Akira Kosemura is a Japanese composer, producer and founder of his own label Schole. He is a prolific artist, constantly releasing solo albums and composing music for films, TV drama, games, stage, and commercial music. In 2022 he signed a contract with prestigious Decca Records, and his first major album ''Seasons'' was released on June 30, 2023. Don't miss our interview with Akira Kosemura about his music, composing and life.

What initially drew you to the world of music, and how did your passion for composing and performing develop over time?

I was learning how to play piano since I was three years old. So that’s my first experience into the music in my life. My passion is not changing actually, I was in university when I started to compose, and now I’m 38 years old and I have my family, living with wife and son, so the life has completely changed but the music is still in my very precious space of my life. To composing my music, it’s something close to the thing beyond my personality or humanity. It’s something more noble.

How has your cultural background and Japanese heritage influenced your approach to composition and the way you express yourself musically?

I’m not sure about it. Japan has a very unique cultural background, after the World War II, Japan was completely changed by the US and Europe imported culture, and they were blended with Japan’s culture, lifestyle, music etc. So I suppose it’s very unique. Since I was born, I’ve been influenced by them so it definitely influenced me to compose the music but I don’t awareness.

Photo Credit: Yusuke Abe

Your music has been described as "minimalist" and "emotionally resonant." How do you balance simplicity and complexity in your compositions to evoke deep emotional responses from your listeners? How do you personally connect with the emotions embedded in your compositions? Do you draw from personal experiences or rely on empathy to convey the intended feelings?

When I compose the music, I always play the piano or keyboards extemporarily, and waiting to the things come along. There’s no personal experiences or personal emotions, for example, I’m a vessel to receive the things come along, but I’m not sure when it comes or where it comes from, so I’m just waiting during playing the instruments. That’s the beginning for all project, and then I will focus the concept. I always care about the emotions to control it, because I don’t like the music that was strongly reflects the composer’s feelings. I always prefer the music has more spaces to be able to inspired their imagination or reflects their mind for each listeners.

Can you talk about your relationship with the piano as an instrument? What qualities of the piano make it the perfect medium for expressing your musical ideas?

For me, the piano is a partner to live with the music. I’m always using my own upright piano since I was 9 years old, and it still continues for all my recordings. To compose the music, it definitely influenced by the instruments, my own upright piano has an atmospheric sounds including the mechanical noises, and it always inspires me.

Many composers have rituals or specific environments that help foster their creativity. Can you describe your creative process when composing a new piece of music? What inspires and influences your compositions? Many artists find inspiration in diverse sources outside of music. What are some non-musical influences that have shaped your artistic vision and impacted your approach to composition?

I have my own place to compose the music, there’s a big window, I can feel the sun lights and sometimes the birds come along. As I told you, I always play the piano or keyboards extemporarily, and waiting to the things come along. Most of my inspirations or influences are from the nature, because I think that I’m a vessel and I’m a part of the cycle of nature, I am doing the things I should do, that’s the music for me.

What do you hope listeners will take away from your new album "SEASONS"? Is there a particular message or emotional experience you aimed to convey through the album as a whole or any specific tracks?

Yes, I hope the people listen to my new album “SEASONS” and feel something from it. The most important thing is what the listeners find from it through the listening to the music, and not understanding the composer’s message or emotional experience.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals as a composer and musician? Are there any new projects or directions you are excited to explore in the future?

I hope my musical life will continue and my music will be something for me and for someone, that’s all. I have already making the new album since 2020, and I’m aiming to finish it until this summer’s end. This project is very important for me because there’s many challenges for me first time, and collaborating with many artists in the world. I cannot explain so much yet, but this will makes you excited.

Can you share any advice or insights for aspiring composers who are looking to develop their unique musical voice and navigate the challenges of the industry?

The most important thing is what you listen to your voice in your mind. I always do and the music come along suddenly. You don’t have to listen to someone’s music a lot. My advice is that you walk around, or go to forest, park, somewhere else you can feel better, comfortable and listening to your voice carefully, then you will find your own music. There’s no answers.

Finally, from your perspective, what is the meaning of life?

Of course, I’m not sure yet. But I always listen to my own voice very carefully, and not doing the things what I don’t comfortable. That’s working well for now. And I’m trying to be nice as much as possible, that’s very important thing for living life but also a very difficult thing as well.