"We don’t want to let our lives belong to other people" - Kento Koie
Crossfaith are gearing up to release their new EP 'Species' via UNFD, and their own new imprint Species Inc, and kickstart a new chapter in their incredible story.
Big, bold and brilliantly brutal, 'Species' finds the band bringing together all of the elements that make them such a unique heavy band but then injecting a whole load of emotion in. The result is a very human and very relatable collection of songs, which when you consider that a lot of Crossfaith's discography centres around technology, is as refreshing as it is raucous.
We caught up with frontman Kenta Koie to chat about the new EP and why they currently feel more creative than ever before...
Following ‘EX_MACHINA’, which was this fully formed concept album about technology, ‘Species’ feels like it focuses more on actual emotion. What was the catalyst for that shift in theme?
Says Kenta: “We always try and have a specific concept for our albums, but this time we went about trying to make each individual song stronger than ever before. The experience of doing that was actually really nice because with putting a concept together it’s hard to actually finish it. There are barriers that have specific links to the concept you’re building. This time though it was much more free. Music is there for thinking and the inspiration always comes from the soul. This EP is more pure because of that compared to what we have done on our previous albums.”
When you’ve made music that focuses more on sci-fi elements for so long, to then make something that feels more familiar and real is always going to be refreshing…
“We’ve done so many things about technology, and not that we’re sick of it, but we wanted to focus much more on humanity. As humans, it’s hard to have sympathy with such huge concepts. So we took things and tried to give much more of a direct message to the people. That’s what one of our main motivations for making this EP was.”
It feels as though these songs are a lot more personal as well. How did you decide to write in that way?
“I didn’t really decide that this song should be like this and this song should be like this and so on. Everything happened very naturally.
“So ‘Endorphin’ for example comes from being frustrated. So many people have their own goals but at the same time so many people aren’t able to find those goals. Then when you have finally found that goal it’s about the struggle that comes with now trying to achieve it. That’s a feeling I’ve had before and one I know so many other people have too. I just want to be able to share my emotion with those people [who feel the same]. Then you have a song like ‘None Of Your Business’, which is focused more on anger towards specific people.
“It’s really rare for me to write lyrics like this because my lyrics are usually always more of a statement. I wanted to make these lyrics as personal as possible and show sympathy to how other are feeling too. It’s a really important thing. It’s all so much more emotional.”
With this being a new chapter for Crossfaith, it’s amazing seeing the journey the band has taken over the years. How do you feel the time you’ve spent in the band has helped you feel comfortable in expressing yourself in this way now?
“This EP really does feel like we’ve started again from scratch. We’ve been doing the band for like 15 years and we already have our musical style. Though this time we’ve made our own label and our manager has also started his own management company. This time around feels a lot more comfortable. We have to take responsibility of our music, which is nothing but a good thing. I’m 32 now and I need to think about my future as well as my band’s future. We don’t want to let our lives belong to other people. We should have our own life. That’s one of the main reasons why we’ve gone independent.”
When you’ve been doing things for so long, it’s natural to want everything to be on your terms….
“Exactly. We just want us to do what we love. We’re now able to create music more comfortably as well as reach more people than ever before. It’s like when a teenager leaves their parent’s house to start a new life. It’s scary but it means they can learn new skills. It’s very freeing. Nobody is going to judge us. We’re the only ones who can judge us and make these decisions. Everything about this situation is good for me and for the boys.”
Crossfaith has always been a place where you can lose yourself as much as find yourself. It feels as though this EP, along with that newfound freedom, has brought together all those elements in the most pure form…
“Exactly. This feels more primitive. We don’t need to hurry anymore to make music, but saying that we just feel even more creativity when it comes to making new music, which is just the best feeling. That’s why when we talk about ‘Species’, [we talk] like it’s our secret weapon.”
So what does ‘Species’ as a title to sum up this collection of songs mean to you then?
“Our titles have always been based around sci-fi. We started with the ‘Zion’ EP, then had ‘Xeno’ then of course ‘EX_MACHINA’. ‘Species’ exists in the same way, but it means something new. We really wanted to restart as a brand new band. So ‘Species’ is like the seed for the next flowers [that will blossom]. That’s why we wanted to call the label Species Inc. as well. We can do everything we want as this new species. We feel like excited kids being able to share all of this with the people.”
It feels a lot like a statement...
How has the part that Crossfaith plays within your life changed over the years?
“We started this band in 2006. Some of us go back over 20 years. It’s more like family. We still have such a good relationship and that’s always been very natural. There are so many things that we’ve done but there are still so many things that we want to do, like headline Download Festival! That’s something we’ve been saying we want to do for over ten years. There are always still so many thing that we want to do and want to achieve, which is why we are always looking forward.”
When you all share that same vision and same excitement for the music you’re making, there truly isn’t anything better…
“Definitely. Without this band there's nothing for the boys and me. It’s almost like destiny for us to do this together.”