This next band hooked me with their debut single, “Goodbye”! The breakout single got the crowd moving at their first Boston show as a band ever and was a good indication of how huge this band can be. So when I had the opportunity to speak to lead vocalist Kiyoshi just a half hour or so before the band hit the stage, I jumped on it. We talked about tour essentials and the rules of bathroom breaks on the road to how the writing process has changed for the band to what their plans are for the next few months. Read on for our exclusive and catch them in NYC on the 1st!
You’ve been in this band I want to say for like two years.
Yeah, about like a year and a half. Two years, something like that.
Maybe the things you’ve realized you need to have while on tour to survive?
God, well! There’s a variety of things. First thing is you need to figure out the water thing. You need to figure out when you drink water and how much. It’s different from person to person. You need to figure out your schedule. I find just for necessity the best thing to do is when you first realize that you have to pee, this is while you’re driving for hours, and you’re responsible for seven other people. In this case five. When you first feel it, just that inkling, like do I have to pee right now? Start chugging water. As much as you possibly can.
Yeah because then you chug as much water as you can and then you wait as long as possible till you just can’t take it anymore. Then you go to the bathroom and then you’re done. You don’t have to pee at all and you’re hydrated.
But then the trick is don’t drink more water till you have that feeling. Almonds! Almonds are the other one. Peanut butter and a spoon. No, actually not a spoon because every gas station has a spoon. A neck pillow and a air mattress. You need to be confident and able to say in the microphone that you have no where to stay because in my experience, a hundred percent of the time if you ask the audience and there’s two people at the show you will have a place to stay. I played in Ithaca one time and actually there were two people in the audience and I said that into the microphone. “We’re poor musicians we have no where to stay. Would anyone like to hang out with some cool guys and we’ll cook you breakfast in the morning”. There were two people who weren’t there with each other but they both offered us places to stay. It was great. One was like really creepy so we went with the other one.
I’ve definitely seen that happen.
It happens. Some people are weird when you first meet them. You kind of have that idea from them right out of the gate. Although I appreciate it. I appreciate that they are them though. 100%. Rather then finding out later that they suck. That’s the worst. I’m not even talking about staying over at some one’s house. I’m talking like every day life. Like walking down the street and seeing a friend through a friend that you don’t see in weeks and then after a year, you realize that oh my god this person sucks. What do I do? That’s sort of compounding in the process of finding a place to stay. Which is a necessity. Kind of building that confidence of talking into a microphone and begging for a place to stay. In a way, as a starting band, you’re begging for everything. It has to be enticing enough.
Then I wanted to ask you. Knowing a lot of bands that are in the New York area and kind of how it’s much more saturated. Million shows going on every night. The difference between the crowds like in Boston versus NYC because it is a smaller city.
Well, it’s hard to say. I mean this is our first Boston show. Not for me but for this band. So in my experience, Boston and New York are slightly different. New York is really difficult. I don’t want to say people don’t give a shit over there but they don’t give a shit. Everyone and their mother is looking for something that you can give to them. Whether that is an opportunity or whether that is something that they haven’t seen before. It’s almost like when you play in New York you are sometimes ‘What do you have?’ and they’re a lot more judgmental. At the end of the day, what we try to do is we want to get people out of their comfort zones and it’s worked really well with New York crowds so far. As far as the crowd goes, every city is monumentally different. I don’t necessarily want that to be the centerpiece of this question but we’ve had great shows in New York, we’ve had some very stacked audiences and we’ll see how Boston goes. I mean it seems like a good college town. A party town. I will say Boston has a lot of funk bands.
Yeah they do!
Is that true? I think college kids really like funk music. Seriously I mean.
Well yeah it seems it! Then the EP is still super new. You don’t have a full length yet for this band. Maybe a little bit behind this single that you started out with “Goodbye”. Maybe the story behind it?
It was a song that I primarily wrote a guitar part for. I don’t normally write songs with guitar parts in mind but this song for some reason that guitar part started and I just thought it was nothing like what we had done. It was nothing like I had really explored before. It was something that really piqued the interest a little bit. It was something that felt very moveable and very danceable. That’s one of our favorite ones to play and we’ve been messing with it too a lot live. We’ve been branching out with it as we can see fit.
Then for the album itself. You released it just in November but it had been recorded from watching other interviews about a year before.
