“Take and learn from America and give the same amount of value to America that would make this country rich.”
Japanese-born composer and musician, Akira Komatsu says, you must make rejection your best friend in order to succeed in pursuing your dream. Starting his career as a Jazz-oriented guitarist and music instructor and scoring a wide range of projects, including TV and radio commercials, and many independent films, working in the Dramatic, Pop, Rock, Electronic, and Jazz genres, Akira’s music is unique, highly emotive, and sometimes very quirky! Some of his credits include Oni Matsuri , Director: Nana Blank, Matthew Nguyen, Freefall, Director: Wataru Sakata, Killer Title And Magic Words, Director: Naoto Yamakawa and a plethora of amazing compositions.
In an interview with The Immigrant Magazine, Akira shares his journey and why his love for his craft is all he ever dreamed of.
TIM: Where were you born?
Akira Komatsu: Tokyo, Japan.
TIM: What kind of childhood did you have?
Akira Komatsu: Not extraordinary but I have loved listening by myself from a very early age. My favorite were Carpenters, JAWS and Kenny & Co.’s soundtrack albums.
TIM: Why and when did you come to the USA?
Akira Komatsu: Why?Once I was here in 1995-6 as a student at Musicians Institute of Technology and I went home after I graduated. I was totally happy here in LA in my student days.
I have been thinking I want to come back to LA and pursue my dream since then. When? Dec 26 2017
TIM: How was settling in for you?
Akira Komatsu: My mind was filled with anxiety, honesty I say, I might have thought too deeply because I left so many things behind.
TIM: How did you realize you have the gift of music? What made you pursue your passion?
Akira Komatsu: There were some good guitarists in my highschool but I was the only one who improvised. I thought I was different from others. Things other than music are too boring to do.
TIM: What got you into composing and playing the guitar?
Akira Komatsu: There were many older boys who played the guitar around me. Such a childhood made me feel like playing guitar someday. Composing came later. Film directors and actors came to talk to me sometimes when I was playing my compositions with my band at small clubs in Tokyo. Then I began to compose for film from time to time.
TIM: What is your inspiration?
Akira Komatsu: Motion pictures or any other film or media works. I am inspired by the movement, tempo, colors, etc, that moving images have.
TIM: At what age did you start composing?
Akira Komatsu: At 25 years old I guess.
TIM: What is your favorite part about composing and performing?
Akira Komatsu: With regards to composition, it is a goose bumping moment when my sound is blended with the sound that films originally have and works great as an extension of the story. Playing the guitar, I want to express myself as much as possible.
TIM: What are some of your compositions?
Akira Komatsu: For horror and suspense cues mostly these days. I love drama, documentary and coming of age, too.
TIM: Is it hard pursuing this dream rather than a traditional career?
Akira Komatsu: I can’t say yes or no. Though it has been a long way and a long way to go to pursue your dream, working in a company is stressful and human relationships kill you sometimes, I know it from my experience.
TIM: What do say to immigrants who come here to pursue their dreams and what it takes to succeed?
Akira Komatsu: Just show up. Keep your head up. Resilience. Be a good friend of rejection.
TIM: What is your philosophy of success?
Akira Komatsu: Be you.
TIM: As an immigrant what kind of values do you think immigrants bring to this country?
Akira Komatsu: That is a great question. I was told by a lady in the industry that not to imitate American, there were many of them here already so we don’t need fake American. Take and learn from America and give the same amount of value to America that would make this country rich.
TIM: Do you miss home and has your time in the USA been all that you dreamed of?
Akira Komatsu: Not mostly. Sometimes I get nostalgic. I worry about my family left behind a bit.
TIM: Where do you see your future as an artist?
Akira Komatsu: I love horror composing and guitar music at the same time. Pat Metheny meets Christopher Young type sound is my image. It would be nice to compose for films and have a cine live concert tour like Eric Serra.
TIM: Thank you Akira Komatsu Composer-Guitarist And for sharing such great wisdom why rejection is your best friend!
Learn more about Akira Komatsu at www.akirakomatsu.com