1.Hi Kai! Tell us a few words about yourself.
Hi! I am the guitarist of Esprit D’Air and since 2016, I have become the lead vocalist too.
2.Have you guys performed before in another bands or have you been part of any projects?
Yes, I have been in a few rock bands in the past. At the moment, I am also playing bass in my friends’ electro-punk band, Stereo Juggernaut. They toured with Girugamesh and The Birthday Massacre last year. I should be doing a few more shows with them. They are great guys!
3.According to the band history, Esprit D’Air has passed through a lot, losing bandmates and being on hiatus for a while. Which are your best memories?
I will never forget the memories we had in 2010-2013. I am still friends all of the past members. It is sad that we had to part ways, but I think I have never been happier with the band from the time we have reformed and released Rebirth last year. Since then, we have already created some amazing memories from performing at the famous Le Trianon in Paris with ALYS and also to the wonderful people of London. I think we can only create better memories from now.
4. When did you hold your first concert? Do you remember how was it?
I remember very well. I think we performed in a small bar in front of eight people. laughs We had only started so we didn’t have a following or anything, but I enjoy the small shows just as much as I do with a bigger audience. I like the intimate atmosphere of smaller shows, so we can connect with the fans and deliver a more personal performance… but I also love being on the big stage and being able to run around like crazy.
5.You guys don’t belong to any record label and you are doing everything by yourselves. How do you handle it? Who of you is in charge with the musical arrangement, lyrics and artwork?
I record, mix and master all the music and arrange the structure, chords and melodies to all the songs. We all take part in the composition and songwriting really, and I think we have a very strong team as a three-piece. Daishi used to do the mixing, but he paints beautiful artwork for us—you should take a look at his artwork. I love it!
6.Kai, is by chance Brian May one of the musicians that inspire you?
Yes! You are right, and I was so lucky to meet him. I saw his big hair from a long distance. My first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, that’s Dr. Brian May!’. I shook his hand. I said it is so great to meet him, and we took a photo together. I grew up listening to British bands like Queen, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. Those bands were what got me interested in rock music.
7.Your most recent release it’s the single „Rebirth „. The artwork of the CD it looks interesting and the musical composition itself is amazing. What’s the story of „Rebirth”?
The story is about a man who finds his voice under the stars. This man is a hero and saviour of the town. This hero’s voice inspires and refreshes people’s ‘rusty minds’ and is depicted in the artwork Daishi painted. The blue crystal represents the ‘rebirth’, bringing serenity, ambition and energy to the people of the town. We love making concepts and stories with our music.
8.It seems you guys got plans for a couple of concerts already and you’ve been invited to the festival Rockmantic Weekender too. Are you guys eager to perform at The Brickyard?
We have been invited to perform at the O2 Academy Islington on 31 March, where many Japanese rock artists have performed, including Miyavi, MUCC, VAMPS, SuG and the GazettE. We are also eager to perform at The Brickyard next year. According the Rockmantic, we will be the first J-Rock band to ever perform in Carlisle and Cumbria, so that is very exciting.
9.Looking back in the year 2016, Esprit D’Air has achieved many things in a short time. Which of those things is greatest achievement, so far? How looks 2017 to you at the moment?
Our first show back as a reformed band was at the UK’s biggest Japanese culture festival called HYPER JAPAN. I don’t think we could have asked for a better reunion show. We performed all our old songs in front of thousands of people. At the end of 2016 also saw us perform in Paris—this was an unforgettable experience for me. Now in 2017, we have just announced our Guiding Light single, which will be out on 12 April. Our drummer Daishi is currently working on the artwork, and we have an exciting video being worked on right now. This single will be a part of a full-length album, which will include Rebirth too. We also have a concept and story that will go with this single—we love making stories out of our songs.
10.How do you feel being back on the stage after so long time?
I missed it so much. You never forget the feeling when you perform, and now that I have the chance to do it all again, it just makes me feel very happy. Music is my passion!
11.How constantly do you challenge yourselves?
We like to push boundaries with our compositions. You may have noticed use odd time signatures, as well as fuse two opposing elements of music (aggression and melody). I am constantly trying to improve my singing and guitar—there’s always something new that you can learn, and I will always challenge myself this way. We are an independent band, so it is already a challenge to work even harder!
12. What should people focus on when comes about music?
I am happy for people to freely interpret the songs in whatever way makes them feel connected. Our arrangements can be very detailed and instrumentally-focused, but there is always a story that is explained in our artwork and lyrics. As long as people feel something positive from our music, then I am happy!
13.What was your childhood dream?
It was to play music, and to be able to express my passions and art in music to an audience. Having Esprit D’Air to do this now makes it possible for me to take steps to achieve this. I will do my best to keep reaching for it!
14.What have you lately been working on?
I have been working on finishing this album almost every day, but we are almost complete and you will definitely hear it this year. I have also been working on my culinary skills. It’s important to have a good meal to prepare for performances laughs
15. Do you have any message for our readers?
Readers of Ajia no Tengoku, thank you so much for reading. It means so much to me that you took the time to read this interview. We hope that you have enjoyed “Rebirth”. We will have our new single “Guiding Light” released very soon. Talk to us on social media!
*Thank you to Kai and Esprit D’Air for making possible this interview *