A year before it came out.
So maybe the writing process now, is it pretty similar to what you were doing then?
No absolutely not. I’d say it’s very different now and it’s always changing. I mean the thing about the writing process is I don’t believe in falling into a pattern. I believe a pattern will only last you for so long. I think once you fall into certain patterns, you stop having the want. I feel like that’s why a lot of bands break down. I think it’s a reason to not play anymore. Every song is totally different. It’s like your own child. You have to let it be it’s own thing but the writing process as far as that went was a time where we were all very collaborative on that. We’re still very collaborative in that way. It’s very much the same.
Then even though the EP is so new, are you even thinking about a new EP or album?
Absolutely, yeah. We’re actually going back into the studio on Monday. To record another song that we really like. So hopefully we can go back in there with as much flair as we went in with the first time. I think it won’t be a problem. We’ve been playing a lot together since the EP came out. So it will be great. We’re going back in with the same producer so it should be great. So, yeah it’s very different! Very different experience then recording the last EP. I’m very turned on by the new experiences in that kind of stuff. I just like doing something that’s uncomfortable. Something that is different from the last one. The last album we tracked live. The last EP we tracked live. This one I think we’re going to do more layered if we can. Maybe try some new tricks that we haven’t tried before.
Was there a specific reason behind tracking the last album live?
I think because we wanted it to just be as characteristic as possible. We didn’t want it to sound like anything else. I mean with the methods comes that certain kind of sound that you’re going for. We’re all big fans of live albums. We’re a fan of the way things used to be done and we also love the way tapes sound so we decided why not? That’s the thing it’s a conscious choice but it doesn’t have to be what you’re all about all the time. It was like that in my last band. Always doing live stuff and then all analog and very strict. In the box rules it seemed like but this band now that it’s up to something new, it’s something that none of us have done before. We just want to try things that we’ve never done before nor have any other bands that we’ve played with.
Perfect then obviously you being in a past band that did tour, maybe the things that you brought with you to this next project and maybe things that you’ve decided not to do.
I mean I suppose a lot of things sneak in there but to be truly honest with you, my biggest pitfalls have been when I try to replicate. My biggest pitfalls have been when I try to re-do the success that I have had with that band and it never worked for me. There are some things that I think are better to work into this band subconsciously. In terms of this band did it this way, therefore we’re going to follow this route, not really. It just can’t work because it’s different people.
Maybe softer now, the first CD or first cassette you ever bought as a kid then the first concert you ever went to?
First concert I ever went to I think was like Godsmack or something. They were really on top when I was a kid. Yeah I haven’t been to one of theirs since. I saw like Transiberian Orchestra when I was a kid but I really liked loud distorted guitars when I was a kid which is funny because now I’m sort of moving away from that. I prefer more sparse guitars and more electronic synthesizers that are brought into the mix. I do like the live feeling still. I don’t necessarily like playing to a click and I don’t necessarily like playing to backing tracks. It’s just not for me right now. So no matter what we’re playing, whether it’s digital or analog, I’m more into playing the live experience. A lot of those bands, got to hand it to them, I don’t listen to Godsmack anymore but they killed it. They did really well. They had a bronze sun that was shooting fire out and I could feel it on my face. I was like a hundred feet away and I could feel the fire on my face. I remember that so clearly.
Then maybe to end it off, this is just a one off you’re not on tour.
Not on tour right now but we’re hopefully coming back to Boston in February and in April. Hopefully, we’ll see. I would really like to. We’re trying to play more outside of the city. Just trying to mix it up a little bit and find a way that we can make an actual tour viable. Right now with the internet, it’s very easy to get to a lot of people by really concentrating on the content that we put out. In my opinion, I don’t think anything speaks better then word of mouth. When people speak about the live performance. Nothing speaks truer then a friend telling you that they saw an awesome band. You can put as many videos up as you want but nothing is going to compare to that.
Then you talk of touring but new music wise, is it still going to be a while, like a year?
Well, hopefully before the summer time. We’d like to work quickly on this one. We had a lot of pitfalls with the last recording because we wanted to put it out right. I think we put it out in a very awesome way. Big Picture especially got us a lot of great stuff. We try to step our game up live. It took a while because things take a while but hopefully now, we can go into this one knowing what those successes and failures were last time and try to make it a little more concise. A little better.