Yamaoka in 2010
|Native name||山岡 晃|
February 6, 1968|
Akira Yamaoka (山岡 晃 Yamaoka Akira, born February 6, 1968) is a Japanese video game composer, sound designer, guitarist, and producer, best known for composing various games in the Silent Hill series by Konami. He also once worked as a producer on the series, as well as serving as a composer and producer of the Silent Hill film and its sequel. Currently, he is the sound director at Grasshopper Manufacture.
Yamaoka joined Konami on September 21, 1993. He immediately began to work on the games Contra: Hard Corps, Sparkster, and Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2. He then shortly thereafter worked on the music for the PC Engine and Sega CD versions of Snatcher. When Konami began searching for a musician to compose Silent Hill's score, Yamaoka volunteered because he thought he was the only one capable of making the soundtrack. Although initially hired as a composer, he soon became involved in overall sound design.
On December 2, 2009, it was announced that Yamaoka was leaving his long term employer Konami. On February 3, 2010, it was announced that Yamaoka has joined Grasshopper Manufacture and was working with Goichi Suda and Shinji Mikami on their action game, Shadows of the Damned. He was first appointed to the role of chief sound officer at Grasshopper, but became involved in aspects of game production as well.
On August 10, 2012, Yamaoka announced he would be releasing a second solo album in late 2012, one "different from the usual Silent Hill music." On October 31, 2012, he announced via Facebook, that the new three track Spanish language single "Revolución" would premiere at V-CON during a live performance. In 2014, he expressed interest in returning as a composer for Silent Hills, although the project was later canceled.
In late October and early November 2015, Yamaoka and his band performed tracks from the Silent Hill series at nine live events in cities across the United Kingdom, titled "Silent Hill Live". In July 2016, Yamaoka performed live at the BitSummit 4th indie game festival in Kyoto, Japan.
Before working as a video game composer, Yamaoka initially sought a career as a designer, but instead became a musician after studying product design at Tokyo Art College.
Yamaoka stated in a 2009 interview that his favorite game creator is Suda 51, and his favorite video game is No More Heroes. His favorite of his own soundtracks is Silent Hill 2. In March 2011, Yamaoka auctioned some of his musical instruments for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami Play for Japan flood relief. In a 2014 interview, he stated his favorite film was Dario Argento's Suspiria.
Musical style and influences
When asked what other artists influenced his work, Yamaoka cited Trent Reznor as his "main inspiration, both performing and in music style." Among his other influences are Angelo Badalamenti (best known for his soundtrack work with David Lynch), Metallica and Depeche Mode.
When asked if his studies at Tokyo Art College had helped him in his musical career, he replied: "At that time, Mick Karn of Japan, Steve Strange of Visage, and a lot of other musicians combined the notions of Art and Music with their own new style. I got really influenced by that. Therefore, every time I write songs, I try to combine Art and Music." He has also stated that he derives much of his influence from baroque styles common throughout the 18th century.
Yamaoka stated some of his favorite songs to be "Der Mussolini" by D.A.F., "Amber" by Craig Armstrong, "Moments In Love" by Anne Dudley, "Moon Over Moscow" by Visage, and "The Ecstasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone.
