|Square||Game Developer||1998 - 2003||Composer|
|Rebirth Music||Music Production||2006 -||Producer, Composer, Arranger|
Former Square member Takahito Eguchi currently works as a freelancer on various game, anime, film, and pop music productions. Born on August 28, 1971 in Nagasaki, Eguchi became interested in music the age of six when he heard the sound of a neighbour’s piano. While his parents did not come from a musical environment and his dad tried to push him into athletics, they eventually agreed to let him take piano lessons throughout his adolescence. He prospered while learning the instrument and developed an interest in composition after being inspired by a variety of jazz, electronic, modernist, and pop musicians. Eguchi went on to study professionally at the Tokyo Conservatoire Shobi, where he cultivated his personality and developed versatility. Here, he met Noriko Matsueda; initially a friendly and impressive rival, she became his long-term composing partner and, eventually, his wife.
After graduating from the conservatoire, Eguchi produced numerous musical compositions, joined a band as a keyboardist, and even worked as a software designer. He nevertheless remained inseparable from Matsueda, providing advice on music manipulation during her first game project, 1995’s Front Mission. He subsequently orchestrated the main theme of Bahamut Lagoon for its album release and brought depth to the orchestral score for Front Mission 2 with several arrangements and synthesizer programming. Eguchi’s first compositions for Square appeared on the racing RPG Racing Lagoon. Though his role was minor relative to his partner’s, he was responsible for opening and ending themes, the sheer majority of the battle themes and a bonus remix. His audacious contributions added to the intensity and danger of the street racing game their hard-hitting rock and electronic elements. In spite of Square’s modest budget, they also notably incorporated saxophone and guitar performances by Eguchi’s friends.
Eguchi collaborated with Matsueda in a more equal role on the beat ’em up The Bouncer for the PlayStation 2. Its score blended dramatic cinematic compositions with contemporary character and battle themes. While many themes were collaborations, Eguchi’s fingerprints are featured across the score’s orchestrations and electronic fusions. The game’s ending theme "Forevermore" also gave Eguchi his first taste of producing pop music and its English adaptation, produced with Narada Michael Walden, featured on a special charity album. Having made a rustle in the industry with this song, Eguchi was subsequently asked to produce jazz-tinged arrangements of the original songs "Back Together Now", "Listen" and "White Shiny Street", sung by pop idol Akinori Nakagawa. He also explored the characters of Spira while creating two uplifting songs on the Final Fantasy X Vocal Collection. In addition, he developed a collaboration with Yoko Shimomura while mixing "Hand in Hand -Reprise-" for Kingdom Hearts.
Closing his time at Square, Eguchi scored the music for 2003’s Final Fantasy X-2 with Matsueda. Rather than reuse themes from the predecessor, the duo reflected the rejuvenation of Spira with various upbeat pop-flavoured themes. Eguchi nevertheless inspired deeper emotions among gamers with several action orchestrations and the love ballad "1000 Words", sung by Koda Kumi. While the soundtrack was a considerable commercial success, its outlandish approach inspired a hostile response from many consumers. Eguchi returned to the project to create new music for the international version and also took the central role on the game’s succession of album releases; he produced an instrumental single featuring three favourites from the game, contrasted the personalities of the game’s three characters on their vocal collections, and finally arranged two items for the piano collection. He subsequently left Square to become a freelancer while his partner retired from the music industry.
As a freelancer, Eguchi continued to pursue scoring productions, but initially focused on animation and pop production rather than gaming. He initially complemented the scenes of 2003’s D.N. Angel with a range of background music, ranging from intimate piano explorations to pulsating action orchestrations. His compositions were lavishly produced, featuring cutting-edge samplers and large ensemble performances. Following this success, he produced another score for Trinity Blood, hybridising orchestral and choral performances with electronic features. He extended his experience from Square as a vocal composer on this title. Despite these major roles, Eguchi remained close to his former colleagues. He mixed Yoko Shimomura’s contributions to the arranged albums for Dark Cloud 2 and Street Fighter II, before orchestrating Nobuo Uematsu’s iconic ballad "Distant Worlds" for Final Fantasy XI.
In 2004, Eguchi established a long-running collaboration with rapper SEAMO as an arranger. He has enhanced various iconic singles for the artist, spanning the upbeat "Let the Sea" and "Promise", to the intimate "Cry Baby" and "Mother", with suitable instrumental parts and other elaborations. He found such productions rewarding, given he was able to channel his talents for vocal arrangement with cutting-edge stylistic approaches. Combining his talents for vocal music production with his long interest in creating music-for-visuals, he went on to produce the theme songs for a number of major animes. On Fantastic Children, Prince of Tennis, and Rental Magicka, he matched the scenarios of the animations with consumer’s expectations for pop music. Among other successes, Eguchi was asked to create the high-profile theme songs for Gundam Evolve and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: Special Edition II.
Since 2007, Eguchi has also worked with Sega on a range of titles. He enhanced the theme songs of Sonic the Hedgehog with rich string arrangements, before bringing drama to the cutscenes of Sonic Unleashed with numerous cinematic cues and orchestrations performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In further roles, Eguchi performed the keyboard parts of Sonic Colors, produced some background music for Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll, and arranged the theme song "Sa-Ku-Ra". In 2009, Eguchi returned to Square Enix once more to arrange the majority of The Star Oceans’ second album, Sanctuary; his acoustic and world music interpretations brought new warmth and depth to Naoshi Mizuta’s originals. Having become lovers during their time together at Square, Eguchi married Noriko Matsueda in 2009.
As a leading member of sound production company Rebirth Music, Eguchi has enjoyed a range of roles in the Japanese record industry in recent years. In addition to his long-running collaboration with SEAMO, he has adapted the YUKI’s music for a special concert performance, between supporting tours of Akinori Nakagawa and Takashi Hamazaki with piano performances. The artist has also been responsible for orchestrating the music of Boyz II Men for their Japanese concert tour with the New York Symphonic Ensemble. Carefully balancing such work with scoring projects, he took a major role on the score for 2012’s Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure, filling the main theme and event scenes with a big band jazz influence. Most recently, Eguchi made an impact on the Japanese film industry with his music for the feature-length romance movie Ultimate Happiness. Takahito Eguchi is undoubtedly one of the most successful artists to emerge from Square.
© Biography by Chris Greening (September 2007). Last updated on December 30, 2012. Do not republish without formal permission.