Interview with CROW x CLASS

AnN. Please introduce yourselves quickly:
Kurona: I am Kurona and I'm the singer, wadaiko player and bandleader.
Shion: I am Shion and I play the koto.
Kanade: I am Kanade and I play the shamisen.

AnN. How would you explain your music to someone who has never listened to it before?
Ku: We are a rock band, using traditional Japanese instruments.

AnN. How did you come together as a band?
Ku: When did we found the band again? The origin of Crow x Class is like the one of the crows since we have come together in Japan.
Shi: Crows can turn into humans.
Ku: Crows turn into humans...
Shi: According to a legend.
Ku: There is a certain motif in visual kei, the one of the crow. The crow symbolizes metamorphosis, change of the human being. We got to know each other and founded our band based on this traditional shamisen song.

AnN. Where did you have or maybe do you still have difficulties when it comes to composing?
Shi: It is most difficult to balance Japanese instruments and instruments like guitar, bass and drums.

AnN. How does the visual kei scene look like to you and which part of it do you belong to?
Ku: The Japanese visual kei scene is originated in Japan. Nowadays, there are many Japanese bands producing traditional or typical Japanese music. Our identity is characterized by a connection of classic Japanese music and rock music. We transfer it and combine classic Japanese music with visual kei style.

AnN. Which other instruments do you play?
Ku: Many different ones...
Shi: Which ones? (thinks about it for some time) Bass and drums, since I've played in a rock band for a long time.
Ka: I play percussions and folklore instruments from China and other countries. That's one of my hobbies.

AnN. Who are your idols and how did they influence your music and the origin of the band?
Ku: There are many different ones...
Ka: With regard to music, we are influenced by visual kei bands like X-Japan, Luna Sea... These musicians made visual kei popular all over the world, not only in Japan but internationally. They made this style popular. This is absolutely great and deserves some respect.

AnN. What are your wishes with regard to the band's development during the next five years?
Ku: We want to take traditional Japanese music, connect it with rock music and produce music we are unable to produce at the moment. We want to learn more, extend our style step by step and make constant progress.

AnN. Do you have concrete plans for the near future? Do you work on singles or even on an album?
Ku: We have many plans. We haven't released several tracks because we are waiting for the right time. There are many songs beyond the first album which we collect and want to release when the time has come. Furthermore, there is of course new material we work on.

AnN. What kind of music do you listen to in private?
Ka: Jazz... I listen to a lot of jazz. (The other members are surprised)
Ku: Because of your profession?
Shi: I listen to a lot of music without singing, to instrumentals. There are days on which I try to listen to as little music as possible since I'm also a professional musician. I tend to copy music of others when I listen to it too often. This results in me copying others in the middle of my own melodies. Thus, I try not to listen to music as often as possible.
Ku: Normally, I try not to listen to music either. When I listen to music, it's folklore music from different countries, for example [Johann Casper von] Kerll, Indian tabla, music of the Roma in Greece. However, I listen to bands from friends most of the time.
Shi: Our friends also play in bands.
Ku: Hard stuff. Rock from the 60s and 80s like Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest and Halloween.

AnN. How do your songs come into existence? Please describe the process.
Ku: Everyone of Crow x Class is a songwriter. Everyone writes his part of the songs and the score for the Japanese instruments. We then work on the percussions and add the voice. If the track is finished, we work on its performance.

AnN. What inspires you and in which situations do you get the best ideas?
Ka: This is different for everyone of us. I'm inspired when I travel. In the car, when I go for a walk, when everything around me changes and has a certain velocity.
Shi: For me, it's a completely dark room or playing a session with a good friend, performing on stage. The current performances are also a good environment for inspiration. The live performances as well as the quiet, dark rooms are the best inspiration for me.
Ku: I am the fast one when I want to create something. I open my notebook – not my computer! - and imagine I could watch everything from the perspective of the audience. Afterwards, I ask myself what I would do in all objectivity and then create the music and the texts.

AnN. What is your impression of yesterday's concert? Did it satisfy your expectations?
Ku: Our expectations were more than satisfied, also with regard to everyone's reaction. We have played in a classic hall before and everyone sat on their seats. Most of the time, it is quiet when the wadaiko or the shamisen is played. It feels as if everyone listens to the music. There is some applause at the end of each song. This wasn't the case yesterday. Everyone came to the stage, they stood there, they participated in the event. This made us very happy.

AnN. Were your expectations satisfied or do you have further wishes?
Ku: We want to create an atmosphere with our music. It would be great to establish a link between Japan and Germany and strengthen the interest in musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments.

AnN: What is most important for you? The fans, your performances or something else?
Ka: The Japanese pride, since we play Japanese instruments which were created in Japan. We like this and our instruments. We would like as many people as possible to listen to these instruments. Visual kei is also a part of Japanese culture, of its new culture. We take both cultures and present them to the Japanese since this is 100% original. Only we are able to do this our way. Even if one searches the whole world, only we are the ones who can perform like that, the ones who can perform with such an amount of pride.

(additional question - inspiration)
Ku: Although the traditional instruments are very interesting, they usually are no part of entertainment. I thought about how one could make them more interesting for the people. Because of that, I contemplated about how one could arouse interest for making this music exciting for others as well.

AnN. Let's get to some questions which aren't related to your music so that the readers get to know you better.
AnN a: What would be the first thing you'd do if you were Prime Minister of Japan?
Ka: To have more privacy. But how should you effectuate this?
Ku: In Japan, you are arrested when you go to a club late at night, after midnight. There is a law for that. You cannot go to clubs after midnight. Yet, the people want to dance which is why they do it in secret. But if they are caught, they will be arrested. Many Japanese artists protest against that. It is also bad for our music. It would bring joy to the people and enrich the culture if this law was abolished.
Shi: One should be able to go back to Japan even if one doesn't have money. One should be able to return as soon as possible if something is at stake.

AnN b: What type of super power would you like to possess?
Ku: I would like my hands to be stronger since I'm very light and shy.
Shi: I would like to be able to change into animals.
Ka: What type of animal?
Shi: Any animal. … Chimpanzees, chameleons... (everyone is quiet) This provokes a great atmosphere!
Ka: As far as I'm concerned...the flight to Germany took 12 hours. It would be great if I could materialise whereever I want.

AnN c: How do you imagine utopia?
Shi: Like the world today.
Ka: Same here. We can live normally although it's sometimes difficult. We can move up the ladder and have fun.
Ku: I'd like to add something. It would be nice with regard to music if we could transport the emotions and the atmosphere we want to express or take the original feelings along. It is not always easy to bring them across but if everything hit home at the same time it would be great.

AnN d: Do you have pets?
Shi: I don't have any. I had a cat once.
Ka: I used to have a dog. Unfortunately, he died.
Ku: I love cats. However, I am allergic to cat hair. Therefore, I cannot have one.

AnN e: How do you relax?
Ku: During our performances. Recording is always exhausting. It is different after we have practised a new song, you get especially tired after that. But everything works on its own during concerts. This is very relaxing.
Ka: By drinking alcohol. I can express my feelings more easily then. Of course, I am surrounded by friends in such a situation.
Shi: In the sunshine, bathing in the sunlight.

AnN. Please leave a message for our readers.
We, the members of Crow x Class would like you to pay attention to traditional Japanese instruments and connect them to the culture of visual kei originating in Japan. This is something only we can express with our music. Many cultures from all over the world come together in Japan. There are objects made of tatami, spaghetti which are eaten with chopsticks, rock and traditional music like ours. The idea is to bring a part of Japan today and the traditional Japan to the attention of the world and to your attention. We are the only ones who can do this our way.

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