The moment when a band begins to make the jump from local heroes to international players is both exciting and nerve-racking. But the situation may have just been exacerbated tenfold for Japanese band Coldrain, who were recently announced as the first act confirmed for Soundwave 2015.
As the first band officially confirmed for Australia’s premier hard rock festival — done as part of the Soundwave Festival/Music Feeds First Wave — the pressure is now on for the rising Nagoya metalcore outfit, whose latest album, The Revelation, was released in Australia this week.
Speaking from his home in Tokyo, the band’s frontman, Masato, couldn’t be more excited about his band’s long-awaited expansion outside of Japan, but as he discusses the band’s new album and their upcoming Soundwave spot, he’s completely mindful of the hard work that awaits his band.
Music Feeds: It seems like you guys are in the midst of some aggressive expansion into countries outside of Japan, how much did signing with Raw Power Management play a part in that?
Masato: It’s probably been the biggest thing that’s happened to us in the past year. We met them last summer at a Japanese festival and our friends Crossfaith were signed with them for a year or two.
So when we met them it was cool, because they definitely wanted to do stuff with us and they had a plan and it’s worked out slowly, but it’s suddenly speeding up and becoming really big right now. It’s awesome to be part of their team.
Watch: Coldrain – The Revelation
MF: We found a Facebook post from February in which you thanked your fans for their support and apologised for the lack of international releases with your records. Were you guys already in talks with Raw Power at the time?
M: I don’t think so. Maybe we were, it gradually happened and I’m not actually sure when we actually started talking about when it was all gonna happen. Around that time, I think we were getting way more comments from international fans and I think that was when we started feeling that all of this should be happening worldwide.
MF: Is that why The Revelation has received more of a global rollout, or was this album always going to be your first strike at the rest of the world?
M: I think since we started working with [David] Bendeth, the producer for the record, he always said it’s a waste that we didn’t do anything outside of Japan. Recording in the US and with him is definitely what gave us the courage and got us comfortable with actually aiming for something as big as the world.
Being in the Japanese market, we didn’t actually think about the world as much as we should’ve and he opened our eyes and the fans opened our eyes. So I think that record was definitely geared towards the world.
MF: David Bendeth actually had a quote where he said he wanted to make the songs “more international” – what did that mean for Coldrain? What had to be done to achieve that?
M: To him, I think it was more about making the songs darker. He said he saw our sound and the songs that we were writing [as being] darker. That was his vision towards the songs and in Japan we tend to take everything more brighter and faster, but he wanted to take the middle ground on that and make the songs slower, wider and keep our sound in there but definitely put it to his standard and he’s a guy that’s done amazing records.
It was cool for us to collaborate in that way and get his opinion as a sixth member of the band.
MF: Were there certain ambitions you guys wanted to fulfil in Japan before you took on the rest of the world? You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you feel “the time is right” at the moment. Can you elaborate?
M: There’s a couple of venues in Japan that we definitely wanted to sell out before we ever thought about the next goal. There’s this venue called Studio Coast that’s a 3,000-capacity venue and to me it was like, we’ve toured Japan for five years, if we can’t sell this place out, we’re definitely not gonna do anything in the world. That was our whole mindset as a band and January 18th we sold that place out, so I think the time was right that we moved on in February and toured Europe.
Watch: Coldrain – The War Is On
MF: What was the headspace of the band going into the studio? Was there a checklist of things you wanted on this record considering it was going to be heard by a lot of new listeners?
M: I don’t know. We always go into the record just wanting it to sound the best it can and we don’t really go in aiming for a certain… we don’t have any themes when we go in to record. But we just wanted it to sound stronger and wider than any record we’ve done. I wanted the words to be stronger.
We just want everything to be better than the last one and I think to have someone like David guiding us through that is definitely important and we just went in there to get everything better and it happened. He knows the way to push and drive people to be stronger. So that’s what happened and that’s all we really wanted was our best sound for the moment in one record.
MF: You guys are the first officially confirmed act for Soundwave 2015, what have you got planned for the festival?
M: I don’t know [laughs] We just got the news ourselves, so we don’t even know what stage we’re gonna be playing at all. But we’re totally looking forward to it. It’s an honour to be on the lineup and we know there’s gonna be a ton of amazing bands announced there, so right now we’re just shocked in a good way.
MF: During the making of the current album you mentioned showing the world how strong of a live show Japanese bands have, it was such a great quote. What do Japanese bands have that sets them apart and how are you going to show that?
M: I think Japanese bands are definitely for quality and energy at the same time. Even the bands that have the biggest, craziest movement onstage, you’re still gonna get the quality out of them. I think that’s the Japanese culture for you.
We’re still gonna sound better than our records and we’re still gonna have that energy in our show. We’re not gonna be standing around, we’re gonna have that movement, energy, but we’re still gonna keep that quality and I think a lot of Japanese bands put on a good show with that quality. It’s that balance and diversity that we wanna bring to the live set.
MF: You guys are used to playing to crowds who are perhaps unfamiliar with the band — you guys recently supported Bullet For My Valentine in Europe — is there a certain effort on the part of the band to convert newcomers or do you approach these gigs like any other?
M: I definitely try to keep it… use the fact that we’re there from Japan in a good way, like I’m telling the crowd that we’ve flown so many miles to get here so they better move. That stuff. But anything to keep the crowd off their feet is definitely cool.
But when it comes to playing the songs, we have nothing to lose when we get outside of our own country and it’s everyone looking at us with fresh eyes, so it’s cool to be doing the same thing but at a whole different level.
Watch: Coldrain – Behind The Curtain
MF: How familiar are you guys with Soundwave?
M: We’ve only seen footage of bands playing there but we’ve always… a lot of Australian festivals, like, I always watched a ton of footage of Big Day Out. That’s Australian, right?
MF: It is.
M: So we know what the vibe of Australian festivals are like and after listening to what Crossfaith said about Soundwave, watching their videos, it’s so crazy and we can’t wait to actually be there. Every year we try to go just for the sake of going because we wanna see all of the bands that are on the lineup, but something else always comes up and we can’t go.
I’d be there as a fan even if I wasn’t playing.
MF: Has there been any talk of sideshows, some of your own gigs while you’re in the country?
M: Not yet, but I hope we are able to play some sideshows.
MF: We follow Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah’s Twitter pretty closely and he was getting multiple requests to add you guys to the lineup. How aware are you of your Australian fan base?
M: We actually have no idea at the moment. We get a couple of messages on Facebook, Twitter, those kinds of things, but we do not know what’s going on there until this record comes out and we actually get to go there, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.
MF: How would you describe Coldrain for fans in Australia who likely haven’t heard of the band? What’s your door-to-door sales pitch?
M: It’s hard because I never really know how to promote ourselves, but I think if you like heavy music and if you like melodic rock, I think there’s something, some song, or some part of our band that you’re gonna like. So if you’re a fan of riffs, a fan of singing, you should check our band out.
Coldrain will be in the country this February as part of Soundwave 2015. The band’s latest album, ‘The Revelation’, is available now.