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【Crossfaith World Tour Diaries】第8回 盟友SiMとのコラボ、そして〈京都大作戦〉〈DEAD POP FESTiVAL〉―日本の仲間たち

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Our Amazing Comrade in Japan –

Koie tells all about their collaboration with their ally SiM, attending [Mission Impossible-Kyoto (Kyoto Daisakusen) 2016] and the [DEAD POP FESTiVAL]

Written by: Kenta Koie (Crossfaith)

So finally, the baton makes its way back to me. In the meantime, Crossfaith had wrapped up the [XENO WORLD TOUR] that was followed by a release of a new piece of work recorded in collaboration with SiM that came in the form of the single track “GET iT OUT” by SiM VS Crossfaith

We have known SiM for quite a while now. My first memory of them dates all the way back to the time when we met for the first time at a joint gig event hosted by the live venue Shinsaibashi Club DROP where we used to play gigs as if we owned it. There’s this vivid memory of being told by the guy in charge of booking at the venue, “Hey, there’s this really crazy band around your age you need to check.” But other than that statement, we had no further information of the band – perhaps only a photo of them. But then, oh the tremendous impact they had on me on actually seeing them!

SiM “Dance In The Dark” from album “THE BEAUTiFUL PEOPLE” (2016)

It was around the time I was starting to get hooked on reggae punk music from the West Coast, and it was the thing for me back then to go for a stroll on warm sunny days with SUBLIME playing in my ears.

SiM possessed an enormous amount of information that went way beyond what one would usually describe as ‘punk’ even from those days. They were punk, yet they were reggae. Let your mind drift, and they would throw down fierce mosh-conscious breakdowns. Immediately after seeing them play live, I ran to their backstage room and simply hollered at MAH-kun, “Man, that was freaking awesome!!” I felt the same sensation that ran through me when I found out coldrain for the first time – “We’ve met yet another great rival…”


Ever since, we’d been sharing the stage on many occasions, us playing at their events, and them playing at ours. SiM steadily gained firm popularity in Japan, and eventually reached the state where they had ‘caught fire’. Meanwhile, we were successfully fulfilling our longtime dreams of touring overseas, and were travelling outside the country multiple times to venture out to further challenges.

It was last autumn that we were approached by Red Bull for an offer of a new project, just when we were touring the UK to play with Skindred.
“Could you collaborate with SiM to record a theme song for the [Red Bull Air Race]?”
That was the offer.
Throughout my band career, never had I been given such an exciting opportunity. But running the production plan with our tour schedule, it wasn’t an easy head-nodder. To where our manager appeared telling us, “By the way, SiM are totally more than ready to do this.”
And that set fire on the fighting instinct of us all – there we were, nodding our heads enthusiastically.

We met with the members of SiM, right after we landed back in Japan. After the [OZZFEST JAPAN] event, I think. MAH-kun had brought with him the demo he made, which we all huddled up to together in the back stage room to listen to. Straightforwardly, it was cool already. With this demo made by MAH-kun as the basis, each band started building up on the arrangements for their own parts. Out of all the works to be done, the act of co-songwriting a song with someone else was something fairly fresh to me.

In Crossfaith and SiM, both myself and MAH-kun are the ones who take on close to 100% of the songwriting for the band. To be frank, it would be a lie to say I didn’t feel unrest about a song with someone else. I am the type who’d rather manage everything on my own as much as possible and I was thinking that MAH-kun might be the same too. Given that he came in first with the basic lyrics, I asked him in a straightforward manner, “I actually think that this is already complete. Do we really need to change this?”
MAH-kun came back saying “Come on, Koi-chan. We can’t call it a collaboration if you aren’t involved in writing too!!” To think of it now, that was more than obvious from the beginning, but with those words, the initial unrestness I had was completely dissolved.

Thereon, I worked on writing the lyrics for the verse. The two bands got together once again, the first time ever meeting to hear the demo, and we sat down altogether at the studio we gathered and studied the lyrics of both sides. What stuck out in my mind through that particular process, was the remark that MAH-kun made – “You know, I really want to use the word [ZION].” The word something heavily important for the reggae music-loving SiM, and for us who have released an EP titled “Zion”. The idea of trying to include a value shared by the two bands made me smile. It was a loving gesture.

