Revised on September 19, 2022.
This is a mail interview with BUTAOTOME (presumably Comp answering most questions) from a Dengeki Playstation magazine special dedicated to Touhou Project.
Special thanks to Quwanti, who bought the mag and provided me with the relevant pages!
When did you start your activities as a music circle?
In November 2009, all our current members got together and decided to start a circle. At that point, we had already decided to do Touhou arrangements, so we had a series of meetings for a while to see what kind of music we wanted to do and how we felt about each other.
When did you start making Touhou Project arrangements?
On December 5, 2009, we uploaded a PV on Niconico Douga: “Kyoai (U.N. Owen was her?)”, our first vocal arrangement. Six days later, we uploaded a piano arrangement of “Satori Maiden ~ 3rd eye”.
How did you start to make Touhou Project arrangements?
Ranko and her sister were watching a lot of videos on Niconico, and I was charmed by the freedom and power of the works that Beatmario and many other people created. Later, I came into contact with the original work and began to feel that this is the kind of arrangement I would like to try.
What do you think it’s the appeal of Touhou Project’s original music?
I think it’s the ability to relive the scenery and memories of the struggles you had while playing the game, all concentrated in your own personal feelings. Also, I feel that the existence of the music as BGM, which adds freshness, loneliness, and fear, and the fact that it is itself created with ZUN’s unmistakable touch, makes it more addictive.
What has been the driving force that has kept you going since you started creating Touhou arrangements?
The presence of ZUN, who always makes me enjoy the depth and breadth of the Touhou worldview, is a big part of it. I also love the atmosphere of the Touhou fan circles and doujin events, as well as the people who participate in them.
Is there anything you are conscious of when arranging?
I try to take on various challenges. I try to arrange the melody of the original song without losing it as much as possible, or on the other hand, I freely add color to it. Also, we have a member (Ranko no Ane) who is in charge of painting and design, so the CD artwork and the music closely interact with each album
Tell us about the song you made for this magazine
Since this time’s arranged song “Niiru Renkachou” is Reimu Hakurei’s theme, I’d be happy if I was able to express my image of Reimu: powerful, a bit careless, who doesn’t show sadness and eventually the strongest.
If you had to recommend one circle or one track by a circle other than BUTAOTOME, what would it be?
I would recommend “Genki ni natta toki no uta” by Diao ye zong. I think it is one of the points where music has reached in terms of how far it can be expressed as a secondary creation. Many of Diao ye zong’s works have a lot of information and a strong storyline in both the song structure and the booklet, so it is essential to listen to them while carefully looking at the lyrics card.
What do you think is the most attractive point of your circle?
This is a very difficult question, but I think it is the fact that we have an illustrator and designer in our circle. In the direction of a single CD, the music is often influenced by the illustrations and design, and if there is a “BUTAOTOME-ness” factor to it, I think that is where it comes from.
Tell us which are your favorite game, character, and music among the Touhou Project works.
Ranko: Imperishable Night / Marisa Kirisame / Septette for a Dead Princess
Comp: Embodiment of Scarlet Devil / Kogasa Tatara / Beware the Umbrella Left There Forever
Paprika: Perfect Cherry Blossom / Chen / The Fantastic Tales from Tono
Ranko no Ane: Imperishable Night / Sumireko Usami / Unknown Flower, Mesmerizing Journey
If you could visit Gensoukyou, what kind of things would you like to do?
Since it seems there are lots of dangers, I would love to visit famous places as long as they are not dangerous. I would like to donate all the strange books in my house to Suzunaan, then I’d like to visit the shrine and get some delicious sake as a souvenir.
Looking back on your circle activities so far, what is your best memory?
Being told at doujin events that “I started creating Touhou derivative works after discovering BUTAOTOME”. I myself started Touhou arrangements after discovering Beatmario, so I was very happy that BUTAOTOME became a starting point for Touhou derivative works in a similar way
Tell us your future ambitions and goals.
The four of us originally came together to do something fun, so we would like to find and create even more fun things. Now I want to fly during live performances.
Released on May 27th, 2012. This best-of album contains 9 songs made in the past and 8 songs made for compilation albums, for a total of 17 songs. This is an important album that concentrates the BUTAOTOME charm with just one disc, allowing you to enjoy vocal tracks of various genres to your satisfaction.
Released on August 12th, 2013, a “Touhou” full vocal album. It has a traditional taste, and it is composed mainly of serenades with a somewhat melancholy feel. It has 8 tracks, including “Hakanaki Mono Ningen”, an arrangement of “Dullahan Under the Willows”. So far 3 albums of this series have been released.
Kyou ga Saigo no Ichinichi
Released on May 8th, 2016. The songs mainly deal with the people living in Gensoukyou, such as Reimu, Marisa, and Sakuya, and you can enjoy eight vocal songs arranged around each of their themes. The music is generally poppy in tone, but there are some mellower songs on the piano.