Under the direction of fashion-turned-musical expert Seiji Nakazawa, the RocketNews24 Japan staff have just produced and released their own theme song available now at several major online retailers around the world!

The birth of “RocketMan” came about as the obscure holiday, Music Day (19 March), was fast approaching in Japan. Tired of trying to buy outfits with a limited budget, our ace reporter Seiji Nakazawa set his sights on producing a hit single for the website. In this age of vocaloids and other DIY musical methods, why couldn’t he?

■ Songwriting
For some musicians, the first step to creating an awesome song is in the lyrics. Through the song’s words Seiji wanted to capture the essence of RocketNews24 in some catchy lines. He had already anticipated that this would be a rock song because after all we are RocketNews24, not JazzetNews24.

As such he thought the words would have to be rhythmical and punchy and probably have something to do with rockets. At that moment Seiji paused with wonder at the fact the RocketNews24 had rarely, if ever, provided news about actual rockets. It was that paradox which inspired the final draft of lyrics which go a little something like this:

RocketMan – Japanese lyrics
Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, bazure (4x)
Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, bazure (3x)
Kono roketto ni notte
Saikyo reshipi
Ryusenkei ni natte ginga no hate e
Wifi yori hayaku rokettodaibu
Ryusei hitotsu kette, denshi no ame
Dare yori mo tsuyoku, dare yori mo gachi ni
Kimi ni todoke kono nyusu

RocketMan – English lyrics
Bu, bu, bu, bu, bu, bu, buzz (4x)
Bu, bu, bu, bu, bu, bu, buzz (3x)
Ride this rocket!
Real events!
Waiting in line!
Strongest recipes!
Streamlining to the ends of the galaxy
Faster than wifi, rocket dive!
Kick a shooting star, electronic rain!
Stronger than anyone, realer than anyone
Bringing this news to you!

■ Laying down some tracks
Aside from a little guitar, Seiji actually didn’t know how to play any musical instruments. Back in the day, this would be a major stumbling point in song creation, but thanks to technology all that time and patience required to master multiple instruments can go jump in a lake.

That’s not to say creating a musical score was easy, however. Seiji used the music editing software Cubase to synthesize drums, bass, piano and other sound effect tracks to accompany his guitar playing, but conceiving and then getting all of those sounds arranged just the way he wanted took a considerable amount of time and effort. Needless to say, much cursing was involved.

After about two weeks of loud expletives filling the RocketNews24 office, the staff were suddenly surprised to hear Seiji scream, “I got it!!!” His sense of achievement at completing the song bed was overwhelming after such a long period of frustration. However, there was still much more to be done.

■ Vocals

Since this is a song about RocketNews24, it stands to reason that the backing vocals should be recorded inside the RocketNews24 office to capture its essence. He gathered all available writers and laid down the hook on a used multi-track Seiji had bought 10 years ago.

When that was done, Seiji recorded his lead vocals in the controlled environment of his own home. At this point his song was almost complete, and considering he used his own equipment and software, it had cost him a total of 0 yen (US$0).

■ Mixing
Seiji felt he had come a long way in creating “RocketMan,” but for the final stages he was going to need the ear of a professional. Luckily, his fellow RocketNews24 writer K. Nagahashi had experience as a professional sound engineer. However, since he lived in Hokkaido, they would have to work together via text messages.

It was a difficult collaboration, since they had to describe what kinds of sounds they wanted through the medium of text and bounce samples back and forth. Many times Seiji had doubts that this song would come together at all, but in the end a final audio file arrived – and it was glorious.

We now bring you…
RocketMan by Seiji Nakazawa & RocketNews24

■ Distribution
With the song complete there was much rejoicing. However, if a song is recorded in a Shinjuku office and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound? So, Seiji had one more task: to make “RocketMan” available around the world!

With only a few days until 19 March, he lucked out in finding the service Tunecore. By simply registering and uploading his song, it would be made available on a wide number of download services such as iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon to name but a few.

Making an account was free, but to distribute a song (under 10 minutes) would cost 1,410 yen ($12) per year which wasn’t a bad deal since they don’t take any piece of the sales revenue. All the user has to do is upload the audio file and some cover art, and Tunecore does the rest.

Speaking of cover art, there were a few candidates:

This was an early concept, but since the end result was a little heavier the acoustic guitar didn’t really fit so they passed.

This photo from his trendsetting Harajuku fashion experiment came out well, but a little to focused on Seiji himself rather than RocketNews24 as a whole.

This one had a sexy backstage atmosphere the really worked well, but it ran the risk of provoking a parental advisory from some more conservative countries.

This one was also good with a quaint indie rock vibe to it.

But in the end this compilation of RocketNews24 heavyweights best expressed the feel of the song and what it represented.

With all the material in place it was all too easy for Seiji to submit his song to Tunecore and just in time for Music Day it could be found on iTunes. If you want to buy a download then please head on over using the link below. Since we’re paid up for the year, you should be able to get it well until 15 March, 2017.

Considering the budget that went into the production and distribution of this song, it’d only take a few dozen downloads to turn a profit. Heck, we’ll easily get that from confused Elton John fans alone!

RocketMan by Seiji Nakazawa & RocketNews24
Or check your favorite music service!

Original article by Seiji Nakazawa
Photos & Video: RocketNews24

[ Read in Japanese ]