The Japanese rockers have just hit the road with nu-metal heroes PAPA ROACH. The tour kicked off tonight at Le Trianon, Paris (FR). Right after COLDRAIN’s highly accalaimed performance, we met the frontman, Masato, who gave his first impressions of this tour and general percections regarding life on road.
How was the show tonight ?
Masato : It was awesome, really ! I’m a bit tired and off-schedule because I am still dealing with the effects of jet-lag. With the band, we went to Australia for Soundwave Festival, then we went to Japan, and here we are in Paris, France. Now that the show is done, excitement is getting lower slowly, I have difficulty to concentrate (laughs). But anyway, it felt good on stage tonight (smiles).
2014 marked your debut as an international act. Are you happy of what you achieved over the year ?
Masato : Definitely ! Last year has been amazing. We went to Europe four times already. We toured with many bands, we met a lot of people, we made new friends. A foreign fanbase is slowly getting bigger and bigger. It’s been crazy ! I’m very happy of what the band has achieved over the last year. It’s enjoyable to perform outside Japan. We couldn’t have wished for a better start. We realized what can be achieved outside of our hometown. We set ourselves new goals, we have new perspectives, we want to open new doors and people seem to be responsive. There’s so much more we can do. 2014 gave us confidence, definitely. Before that, we were kind of scared to do anything outside Japan. I don’t know why (laughs)… It took us six or seven years to take the step up. We figured out it’s just a matter of going and we hope it continues (smiles).
Since “The Revelation” came out, you have been very busy touring. Have you got good feedbacks from bands with whom you toured and people whom attended the shows ?
Masato : I definitely see a progression. People in the audience start singing our songs, some wait for us after the show to congratulate us. The feedbacks have been good so far. We are slowly getting our name out there. It feels great ! It’s the very first time of our carrer we promote an album on tour that long, even in Japan. In every country we go to, there’s always a song that stands out. So we collect all those informations in order to write the next album, the perfect album.
What do you think is the favorite of the French ?
Masato : I think « The War is On ». I heard people singing « The Revelation » tonight. Hum, we also played « Time Bomb », a groovy and melodic kind of song, for the first time and the French seemed to really enjoy it. That being said, it is probably due to the fact that they are PAPA ROACH fans. Just like them, our sound is melodic as well as heavy. But in a different way. I think the Japanese pop music and the Western-style metal music is what builds our sound.
Talking about PAPA ROACH, today was the first show of your tour with them. What are you most looking forward to about it ?
Masato : I’ve always loved PAPA ROACH. When I started out I was a big nu-metal fan. I got into listening to heavy stuff when I listened to KORN, LINKIN PARK, SLIPKNOT and PAPA ROACH. I feel lucky to be able to be on tour with these guys. I even feel grateful to be able to watch their soundcheck every day (laughs). It’s such a dream come true to me. So I am just looking forward to enjoying every minute of it : watching them, learning from them — but also, playing our songs, making our fanbase grow bigger. OK, I’m gonna tell you something, I secretly hope I will get to sing one of their songs on stage with them. It could happen (smiles) ! I never thought it would happen with BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, and it did. I sang on stage with Matt four times. So, fingers crossed.
Over the year, you have been opening shows for band that used to open yours in Japan. How does it feel ? How does it effect you to have to prove the band’s worth again ?
Masato : Hum… It actually feels cool because as time goes by, you tend to forget how it feels like to start. I see it as a chance, really. In Japan, it won’t ever happen. Having to prove ourselves back again gives us a fresh look on who we are as a band and musicians, i’s also an opportunity to mature. It improved the band’s mindset. Actually, a lot of people in Japan said that our shows are more powerful, that we deliver way more energy on stage. We aren’t old but we’ve been in the music industry for a little while now and having to prove the band’s worth again makes us feel like we’ve rejuvinated. We feel excitement. We feel brand new, we feel like we’re six years younger. It’s very refreshing. But our ultimate goal for sure is to have equal success with Japan.
I bet. Being on tour, traveling for years, moving to a city to another, a country to another, a continent to another ; everything is in constant motion. How do you manage to make yourself feel at home on the road ?
Masato : Argh, tough one ! It doesn’t bother me to travel that much because knowing I will get back home in the end makes it easier. Sometimes, it gets hard for sure to find stability when everything around you is in constant motion — just like you said. But knowing it won’t last forever makes it easier I guess. Actually, I don’t really focus on that because I feel grateful and lucky to have the opportunity to travel and be able to do what I love best. This way of life makes me a happy man. I think the key is to make time for yourself. You have to schedule personal moments, take care of yourself and rest as much as possible. I get along very well with the other guys of the band, we support each other, we love each other. And by dint of traveling, you get to know each crew of each country — the managers, the promoters, or even the journalists like you guys. Some become our friends. Seeing the same faces makes you feel some sort of stability I guess. I believe in enjoying the best of what life has to offer. It’s only up to me to make the best out of this life on the road. I see more pros than cons. And the second I get on stage, I forget all about the negative.
Being an artist on the road seems to be such a paradoxal way of life since you have to constantly adjust balance between adventure and routine. On stage, you deliver all your energy — you become a character though you unveil 100% of yourself. Once you leave the stage you become a normal person back again, back into his routine. How do you handle this balance mentally and physically ?
Masato : Hum (covers his head with the hands)… Outch ! Physically, you just have to take care of yourself : no crazy party night if you have to play the day after, have a good amount of sleep. As a singer, I take good care of my voice, I avoid everything that irritates the vocal chords. Handling this balance physically is the easiest part. As far as mental is concerned, you just have to get used to switching personalities (laughs). I guess I do it naturally. It became kind of automatic. I just don’t pay attention to it that much. There has always been two sides of me : the guy on stage, a performer and the guy off stage, a regular person. On stage, I become a character, although it’s a genuine side of myself that I unleash. On stage, I guess I become someone I have always feared to express. I don’t how the hell it happened though… Well, maybe I do. When I was just a little kid, I got recruited to act for a play. I played a funny character. Everybody was laughing, everybody was responsive. It felt like they cared for me. I liked the attention and interaction. I liked this connection, this energy that is so specific to performing. There is a feeling of power, of transcendence. I loved it and hated it at the same time. It can become nerve-wracking but it’s worth it.
Sharing a very limited space together with your crew in the tour bus. How do you maintain your privacy ? How do to find time for yourself ?
Masato : I ignore them and shut myself down. When I need privacy, I take a walk alone in the city we play in. I listen to music, headphones on. It’s important to create these little moments for yourself. Every guy in the band understands it. We’re close friends but we don’t have to be with each other every second of the day. It’s not hard for me to create time for myself.
Has life on the road taught you anything ?
Masato : It can screw up relationships. It’s hard to keep both of these lives healthy. Traveling has taught me the fragility of relationships. But at the end of the day, this is of who I am. People have to deal with it or leave me. If it can’t work, then it’s probably not meant to be.
What’s your ultimate goal for 2015 ?
Masato : Touring. I guess we’ll have to wait for 2016 for a new record and a headlining world tour.