SIDE STORY

photo: Tomooh Nozawa

Interview with Yasuharu Okochi

Yasuharu Okochi, the Sound Creator, tells about his sound design specially styled for MAJA HOTEL KYOTO and CAFE AALTO KYOTO.

  • Interview with:Yasuharu Okochi
  • Interview by:Yoshitaka Ikeda

Finnish people enjoy short summer spending at the cozy cottage in the woods or by the lake. MAJA HOTEL KYOTO which has the Finish ambience offers guests to be able to stay and relax comfortably as they were at the cozy cottage. When you design the sound for MAJA HOTEL KYOTO, what was your first approach to create the sound for the Hotel?

When I designed the sound for MAJA HOTEL KYOTO, I focused on how we can transform the feeling of the Scandinavian themes into sound. When I imagine Finland and Scandinavia, I think first of the clarity of the air. It’s not vivid, sharply defined colors, it’s like a watercolor; like a blue-gray or pale smoky green. Like off-white instead of white; mauve, not purple. From that small initial mental image, I gradually built a full vision that guided the composition of the soundscape.

What was a most important part when you create the sound?

Our mission is to create the atmospheres for spaces. Hotel guests don’t come to listen to the music. They come to relax and feel the mood. So, we tried to diffuse the contours of the soundscape as much as possible and make the sounds that float effortlessly through the space.

MAJA HOTEL KYOTO and CAFE AALTO KYOTO are interconnected by the spiral staircase inside the building. How did you develop the total concept to design the sound for two different spaces as one unit?

I mentioned earlier the subtle image we had for MAJA HOTEL KYOTO with the colors. When two different colors blend, or two different scent mixes, the result can be really tasteful and nice, but it can also turn out the opposite.

We first set the overall concept for MAJA HOTEL KYOTO using the feeling of atmospheric clarity that we connected with Scandinavia. The sound is designed to relax guests and guide them naturally to a comfortable sleep. I also carefully adjusted the frequencies in the sounds we used.

Then, we designed the sound for CAFE AALTO KYOTO to suit each scene over the course of the day, as I heard that the cafe is quite busy during lunch time. The tempo and composition of the sound needs to reflect the purpose of the space and the expected or desired behavior of the guests.

There are different purposes and contexts for the hotel and for the cafe, and we needed to avoid producing any discordant or unpleasant blending of the sound designs. I visited the hotel and the cafe myself twice before we started styling the sound, and our goal was to integrate three distinct components: the Scandinavian theme, the relaxing mood for the hotel, and the lively atmosphere for the cafe.

After completing the sound, how do you evaluate your work?

This type of sound work definitely requires an artistic sense. Some people might put our compositions in the category “artwork,” but making a “piece of art” is really not our intention. Our focus, one hundred percent, is to create atmospheres for people, and we just designed the sound and the music to meet the purpose of the space. Of course, if someone hears our work and feels it’s moving or artful, that’s also a unique honor.

Thank you very much for your time, and I would like to conclude this interview by sharing some feedback from our guests that they could totally relax by the sound filled in the space. Thank you again for the wonderful work.

See more info about Yasuharu Okochi and SOUND CoUTURE inc.
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