- Video games
- Smart Ball (1991) – with Yasuhiko Fukuda and Manabu Saito
- Contra: Hard Corps (1994) – with Hiroshi Kobayashi, Michiru Yamane, Hirofumi Taniguchi, and Aki Hata
- Sparkster (1994) – with Kazuhiko Uehara, Masahiro Ikariko, Minako Matsuhira, and Michiru Yamane
- Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 (1994) – with Michiru Yamane
- Snatcher (1994) (sound programming only) with Keizou Nakamura, Masanori Adachi, Kazuhito Imai, and Masanori Oouchi
- Gradius Deluxe Pack (1996) – with Miki Higashino, Kiyohiko Yamane, and Motoaki Furukawa
- Ganbare Goemon: Uchū Kaizoku Akogingu (1996) – with Michiru Yamane, Takayuki Fujii, Motoaki Furukawa, Tappi Iwase, Latino, Hiroshi Tamawari, and Shoichiro Hirata
- Speed King (1996) (PlayStation version)
- Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken (1996) – one song only
- International Superstar Soccer Pro (1997)
- Nagano Winter Olympics '98 (1998) – with Soshiro Hokkai and Keiko Fukami
- Poy Poy 2 (1998)
- Kensei: Sacred Fist (1998) – with Kyoran Suzuki and Norikazu Miura
- International Superstar Soccer Pro 98 (1998) – with Shinji Enomoto, Kosuke Soeda, Nobuhiko Matsufuji, and Hideki Kasai
- Silent Hill (1999)
- ISS Pro Evolution (1999) – with Shinji Enomoto, Kosuke Soeda, and Hideki Kasai
- Bemani series (1999-2012)
- Gradius III and IV (2000)
- ESPN MLS GameNight (2000) – with Shinji Enomoto, Kosuke Soeda, and Hideki Kasai
- Silent Hill 2 (2001)
- Contra: Shattered Soldier (2002) – with Sota Fujimori
- Silent Hill 3 (2003)
- Rumble Roses (2004) – with many others
- Silent Hill 4: The Room (2004)
- Rumble Roses XX (2006) – with many others
- Silent Hill: Origins (2007)
- Silent Hill Homecoming (2008)
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009)
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (2010) – with Masafumi Takada and Jun Fukuda
- Shadows of the Damned (2011)
- Rebuild of Evangelion: Sound Impact (2011) – arrangement
- Sine Mora (2012)
- Liberation Maiden (2012) – sound producer
- Lollipop Chainsaw (2012) – music director
- Black Knight Sword (2012)
- Silent Hill: Book of Memories (2012) – guitars on "Love Psalm (Book of Memories)"
- Rotolla (2013)
- Killer Is Dead (2013) – music director
- Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day (2014)
- Murasaki Baby (2014) – ending song only, "Neeko"
- Persona 4: Dancing All Night (2015) – one remix only, "Time To Make History"
- Puzzle & Dragons X (2016) – with Kenji Ito, Yuzo Koshiro, and Keigo Ozaki
- The Silver Case HD Remaster (2016) – arrangements
- Let It Die (2016) – music director
- Astro Boy: Edge of Time (2017)
- Silent Hill (2006) – executive producer
- Silent Hill: Revelation (2012) – with Jeff Danna
- Patema Inverted (2014) – sound director
- Kuso (2017) – with Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin, Thundercat, and various others
- iFuturelist (2006)
- Play for Japan: The Album (2011) – with many others
- SDATCHER (2011)
- Revolución (2012)
- "Rinkaku (Eternal Slumber Mix)" by Dir En Grey (2012)
- "Sustain the Untruth (Remix)" by Dir En Grey (2014)
- "A New Silent Hill on the Way From Konami".
- "Director's Blog - Silent Hill 2 Composer". Archived from the original on 2011-12-05.
- "Interview with Akira Yamaoka". spelmusik.net. July 2002. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- "Akira Yamaoka - Sound Director". Anony.ws. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- Remo, Chris (December 2, 2009). "Report: Silent Hill Composer Yamaoka Leaves Konami". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- "Silent Hill composer Yamaoka joins Suda 51's 'video game band'".
- "AKIRA YAMAOKA - Interview in Spain at Play Fest".
- "AKIRA YAMAOKA - New Single Premieres at V-CON".
- Priestman, Chris. "Silent Hill Composer To Perform The Soundtracks Live This Halloween". Siliconera. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- Blake, Vikki. "New Dates Confirmed for Silent Hill's Akira Yamaoka UK Tour". IGN. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Greening, Chris. "Akira Yamaoka headlines BitSummit 4th lineup". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- Nintendo Power, Volume 248
- "Akira Yamaoka (Person)". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- Wahlgren, Jon. "Playlist: Grasshopper Manufacture's Akira Yamaoka". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- Greening, Chris. "Ito, Koshiro, Yamaoka join forces for latest Puzzle & Dragons soundtrack". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- Greening, Chris. "Akira Yamaoka's latest soundtrack to release next month". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Sackenheim, Shawn. "Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler". originalsoundversion.com. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Bein, Kat. "Help Flying Lotus Make His First Movie 'Kuso'". Billboard. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
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