The Kajiura/FictionJunction panel was probably the first panel I absolutely wanted to head to on my list. I've been a fan of Kajiura since she did music for Noir, admired her work in See-Saw (and setting the stage for Ishikawa Chiaki), adored FictionJunction songs wherever they were played, and fell in love with Kalafina. I didn't really have any questions for her, but it would have been outstanding to get an autograph. (Sadly, I didn't.)
There was a wonderful line to get into Live Programming 1, where the Kajiura panel was being held. I had the unfortunate honor of standing next to a Premier Pass guy who had an unhealthy amount of pride and arrogance, thinking that he was better than everyone else, whether it be TF2 ability (despite not knowing how to properly work basic Spy powers), fan power level (boasting about the ability to scalp a Maid Cafe ticket to a bunch of girls), or musical taste (LiSA being the only person he cares about ever, despite her appearing on the scene only recently). Save for VManOfMana who I had run into last year (I think), every Premier person I've met were similarly self-aggrandizing assholes with surprisingly narrow interests.
In any case, I didn't sit anywhere near him at the actual panel.
Kajiura and FictionJunction singers walked out onto the stage to much applause. Or at least as much a bunch of sleepy congoers could manage. Keiko, Wakana, Kaori, and Yuriko were with her, all of whom were quite pretty.
Kajiura is an interesting person. She carries herself with an air of dignity and professional, artistic pride when she delivers her pre-practiced lines. But when it comes to more ad-hoc questions and sudden developments (such as drawing in the eye for the Daruma doll during the opening ceremonies), you definitely see the genuine person who loves her craft and her calling.
Anyways, Q&A. The translator wasn't exactly the best, so I had to add in a few things she missed. Also, I missed a few things every now and then, so I apologize in advance for it.
Q.) In an alternate universe, what career would you pursue besides music?
Kajiura: Originally, I was not a musician. I was on stage, performing. If I didn't pursue music, I'd probably go back to that.
Kaori: Kindergarten teacher.
Keiko: I've always wanted nothing else than to be a singer.
Wakana: My passion is the same. But I also have a passion for manga and art, so I would probably be a mangaka.
Q.) What was the inspiration for the song Stone Cold?
Kajiura: My inspiration was based on the project I've had. This is more of a mecha thing with digital (sic), so we used a lot of digital (sic), and the character was a young boy striving to become more powerful, so that's what we were going for.
Q.) What kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?
Kajiura: Opera, Beatles, Underworld.
Yuriko: I don’t really listen to much, but I listen to Kalafina and FictionJunction.
Kaori: I listen to everything.
Keiko: Dance music, Lady Gaga, and K-pop.
Q.) What qualities did you see in these people and form the group FictionJunction?
Kajiura: Actually, FictionJunction is me. I am FictionJunction. We don't really have "member" members because we bring other people in to sing. But I collect all the singers that are powerful and have words that need to be in this group. Each individual person here is here because I selected them for their individual voices.
Q.) Is there any reason why you tend to work with sharp (musical) key signatures?
Kajiura: When she makes a soundtrack, she doesn't particularly go into that range, but when it comes to the singing and composing, we have to find the range that they sing. Then it's always just sharp keys. It just ends up that way. We don't like it, since it's always on the black keys (on the keyboard) but that's how it ends up. When we start composing, everyone starts singing, and wherever they start singing, that's where it starts. So it ranges with the vocals.
Q.) Did you approach Kara no Kyoukai's music the same as Fate/Zero?
A girl is the main character in Kara no Kyoukai, so it was a different approach. The composition is more for a lady, more feminine. Fate/Zero is the old man's fantasy. I was thinking the main character sinks down, so you don't really visualize it, so that's how I was focused.
Q.) Do you prefer a different language for different songs?
When I create the music composition, I've already decided, so I never have to change things. Very seldom, though, you make the songs for English, but it ends up coming out well with Japanese also.
Q.) How do you decide that beforehand?
Kajiura: Kinda' technical, but when I create the music, it's not like I decide it, but the melody only fits for the Japanese language. So it's not really a decision; the melody itself leads into the language.
Q.) You seem to have a certain music style. What style (genre) do you feel you're composing in?
Kajiura: I think the word "genre" is not applicable for music itself. It was created after music was around. But it is not unnecessary. It is necessary, the genre; that's how you communicate, through the words. But not just the words, but the music and the melody. So genre is important. So I never even considered what genre I'm aiming for or what my definition of genre I'm aiming for is.
Q.) When you guys record music, how do you decide who sings?
Kajiura: That is the quality of the voice. If the melody is very high key, then someone with a very high voice will be picking up that voice. However, when I make music, and I have a particular singing in my mind ("Oh, this one fits for her") then I will change the keys to fit the voice.
Q.) What inspired you to get into the music? Kajiura, what inspires you unique style of music?
Kajiura: I started out as a band (See-Saw).
Kaori: I always wanted to be a singer, so I started at ten years old in those children's music. At 16, I met that most important person, Ms. Kajiura.
Keiko: I was always into the entertainment industry. So I took acting, and dancing and singing. But most inspired by singing.
Wakana: She wanted to be a singer, so she auditioned and met Ms. Kajiura, so here she is.
Q.) I love Ms. Kajiura's songs. All of them. But is there one song that each one of them has as "This is my song" or "This is my favorite song"?
Kajiura: Since I'm a writer, I can't really say I have a favorite. I'm still waiting one day to write my ultimate song.
Yuriko: Well, I do have the memory of ------ (ed. sorry, couldn't hear it) as my favorite, but please remember I love all the songs.
Kaori: There's a song in Tsubasa. It's the first song Kajiura created for me. I can't say it's my favorite, but it's the most important and life-changing song for me.
Keiko: Most memorable for me. Kaze no Machi e. It's so memorable in my life; that's how I came to understand Kajiura. It was the most impactful song.
Wakana: I like all of them, and she's had such an impact on my life like everyone else, but Hikari no Yukue has made me feel such honor so that's the most important song in my life.
Closing remarks were made and much applause again. Might add bonus content from the concert if I can remember two crucial bits of information. I keep mixing up Keiko and Kaori, sadly.