A while back, I was told by Shion Francois from Babel Entertainment that Nobuo Uematsu and The Earthbound Papas would be coming to the US to do some shows.
In a strange twist of fate, around the same time, my friend Noelle had mentioned that her son, Journey, decided he is going to pursue composing video game music. I told her that, as luck would have it, there may be an opportunity for him to interview Nobuo Uematsu when he makes an appearance in L.A.
Here is what Noelle recalled from the event yesterday:
Nobuo Uematsu… He becomes this charming happy soul who at first meeting strikes you as a cross between Pat Morita in Karate Kid with David Suzuki, brilliant man of science; Nova. And I just can’t shake seeing such a perfect blend of those 2 characters… one fictional, the other tangible and both utterly endearing.
Chip had seen my FB post announcing that at long last, my son Journey Kim, in his high school senior year has finally decided what he wants to pursue as a career… He wants to compose music for video games! Within minutes of reading my happy announcement, Chip chimed in via PM telling me to ask Journey if he knows who Nobuo Uematsu is and if he wants to see/meet him. Well, I speak with Journey later, pose the Nobou question and he gets all kinds of excited and asks several times “Are you serious?” “He’s a freakin’ legend!”… then “you’re messin’ with me aren’t you? You’re serious? I could meet him???!!!” And Chip has already said that heck, why don’t we have Journey interview him? And when I relay he might have THAT chance well… He near about lost his mind. (On the inside)
The day approaches ever closer, Journey finally solidly gets confirmation from Chip just 2 days before the show, that he will indeed get the interview. Journey pops out some questions, 8 are arrived at to use for a brief 10 minute interview and now, we are actually in the car, on our way… to UCLA we go, Moore Hall is not hard to find… now to meet Chip’s cool connection Shion Francois, the man who hooked it up, manager, booker and president of Babel Entertainment (www.babelentertainment.com)
Shion escorts Chip and Journey to the interview room. The door opens and there stands a man you just want to hug, even before he says a word… He’s adorable… too adorable to be intimidated by and as I find my seat a few feet away, I think to myself, relieved on my son’s behalf that he must be breathing a sigh of relief to find this legend so sweet, aware and approachable…
Heck, at some point, Nobou has spotted my cool ass Fetish In Vinyl Cat Stevens “Tea For The Tillerman” purse and just can’t stop himself from saying. “Oh, I love Cat Stevens, he’s so great. I have all his records.” We bond. Over a Cat Stevens handbag. It’s zen. Who knew? But noooooo… Journey is still in awe, I see it in his eyes and his demeanor… he so wants to do a good job and be professional. He succeeds… no voice cracking, no OMG, OMG, OMG moments of teendom. Brandon, the chock full of inflection and personality translator conveys Journey’s questions and with each one, Nobuo truly reflects, digs within himself in an honest way to answer with sincerity but never takes himself seriously. You can tell Nobuo is enjoying the ride and it rubs off on all around him… you just feel gosh darn happy but lucky to share a room with him. He is irrepressible, in the moment, and humble but not unaware of his good fortune. This man has composed every Final Fantasy for god’s sake (just one game in a see of billion dollar vids he’s tracked) … it occurs to me that this man may very well have been part of more units sold of any media (erego, heard/known by more) than some of the biggest bands you’ve ever heard of. Of course this is an alleged supposition on my part since I honestly haven’t done the math… but if I do, I’ll add it, report it, what have you. Suffice to say, his body of work having evolved from as far back as Nintendo game unit days, is dauntingly formidable.
The interview ends, I see Journey unclench a tad and next thing you know he’s playing 2 songs of Nobou’s on his guitar he’s brought with him. Nobou’s face lights up, he is just so PRESENT… it’s inspiring! Chip shoots some cool footage of Journey’s reaction and the whole time, Chip’s daughter is being just about the coolest little kindergarten girl ever. She has her own camera and is shooting her own shots, video and footage. I enjoyed her company thoroughly.
We are seated 2nd row center and treated to several of Nobou’s songs by UCLA orchestra music students who, in one short week’s time, had put together a pretty decent set list and should be proud of themselves! The female cellist and violinist were really quite spectacular and the gent who played the solo keyboards was no slouch, either.
The Earthbound Papas have heard the whole show, and comment later how flattered they were and touched that these students payed his music such respect.
Thanks for writing this, Noelle. Part 2 is coming soon..