One that raises a revolution both in Japan and foreign music scene, Crossfaith and one which fanbase is growing by leaps and bounds inside and outside the country, ONE OK ROCK. As their much-anticipated two-man concert at Ebisu Liquidroom ended in a big success, we got the chance to interview them! Here is the exclusive interview between Kenta Koie of Crossfaith and Taka of ONE OK ROCK.
I want to bring more excitement to music scene around Japan and embrace a lot of countries
── It seems that before taking part in Vans Warped Tour, ONE OK ROCK had asked Crossfaith about their experience.
Taka : Yeah. Exactly at Ebisu Liquidroom when we had photo session for this concert’s poster. There we asked them about a lot of stuffs. We were told that it was all stressful.
Ken : We talked about everything. Like we had to line up for around an hour for meals.
Taka : And that it was too hot, our shoes would melt…
── Did such thing really happen?
Ken : When we performed in Las Vegas, it was so hot our shoes melted on stage.
Taka : Sure the heat was terrible. But what threatened me most was when they said, “It would be so much fun once you experience it by yourself. It’s fun on the other way that you’ll definitely be okay.” That’s probably what turned me off.
── Since you could prepare your feeling.
Taka : Right. We practically had stressful routine, but it was easier than we thought.
── Do Crossfaith and ONE OK ROCK get any influence or learn something by performing together with many bands overseas?
Ken : For example when we toured around with Bring Me The Horizon, we could see the way they performed as main act. It made us wanted to pull that off. Actually I don’t really like having special effect put on or black confetti thrown in at our concert. That’s kind of fake, in my opinion. But when I saw it with my own eyes, it looked cool. There was a lot of things we could learn including that one small detail.
Taka : For American bands, having an attitude of not getting stressed over small stuffs and to particularly slack off was the key. When I went there and saw it myself, I felt that they’re being productive by thinking over unproductively. But going back to Japan with such feeling makes me chew over the good side of being Japanese. We give our all either in Japan or US, but to be able to make up for the gap between Japan and US concerts with our own efforts is a good experience.
── So there’s difference between concerts in Japan and overseas.
Ken : The country and venue itself are already different but what I mean is the surrounding, too. Let’s say when we toured with Vans Warped, we would get over the daily routine. But fans reaction was different every day. That’s why it was really important to come up with daily theme and had a lead. Having such an experience makes us ready to have concert anywhere. There were many venues which were less settled than in Japan.
── Is that so?
Ken : Yes. Not only during Vans Warped, but also anywhere. Like at small livehouse in Europe where there’s no equipment, not enough cable for DJ, not to mention tea for everyday meal. We got stronger in that sense.
── So mechanical problems also happened.
Taka : Well that happened many times. Like what happened to Ryota’s bass during Vans Warped, the sound didn’t come out for about half of the tour.
Ken : On our stage in Las Vegas, the same computer we used for the whole Warped tour didn’t work because the weather’s too hot. We brought an iPod along to anticipate such potential problem, but it didn’t work either.
── How did you overcome it?
Ken : I filled it up with MC part. That day was exactly 45 degrees (Celcius) hot. Even Bring Me The Horizon and August Burns Red on main stage and all bands using that computer got the same problem. For bands at their level to get such problem which the sound couldn’t even come out, they still needed to stay calm and composed just like Taka has said.
Taka : Japanese has a habit to think just in case. That’s why we always got backup for all things as well as plan B and plan C. But there’s definitely no such thing in US.
Ken : It’s like, if you can’t do it anymore, you have to do it with your inability.
Taka : It’s how American does things. When we stood on stage being faced with serious problem, that’s where we decided to use manpower to carry out the best performance.
── That’s surely an experience you can’t get while touring around Japan.
Taka : Like when Ryota’s bass trouble continued, since we came all the way to America just to experience this rare thing, we talked about going with manpower when the sound doesn’t come out. Back to Japan, we agreed that whenever we unexpectedly bumped into such problem, we would just stand still in a cool manner. It’s really elementary stuff, tho.
Ken : But that’s actually critical, can also be related to bigger concert. No matter how we’re all prepared for the big stage, unanticipated trouble could always happen. Though it’s such a detail, I think we need it.
── Since I’ve asked about the hardships, I’d like to know about the circumstances when trouble goes too far…
Ken : There’s a lot. If the car which brings the equipment was broken, equipment wouldn’t arrive or if the tour bus didn’t work properly thus made the band missed showtime, they wouldn’t be able to take part on the next tour.
Taka : I’ve seen such problem. Not our band, though. It was Falling in Reverse who performed on main stage. One day, they suddenly went missing from the tour.
── Eh, really?!
Taka : If I’m not mistaken, the vocalist Ronnie Radke couldn’t get into Canada.
── That’s probably because Ronnie was once a troublemaker when he’s with Escape The Fate…
Taka : But he’s an interesting guy! Although he’s so strict and such a perfectionist, his songs is attractive, catchy yet easy-listening.
── I wonder if he gave you any influence since you’ve worked together.
Taka : Couldn’t respect him more.
Ken : I feel the same way too. When I was overseas and asked, “What’s your recommended Japanese bands?” ONE OK ROCK and coldrain would be the first names to come into my head. We’re of the same age yet I can feel their (ONE OK ROCK) brilliance in that regard. Sometimes Taka is a weirdo, though (LOL).
Taka : You’re a weirdo, too (LOL). But including the overseas activity, I believe that ONE OK ROCK is Crossfaith’s junior.They made us took the lead to do activity abroad. Our very first time getting ourselves into it was a right mess. Sometimes there were such moments when we’re doing it in Japan and it’s okay to only speak Japanese as the others were same Japanese people. We stuck our feet since we’re a newcomer. But Crossfaith member would just keep doing it with all the motivation in real hopeless situation. Well at first, you couldn’t speak English, right?
