The classic anime series K-On! built its reputation on its music which could have resulted in a passable if pedestrian series of insert songs. Thankfully, this task was placed in the right hands from the start courtesy of musician and composer Tom H@ck.

This Tokyo-based artist (real name Tomohiro Oshima) managed to capture the energy and enthusiasm of being in a band – and a band that produced great tunes.

The young Tomohiro Oshima developed an interest in music from the age of 9 when a cousin taught him how to play drums – prompting the young Oshima to pester his parents for his own set of drums! “My cousin taught me 8-beat as a beginning” Oshima has stated, “Since then, the sticks and 8-beat became my toys. I guess this was the first music instrument for me”.

At school, he began to learn guitar and spent a lot of time practising and composing music. Following graduation he attended a music school in Tokyo to develop his skills at composing and performing adopting the name Tom H@ck along the way. “The most precious thing for me was that I could meet friends who were ambitious and studied together. I was still just a student, but I composed music and played guitar with some bands as a professional”.

Tom H@ck also became part of the Far East Peach label which is a collaboration of several musicians producing music projects in a variety of genres, including traditional Japanese styles, ambient, New Age and acoustic. The label issued several releases from 2006 onwards with the last being in 2008.

“I was still just a student, but I composed music and played guitar with some bands as a professional”
But it’s his work as a song composer for the likes of K-On! that’s marked Tom H@ck out. These are the same songs that also made an impact on the Oricon charts, such as series opener Cagayake! Girls that sold over 60,000 copies in its first week alone, the mini album Ho-kago Tea Time that made the No.1 slot on the Oricon weekly CD charts and Don’t Say ‘Lazy’ landing the prestigious Animation Kobe’s ‘Best Song’ award.

H@ck’s involvement in the K-On! soundtrack is also something that’s been largely kept hidden away, thus preserving the legend of Ho-kago Tea Time. And as one particular philosopher once commented: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.

Official Tom H@ck Website: http://tomo-ohshima.x0.com/z/
Far East Peach: http://www.fareastpeach.com/

Text by Paul Browne
25th April 2012

K-ON!