To be totally honest, I was feeling a bit uneasy about MAH-kun until this co-production. His personality seemed hard to grasp or I had the feeling I might not get on well with him somehow. (Which was a freewheeling speculation on my end that was proved completely wrong.)
But with the production of this song “GET iT OUT” this time, the bond between us had become stronger unmistakably with the understanding of each other so much deepened after the several years of the two bands moving in completely different directions in different ways.

So there we were, with the song “GET iT OUT” complete.

The making-of the documentary of the music video of “GET iT OUT”
 

We even hosted an invitation-only special live show under this SiM VS Crossfaith unit. The initial suggestion from Red Bull was for each band to hold a 30-minute performance by themselves, and then to co-perform “GET iT OUT” at the end. We were slightly unsure of the whole idea, but it was at the after party of SiM’s gig in Toyama that we appeared onstage, that someone brought up that subject. The total of 9 members of the two bands who had completely gotten pumped up with the production of “GET iT OUT” decided to re-construct the whole idea of the special live show we were given an offer for.

“I mean, what’s the fun of performing completely separate sets at the first place?”
“True. If they want to call it ‘special’, we should live up to it and do something special and exciting.”
“Then, what about each other appearing on the other’s songs?”

Coming from these ideas, that special live show came into shape. In the end, what happened was a welter of all 9 members on stage. Every single person there, from the audience to each member playing, had fantastic fun just like kids. Even though it was pure chaos everywhere, there was this feel of when we just started out as a band, just pure fun in the whole thing.
From everything from the rehearsals to finally getting the 9 members of the two bands on stage, the whole thing must have required so much painstaking efforts to say the least, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank every person involved in each step, who made this incredible project come to shape. Thank you!!!

 

Now, putting the guys of SiM aside for now, about a month after the special gig with them, we welcomed another important day for us. It was the [Mission Impossible-Kyoto] event.
Those who are reading would probably need no explanation, so I’m going to skip the details of the event itself, but to make it real simple, it’s the rock festival hosted by 10-FEET.
Now this, people, has history too. I don’t know what I was thinking, but going back about 5 years, there was a time I had the guts to abruptly make a direct phone call to TAKUMA-kun of 10-FEET to be added to the list. That was pretty audacious of me – we had never even met at that point.
And of course, unsurprisingly, we couldn’t make it for the roster of that year (laugh).

But still, I decided to go to the event and see for myself. The year I visited was when my old ally and big brother from Osaka, HEY-SMITH took the main stage, and I was there at the wings, caught in between joy for them and frustration toward myself. I swore to myself “Someday, I am going to be on that stage!” [Mission Impossible-Tokyo] has quite a distinct atmosphere compared to other festivals, and the element that characterizes that most is the love there. The love between the performing bands, the love thrown to 10-FEET at full force, and the love to the event itself. The tickets of the event are known to sell out at a per-second speed, even though the lineup is not revealed yet. It is very much like the Olympics of Kyoto!
I might sound like I’m joking, but I do believe it’s actually something like that.

Trailer of exclusive DVD bundled with the limited editions of 10-FEET’s single “Antenna Rust” (2016).
The DVD includes a full load of live footage of the performances from [Mission Impossible-Kyoto]
 

This year, we were finally allowed to perform at this event. For those not in the know, the event consists of two stages -“Genji no Butai (The Genji Stage)” that serves as the main stage, and the “Ushiwaka no Butai (The Ushiwaka Stage)” that we did our show on.
[Mission Impossible-Kyoto] has a unique line that everyone knows that goes “go over the hill.” Literally, to go to the main stage “Genji”, from Ushiwaka, you need to ‘go over a hill’.

