< 12, Dec, 2014 >
When we listen to popular music, we mostly have the recorded songs. And between listeners and the songs, there is usually a process called mastering. That is an important bridge for music, like adjusting the length of the silence between songs, adding ambience and more.
This time, I interviewed with a popular mastering engineer Koizumi Yuka who has engineered at “Orange.” Beyond genres, she has mastered countless CDs of many artists like B’z, Exile, Hakase Taro, Sakamoto Ryuichi, Yazawa Eikichi, Zard and so on. Here is Mastering Studio “Orange,” and you are a visitor, now.
■ That is Final Fantasy’s..?
Koizumi Yuka: Right, it’s Chocobo. You know, I have mastered soundtracks of Final Fantasy. He’s been there because he trembles when it sounds strong in bass. That is one of my precious partners.
■ I see. Now, first, let me ask why you tried to be a mastering engineer.
K: I’d belonged to a rock band in my high school days, and got interested in recording. Then, I went to a professional training college. I basically desired to become a recording engineer. At the time, the middle of 1980s, we hardly heard “mastering.” There was only “cutting” for analog records. I became a mastering engineer because it was a narrow gate for women to be recording engineers and wider was another door to the mastering ones.
■ Dawn of mastering. By the way, what did you play at the rock band?
K: I was a drummer. I preferred making rhythm behind as drums and basses to being right on display like vocals and guitars. We sometimes used to play our original songs.
■ It says you are a natural-born property man. Then afterwards you had worked at several studios like Onkio Haus and established this “Orange” in 1997. How come?
K: Difficult to explain… Every mastering engineer fundamentally has each room in order to control quality, though recording engineers don’t have. In the case of being employed by a company, an almost tendency, sometimes other engineers change the setting like quarters of loudspeakers and so on. That is to say, “Orange” is a mastering room for nobody but Koizumi Yuka and I need for my work by all means.
■ This is your best mastering studio, I know. Well, where did the name “Orange” come from?
K: I picked up amongst various candidacies since Orange is a color which never means something evil in all countries.
■ Being a mastering engineer, day after day, you keep listening to music don’t you? Do you hear music as your private affairs?
K: Needless to mention, I have to rest my ears and keep them away from music when I am tired. But I usually listen to my favorite songs of Western music. Never turn to dislike LOL. Ears are expendables. So I don’t play my stereo at full volume and never listen to music in low-resolution audio on my earphone.
■ How many CDs do you master a year?
K: 400 in the busiest year, namely, two or more a day. I have recently done about 200 a year.
■ Wow, you are reasonable to rest your ears. Well, what is the first CD you mastered?
K: “Black Shoes” by Char, released in 1989. I met him a few days ago. I truly appreciate all he’s done with me.