Recently, Rock Sins was lucky enough to sit down with Japan’s most exciting band for a chat with Crossfaith‘s Kenta Koie ahead of their performance in Leeds with Bury Tomorrow to talk about Slam Dunk, new material and finding success in the UK.
So, how’s the tour been so far?
Ken: It’s been great. It’s been a while since we toured with Bury Tomorrow, last time we did I think was 2012 on Of Mice & Men’s headline tour in the UK and Europe as well. But I’ve met them so many times like at a lot of festivals and also when they came to Japan I went and hung out with them, so we go way back and tour a lot together.
You toured with them the first time you played here supporting Of Mice & Men too didn’t you?
Ken: Yeah exactly!
And obviously you’re back next month for Slam Dunk and a few shows in Ireland with Enter Shikari, are you looking forward to that?
Ken: Yes! Slam Dunk is one of my favourite festivals in the UK, it’s quite different from the really big rock festivals like Reading & Leeds and Download Festival. Slam Dunk is more focused on the heavy music and then there’s tons of Pop Rock bands, like if you go to Slam Dunk you can see everything about rock music for the youth. I can’t wait to be there!
Your live performances have played a large part in the reputation you guys have built for yourselves, how would you say the shows here differ from the ones you play back in Japan?
Ken: There’s so many small differences between Japan and the UK but I think the important part is the audience. The audiences here drink beer whilst waiting for the next bands and today we’re playing in Stylus which is in a University so that’s very fresh to me.
And how are you always able to give such energetic performances every night?
Ken: It’s very simple, we love music with energy. I’ve watched so many bands since I was young, the first time I watched Slipknot they blew my mind. They were the headliner for a festival called Summer Sonic which is one of the biggest rock festivals in the world. I saw them in 2005 and I was so tired because they were the headliner and I was hanging out since the morning, and I told my friend ‘If you want to go into the mosh pit I can grab your bag’, but in 5 seconds after them starting the show I just threw the bag and ran into the mosh pit! That’s the reason we put our full energy on the show, you know, I don’t want to be bored with the show, I don’t want to regret anything after the show.
How does it feel being one of the few Japanese metal bands that have found success in the UK?
Ken: It’s awesome. That’s a great thing, definitely we are a pioneer to touring the UK as a Japanese band. Maybe you know, like 10 years ago a band called The Mad Capsule Markets from Japan played the main stage at Download, I think they were the first Japanese band to play Download and I think we might only be the second or third. And now you’ve got Coldrain and One OK Rock who are breaking out here. It’s a great thing, I want you guys to see more Japanese bands because there’s so many good bands in Japan. Pay attention! *laughs*
I’ll be sure to! You’ve been posting photos of you guys working in the studio, can we expect a new album soon?
Ken: We’ll release some singles first maybe and then we’ll probably release the album next year. Yeah this time we worked with Drew Fulk, he’s worked with Crown The Empire, Motionless In White for their new stuff and Emmure, but he’s not your typical American producer. He doesn’t just like the same music, he likes so many different types, Techno and Rock, working with him was amazing.
I suppose it would be important for you to be able to work with someone like him considering all the electronic elements you have in your music.
Ken: Yeah definitely.
Something else I’ve noticed is that you like to collaborate with a lot of different artists, whether it’s something like Benji Webbe (Skindred) doing vocals or having people remix your New Age Warriors EP, do you feel it’s important for you as a musician to be able to do things like that?
Ken: Yeah, collaboration is amazing and I love to collaborate with someone every time and I think the reason is, I am me. I’m Kenta Koie. But Benji has a different has a different style of singing, he makes our song wider. That’s the reason we always offer different singers parts in our songs.
With so many different elements to think about in your music when writing, where do you start?
Ken: Well my first band started in 2004 when I was in Junior High, and that band broke up when I was 17 I think. Then we started Crossfaith and at the time we used to play Nu-Metal music, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, that kinda stuff. We covered them a lot and at the time our DJ, Teru, had already started making music with his laptop and loves dance music. When we started Crossfaith we were just a metalcore band but we didn’t want to be like the others, so then he put in the electronic parts to the music and that’s how we started. At first for him it was probably so tough to find the other way from the other bands. When we started Crossfaith there were a few other bands who mixed rock music with electronic stuff such as Enter Shikari, I think they were the pioneers to making hardcore music with the rave stuff which means hard to find so no bands can copy from them. We had to start from scratch.
It’s been very interesting to hear how you have grown as a band, you’re writing bigger choruses and keeping that hectic energy, but then you’ve also come out with songs like Tears Fall which really surprised me at first, what sort of direction would you say the new music is heading in that sense?
Ken: Making an album and making singles or EP’s is totally different. An album usually has some kind of story or a concept which is like the core of the album, whereas a single is kinda free for us to do new things. So our new record is going to be more wide ranged, but the heavy songs are getting heavier and the big songs are getting bigger, we’re still on the way to our goal as musicians, so you can find new things from our new music.
And to wrap things up, if you could tour with any band, who would it be?
Ken: Oh that’s hard. I’d say Slipknot, definitely. But in the UK I want to bring some Japanese bands over and show you guys some Japanese bands!
Crossfaith play the Slam Dunk Festival this weekend in Birmingham, Leeds and Hatfield. Hatfield is sold out but limited tickets for Birmingham and Leeds are still available at www.slamdunkmusic.com.