KESHIKI's Anime Convention Debut at San Japan

interview - 08.13.2010 20:01

KESHIKI was this year's Japanese musical guest for the anime convention, San Japan, in San Antonio, Texas.

San Japan is a very young anime convention who is the third largest in Texas following behind A-Kon and very close to Oni-Con. This year, they invited KESHIKI as their Japanese musical guest. Despite the fact that Jun is the ex-vocalist of camino, KESHIKI has grown musically and is able to stand strong on its own. During their stay in San Antonio, JaME was able to meet up with the band to discuss their new release, their performances at anime conventions and even which anime characters they would cosplay.

Can each of you please introduce yourselves to our readers.

Jun: I'm vocalist Jun.
Yu: I'm Yu, the guitarist.
Kenta: I'm Kenta, bassist.
Taka: Hello. I'm Taka, the drummer.

KESHIKI began its career in Los Angeles; are most of your activities in Los Angeles or Japan? What is the reason for starting out in the USA instead of Japan?

Yu: Most of our activities are in Japan. The only reason we started in LA is because that's when we met each other.

Why did you choose the band name "KESHIKI"?

Yu: When people listened to our music, we wanted them to imagine a landscape.
Kenta: When you listen to our songs, you can probably think or imagine different landscapes. That's what our name means in English, "landscape."

KESHIKI has been together for a few years, but you've only released a mini-album this month. Why did you decide to wait so long before releasing anything?

Taka: No comment. (Everyone laughs.)
Jun: Since we came back from Japan, we spent a lot of our time trying to get ourselves ready to make music. The same thing happens in Japan, it takes time for us to fit into our new environment so we can make music.

Was it difficult making a selection of which tracks to use for this release? How many songs did you have to choose from?

Jun: Yes, it was hard.
Yu: Total, we have ten songs. And out of those songs, we chose to use these seven.

The mini-album's cover looks very interesting, almost like a gift. Who designed it? Was your input incorporated into the cover?

Yu: SHOTA, his brother (points at Kenta).
Kenta: My younger brother. We talked to him about some ideas we had for it and then he designed it. As you said, the cover looks like a gift, that's what we were going for.

San Japan is the first anime convention you performed at in the USA. What were some expectations you had about performing in a convention environment?

Jun: Since we had performed in LA before, we expected the American audience to be more excited and energetic than the ones in Japan.

You have another convention you'll be performing at in September, SacAnime in Sacramento, California. What are some things you learned at San Japan that you'll apply to your visit at SacAnime?

Yu: Everything!
Jun: We should definitely have more merchandise. Our CDs sold out! We'd also work on the set list and how we organize our show.

Last year, KESHIKI was invited to perform at FanimeCon in San Francisco, however, your performance was cancelled. What was the reason behind this?

Yu: At that time, we heard that the swine flu was getting pretty bad in the USA, so we thought it best to cancel the show.

So far, you seem to be connected with a few conventions. Why do you like performing at them?

Jun: First of all, we like the culture and animation.
Kenta: We love American fans.

Most of you have been in bands prior to KESHIKI. In your approach to creating music and writing lyrics, are your methods different now from what they used to be in your previous bands? If not, how are they the same?

Jun: In his band, I focus more on trying to get people to use their imagination. I want them to think of fields or other different sceneries.
Yu: I used to compose music and write lyrics. Now I mainly write music compositions.
Kenta: One thing we do that I didn't do with my previous bands is Yu and I will just play together and see what we come up with.

Jun, you are the main lyrics writer for KESHIKI. As you already mentioned, you write lyrics that allow your audience to use their imagination. However, how do you come up with ideas for your lyrics? Is there a specific theme that inspires you more?

Jun: I want people to imagine landscapes when they listen to the combination of our melodies with the lyrics I write. When I'm in Japan, I barely get inspired so I'll read books or watch movies. So each song has a different idea, but overall, I want the listener to imagine different landscapes.

This is your first time in San Antonio; what are some of the things you've seen or experienced that you enjoyed the most?

Jun: Our lives. We not only performed at San Japan, but we also had two other shows in San Antonio.
Yu: Our lives!
Kenta: Meeting a lot of new people.
Taka: Staying here for a while.

You're having an extended stay in San Antonio. What are some things you'll miss the most?

Jun: The people who took care of us and the place where we stayed.
Yu: The same as Jun.
Kenta: The food and the weather.
Taka: I'll miss everything that everyone already mentioned.

What does KESHIKI have planned between now and your next convention in September? What about after?

Yu: Practice! After the convention, we're going to go back to Japan, but pretty much the same thing: practice.
Kenta: We're planning to have a tour in Japan at the end of September.

When do you think fans can look forward to a new release?

Jun: Hopefully, in March.
Yu: Album, it'll be an album.

Now for a fun question: since you were at an anime convention, which female character would you cosplay if you had to choose one?

Jun: Pikachu!
Yu: Ah, this is difficult! Chi-Chi from Dragonball.
Kenta: Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Taka: (thinks about it) Fujiko Mine from Lupin! (Everyone laughs.)

Please give a final message to your fans.

Jun: How I write songs here in San Antonio is very different from how I write them in Japan. Here, I'm in a better environment to write. Since I've been here, I've written many sets of lyrics for possible songs. When they're done, I want everyone to check our new songs.
Yu: Um, let me think about it. Come back to me.
Kenta: Thank you so much for inviting us here We had a great time with you guys. Hopefully, we can come back and just have fun with you guys again. Please take care and we'll see you soon.
Taka: Thank you. Texas, please continue to support us.
Yu: Thank you so much.

JaME would like to thank Cherry Blossom Productions for making this interview possible and KESHIKI for taking their time to answer our questions.
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San Antonio, TX - United States of America
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