An Interview with Camellia

A conversation with the creator of our latest high-octane Content Bank, Microwave Proof.

Camellia is the creator of the new Kilohearts Content Bank, Microwave Proof. He kindly sat down and answered some questions for us about his work, his life, and his sword.

Q: Welcome. Hello. How are you today?

A: Thank you for inviting me to the interview! I'm doing good ☺️ (Smiles) (Smiles) (Holding a sword)

Q: In one sentence, how would you describe your Content Bank, Microwave Proof?

A: It's really filled with a lot of various kinds of sounds, especially -- as it's named -- the sounds that I used for making a song "The Cat Evolved Into The Microwave-proof Cat!". (Strange title, right? Hope you enjoy the stupidity that I have and I can't hold it in myself)

Q: When you design sounds do you have a particular philosophy? Is it random tweaking until you hear something you like? Or do you have a plan and aim for a sound you hear in your head?

A: In short, both! It depends on the sort of sound that I aim to make though, but usually, there is a certain plan of what kind of atmosphere, texture, or role how the sound does, if it's not too complicated. But on the other hand, if it gets quite complicated like aggressive bass sound or metallic trap lead sound, I usually try a trial-and-error style instead.

Q: Are there any key words that define the "Camellia sound"? What is it that makes your work unique?

A: That's actually so hard to answer! Even for me I'm not quite sure -- I make basically whatever I like. So, maybe that is the key word; I keep trying to combine a lot of sounds, genres, atmosphere and/or instruments, I believe it builds up some unique, flavorful, even chaotic characteristics. Again to be honest I'm not quite sure, probably some of my fans understand me even better than me...

Q: Which artists are your top three influences?

A: Oh my goodness this interview is filled with a lot of hard questions haha. (took a day to list up my favorite artists and narrow down to 3) OK it sounds a little bit weird to you, but let me pick up my favorite three, there are more, absolutely though. RIOT, Nekomata Master (Naoyuki Sato), and Toby Fox.

RIOT is a musical unit who makes a hybrid between metal and bass-music, particularly dubstep. I love both genres and they are in the super-high dimension of both of them.

Nekomata Master, Naoyuki Sato is also known in the Japanese rhythm game scene, particularly in BEMANI, and he creates really unique electronic sounds, that sometimes feature ethnic, "world" sounds. It's so fantastic I bet you'll be surprised if you've never listened to it and once you listen to it.

And last but not least, Toby Fox is, you know, the creator and the composer of Undertale / Deltarune. He really loves games (you know), and his crazy point is he doesn't hold it in himself, but he releases it freely. It makes me realize I don't have to hold it in either -- I somehow thought it should be held in. 

Q: You're a big name in rhythm games. What factors make good rhythm game music? Does rhythmic creativity matter more than, say, harmonic or timbral innovation?

A: Thank you so much. Actually, as the name suggests and as you say, rhythm is a huge factor I believe. On melody, on drums, or on whatever, there should be a lot of complicated and interesting patterns that are fun to play if it's a good rhythm game track. Maybe it's more important than melodies or harmonies themselves.

At the same time, I believe good rhythm game tracks tend to have diverse, even "dense" song progressions and various sections. It creates a certain feeling in a song that listeners don't get bored at. Nobody doesn't want to be bored, do they? Are you feeling bored?

Q: Haha. Not at all! Can you tell us about one project you've worked on in the past that makes you truly proud?

A: It may be just a song commission, more likely than a "project", but one of them is making a song for DDR; Dance Dance Revolution. I was playing the game from when I was 6 or 7, and I'm sure it had the biggest impact on my music taste. It was a big honor that I made a song for them, that was an absolutely fantastic moment.

Also related to DDR, it's also really awesome. I got into SOUND VOLTEX which is another BEMANI arcade rhythm game. It introduces me to a lot of players, and one of my biggest reasons is that there are a lot of fans around the rhythm game community.

Q: What do you like to do besides music and sound design? Is it important to you to take a break from music, or does your whole life relate to your work in some way?

A: Honestly I don't have much stuff I do other than music. I do love to play games, but often my schedule is just too hectic to play my favorites. I still believe it's important to take break time from music though, it's sometimes difficult.

And somewhat related, I also love to read manga (Japanese comics) and to watch movies, but as my habit, I tend to relate them with my music including playing games. Mangas are often the base of my inspiration, and movies and games have music in themselves, so I'm always trying to catch and how I can "use" those ideas in my music if I were them. In this way, they are completely related to my work almost directly.

Q: When you're choosing tools to work with day-to-day (synths, plugins etc.) what are you looking for? Ease of use? Experimental ideas? Simplicity? Sound quality? What makes something a good tool for you?

A: Sorry for answering in a really practical way -- CPU usage. Often my work project ends up having over 200 tracks, even though I've done one that has 450+ tracks (wow). Let's say if it used 0.3% of CPU for each track, in this case it sums up over 100% of CPU calculation power, right? Actually sometimes it's really frustrating that I can't play at x1 rate in reality and lagging hard when I try to play. So, yeah, it matters a lot honestly.

Also I put emphasis on creativity. I actually majored in programming and coding at my college, and I'm used to thinking like making sounds with 'coding' part by part, or a 'module' like a function and reusing them to build bigger things. I feel, on this point, the snapin system matches so much on my way to create sounds!

And moe. I wanna feel moe when I work on something.

Q: What tool would you like that you don't currently have?

A: A comfortable chair, a good spine without any backache, and a MOTHER 3 cartridge. If I could have something that doesn't exist, I would add a new Kirby Airride on Switch.

Q: Is there anything about your work, your career, that you'd like to see change over the next five, ten, twenty years? Do you have any dreams you haven't yet achieved? Are there things you'd like to try, but haven't yet?

A: So, long story short, I used to go karaoke with my friends and still love to sing. Thanks to that, my voice is quite -- actually really -- loud, and it causes trouble that I can't DJ in my room. Mine is like a metal concert since I love metal music, I hop around, shout a lot, even start to sing some melodies, and headbang once I find a moment I can haha. Yeah, one of my want-to-try-but-haven't-yet dreams is, having an online dj gig with full volume of my voice, without being worried about my neighbors.

Q: What kinds of people should get your Content Bank? Who is it good for, and what will it give to them?

A: I think my Content Bank is not focused on a particular genre, but more like various and versatile. So I think it can be a good entrance for creators who want to try new sounds.

Also sometimes, with modules such as max, min, and multiply, I made some kind of boolean parameters just for convenience. This kind of shenanigan is usually impractical, but knowing how to create these options and using them is way different. I think my Content Bank gives you several ideas in this way.

Q: What advice would you give to young professionals who admire you and your work, and want in some way to follow in your footsteps?

A: This might be a really weird answer, but seriously: do not follow me like really exactly, or let's say do not trace. Actually we are different people that have different tastes, different favorites. I'm doing what I love, but it may not be for you, you know. Do what you want to, and you don't have to follow me when it's not what you want to do, in this means. Plus if you have options (usually we have them though), please choose one that you won't regret. That's the best thing.

Camellia is a Japanese composer, arranger, and lyricist, who creates liberated, powerful music inspired mainly by EDM but with a wide range of other flavours too.

Camellia's music is very popular in rhythm game communities, such as osu!, Beat Saber, Friday Night Funkin', and numerous BEMANI series titles.

Other notable projects include providing music and remixes for several anime series, Hololive's virtual talent Shishiro Botan, Hololive English members, and Niji Sanji's Ratna Petit.

Kilohearts Press Team Thursday, December 2, 2021

Related products

Microwave Proof