Interview with Kaya at J'Fest Expo, Mexico

interview - 05.31.2018 20:01

Kaya talked about the power of music and his experiences abroad at Mexico's J'Fest Expo.

Just before his third live performance in Mexico City at J'Fest Expo, Kaya took some time to talk with JaME about his experiences abroad, his new single FABULOUS, and the power of music. Dressed in an astoning lolita-style dress in pink and white, Kaya sat down with a big smile, ready to begin with the interview.

Welcome to Mexico one more time, Kaya! How do you feel about coming back here?

Kaya: I last came to Mexico six years ago, and I’ve always wanted to come back. My Mexican fans were always sending me messages saying, “Come back soon!”, so I’m so happy that I’ve finally been able to come back.

Last Friday you tweeted a picture of the Monumento a la Revolución. Did you have the chance of visiting something else or tasting something new?

Kaya: It was my first time going to the Monumento a la Revolución and it was so beautiful that I was really moved by it. The last time I came, I visited the Teotihuacan pyramid and that was so fun that I really want to go again!

Ah! Last time, and this time too, I ate a delicious dessert. It was banana with cream.

Ah! "Banana frita" (fried banana)?

Kaya: Yes! I love banana!

This is your third time in Latin America. Is there something that still surprises you in the people or the culture during your visits?

Kaya: (thinks) I’ve been to lots of countries such as Mexico, Brazil and France, and it’s true that each country is different, but one thing I’ve noticed recently is that wherever you go, there are things that every country has in common. There are many things that are the same, such as the way people enjoy things. Concerts and the like. When I first came to Mexico, I thought it was a really different country, but now I feel that actually everyone in this world is really similar. For example, when your food arrives at the table, everyone takes a photo and uploads it to Twitter or Instagram. Indonesians, Mexicans, the French — it doesn’t matter who you are; everyone does the same thing, so that’s really interesting to think about. It’s like borders have vanished. I don’t just sing in Mexico; I sing all over the world, so that’s something I’ve personally experienced. But, actually, Mexicans and Brazilians are really passionate during concerts, so I think that Latin America is the place where people really get into concerts the most. It’s a really warm feeling.

Let’s talk about your new single FABULOUS. It has a very electronic dance music sound, very different from your previous releases. What inspired this new sound?

Kaya: I really love clubs! At clubs, it doesn’t matter what your race, skin colour, or what country you come from is — everyone becomes one to enjoy the music. And that’s why I love clubs. I want to bring that club-like happiness and fun into my concerts, and so I made this single.

Last February you performed in a club at Los Angeles, and you will repeat the GAMeBoi show in the following days. What’s the main difference between performing in a club, in a con or in a solo concert?

Kaya: Well, the places are certainly very different, and so are the people, but I don’t change. Even if it’s a club or a live house or a convention; whether it’s in Japan, Mexico, Brazil or Russia, I always try and do the same thing.

Your aesthetic for FABULOUS is really different. On one hand we have your usual lolita style, and on the other hand, a sexier and edgier style.

Kaya: (In Spanish) ¡Gracias! (laughs).

Why did you decide to make this “aesthetical revolution”?

Kaya: In the past I used to think, “oh, if it’s not this dress then it’s not really Kaya” but then I gained more confidence in my singing. Whatever dress I wear, or even if it’s not a dress and I’m dressed as a man; with or without make-up; whether it’s not pink and it’s blue; whatever colour it is; however I look, I don’t change. It’s still me. That’s the kind of confidence I gained, so I wanted to try a style people haven’t seen on me before, and decided on what you seen in that photo.

It's truly fabulous!

Kaya: Thank you! ¡Muchas gracias! (laughs)

© Kaya. All rights reserved.

You will also participate in RuPaul’s DragCon 2018, right? Can you tell us more about this?

Kaya: Quite simply, I don’t really like separating people into groups like “visual kei” or “drag queen”. Music is freedom, so in music it doesn’t matter what your gender or nationality is. I think that a drag convention embraces that idea that it doesn’t matter what your gender is and that you can enjoy fashion freely, so I really wanted to take part, and that’s how I came to be taking part this year.

