Interview with Kenta from CROSSFAITH

interview - 05.11.2018 00:01

CROSSFAITH vocalist Kenta took the time to answer some questions for JaME's German team before the band's show in Cologne.

Before his band's performance in Cologne, Germany, Kenta from CROSSFAITH sat down with a member of JaME's German team to talk about their new album and the future of Japanese loud rock.

Right now you are touring through Europe with Normandie and Blood Youth. What do you think about those two bands?

Kenta: I really like them! Both bands are rather young, but they pack a lot of energy on stage. You can really feel their passion! I think that's pretty cool.

Your latest album EX_MACHINA sounds like a heavier version of XENO to me. Was the album meant to be a continuation of your previous works?

Kenta: Not at all! The overall theme of XENO was this cyber world we tried to create on the album. The theme of EX_MACHINA is very different, so we see the two albums as standalone.

You featured Skindred and Enter Shikari on your latest albums. Who do you want to feature on your next album?

Kenta: We still have not thought about that at all!

Hypothetically, if you could choose any artist to be featured on your album, who would it be?

Kenta: Until now, we’ve only featured singers on our albums. A producer or DJ would be a nice change! For example, Skrillex or Diplo. But no matter who, we always have lots of fun working together with other artists.

We heard in another interview that The Perfect Nightmare is based on the video game “Resident Evil”. What are your favourite games?

Kenta: To be absolutely clear, “Resident Evil” is not the theme of this song. Our drummer Tatsuya just happened to be playing the game when we wrote the song. He likes that type of game, you know. We took a little inspiration from its horror-esque world, but that does not mean that the whole song revolves around that game.

For video games in general, I used to play a lot, but now I just don't have the time anymore. I brought my Nintendo Switch on tour and play “Undertale” in my spare time. My favourite game of all time is “Final Fantasy VII”, by the way!

Can you tell us a little more about your newest album EX_MACHINA?

Kenta: Basically, the album is set in a world divided by good and evil: the angel side and the demon side. The angels try to remain peaceful in this future world, but the demons try to erase humanity from all humans. Both sides fight a battle, while the humans are in the middle of this battleground.

So your new album is divided into angel songs and demon songs?

Kenta: Exactly! We mixed heavy songs with mid-tempo songs on our album to display the conflict between these two sides. We won't put our finger on it though, if the more melodic songs represent the angel side and the heavy songs the demon side, or vice versa. That's up to the listener to decide.

You recorded a cover of Linkin Park's Numb for your latest album. What connection do you have with this band?

Kenta: Primarily, Linkin Park are one of our role models. We’ve listened to their music since middle school, and of course they had a huge influence on us. Maybe their latest music is not as relatable for metal bands as it used to be, but I still think they have a great influence on a lot of musicians.

Do you think that the death of Chester Bennington had an influence on the Japanese metal scene?

Kenta: I can't speak for the whole scene in general, but for me personally, his words had a great impact. And his suicide made me think about life a lot. I think Chester’s impact is different from person to person and it is difficult to define his impact on the whole metal scene.

Are there any other artists that you look up to?

Kenta: Oh yes, a lot. If we’re talking about singers, maybe Corey Taylor and Fred Durst are my personal heroes.

What is your favourite song from EX_MACHINA?

Kenta: That would be The Perfect Nightmare! Mainly because of the interesting story. In EX_MACHINA, we created a world in which the people who can't face reality die. They are tortured to death with torture machines. Sometimes it is a painful process, to wake up from your illusion and face reality. Maybe even the most painful thing for a human. That is the background story of this song.

You mixed a lot of music genres together on your newest album. If you had to label your album with only one genre, what would that be?

Kenta: This time, we all listened through a lot of different genres, and if we liked one specific genre, we tried to implement it in the album with our own touch. We don't care about the genre when we compose or produce our songs. We always try to imagine how we would play the songs live. If we can think about playing a song live, we will produce it. If we cannot, we will drop the song.

It must be difficult to deal with such a wide range of musical influences on a single album. How was your songwriting process this time?

Kenta: I am in charge of the songwriting. Teru and Kazuki are our main composers. This time, I helped here and there with the composing and we produced the album all by ourselves. We always had an American producer by our side, way back since the Zion EP. But this time, we tried to give the album a deeper meaning since the producing was all in our hands.

Three years ago, your guitarist Kazuki suffered a severe brain hemorrhage. How has your music changed since then?

Kenta: We definitely had a big change in our music. Mostly production-wise. You know, Teru and Kazuki are our main composers. Of course, a huge working part in our band’s "eco system" was missing while he was sick. Since then, we’ve tried to involve every member in the songwriting process, so no one had to shoulder the crucial tasks alone.

In your newest album, you’ve used less screaming and more clean singing than you used to. How do you balance the two?

Kenta: Usually, I try to figure the balance out by myself. Depending on the direction of the song, I decide if I want to use my screams or sing. If the song takes a melodic turn, I usually end up singing. While producing, Teru adds in his shouts, and it usually ends up blending in pretty well.

Since we were speaking of Linkin Park earlier, they started to make more pop-oriented songs after a while as well.

Kenta: That's true, but the difference is that we decide to mix in more singing all by ourselves. Linkin Park is a huge band and they drifted into the mainstream many years ago. Screaming is not that good, if you want to be in heavy rotation, you know. But we do not produce mainstream music. Maybe we did take a melodic turn in recent years, but still, we are heavy enough to not be a mainstream band, and it was our own decision to try and add even more depth to our songs.

How do you think the Japanese metal scene will change, since more and more bands are going international?

Kenta: That's true, but personally I think this has no connection to it at all. It is the same in Germany, there are some bands who sing in English, but most German bands sing in their native language. The same goes for Japan. Of course, English-speaking bands have the most international success. They have a much broader audience. We also have big mainstream rock bands in Japan, but if they want to be successful abroad, it boils down to their English skills. I don't think that the Japanese metal scene will change a lot because some of the bigger bands are going international now. We have way too many Japanese bands for that to happen.

Do you have a last message for your German fans? Maybe even in German?

Kenta: Oh yeah! Ich liebe dich! (“I love you!”)

Really?! Don't you mean “Ich liebe Deutschland” (“I love Germany”)?

Kenta: True. My bad. (laughs) Ich liebe Deutschland!


JaME would like to thank like to thank Kenta and Kinda Agency for making this interview possible.
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