Japanese electronicore quintet Crossfaith have been tearing up stages with their crazy energetic live shows over the past few years, winning new fans all over the world in the process. Having just released their third album Xeno, Crossfaith are ripe and ready to take over the world with their addictive blend of dance music and metal.
We had the pleasure of chatting to frontman Kenta Koie about the new album, that song with Skindred and who they would most love to collaborate with next. Find out what happened here:
MOSH: So Ken, you recently released your third album, Xeno! What sound were you trying to achieve with this album? Is this the birth of a new era for Crossfaith?
Ken: This time we made the blueprint before we started writing and the main theme for Xeno was “Be Crossfaith”. We put together every single experience we’ve had since we were born. So there is our skill, message and soul. Also we tried so many new things on this album. We didn’t want to make a similar album to our older records and this one is not a proper metalcore album. I think we could express us at the moment through Xeno. It is the birth of a new era!
MOSH: Is there a concept or theme you had in mind when writing the album?
Ken: Yeah like I said main theme was “Be Crossfaith”. When we made the blueprint, Teru (keyboards/programming) brought us the idea of this album – it’s Life and Death and Metempsychosis. These ideas gave me inspiration to write lyrics.
MOSH: Where did inspiration for the lyrics come from?
Ken: It depends, but main theme are Metempsychosis and human beings. Title track ‘Xeno’ and ‘Calm the Storm’ link together as one story. There are two characters. One is the guy who wants to end this world because he thinks it is fucked by human beings, and one is a cyber brain who wants to know about humans so she decides to dive into his mind to know about the emotions humans have. Then he goes back to mother’s womb as he wishes to rebirth himself. That’s the beginning of this album. It’s gonna take a while to explain each song so please get this album and read the lyrics to touch with this world.
MOSH: What was the writing process like with this album? Was it different compared to your previous records?
Ken: Yeah it was! Our producer Josh Wilbur brought us bright ideas, his way of writing is totally opposite from what we’ve done. This time we started tracking from guitar, bass and vocals, drums last. Which means all of us focused on writing and arranging from the beginning to the end. So I think you can feel this album’s balance is very comfortable even though it has so many different types of songs.
MOSH: You collaborated with Skindred’s Benji Webbe and Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo on a couple of the tracks. How did these collaborations come about?
Ken: On ‘Ghost In The Mirror’, we asked Caleb to sing on the track when we had almost finished this record. That song was already amazing but we knew if a great singer joined this song it would be super amazing. That’s why we invited him. He did a great job even though he didn’t have much time to record it. It was the day before he left to Warped Tour…haha. We already played Ghost In The Mirror with Caleb on Warped and we hung out a lot with the Beartooth guys.
‘Wildfire’ was written by Teru and he made that song for me and Benji. It was a great moment watching Benji tracking vocals through Skype… He is one of my favorite singers and his skill brings that song to the next level! I can’t wait to play Wildfire with him on their next tour in November.
MOSH: Are there any other artists you’d like to collab with in the future?
Ken: Amy Lee! Her voice would be perfect with our sound!
MOSH: There’s a particularly heavy EDM influence on Xeno, especially on final instrumental track ‘Astral Heaven’. Do you listen to much EDM? Can you name some artists you like and are inspired by?
Ken: Yeah! I listen to dance music, but I’m not sure what is EDM or not. I love The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Chase and Status, Diplo, Skrillex, Major Lazer and many more. ‘Astral Heaven’ was written by Teru so he’s the best person to ask about that song.
MOSH: You’re known for your insanely energetic live shows. How do you feel about being called a ‘party band’?
Ken: We are not a party band but our shows have a party influence and we love to PARTY. Our shows have a lot of faces, sadness, anger, love, party…. so if you come to our show then you can see we are not just a party band. But we love to PARTY…
MOSH: Songs like ‘Tears Fall’ and ‘Calm The Storm’ show a different side to Crossfaith that we haven’t heard previously. There’s also a lot more singing on this album than on previous ones – it’s great to hear your full melodic range! Was this a conscious decision when writing the songs?
Ken: Yes, clean vocals made this album’s range wider. Singing is a new weapon for us. Our potential is so much bigger than before. Tears Fall was the first song Kazu wrote after he had his haemorrhage (the guitarist had a brain haemorrhage, which affected his left arm). First time I heard this song I went to the studio and put my melody on it naturally.
MOSH: Have you played many of the new songs live yet? What has the reaction been like so far?
Ken: We already played a couple of songs and we got great reactions! I believe the songs of Xeno will be live anthems. I can’t wait to play new songs in your country!
MOSH: What are your plans for the next few months?
Ken: Finally we have days off in October, we are going to write new songs and relax. November we have a tour with Skindred in your country! We have a couple of festivals in Japan this December. The UK tour with Skindred will be the highlight of this year! We might play Wildfire on that tour.
MOSH: Have you got anything special planned for those UK shows? Any chance of a Crossfaith/Skindred collab on stage?
Ken: Yes!!! You will see the ultimate collaboration! CROSSDRED!!!!!
MOSH: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Ken!
Ken: THANK YOU!!!! SEE YOU GUYS SOON!
What an awesome guy.
You can buy tickets for Skindred and Crossfaith‘s UK tour with Hed PE here.
See you in the pit!