Ken : Yes, English was impossible.
Taka : But you guys put all your efforts to study and now you can casually answer interviews in English. Seeing that made me strongly motivated. Like regardless the music, even for young people who came to concerts like ours, Crossfaith is the band they could respect much. Going overseas is what some youngsters always hope for, even if they had no interest in music. That’s why we respect for what Crossfaith has been doing.
Ken : Actually we didn’t think that far (LOL) When we wanted to go abroad, we just worked backward things we should do for that purpose. When we actually went there, like when we visited UK, we’re moving around with van since there’s no tour bus available, spending 17 hours straight to the concert. We still had fun anyway. Just like Taka said earlier, aiming to go overseas means full of various probabilities.
── It’s been two years since the last time Crossfaith and ONE OK ROCK performed on same stage together.
Taka : That’s right. It’s been since our concert at Nanba Hatch, Osaka in 2012. Crossfaith was already big that time, I’ve respected them highly. We really want to work together with bands like them. Since that time was our event, we asked them to play on stage.
Ken : When we got asked, we were like, “Eh is it gonna be okay?! Can ONE OK ROCK fans listen to Crossfaith?! Nevermind tho!” (LOL). At first, I didn’t really know ONE OK ROCK. But I heard that ONE OK ROCK is very cool band.
Taka : You guys said, “That little one is singing?!” (LOL)
Ken : We also said, “Seems that their concert in Yokohama Arena was sold out! Still don’t know them!” (LOL). But one day, we saw their performance at Shinkiba Studio Coast for the first time. Our view were changed that day as we thought that this band was great. Although we didn’t know their songs and their genre was different from us, it was so cool. We were so looking forward to be on same stage with them, so when we got asked for a concert at Nanba Hatch, we immediately said yes. But then we got no chance to perform together for a while, and finally got reunited this time.
Taka : I thought of doing this joint live concert if it’s with Crossfaith and it really came true.
Ken : We also thought that we’re definitely doing it if it’s ONE OK ROCK.
── I think this event is that both bands and fans have waited for so long.
Ken : Looking from fans’ perspective, to have a combo of a band with national recognition like ONE OK ROCK and Crossfaith from loud rock scene is kinda unexpected. Those two bands having a showdown on stage called Ebisu Liquidroom, that’d be a show. Both ONE OK ROCK and Crossfaith have gone overseas and all members are good friends. I want fans to know that and still going to have fun with us.
Taka : Comparing what we’ve seen overseas, fanbase in Japan is still small. I want to spread our wings more. When I went to US, the music scene was well-established by of all fresh bands. There’s also such establishment here in Japan, that the risings bands want to embrace more countries.
Ken : Exactly as you said. I think I want to have a tour overseas with ONE OK ROCK.
── That’d be awesome!
Ken : Not only be accepted as a part of Japanese culture by Japan Expo audience, but I want to hear like, “this is intense!” from people who’s really into rock music and listen only to ones of his country. It’d be best if our band could hold a threesome tour overseas with coldrain and of course ONE OK ROCK. I think it would also change the way people see Japan if we could do a sold-out performance in a venue with capacity of 3-4 thousands people. More focus on Japan means more foreign bands wanting to come here.
Taka : Hi-STANDARD already made such a close movement by bringing blink-182 to Japan. As it was awesome, that’s also what bands should do. Not that I want to copy their move, but I want to continue their battle.
Ken : It makes a lot of sense for Hi-STANDARD to bring blink-182 because blink was influence for Hi-STANDARD. We would also like to invite cool bands who have influenced us.
── Like what?
Ken : The Prodigy.
Taka : That’s one amazing band!
Ken : With that line-up, it’d be interesting to hold it on the big stage like Makuhari Messe. It would surprise audience if we brought The Prodigy to have a live performance there. I want to invite rising band like Bring Me The Horizon, too. But we don’t mind doing threesome. Whenever we appear on foreign band concert in Japan, Japanese would surely think that we’re nothing but an opening act, sideshow. I want to overturn such assumption and if they were brought to our band tour, we could do it our way.
Taka : I’d like Rammstein.
── So you’d like Rammstein……!
Ken : That’s no joke! But it’s unlikely for our bands to do threesome with them, I suppose (LOL).
Taka : Impossible, eh (LOL) It’s a long way to go to bring Rammstein into Japan, isn’t it?
Ken : We couldn’t bring them in until we have those brutal stage setups.
Taka : We’ll figure that out (LOL).
Ken : Okay then, let’s do this! (LOL)
Taka : It’d definitely be so interesting! Good line-up that audience of all ages would enjoy.
Ken : It’s simply a feeling of wanting people to listen to our favorite Western bands. Rammstein for example, is a band that you can enjoy its artistic side and way of seeing the world. A concert with punk rock spirit you’ll enjoy and get crazy to is good, but there’s also music you can enjoy through different perspective. I hope people would try to listen to it as well.
── It’s great if people could appreciate all kinds of music whether it’s Western or Japanese.
Ken : I think we need to make such environment. Western band concert is rare here and that’s really inconvenient. Once they did a concert in Japan, the ticket would be pricey. That’s why if we could at least cover it up, I wanted them to cross over.
Interview : Leyna Miyakawa Published on Oct 6 2014
Apologize for any kind of mistakes Corrections are always appreciated 🙂
* Correction in italic : freak → weirdo to define 変な人 (I just knew that freak has stronger meaning _ _” )