With the release of Crossfaith’s fourth full-length album Xeno, it feels like the Osaka quartet are on the verge of going nuclear.
Since their debut album The Artificial Theory For The Dramatic Beauty was unleashed in 2009, the Japanese electro-metallers have been on a steady upwards trajectory, both at home and across the world.
However, things took a turn for the worse last year, when guitarist Kazuki Takemura suffered a brain haemorrhage and cast the band’s future in doubt.
With a never-give-in attitude, the guitarist is undergoing rehabilitation and is quickly returning to full health – another reason to for Crossfaith to celebrate in 2015.
We caught up with singer Kenta Koie to talk about their new album Xeno and how Kazu’s sudden ill-health affected the band.
TELL US THE MEANING BEHIND XENO, KENTA.
“I think the main concept of the album is about our lives in Crossfaith. We’ve put in every single experience we’ve had since we started this band into the writing – we’ve been a band for almost 10 years now. The last two years were very big for the band. On the plus side, we played on the Download main stage last year, and we were playing big festivals in Europe too. However, after releasing [2013 album] Apocalyze, we were on tour around the world, then our guitarist Kaz then had a brain haemorrhage.”
DID YOU CONSIDER GOING ON HIATUS WHILE HE RECOVERED?
“Kaz had to take a break from touring life from the end of last year. That’s the worst thing that has ever happened in our career. At the time, the doctor said to me that no-one could tell what the outcome would be. But Kaz said to us, ‘I will never give up’. He told us to never give up the band. He really pushed us and we started writing music for Xeno.”
DID IT HAVE AN EFFECT ON HIS CREATIVE INPUT THIS TIME?
“He actually wrote a couple of songs for Xeno, such as Ghost In The Mirror, and Xeno was written by Kazu and [keyboardist] Teru. He also wrote Tears Fall and Calm The Storm. This time, we brought a support guitarist from Japan to LA. But actually, almost of the guitars were tracked by Kaz. After the doctors diagnosed his haemorrhage, he started doing rehabilitation to get back to where he was before – his left hand is getting so much better.”
**HOW DID THE BAND REACT WHEN YOU HEARD THE ALBUM BACK IN THE STUDIO?
* “After we tracked the songs, our producer Josh [Wilbur] called us to check the mix in LA. The first time we listened to the title track, we started crying. We cried as we celebrated the birth of Xeno*. I’ve never had an experience like that in a band. This album really is the best we’ve created – I can’t wait to share our music with everyone.”
HOW WELL DO YOU THINK THESE SONGS WILL TRANSLATE WHEN PERFORMED LIVE? THERE’S A LOT GOING ON…
“Really well, I think. This time, we had a different tracking process. So many bands start from the drums, but this time we started from the guitar and bass and vocals. This meant we focused on the new songs from the beginning to the end. We always enjoy playing live, so we wrote the songs with that in mind. I’ve spent so much time writing lyrics as well. It was hard and it took a long time. But I’m satisfied with the lyrics on Xeno, and I can’t wait to play the songs and have the audience sing them back at us.”
NOW YOU’VE LIVED WITH THE NEW SONGS, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE?
“No. This is our best album, I can say that. We’re all satisfied by Xeno. We’ve been together for nine years and we’ve released three albums. We spent a long time making them, so all of those records are like our babies.”
Xeno is out now through UNFD. The band return to the UK in November as support to Skindred. For more information, visit their Facebook page.