Getting ready to brawl with Kazuki in a promo pic from Part II
After discussing creative ideas for structuring the music in what became the theme in Tekkin Taiyou, nights ended with several drinks, a smoke or two, and good conversation
Kazuki playing with different ideas on his guitar for the theme and showing me programs he uses during the creative process
The Theme and Trailers
After the completion of Series 1, during the editing process I was looking for a theme that would match the feel of what we created in Tekkin Taiyou. I wanted to cut a trailer set to music for release prior to the first series and also take a section of that music to use as the opening theme in the final edit of each part. I had several friends in mind who are accomplished musicians that I was considering reaching out to.
At this time, prior to joining the group myself, I had just come off an onscreen battle with Kazuki Uchida from Part II where the ChihasuKai is first introduced when he comes flying through my window and knocks me to the ground with a punch. Kazuki, I would talk about in interviews, was my favorite person to work with on that first series. He was always happy and energized about joining us in what we were doing. He’s also a really talented musician.
In the summer of 2019 I again invited Kazuki over to the house. He’d come over many times prior to rehearse the fight scene with me during the rehearsals of Part II, but this time we were meeting to discuss creating music, which I thought of as his speciality. I explained my idea of what the musical feeling of the first trailer should be: a soft intro that feels like it would fit a documentary, only to switch to a second part where it becomes dark, and finally to a bright crescendo.
Two songs from the music of the “Mother” series, “Home Sweet Home” and “Smiles and Tears” written by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka, had a deep place in my heart from the time I was very young. In essence, I see a lot of the absurdity of the Mother series as an influence in Tekkin Taiyou, even if others don’t. Kazuki has done some amazing covers of songs and thought he would likely be able to pull those off as well to use in the theme.
In my room with computers humming, I played “Home Sweet Home” for Kazuki and he was confident he could do a cover of it with the acoustic guitar sound I had in mind. Talking about the darker switch for the middle part, I could only make sound effects and sort of hum a general idea, but I could see Kazuki was thinking of possibilities as he watched and listened to me. Finally I played him “Smiles and Tears” and I’ll never forget us sitting in my room, him hearing it start, and how he turned to me with a smile and said “sun”. Exactly.
I didn’t know what the final product would be, but I knew that Kazuki was and is a talented musician (as well as singer) and had total faith he would create something memorable. I remember where I was when he sent me the file late one night. I listened to it and was so happy. It was better than I had imagined and it made all the difference in the project’s completion. I only asked that he send me one file of just his electric guitar rendition of the “Smiles and Tears” section by itself so I could use it in the intro for each part of Tekkin Taiyou.
When it was decided we would continue to do Series 2, I had momentarily thought about asking Kazuki if he would come up with another theme. I was researching ideas and making notes as I listened to different genres and tried building an idea in my mind for what would work. Finally, it hit me, what Kazuki did with the initial theme was perfect and there was no way to top it for what we were doing with this project. It plays even better in the trailer for Series 2.
Kazuki is a wonderful person with incredible talent. I think people who are lucky enough to know him can see that right away. I felt very lucky to work with him on screen and behind the scenes on Tekkin Taiyou. During many nights he would come over to talk about the project, inevitably ending with us drinking and a smoke or two, I always encouraged him to pursue his interest in music. Please check out his talent in the featurette, the trailers for Series 1 and 2, and on his YouTube channel as well. Leave him a comment if there’s something you like. I’m sure he’d be happy to hear from you.
– Ryan Michaels