Jun Senoue interview by MelodicRock.com (February 2004)
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MelodicRock: Jun, a previous release from you was available in Japan a few years back now, under the Sons Of Angels moniker. But this is album is a compilation of the rock vocal tracks from that album and some others recorded elsewhere isn't it?
Jun Senoue: Yes, exactly. We released the album "Sons of Angels / Thrill of the Feel" from JVC for Japanese market in 2000.
MelodicRock: Where do the extra tracks come from?
MelodicRock: Tell us the history behind the music itself - what was it recorded for and when?
Jun Senoue: Ok "Live & Learn" was written as a main theme of "Sonic Adventure 2 / Battle" in 2001. Also "Escape From The City" is taken from the same game, and very popular with the videogame fans. From "Revvin' Up" to "All The Way" were written for the racing game called "NASCAR Arcade". The game was not so much popular especially in Europe though… And "Open Your Heart" and "It Doesn't Matter" were taken from "Sonic Adventure", and we tracked these songs in 1998. Now I'm working on "Sonic Adventure DX" for Nintendo GameCube, and it will be a conversion version of "Sonic Adventure".
Jun Senoue: For making contact with Johnny, Doug Aldrich helped me. When I made a demo of our first song "Open Your Heart", I sent it to my friend in Los Angeles, since she was very closed with Doug, he could receive my demo. About Ted & Tony, I asked them to sing for my songs, because I wrote the songs for their voices…I don't think any other singer can sing "It Doesn't Matter", don't you think so???
MelodicRock: You also recorded a track or two for Sega games with Eric Martin - a killer song actually - was that track not available for this release?
Jun Senoue: Oh, yes…I did with Eric in 1996 or so. One of the songs was "Sons of Angels", as you can imagine we took the name of the band from the song. Well, I like those songs, but I want to change the rhythm section and the whole guitars if I put them on the CD…I met Eric last August, and talked about those songs…totally forgot to make contact with him since then…
MelodicRock: What about the name of this project - Crush 40? Where did that come from?
Jun Senoue: When we had to find another good one, we picked up the word we like "Crush" is one of them, and Johnny added the number on it. Crush is the name of the soda too…that's my favorite!
MelodicRock: What is your day time job with Sega? I think folks would be interested!
Jun Senoue: Definitely! Writing songs or lyrics, making sound effects, editing voice scripts, I'm the person in charge of everything about the audio. Actually, I belong to the company called "WaveMaster, inc.", the sound development company in Sega group. Based in Tokyo, Japan, we also have a studio in our office. Here's the website but written in Japanese only, sorry…
MelodicRock: To those that aren't familiar with you as a guitarist and songwriter - can you tell us about your previous musical history?
Jun Senoue: About my history??? Hmmm…I started playing piano when I was 3 years old. Kept on learning until I was 12. At that time I moved to Panama, in Central America with my family, and my parents bought a keyboard for me instead of a piano. But during my life in Panama, one of my favorite bands was Duran Duran, and John Taylor looked great for me So I wanted to play a bass, and got my first bass by Aria Pro 2. But I was into hard rock music in 1984 or 85 The guitar players looked awesome, so I started playing guitars. Started writing original songs from High-school era, played with several bands & when I was in Japan, I played in the band, worked as a studio player, etc & I released several materials only for Japanese market before...
MelodicRock: This project was obviously recorded a little while ago - what have you been working on since?
Jun Senoue: I'm quite busy with writing songs etc…for SEGA as always. And I started writing for the stuff for next CRUSH 40 album since early 2000. End of the 2001, I threw all stuff away and started writing songs from zero. Previous songs were not fresh for me, and just had much better ideas…Now we have over 20 songs already, but don't have enough time to finish since we're too busy with our own things…
MelodicRock: And following on from that question - what are you working on right now for your next release?
Jun Senoue: For next step, we have a plan to see to pick the songs up for next record.
MelodicRock: Would you mind running us through each track on the album with a little of the history behind them?
Jun Senoue: ...
- Live & Learn: I wrote the short version of this song for the title screen of the game. When I was in the studio during mixing for the other songs, I did set up my rigs at the small room in the studio, and I finished making from top to the last…I sent my demo to Johnny, and he sent me back the one with his vocals…That's our way to writing songs.
- Revvin' Up: One of the best. Cool riff and backing guitars…lots of energy. When we tracked the vocals in the studio in Los Angeles, no…in Tarzana, Johnny finished singing for this song on the 2nd day or so. But he didn't like what he did and tracked again on the last day.
- Into The Wind: The first part of guitar was tracked thru mini Marshall which battery operated. When I went back to the hotel from the studio in Los Angeles, I played the cassette of rough mix of this song with maximum volume. And I got these harmonies!
- In The Lead: Since I had to write for the racing game, this one is my version of “Kickstart my heart”. About the guitar solo, I like harmonies as you can listen to…
- Watch Me Fly...: One night, I started playing this riff…and finish writing within 2 hours. Johnny's singing was very smooth and emotional, I love this one too…
- Fuel Me: This song has cool combination of backing guitars. Solid, tight and powerful song…Good for opening the show, how about it?
- Dangerous Ground: My favorite part is the guitar solo…Hmmm…this song will be good for opening the show too…
- All The Way: My friend added the great guitar solo. I did the harmonies part on the last. Good driving song…Johnny had a great idea for verse section!
- Open Your Heart: Our first step. When I started writing this song, I've never seen with Johnny, and I didn't have any idea to make contact with him…And since he was pleased with the song we did, we could start our engines. It was awesome experience for me to do with my favorite singer!
- It Doesn't Matter: This is the one I wrote for Tony Harnell. I didn't need any other singer, I wanted him to sing this song. I like this one sooooo much. If I have a chance, I want to make EP with him… I have several great ideas for his voice… But I'm busy with my work and CRUSH 40, also he's busy with TNT and Westworld…
- Escape From The City: I think it's the first time that Ted did something with Tony. Good combination, don't you think so? Ted did a great job for the singing and the lyrics…
MelodicRock: Anything you would like to add Jun?
Jun Senoue: If you want to check what I did for the videogame, you can find some CDs…I did another version of "It Doesn't Matter" with Tony, and killer song with Paul Shortino too. Here's the link for the amazon.com….
MelodicRock: What music are you currently listening to?
Jun Senoue: Any kind of music…From classic rock to female pop singer… Avril, Michelle branch, Foo Fighters, American Hi-Fi, Billy Idol, Ratt, many others…I want to listen to what George Lynch did with Robert Mason.
MelodicRock: Thanks again for taking the time out to answer these questions!
Jun Senoue: My pleasure! I hope you can enjoy our album and will do my best to finish making next one ASAP!!!