Crossfaith is a Japanese metalcore band from Osaka, and these five guys have been together since the band formed in 2006. Quite an impressive feat, don’t you think?
Their works are mostly known for the combination of metalcore, dubstep and other forms of electronic music that really come to life during their live performances.
The guys are currently on a world tour to promote their newest album “EX_MACHINA”, and of course they’re also making a stop in The Netherlands. Fate has it that today is exactly six years after their very first show in The Netherlands.
For this interview we sat down with vocalist Kenta, who had quite some interesting things to tell.
So, let’s not waste any more time, and…
Of course there are a lot of people who already know who you are, and what your band is like, but could you introduce Crossfaith to everyone who doesn’t know you, just to cover all our bases?
Kenta: Uhm… Japanese Future Metal, maybe? I think that is the best way to express our music as Crossfaith into words.
I’ll just get right to it. Today is actually exactly six years after your very first performance in The Netherlands as Crossfaith! If you look back on these six years, how do you see yourself today?
Kenta: Obviously we have a lot more fans now than we did back then, but I speak for all of us when I say that we’re always so grateful those fans gave us the opportunity to play in different countries. The Netherlands is actually one of my favorite countries because it’s always so beautiful everywhere here. I was walking around in Haarlem earlier today and it was super beautiful.
There has been one major change for me though. Back in 2012 I didn’t care about my voice too much, but now I have to keep my voice clear throughout the tour.
Like we’ve just said already, this isn’t your first time in The Netherlands, and usually when we ask artists what they think of our country they haven’t had any time to see more than the inside of the venue. But what about you? Have you seen some of the country during all your visits here? Was there something that stood out?
Kenta: Earlier today I was walking around in town for about two or three hours, and I saw so many cool clothing stores, so many good restaurants, and the buildings… I feel like it’s only a little different here than in other European countries, but you guys have so many rivers!
I would really love to canoe in the rivers here. I’ve never done that before, but I’d really like to do that during this tour.
You’ve seen quite a few good restaurants today, but what about the food here in Europe? Since I’m sure you’ve gotten some weird stuff on your plate during your travels?
Kenta: You mean in general? We had a strange color of something, I don’t know what it was but it was very pink and it looked gross. So I didn’t eat it. But when we first came here in 2012 and everything was weird to us I didn’t dare to eat much. Now I dare to eat pretty much anything. And I know how to order the food now. I don’t want to eat weird stuff, so I have learned how to avoid that when I place my order.
Adventures and improvisation on tour
During the years we’ve seen you here in Europe you always had one other band joining yours during the tour. But what do you think about this yourself? Do you enjoy playing with different bands, or would you rather play a show all by yourself?
Kenta: Is it normal to be touring with just one band? Is it natural? There are a lot of bands out there who always bring another band with them for the tour. In fact, I’ve never seen just one band or even just one guy doing a whole tour by themselves. Maybe someone like Justin Bieber would do something like that, but he is doing a tour just for himself.
Touring with a support band is always good, since we have more time to relax and we get to hang out together. Plus, I want the audience to check out other bands as well, they might find a new artist they really like through us this way. So yeah, you can definitely say I’d enjoy to tour with other bands a lot more than touring solo.
Before the show in Hamburg started you posted a message on social media regarding Tatsu: he went at it a bit too hard the night before, huh? In his enthusiasm he ended up injuring himself, and I’m sure this has affected the performance you had prepared as a whole. Did you have to make changes to make it easier for him, for example?
Kenta: Oh yeah, definitely. He was affected, and we were as well because of it. We had to program part of our drum sounds because he can’t reach everything with one hand. So we had to program the parts he couldn’t do. But he was definitely enjoying it, and we were as well.
If this situation causes us to be in a bad mood, it won’t solve anything. We’re all just having fun, and in the meantime he has recovered again. He’s feeling a lot better, and he’s playing with both hands again too!
With such a stressful situation I’m sure you had to unwind a little bit. A lot of us use music to unwind, and I’m sure you do too, right? What are you currently listening to?
Kenta: I was listening to a group called “Hocus Pocus” yesterday, they’re a hiphop group from France. I love their work. I like to listen to local music from the country we’re currently at, and we were in France yesterday, so this was a good opportunity.
I also listen to “Stay in the Color”, some acoustic stuff and maybe some hiphop here and there to relax these days too.
There’s a difference between music you listen to in order to unwind and music that actually influences your own work. What would you say inspires the current works of Crossfaith? Have they changed at all?
