Japanese sci-fi metallers Crossfaith have been a mainstay in heavy music throughout this current decade. With their scintillating take on hardcore, awash with synths, back-flips and all the crazy visuals you could ever want, the band are renowned as one of the most hyper live acts on the circuit, and multiple Australian visits have always been met with acclaim. Just look to their 2019 Unify set! So with their upcoming visit alongside The Amity Affliction being highly anticipated, and with 2018 LP ‘Ex_Machina’ taking an introspective look at the world – namely the dangers of too much screen time and its effect on humanity – I quizzed frontman Kenta Koie on what inspired this concept, and getting his take on some of the most exciting heavy bands coming out of Japan right now. [PC: Louie Mosscrop.]
Hey Kenta! Where am I finding you from today?
I’m just chilling in Japan. It’s rainy season so it’s kinda shit but I’m good.
Ha, sweet. The band have been touring SO heavily since 2006. How much do you tour now in comparison to when you started, and how do you guys avoid any kind of burnout?
We’re still away for six months of the year, but travelling and being away is the most amazing thing about being in a band. It doesn’t detract from the fact that making music is the most important thing, though. Japanese bands don’t often get international, so we are so lucky to be able to travel around the world, so that’s why we always wanna get back out there.
That’s a great attitude to have. I know that the concept behind the most recent record ‘Ex_Machina’ was about how humans can become so glued to their screens and become somewhat mindless. Do you find that you yourself have been able to become more independent of technology?
I mean, it was mainly just a concept, and the last couple of years we enjoyed writing about the near future. However, at the core of this is: “what is humanity?” Obviously, people need to be themselves, but recently technology has changed so fast and quickly. We felt it was dangerous because you can see lives changed so dramatically. Technology can take us out of the important process of being human. When I was younger, I used to spend hours in a record store to find CD’s to buy, and even something like that is so important for people to go through.
You mention that almost ritualistic process of unearthing an LP, which is almost a vintage experience now. When it comes to Crossfaith, physical CD sales used to be a big deal, but since the band has seen the streaming revolution come into play, do you still even want to do physical copies?
We don’t disagree with streaming because obviously it’s helped so many more people find our music. People don’t care about format anymore though, it’s all about the playlist. People skip the song after listening for 15 seconds. I still have some questions about it as an experience – especially with metal music, because the way things are sequenced is so important. You can’t understand a metal song from 15 seconds. We need to change though, and it’s a tricky transition. There are so many bands around the world that people have access too, so that makes it challenging to stand out. I think, to be honest, it’s made the live show more important because people won’t go home after five minutes. People get discovered more from the show format now.
Agreed. Something cool with Crossfaith is the influence from outside of music, for example, sci-fi movies with your album, ‘Xeno.‘ What non-musical inspirations have you had lately?
We love video games, like Final Fantasy, and making stuff like that was a dream for the future. The visuals that go along with music, the art – everything should be connected. I think music makes movies a lot better, for example. Crossfaith music should always trigger a big visual experience as well.
To finish up, what are some other Japanese heavy bands that Australians can go and check out?
Crystal Lake is the obvious one, and their live show is hyper. There’s a great new band called Paledusk, they’re super young but they have ambitions to be outside of Japan, and their music is kind of djenty but also has some dynamic to it. They’re big on the visuals too. Definitely check them out!
Crossfaith Australian tour 2019 w/ The Amity Affliction, Underoath & Pagan:
Thursday, 12th September- Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday, 14th September- Riverstage, Brisbane
Monday, 16th September-Melbourne Arena, Melbourne