Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview with Kihiro of LOKA


About | History

VKEIOS: Hello, and thank you for granting us the time for this interview! To begin, could you introduce LOKA for our readers?

Kihiro: Kihiro vocals, KENICHI drums, Katsumi bass and SIN guitar.

VKEIOS: What are some of the most challenging aspects about band activity?

Kihiro: Touring and writing new music at the same time is very tough. Both are high needs to keep the band going, but its challenging to focus on both. Still we do it lol

VKEIOS: Having all been a part of a band prior to this, how do you think that has influenced or shaped you when it comes to LOKA?

Kihiro: Our prior band gave us the experience not just in music but other things mostly. The relationship between members, touring tactics, connections made, and fans. All of these are very important aspects for a band, and 4 of are able to emerge this, which is working very well. The music part we are still in the phase of developing, so everything is fresh and new, its fun!

VKEIOS: What’s something that you know now, that you wish you knew when you first got started as musicians?

Kihiro: Music stuff nothing really… we constantly grow and that is the fun part. Business stuff… a lot but we rather not say lol.

VKEIOS: Are there any rules or standards that you each set for yourselves as artists.

Kihiro: Love the fans and staff, hate the weakness within yourself.

Music | Recent Activities

VKEIOS: Your new album CRISS x CROSS released in July, Can you tell us a bit about the journey of creating this album?

Kihiro: This album is a mix album. We released one EP and one full album in 2012, after we sold out our copies for those two, Kihiro and KENICHI decided to create CRISSxCROSS as a closure for being a 2 piece band, Since Katsumi and SIN joined, we are looking forward for our album to be fresh and new as a 4 piece band.

VKEIOS: Could you give us an overall summary of CRISS x CROSS - such as its theme and general mood of the album?

Kihiro: Like it’s said above the album is an mix, so we lined up the songs as if we were making a set list for a live show. We wanted our fans to listen to it as if they were watching our show. We also included two arranged songs, piano and vocal only version and acoustic version. We put that in to give our fans a different taste and side of LOKA.

VKEIOS: What does the album’s title symbolize or represent for each of you, and how does it reflect the songs on the album?

Kihiro: The title shows express the 2 albums emerging. We chose the cover design with this title because in the city, people, thoughts, animals, cars, love, hate, etc. are "criss-crossing" constantly. Especially in Tokyo, where it never sleeps. Also CRISSxCROSS is an album with variety of songs, other than Kihiro and KENICHI, there are different guitar and bass players who recorded the songs, since all songs were created before Katsumi and SIN joined LOKA. There are many people related to this album, that's why its CRISSxCROSS. The "x" express the closure of  being 2 piece band.

VKEIOS: You’ve also released an acoustic version of “ALIVE” and piano version of “Don’t ever leave me out” what side of LOKA do you want to show to listeners with these alternative versions?

Kihiro: Well we wanted to show our fans the variety and potential LOKA has with music. Also, since most of our songs are loud, heavy and rock'n, just wanted to put out something our fans can easily listen too. Even we get tired of loud music sometimes lol.

VKEIOS: How do you think being a four piece band makes your sound different than if you were a five piece?

Kihiro: Well for our show, we synchronize play our second guitar phrases from our MTR, so basically it sounds like an 5 piece band. Its not about the sound that we chose to be an 4 piece. But about the relationship between the members, 4 of us get along very well, we joke around and do stupid things together and the balance between us are great. That can change with a 5th member, we'll never know now but so far, we simply like being the 4 of us.

VKEIOS: What goals would you each like to personally achieve with your instrument of choice?

Kihiro: Very detailed question lol. But all of us have the same answer for this. "Whatever LOKA needs". If there is key, technique, or anything is needed to create LOKA's music, we will get it done.

Touring | Performing

VKEIOS: Could you tell us about LOKA’s first live concert, what stands out most in your mind when you think about it?

Kihiro: Well, we will tell you the first show as a 4 piece band… It was a mess lol. We had gear trouble from the first song lol. You know, but all this "mistakes" or "trouble" comes with the package, as we play more it naturally goes away, and becomes our strength.

VKEIOS: In your opinions, what makes a LOKA concert a unique experience? Tell us why everyone should attend your shows!

Kihiro: Our show is not just about the music, but our performance! You gotta come see KEN'ICHI hit those drums and twirling his sticks at the same time while the other 3 in the front are constantly moving. Not just moving but raging the stage. See how Kihiro "dances" his legs while he sings, SIN you'll see him on your right, next sight he will be on your left. Katsumi… this guy is like Sid Vicious Japanese version lol. We can be "looked" as a visual kei band, sort of, but our performance is sexy, bad and heavy!

VKEIOS: You’ve toured overseas this year – how have you all grown or changes through your ventures overseas?

Kihiro: The language barrier comes first, but the difficulties gives us the challenge to work on. Accomplishing these challenge helps us think more creatively, and be more smart with solving a problem when there is one. We've only done the Asian region. So this EU tour is a big challenge for us, but we are confident our Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia tour experience will help us do the things we do on stage.

VKEIOS: You’ll be touring Europe starting from Oct.30 - what do you hope your European fans will take away from the experience?

Kihiro: Something more than they paid for.

VKEIOS: What are some of your favorite ways to unwind after a concert?

Kihiro: BEER!!

VKEIOS: Are there any dream venues that you would like to perform at?

Kihiro: Glastonbury Fes!


VKEIOS: What are some of the goals that you’d like to accomplish in 2014?

Kihiro: Japan, EU, Indonesia, Taiwan Summer Music Festival

VKEIOS: What kind of impression do you hope LOKA will leave on the music industry?

Kihiro: World's Next BIG THING!

VKEIOS: Thank you again for you time! Do you have any closing statements for our readers at Visual KEIOS?

Kihiro: Want something more than just visual kei? We got it, so come and get it baby!

LOKA Special Q&A

[one_fourth]Vocals - Kihiro[/one_fourth][one_fourth]Guitar - SIN [/one_fourth][one_fourth]Bass - Katsumi[/one_fourth][one_fourth_last]Drums - KEN'ICHI  [/one_fourth_last]

*Click the images to open each member's individual Q&A

LOKA Official Home Page


Don't miss their European tour, spanning from Oct.30 - Nov.12!

2013.10.30 - Munich@Garage Deluxe(Germany)
2013.11.02 - Cologne@WERKSTATT (Germany)
2013.11.03 - Brussels@Japan Expo (Belgium)
2013.11.05 - Vienna@REPLUGGED(Austria)
2013.11.07 - Lyon@BLOGG CAFE (France)
2013.11.08 - Luxembourg@Rock Box (Luxembourg)
2013.11.09 - Paris @Covent Garden Studios(France)
2013.11.10 - Gent@Frontline (Belgium)
2013.11.11 - Den Haag@Musicon (Netherlands)
2013.11.12 - Roubaix@Bar Live 301 (France)


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Interview written by Alicia R. Thomas with contributions from Michelle Gaynor. Many thanks to Kihiro, LOKA as well as David and Ramen Events for making this possible!

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