Kenta: We have new elements of course, and if you listen to our works you can hear that too. Back in the day we liked metalcore and dance music like “The Prodigy” and “Chemical Brothers” and stuff like that.
We’ve been changing constantly, and that’s why each of our records is different. But we always keep in mind that we still have to be Crossfaith even if we play a different style of music. It’s a rule to remain in the Crossfaith realm, but other than that there are no rules for making music within our group.
The road from “Xeno” to “EX_MACHINA”
Speaking of your releases, the difference between your latest release “EX_MACHINA” and “Xeno” is quite a change, but what inspired you to go in this direction? Has “Linkin Park” been one of your main influences, perhaps?
Kenta: “EX_MACHINA” is certainly a different album, but there are still similar vibes between it and “Xeno”. This album is more futuristic, and we’ve focused on the futuristic vibe of each song. It’s hard, since every song we’ve made is different and each of them have a different direction. This actually makes it very hard to explain…
We’ve made bigger songs like “Lost In You” and “Eden In The Rain”. The entire album was also a tribute to Chester, so that’s why we didn’t change a lot.
Since you don’t really use a “set” method for the creation of your songs I can imagine it’s quite difficult to decide what will be an album and what will be something else, so please tell me something about the creative process behind your releases…
Kenta: We’ve released three EPs before “EX_MACHINA”, and we tried to make each of them short records. During this time we were also talking about the concept of this album. We got back into the studio to make music, and when we returned to Tokyo we started the process of mixing the tracks and stuff like that.
We always enjoy making music. If I don’t enjoy it anymore, I will quit. (laughs)
It sounds like you’re always thinking of new music then, even while on the road. Let’s lose all limitations for this question: who would you like to collaborate with for a song, if you even want to do so, of course!
Kenta: I would like to work with, and this is my personal opinion, not the one from the band don’t get me wrong… Skrillex, Diplo and Rob from The Pendulum. That would be sick!
Is there currently something brewing in your head already as well, or…?
Kenta: I’m just enjoying the tour right now, but I do know that Kazuki has already started on the process of writing new music. There is however no plans for a new release yet though!
Fans often have their own personal favorite songs that they like to hear during a live show, but which song is your personal favorite to play on stage?
Kenta: “The Perfect Nightmare”. This song is totally different from the other tracks, and when we play it live it is so different. I feel like it’s a big difference that comes from deep inside of me, and it’s an amazing change on stage.
Definitely not ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei), but Crossfaith-glamor
I heard that part of Crossfaith’s initial concept comes from an aversion towards the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) scene, causing people here to see you as a more “Westernized” band, yet a lot of people who come to your show also enjoy ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei), what do you think about that overlap? Since obviously there are a lot of metal fans here too!
Kenta: I do think there is quite a difference between Crossfaith and any ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) band. But I’ve personally never compared myself or the band with a ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) band. It’s your job to judge it, it’s not my thing.
There still is a little bit of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) influence left in the band, and that’s no one less than Hiroki. Does he maybe, secretly, like the fashion a little bit? (wink wink)
Kenta: No (laughs), I think that’s just how he feels.
But what about cosplay? Since that’s definitely gaining traction here in Europe in the recent years. Would you like to try it yourself for a Halloween show or something maybe?
Kenta: It’s good to see a sexy girl doing a sexy costume… (laughs)
But I can understand the appeal of cosplay, I understand why people like it. Everyone wants to be a different person, and cosplay creates that opportunity for them, even if it’s only briefly. I do wanna try it myself someday, maybe I’ll be something like Mario.
Unfortunately we’re out of time (and out of questions) for this interview, but I do want to sneak one of them in there for good measure. Do you have a message you’d like to share with everyone reading the interview?
Kenta: Thank you for reading this interview, and make sure to check out our new album “EX_MACHINA”!
We’ve already put three videos on our YouTube channel, and a new one will be coming out soon. Oh, and of course… Come see our show!
As mentioned in the interview already Crossfaith have just released their newest album, “EX_MACHINA”, which is quite different from their previous album “Xeno”. Regardless, it’s still in the realm of Crossfaith, so it counts! (According to their own rules!)
The guys are currently on the European and UK leg of their 2018 World Tour, which will have it’s final show in Ireland on October 21st. So there’s still a chance for you to catch these guys in the UK and Ireland. If you haven’t seen their shows before and you enjoy a good banger of a metal-show then make sure to give these guys a try!
Who knows, you might get a “Jägerbomb” from them to if you’re lucky!
We also took photos of their performance at Patronaat (Haarlem, The Netherlands). You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the image below!
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin Magazine & Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.