Reigning from the grand city of Tokyo, Japan, LOKA is no ordinary Japanese band. Fusing western alternative rock and heavy metal with house and industrial elements, LOKA helped establish the genre “Electric Dance Metal”. After touring with Another Lost Year, LOKA embarked on their first solo tour of the U.S. starting in Texas. We were able to catch them at their first stop at Fitzgerald’s in Houston, TX for an interview.
TBP: Please introduce yourselves!
Miro: My name is Miro. I play bass.
Kihiro: I’m Kihiro, the singer.
KEN’ICHI: I’m KEN’ICHI.
TBP: What is the meaning behind your name?
Kihiro: It’s written in Sanskrit. It’s not Spanish. Not Español, but it’s Sanskrit and it means the universe.
TBP: Is this your first time performing in Texas?
Kihiro: Yes, for this band, yeah.
TBP: What are you looking forward to doing or seeing in Texas?
Kihiro: We had 10 shows with a different band that was touring and now we’re on our own, so I guess that’s one difference. Texas steak, barbecue…We had barbecue. Cowgirls!
TBP: What’s the difference between Japanese and overseas fans?
Kihiro: We’ve only played in front 20 and up shows here, so we haven’t done an all ages show yet. The older guys like to stay in the back. They just seem to have fun sitting, drinking, and watching. It seems like they’re not having fun, but after the show, they get more excited and buy our merch. All the preparation is different and everyone’s getting used to it. Other than that it’s pretty similar.
TBP: How would you describe your music to someone unfamiliar with LOKA?
Miro: Michael Jackson
Kihiro: I don’t know. We admire Linkin Park…like today…about Chester (Bennington). We look up to them. It’s a very upsetting day to play a show.
TBP: What is the most memorable collaboration or project you’ve worked on outside of LOKA?
Kihiro: I’m just a singer.
TBP: Let’s change the question to who would you like to collaborate or tour with?
Kihiro: BONEZ. I did a chorus with Pay money To my Pain way back. We want to tour with Breaking Benjamin.
Kihiro: We’re just a Japanese band, but our music is very on that side [western]. We would like Americans to see that. I would like to tour with HED (P.E.) again. We toured with them way back.
TBP: Are there any other instruments you play?
Kihiro: A little guitar, but not really.
TBP: No magical harp or flute or anything like that? (laughs)
Kihiro: (points to KEN’ICHI) He’s a minionku. He’s really into that. Have you heard of it?
TBP: No, I haven’t.
Kihiro: It’s like those miniature cars you put together and you change the speed and other modifications. Miro, is a game freak. I’m a Call of Duty freak.
TBP: What can we look forward to in your fourth album?
TBP: It’s four!
Kihiro: Oh yeah. We’re still touring, so we’re not in the process yet. Once we go back from this tour, we have a Japan tour and at the end of the year, we’re going to Europe. So, yeah, we haven’t really gotten the image for the next one yet.
TBP: How does 2012 LOKA compare to 2017 LOKA?
Kihiro: Members are different.
TBP: (laughs with them) But soundwise?
Kihiro: The sound hasn’t really changed much. It’s a little more tame and the themes have changed a little. I write a lot more of the lyrics about different stuff.
TBP: Gotten older? Matured?
Kihiro: Maybe, yeah. (laughs) More mature. We still party, but maybe less digital sound.
TBP: What is the process for creating new songs?
Kihiro: Right now, Miro takes the lead on the song writing process. So, he would create all the music parts, then I would lay down the vocals and lyrics.
TBP: How does that differ from your process when creating a song for a video game?
Kihiro: When you have a theme for what you’re facing, we made it for PlayStation 4 game called Let It Die, which is about a dude going up a tower and killing monsters. That sort of thing. Basically, you think you want to make it harder or scream, then you know where you’re at. It’s easier to create when you know which way to go, because with an album you have to think about all the themes to create an album. We also have more time to process it. We like doing it.
TBP: What song would you recommend to new listeners?
Kihiro: “Slick”. If you want to go with the lighter side, “EDEN”.
TBP: What was your favorite PV to shoot?
Miro: Perfect Enemy
Kihiro: Naked to my Soul
TBP: How do you decide on or create your CD art?
Kihiro: The last two are kind of different from the rest. First, we had my friends do our cover art for me. I’d give them a theme, like EnFLAME we had fire going on. QUATTRO was supposed to be these thousand Buddhas in the back. I give them an image of the album’s theme and I basically give them some sort of element or data that I want them to use, then they do their digital sh*t. (laughs)
TBP: (laughs) They make the magic happen.
Kihiro: Basically, we tell them what we want and give them the shutter stock, like images and all of that. The last one Sense of Crisis went very well. That was good.
TBP: How do you come up with the designs for your fashion brand, High Street Brand?
Kihiro: Those t-shirts [at merch booth] I designed those! But our stage stuff is him (points to Miro).
TBP: Do you have any influences for the fashion?
Miro: I’m always watching the Paris fashion collection.
TBP: What are your western influences?
Kihiro: I grew up in west California. I’m just half that sh*t. (laughs)
Miro: I lived in Santa Monica for 2 years.
KEN’ICHI: This is my first time here.
TBP: You’ve traveled to many places outside of Japan, what other locations would you like to see or perform in?
Kihiro: South America in general. If we say Australia, that’s most of the continents, other than Africa (laughs) We’ve been to most of them, but those are the ones we haven’t been to.
TBP: Please give a message to our TreasureBox PRESS readers.
Kihiro: It’s our first tour and hopefully not the last. We want the readers to be the first to know to stay with us! Hopefully, things will be bigger and we’ll come back to Texas.
LOKA Releases on CDJapan:
Twitter – @LOKAofficial
Kihiro’s Twitter – @kihirock
KEN’ICHI’s Twitter – @xxx_KEN1_Dr_xxx