Jason Paige was at Sac Anime and was happy to answer some questions
Pokemon is now a worldwide phenomenon. But it wasn’t always this way. When it first came to America there were video games, a card game and the Pokemon TV show. Kids loved it and since then it has spawned many games, movies and the TV show and is still going strong. When I was in LA in October I saw Jason Paige sing the Pokemon theme song, and everyone went nuts. When I heard he was coming to Sac Anime I knew I had to meet him. I was able to ask him a few questions and here is what I learned about this theme song, the show and many other things.
How did you get the job to write the Pokemon theme song?
Jason Paige: A company I worked for hired me to do the demo, not knowing if it would go or not. We did the demo and sent it off. Then it came back and had a couple of changes, lyrically and vocally. They eventually fixed it three or four times. Then they liked it and they bought it.
At the time when you sang the final cut did you know it was going to be such a big hit?
Jason Paige: No, no. Of 1 out of a hundred sessions I do a year, roughly. A hundred sessions at the time. And each one could explode into an amazing thing like this. I have done a lot of other sessions like that. It just started out as a commercial. Then the commercial became this big phenomenon. Then it turned into a band. It happens often actually. Not to this great degree but it does happen more frequently than you would think.
What are your thoughts on how big this theme song still is today?
Jason Paige: Well the way that it exploded is because it’s not just a theme song. It’s a theme song to a TV show cartoon that also has games, products and inspires the imagination. It is all in the imagination. Most of the Pokemon play is from the game and you just imagine what the points are on the card. Now with how the game is exploding with Pokemon Go, it’s everybody’s imagination taking flight in this game. So they’ve done a really good job in continuing to offer people new updates, new products, new games and new shows. They also gave everybody a new theme song but they never stuck, except for this one.
How long have you been going to Cons like Sac Anime?
Jason Paige: This is my third Con. From what I understand there is one of these every weekend somewhere in this country. Many other countries as well. So hopefully will be going to the bigger ones that have more value to them. So that I can get more exposure to the fans. But there are also Pokemon Cons that I would like to go to that are just Pokemon-centric.
How long has it been since you did your first concert? Like the first time singing just this theme song?
Jason Paige: The first time I did that was in June, I think it was. In June of last year. It was the first time I sang the Pokemon theme song live with a band. Then I sang it live again at the end of Stan Lee’s Comic Con.
Were you surprised by the reaction you got from the audience?
Jason Paige: I was really impressed. TMZ came down to the first performance. I didn’t do it the same way as the regular song. I did it in more of an adult contemporary rock version. My own crowd was there and they liked it and they had a good time. But at Stan Lee’s Comic Con, we did it at Club Nuvo with a band and we did it the way the original song is and it was incredible. I’ve also done it in a couple of other versions, one of which I will do today that’s a loop version. Where I do it on a looper and I create the track live.
How much of a Pokemon fan are you?
Jason Paige: I was just a general appreciator of the brand until Pokemon Go came out, when I got hooked. Now I understand it in such a different context from the inside and how important it is, that it gets people out. It is inspiring autistic kids who would never leave the house to get out. They are making friends and they are interacting. Kids in hospitals who need motivation are playing the game and they are moving around. There is so much charity that can come from that because people are moving for the right reasons. They are moving because they want to inspire their imaginations. They are also interacting with each other to help each other get better at the game, which is really important. You can’t just sit at home and do it by yourself. You got to talk to other players and find out their tips and tricks, which is really cool.
Why do you think Pokemon is still so big today?
Jason Paige: It is 18 years since I sang the song, and 20 years since I think it was started in Japan. There are a number of reasons. I would like to say it was because the theme song was so inspiring (laughs). Which is the first thing anybody heard. So if you think of what is Pokemon to people. It is the TV show first, then it is the game that’s associated with it and all the other products. But they always come back to this thing that they remember which was the theme song. Then of course Pikachu was such an incredible character that has made its way into everybody’s subconscious. And everywhere you look there is a Pikachu. So they certainly did a really good job with marketing the product and putting that in front of everybody. As well as this song that is in everybody’s minds, the marketing on that has been really good too. I am here because people remember that so well in their minds. When they play they are thinking of the song. There were many songs, yet they seem to be thinking of the first song that has the best lyrics to exemplify the whole philosophy of Pokemon.