NSK interviews: SHiNTA


New School Kaidan recently had the pleasure of interviewing Japanese music producer SHiNTA. We asked him a variety of questions on a number of subjects including his musical influences and what it’s like producing music for idol groups like Fukuoka’s LinQ.

Check out the full interview below.

NSK: What is your musical background?

SHiNTA: I think it’s been about 11 years since I started doing this job professionally? I started getting small jobs when I was around 20. It is thanks to those experiences I had over the years that I’m able to do what I’m doing now.

NSK: What are you musical influences?

SHiNTA: My mother liked Western music and my father liked Japanese music and I think that was a big influence on me when I was young. The music I was exposed to ranged from YMO to Kaguya-hime. But the first record during that time that I really liked was Ai no Corrida by Quincy Jones. Since then, during my middle school days, I loved songs that used the synthesizer like in songs by Komuro Tetsuya or Access (Asakura Daisuke). After that, when I got older, I remember the time when I was so happy that I was able to buy a KX-5 haha.

Visual Kei bands were also popular so there were a lot of times where I added guitar parts into my songs. (I guess I like Visual Kei bands too)
When I was attending vocational school, I mostly listened to Western music. I remember there was a time when I was into House music for awhile.


NSK: How did you get into producing music?

SHiNTA: There isn’t any one particular reason on how I got into producing. I’ve never called myself a producer and I’m okay with that as long as I can keep on creating music. I think it might have been when I began writing music for a band that I was in.

I think a lot about things like, “If I made a song a certain way, would people who like that genre like it?”


NSK: What is the typical process for producing a song arrangement? Do you provide them with a number of samples to choose from or do they give you full control?
楽曲のアレンジをするときは、どんなプロセスが多いのでしょうか。 いくつかサンプルを作って選んでもらうのか、それとも完成したものを渡すのですか?

SHiNTA: It depends on the time and situation. Basically, we talk with the people in charge of production and work from there…but being able to hear the kind of direction and ideas that the composer wants to take would make my job much easier. In jobs where I work with those who are not very familiar with music, I sometimes prepare arrangement patterns for them.

NSK: How do you work with the lyricist? Do you communicate with them in any way or is it a very separate process?
作詞者とどういう形でお仕事をするのですか? なんらかの形で連絡をとり合いながら進めますか?それとも全くに別々に作り上げていきますか?

SHiNTA: First, I tell the lyricist what I imagine the song to be like and have him/her create the lyrics. When they finish, we start to elaborate on it, which happens a lot. Also, if I am familiar with the lyricist, especially one whose style fits the song, the process of creating lyrics that fits exactly with what I had in mind goes much faster.

NSK: What is the best part about working with LinQ?

SHiNTA: I think the best part about working with LinQ is being able to talk with many people. For example, when I’m not satisfied with my own work, I can talk with the many people involved with Team LinQ. Things like which song the members like the most, the staff in charge of acoustics, the management and their business plans, or the lighting staff. To me, that I think is the best part. Also, when I’m watching their lives, I find pleasure in being able to think about things like what kind of songs they should do for their setlist.
Team LinQとしてお話が出来る事が、どこにもない醍醐味かと思います。

NSK: What are LinQ’s strengths as an idol group?

SHiNTA: I think their strength is assembling people from different occupations and trying to accomplish something no one has done before in Fukuoka. I’ve been invited many times to come to Tokyo but I prefer Fukuoka better. There are many unheard of artists here, so rather than trying to create a hit song for a popular artist, I am comfortable with being able to try new things with all the artists in Fukuoka and help them achieve their dreams.
At first, LinQ started from nothing and seeing all the members and people who’ve worked so hard coming such a long way, I think that is their biggest strength. I am honored to have participated as part of Team LinQ.
福岡でがんばってるアーティストと なかった物(作品)を一緒にやれる事、夢を叶える事を手伝う方が人生で損しないと思っています。
歩んできた事が強みだと思います。Team LinQとして今参加させて頂いてる事をありがたく思います。」

NSK: Are there any misconceptions you would like to clear up about producing idol music?

SHiNTA:I don’t think there are any misconceptions to begin with but a group’s management has their own agenda and strategies so I can’t say anything about the kind of music they want. I don’t really mind as long as I’m able to create something good.

NSK: Do you pay attention to other idol groups?
他のアイドルグループに注目しますか? (他のアイドルグループも気になりますか?)

SHiNTA: I can’t really say I do but I think that new groups – ones that are less developed and don’t have any particular identity to them yet are interesting.

NSK: Who would you like to work with in the future, idol or non-idols?

SHiNTA: I’m happy with anything as long as I can continue writing music. I don’t particularly focus on working with only idols. (For example, I worked on enka last year)

NSK: Composers often seem like the unsung heroes of the idol industry, with the focus being on the idol group itself. Is that your perception as well, or do you feel that there is enough satisfaction in that your work is recognized by those in the same line of work as you?

SHiNTA: Haha, I’m fine with that. They are the main act and we are their support. We should be happy to see them succeed.

We’d like to thank SHiNTA for taking part in this interview and giving us a glimpse into an often under appreciated side of the music industry. For more information and updates on SHiNTA’s future projects, be sure to check out his website SHiNTA PLANET and follow him on Twitter @shintaplanet. You can also check out some of his work on SoundCloud.

Translation: Anthony Hagiwara and Kenneth Uy

Who would you like to see NSK interview next? Leave a comment and let us know!

About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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