Interview Crossfaith (Alcatraz 2019)

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Shortly after their performance at Alcatraz, I had the opportunity to ask some questions to Kenta Koie and Hiroki Ikegawa of Crossfaith. With weather warnings all around, it was a pleasant surprise the band even made it to Alcatraz Festival on time for their show, though there had been a slight delay concerning their ferry across from the UK. Reason enough to ask how much of it they really noticed, among plenty of other questions.

GRIMM: I heard you guys were delayed due to the weather when you were on your way here from the UK, did that impact you in any way?

Kenta: Not really, we were delayed by a few hours, but we barely noticed it. Mostly slept through it.

GRIMM: Your expectations of the festival beforehand, crowd and such, did it live up to what you encountered on stage?

Kenta: It was great! We’ve done this festival and Graspop for Belgian festivals. These festivals are focused on ‘real metal bands’. And our music style is not pure metal. It’s a combination of things, but we got great reactions. Some bands told me “Sometimes it’s hard to break through in metal festivals”, but it wasn’t too hard for us, because music is music. And I think people really love our music.

Hiroki: We played at Graspop for the first time 5 years ago and that was kinda the same reaction today. At the start it’s just everyone watching, but we know that further into the show people get more into it.

Kenta: I actually didn’t expect people to know much about us, but that doesn’t matter. We know that we can rock anywhere.

GRIMM: What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Kenta: I’m gonna watch Avatar and hang out with my friends from Bury Tomorrow and Of Mice & Men.

Hiroki: We’re friends with them for seven years now. Our first UK tour we were touring together, so it’s cool that we were all scheduled to play on the same stage today. So we’re just gonna hang out with friends today.

GRIMM: After shows, do you like to roam around on the fields, or do you prefer to stay backstage? What do you usually do?

Hiroki: I don’t know? Drinking *laughs*.

Kenta: *laughing* Because we have a day off tomorrow, yeah.

GRIMM: What do you like to listen to in between shows?

Kenta: It’s very random.

Hiroki: He listens to lots of everything. Like, Japanese hip-hop too…

Kenta: And metal music a well, let me check my iPhone. *scrolls* I listen pretty much every kind of music. Like DJ Snake, Underoath and some Japanese hip-hop, Knife Party, classic Sepultura album, Tickle, so many kinds of stuff.

GRIMM: Do you ever listen to your own stuff on the road?

Kenta: Uhhh, sometimes. But just to practice the song, if it’s an old song. Because sometimes I forget the lyrics to old songs.

GRIMM: Can you name any songs that you like so much, you’re jealous you didn’t write them?

Kenta: We Are The Champions

*Everyone laughs simultaneously*

Kenta: or We Will Rock You. That’s a masterpiece.

GRIMM: What songs do you like to play the most?

Hiroki: For me it’s Xeno. When we play that, I always feel like we can express our image, like we can play really close to our core.

Kenta: Today I really liked to play Kill ‘Em All. The song makes everyone join together. And I always make everyone jump. It feels so good. And there’s so many older metalheads, and they’re like “Okay, a Japanese band playing. Okay… but, oh, this is kinda good” *laughing* And then people start jumping, moshing, all that stuff.

GRIMM: For beginning musicians or fans that want to play your songs, which Crossfaith songs would you recommend for them to start with?

Hiroki: I think Jägerbomb.

Kenta: Yeah, for guitarists that would be best.

Hiroki: I’ve watched lots of cover videos of that.

Kenta: As singer, there’s no particular answers, because Crossfaith songs are super hard to cover.

GRIMM: Anything you’re looking forward to in the upcoming future? New projects?

Kenta: We’re making new songs and they’re very good and we really want to show them to you guys as soon as we can. And we always plan new things. We have home events in Japan and one is called Across the Future, which is; we bring some foreign bands and we show them to Japanese audiences. And one more event is more mixed with hip-hop and dance music and industrial music, so many stuff. We always like exploring things with music.

GRIMM: Do you often get recognized off-stage or do you easily get by unnoticed?

Kenta: At festivals, yeah. Sometimes. But not like Michael Jackson. *laughing*

GRIMM: How much of your shows are rehearsed? You all move a lot on stage, do you plan out together when you go where, or is it more so decided ‘on the spot’?

Kenta: Most of it is not planned. It’s very natural. Like, when I go up to the fence, I think: “Oh I wanna go, I wanna go to scream to them, like, as close as I can!” It’s like that.

GRIMM: What bands do you like to tour with the most?

Hiroki: I think… Beartooth... Or Enter Shikari. Those two are always on my mind.

Kenta: Bane. We invited them to Japan and they killed it. We had an interview with them and they told us, like: “this tour was the best for our whole career” It was the most amazing thing about being in a band. So we really love touring with them everywhere. They told us they hated touring in The States and other heavy festivals because it’s boring.

GRIMM: Have you ever had bad experiences on tour?

Hiroki: A lot. But in the end it’s always good.

Kenta: Physically, always. But mentally, I love being on tour. But, to name a bad experience…. I had a food poisoning back in 2014.

Hiroki: Vans Warped Tour.

Kenta: Oh, yeah. Vans Warped Tour. If I had to call it in a good way; it’s very DIY. But on the other side it’s very unorganised and we feel like slaves. But it’s an amazing tour.

GRIMM: Do you prefer to spend time with fans or have time for yourself backstage?

Kenta: Both. Sometimes I like having a good time with the fans. I don’t want to be an asshole to the fans, because they’re supporting us. Thanks to them we can play music. So I don’t want to be an asshole like “Oh, I don’t want to take a picture with you”. It’s bullshit. But sometimes, when I’m super tired, I don’t feel like it… But I’ll still take a picture with them.

GRIMM: Thank you so much for the talk and enjoy your time here still!

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