On the day, we were thrilled to see the stands overbrimming with people who’d come to see us play. We had particularly strong feelings with this one, and our enthusiasm was stronger than usual. And sure enough, we played out a terrific show (, though personally and as always, I was left with a new something to overcome). Of course there’s part of me saying, “Yes, one day we’ll go over the hill to play on the Genji Stage,” but more than that, we were simply and tremendously grateful to be part of a choice festival. 

And then, another week after that, yet again another crucial day arrives. Say hello to the [DEAD POP FESTiVAL] hosted by SiM!
As a matter of fact, and let me say with pride, no other band than Crossfaith has appeared at this festival which marked the 5th time on stage this year.
The event had made a transformation to an outdoor festival starting last year, which actually collided with our schedule attending the [Warped Tour] in the US, and we were drooling with envy from the bottom of our hearts, seeing the reports on SNS, and us going “Awwww, see how fun that looks?!” And little wonder, it’s a festival ran by a longtime ally, you have associate bands playing, and you don’t even have a roof (, well, that’s just like Warped too,) so how can it not be fun!? But anyway, this 5th of the [DEAD POP FESTiVAL] had a special meaning to us.

The very first holding of the DEAD POP event took place at a live venue called [club asia], situated in Shibuya of Tokyo. The roster of performers that year consisted of SiM, coldrain, HEY-SMITH, NUBO, Crossfaith and a few more. Yes, the names that are making a tremendous impact on the current Japanese rock scene. (Do I sound like I’m exaggerating? Nah, I wouldn’t think so). Looking back on the members now, it was actually an incredible list. It was still the times that this ‘loud rock’ hadn’t reached the public much yet.
The general description of this event went something like this;
“Farewell to deadish POPS”
The slogan has a shattering effect indeed. Around the time we started off as a band, this scene that we’re currently playing in wasn’t even recognized like it is today. We wore a strong determination that we would be the ones to create the scene by standing firm with our own music, even if no one else believes in it. Well of course, that feeling has never changed since then until now.

A digest of footage from [DEAD POP FESTiVAL 2015] from
SiM’s CD+DVD package of the single ”CROWS” (2015)
 

The guys we met in those days have become truly precious to us. And events hosted by these precious allies have grown steadily with every holding, now all recognized as a full-blooded rock festivals. SiM’s [DEAD POP FESTiVAL], HEY-SMITH’s [HAZIKETEMAZARE], coldrain’s [BLARE DOWN BARRIRES] and SHANK’s [BLAZE UP NAGASAKI]. Ever since we met, each band has gone through their own dramas, most of them complicated to say the least, and mostly of which are still battled against. But still, these allies come together at these events and show off what they are as of now. And that was a natural morale booster for us.

The live performance we did at the [DEAD POP FESTiVAL] is not something describable by words, so I’ll be skipping the details of that, but there was one more very important mission for us on the day which was to play “GET iT OUT” for the first time at a music fes. As if that wasn’t enough, it was to be performed at the encore. For the members of SiM, it surely must have been the most important day of their year. Of course, still, we were more than delighted to accept the offer, our heads nodding with all enthusiasm.

And what we saw in front of us – the nighttime view from the stage of this roofless event was absolutely breathtaking. We had, until then, had numerous opportunities to play on the main stage, but the devastating impact of the stage that night was beyond comparison to anything. And the bursting thrill of being able to share the stage as SiM VS Crossfaith was simply beyond words. It also ignited our strong desire to grow our own event [ACROSS THE FUTURE] too. 

So, there we are, a quick run through of the events over the course of June and July that rushed by. The summer festival season seem to be settling down finally, and we are now getting ready to head to the UK to play at the [READING & LEEDS FESTIVAL]! We are going to kick ass!! Oh, just a quick tip here – I know that the way people enjoy events vary, but knowing the story that lies beneath each and single gig or festival will always come in handy as an amenity booster!

※The [READING & LEEDS FESTIVAL 2016] took place from the 26th to 28th August.

So that’s all from me now.
Thanks for reading, and see you rocking at the venues!
 

★Find more details of live shows etc. here

Crossfaith "RX Overdrive" recorded in single "New Age Warriors" (2016)
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