Your LA fans will also experience your very first Cafe Noir event outside of Japan. What inspired you to make this show chanson for a foreign audience?

Kaya: I’ve held the Cafe Noir event once in Paris, but I think this is the first time in the Americas. So this is the second time we’ve done it outside of Japan. I really want to hold one in Mexico someday!

Mexico loves the lolita style! There are a lot of people here who dress as lolita.

Kaya: Really? Then I'll have to hold one soon! Maybe next year! (laughs)

In February, Schwarz Stein announced a new mini album release and a one-man tour for September. Could you give us more details about this?

Kaya: Kaya is slowly changing in style, but I really want to leave at least one thing as unchanging. There are a lot of fans that tell me that they love the dark and gothic side to Kaya, so I am continuing Schwarz Stein for them. So this time we are doing a tour and releasing a mini-album in September, and we’ve decided to make it a really dark and gothic tour. Kaya and FABULOUS have really brought out a happy feeling in the music, so I’m really looking forward to that contrast with Schwarz Stein.

A couple days ago you celebrated your 10th anniversary as major artist, right? Congratulations! Is there any memory from all these years that you are especially fond off?

Kaya: (thinks) There are so many that I can’t choose! But there was one really big thing that happened in these 10 years and that would be going abroad to perform. It was exactly 10 years ago in 2008 that I was able to perform outside of Japan, in Los Angeles, with Chocolat, my first single as a major artist. Since then, every year I’ve been able to go and perform in different countries, so that has been a really major point for me.

After all these years as an active artist in Japan and overseas, what can you tell us about past, present and future Kaya?

Kaya: I’ve been singing for a long time, so the representations and expressions I make are changing. I was in a band over 10 years ago, there was Schwarz Stein, and also the band Femme Fatale a few years ago, so I am changing. That’s the kind of idea I wanted to express in Kaleidoscope – that there are a lot of different Kayas. From here on, I want to try and surprise people more, but I also want to express the idea of beautiful things. The idea of expressing in song the things that I’ve experienced and the things that I feel within my heart has never changed even in 10 years, so I want to continue expressing what I really feel without lies.

Because J’Fest is a con, there could be people seeing you live for the first time. What song would you recommend to your potential new fans?

Kaya: I’d recommend all of them! (laughs) But if you really want to feel exactly what the current Kaya is, then FABULOUS is the song to listen to. Also the song I produced last year, Yumeji, is really about me as a real person, not as Kaya. It was a song that I wrote whilst thinking about my childhood and my family, so it’s really different from everything else I’ve produced as Kaya. It’s a really warm and gentle song, so I’d really like them to listen to that too.

Could you tell us about your future plans?

Kaya: I'm thinking in releasing a new single in this summer. It’s going to be something totally different from what I’ve tried as Kaya before. A new challenge to surprise everyone who listens. And we spoke about it earlier, but in September there is a new mini-album and tour with Schwarz Stein, which will be a really dark and gothic Kaya. In July I’m also going to Brazil and I’m really looking forward to it all.

Finally, please leave a message for JaME readers.

Kaya: A lot of things are changing in this world right now, and so is the way we enjoy music. For example, CDs are vanishing to be replaced by Spotify; but also borders are disappearing, what with everyone taking photos, and using Facebook and Instagram, so I think this is a really fantastic thing. There are a lot of problems all over the world such as war, so it’s honestly a worry, but the power of music will remain. Even through all the discrimination and awful events that are happening, if someone can listen to a piece of music and think “Oh, that was beautiful!”, then we can start to forget the real world just a little bit and be able to dream again, which is something that I really want to do, so I will continue to sing the way I am.

Also when I get messages from foreign fans asking me to go to their country, like from the Mexican fans telling me to come back soon for six years, I can really think that my songs are spreading, and that I too want to travel the world. I want to continuing trying a lot of things, so please think kindly of me in the future as well!

JaME would like to thank Kaya, FAKE STAR, USA and J'Fest for this interview opportunity.

Watch the music video for FABULOUS below:

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