Japanese band CROSSFAITH welcomed us in a warm atmosphere in Sony studios in order to introduce its third studio-album.
For those not acquainted with the band yet, could you tell us the story behind the band ?
Ken : Years ago, I sang in another band together with Kazu and Teru. We used to cover LINKIN PARK and LIMP BIZKIT’s songs and eventually, the band broke-up in 2006. However, I wanted to scream, sing and express myself through music so bad that I decided to start-up a new band. I invited both of them to join CROSSFAITH, they were great players and great friends of mine. Still are. They were thrilled about it. Then, we met Tatsu, a fellow student who was in the music club I was the leader of. As soon as I heard him playing “(sic)” from SLIPKNOT, I wanted him to be part of the band. His cover just blew me away. That is how it all began. In 2008, Hiro joined the project.
What are you referring to with the name Crossfaith ?
Ken : Each guy has his own faith in music and his own lifestyle, and the point of convergence is where the members of the band meet. So we decided to name it CROSSFAITH. It is as simple as that. Hum, well… I must admit, there is also a stupid reason behind it too. I am a big fan of wrestling, you know ! Do you know the company WWE ? To sum-up briefly, hardcore matches sometimes involve the use of weapons and one of them is called crossfaith, which actually belongs to one my favorite wrestlers (laughs).
You draw your influences from different types of music. How would you describe your art ?
Hiro : We combine the violence of metal / hardcore music with groovy beats which are the most important element of electro music. Few bands played that type of music at the time. It was rare to find electronica and hardcore going hand-in-hand. They are complety different music genres, but as for us, it just made sense and honestly it came together quite naturally. Actually, it all comes down to how we write the music. Our DJ Teru and our guitarist Kazu are the two main writers. One writes the heavy bits and the other writes the electronic parts.
You, once, said that you like writing about serious subjects such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Some other Japanese bands took part against the government which they accused of hiding information from the people and the world. What is your point of view ? Do you think it is your duty as public people to rise voices ?
Ken : Indeed. It is ! The government has been lying to us, it has been hiding information and still is. The problem is that the majority of the Japanese believes it. Tôkyô has become quite dangerous as it is now complety polluated by nuclear radiation. As Japanese, we have to raise our voices and spread the word. It is my duty, as a citizen, to do something about it, to be active. Music is a powerful tool. And you know, media tools are controlled by the government and so is Internet, people can’t express themselves truly. Few days ago, some Japanese famous guy mentioned the whole hiding-information-stuff on TV. He got fired and lost his home… I am surprised that you are aware of that problem, the world doesn’t have any idea of what’s really going on. Japan does not want to face the truth nor ask for help. There are still people living in Fukushima but the government doesn’t really care, instead, the politics put the money of the country into the Olympics which Japan will welcome in 2020 !
Appalling ! Let’s continue with the band now. The new album was released in Japan in July and will be available in France in few days. Can you tell us more about ?
Ken : The record is named « Apocalyze » and was produced by legendary Machine. For this third album, we wrote lyrics that deal with different subject matters such as nuclear disaster and the fact that the government is retaining information from the public, about school-bullying, about revenge and so on. The title has a dark meaning for Christians, it alludes to the Apocalypse. As for us, this play-of-words means « destroying and re-building ». It means, rise from your ashes. We are not Christans, but we chose it since it rings a bell for western people and they are the people we are eager to touch.
That is the reason you sing in english rather than japanese.
Ken : Absolutely ! We do want to be an international band, not a Japanese one.
The record, « Apocalyze », has been produced by US heavyweight producer Machine and so was « Zion » EP. How is he to work with ? What do you think he has brought to your music ?
Ken : Machine is an absolute legend. The albums he has worked on in the past are some of our favorites and we really jumped at the chance to work with him on the « Zion » EP. We are proud of that record and it helped us around the world to gain a fan-base. On « Apocalyze », Machine helped influence our sound even further. We had a lot more time to sit-down and work the songs. The EP was only recorded in a week whereas the current album was recorded in two months. This time around, we had time to experiment and work over many different aspects of our sound. Working with him is just amazing because he pushes us in so many different directions. He is really great ! Though, we fought a lot but that is what it takes to make good music.
Being an opening act or touring with many other bands, how do you manage to make a lasting impression on the audience while only having a few selected songs to play ? How do you make your live-shows stand-out ?
Hiro : We are Japanese and therefore people do not expect us to do hardcore fucking music. And, the fact that we put a lot of energy into our performances, people tend to not forget us. The ive show is the most important thing for the band, we cannot disappoint people. We put our very best into them. Tickets are pretty expensive, so money has not to be waste. It has to be worth it.
Well then, see you on the 19th .
Ken : We are so looking forward to it.