Interview with Kagrra, at J-ROCK INVASION

interview - 04.12.2008 08:00

Interview with the headliners of the J-ROCK INVASION event.

On the day before the J-ROCK INVASION event, we met with Kagrra, at the Palladium in Cologne. The band was in a good mood and greeted us warmly, though guitarist Akiya was ill and wore a face mask, a typical Japanese custom. After we introduced ourselves shortly, we started the interview.

You are in Germany for the first time, what do you think about this, what are your expectations?

Kagrra,: We are very excited and happy to finally perform in Germany. We were really happy about the offer to play here. We hope that many people that like our music will come tomorrow! We’re sure that it’ll be great.

What’s it like for you, to be with a major label now?

Isshi: Well, since then we are treated differently. Also with this event, it’s good for us.

Your previous albums had all titles in Japanese, but your newest album is named Core. Does this have a special meaning?

Isshi: (thinks for a while) Can I use your notebook for a moment? (Isshi draws the kanji for the word 'core’) Look, the kanji looks ugly, so we decided to use the English word. While the meaning doesn’t change in this way, we simply like the English way of writing better (laughs)

It’s said that your name means to "music of God", what exactly do you mean with this?

Isshi: (He takes the notebook again and draws the kanji. He explains them then, both characters) Actually, our band name translates to "music, that’s so good that it makes God happy" so that God would listen to it (laughs).

Your lyrics are often based on the Japanese culture and the traditions from your country. Why?

Isshi: I find the Japanese culture very interesting and I really like the traditions, so that’s why our lyrics handle these topics often. All of this is a part of me (laughs).

The atmosphere of your most recent photo shoot is very dark. Does this reflect the concept of the album?

Kagrra,: We liked the idea of creating such an atmosphere, but it doesn’t say anything about the album.
Isshi: This dark atmosphere expresses the idea of another world.
Twilight Zone?
Kagrra,: (laughing) Exactly!

Has the song Hyakkiyakou been re-recorded for Core?

Isshi: In front of the title Hyakkiyakou stands the kanji for Shin. So it’s more like a continuation.

Why did you release no singles before the release of the album?

Isshi: Because the album is only good as a whole. The singles are only fragments and don’t represent the album as a whole, so that’s why there were no singles. When one wants to understand and enjoy our music, then they should listen to Core as a whole, in our opinion.

What are your goals as a band?

Kagrra,: To conquer the world! (laughing)

Are you planning to use even more traditional Japanese instruments in your songs in the future?

Sin: If it fits, definitely!

For about two years, dancers were a part of your live shows, what made you decide to have them join you?

Izumi: They fit really well with our concept. They supported the music and could convey the musical aspect in another art form and way, so they were a good addition.

How did each of you get into music?

Nao: My brother got me into music. My brother, yes!
Isshi: Actually, I wanted to be a guitarist at first, but I thought there were already plenty of guitarists that were better than me (everybody laughs). So I started with singing.
Izumi: My father always listened to old CDs, that I really liked so that’s how I became interested in music very early. The fact that I had to do with music a lot since I was a child, has really shaped and inspired me.
Sin: For me it also started early. Already as a child I constantly made music, not really professionally, but I always had fun. So I also was very musically talented from an early age (everybody laughs).

Your first performance outside Asia took place in the United States. Do you have any special memories from this, what did you think about it?

Kagrra,: It was a great event! We had a lot of fun. The fans abroad are different from the ones in Japan in our opinion, they join in more and know no limits. They have fun and that’s what it’s about. The fans are more engaged. For us the performances abroad are a big present.

Do you know any German bands?

Izumi: Helloween (note: an older metal band that’s very popular in Japan). I like them a lot.

What music do you listen to in your private time?

Izumi: I like Metallica
Nao: Bon Jovi (his band members laugh at him).
Isshi: I like LUNA SEA
Sin: Linkin Park!
Akiya: I like Juno Reactor, do you know them? They made the soundtrack for the movie Matrix for example, which I like a lot

How will you spend New Year’s Eve?

Kagrra,: Ah, we are looking forward to that! Lately we have been very busy, and at New Year we finally have a few days off and can relax. We will probably spend New Year’s Eve quite traditionally.

To end the interview with, do you have a message for our readers?

Kagrra,: We are looking forward to the concert and we hope that we will be received well. We are really very excited! Maybe we will see each other again soon, we would like to give some one-man concerts in Europe.

JaME would like to thank the band, Rock Identity and PS Company who made this interview possible.
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