 may make a lot of violent games, but he has a pure heart.

-Composing a lot of dark music for Silent Hill can stress him out, so he'll switch to something more upbeat for awhile.

-Through Silent Hill, he has kind of brought some Japanese culture to the world. Silent Hill is based on a quiet town in Japan.

-In the future, he is thinking of doing motion comics.

-He was getting thousands of messages about whether he will be involved with the new Silent Hills game. While he has not heard anything, he is very happy to be getting all the support for him being involved. He asked that fans to keep telling Konami that they want him on the game.

-When he was young, his biggest fear was to be an adult.

-Godzilla and Ultraman are is his favorite monsters.

-In No More Heroes 2 he was credited under the name Machine Head. There isn't really a deep meaning to it, but it is actually the name of his house.

-One audience member brought up that people have noticed many similarities between Silent Hill and the movie Kindergarten Cop. Akira didn't actually know about that.

-Another fan asked if there was any artist, living or dead that Akira would like to work with. His answer was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Well, Trent is still alive, so this would be amazing if it happened. I really want to hear what a collaboration between Akira Yamaoka and Trent Reznor would be. Make this happen Trent and Akira, please!

-Silent Hill 2 is favorite Silent Hill he has composed for.

-For composing music, the easiest part is when the graphics are already made, he can easily figure out a particular piece for it. The hardest part is when the producer doesn't like the piece he's composed, so he has to figure out something else.

-For the upturning trend in VR, Akira likes the Morpheus and would like to work on a game for it if given the opportunity.

-No girl has ever made him cry. He might have made a few girls cry, but it wasn't his intention to do so.

Later on Saturday night Akira Yamaoka held a Silent Hill concert. He came on stage in a cool skull mask and was joined by the rest of his band mates, including the incredible voice actress/singer Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. According to Japan Expo's time blocks, they were scheduled to play for about 30 minutes, but they played for an hour and 15 minutes. It was an amazing concert. They don't do this too often, so seeing them perform is a rare opportunity. The-O Network actually recorded the full Silent Hill concert and placed it on YouTube, which is very awesome of them. If you missed it and you're a fan of Silent Hill, or just good rock music, you should watch it. Here are some photos from it, but seriously, go watch the YouTube video of the concert.

- Shawn - 10/16/14

Photos by Shawn and Heidi.