Interview by Jen Wang
October 8, 2015
For the past decade, akai SKY have blended their American and Japanese rock influences to create the bilingual genre of American J-rock. The band recently released their third EP, Chasing Lights, and performed at AnimeFest in Dallas, Texas alongside the violin-and-cello duo Ramen and Rice. JRock247 recently talked to them about that special collaboration, Chasing Lights, and their current music and fashion influences.
What you motivated to move from covering J-rock songs to writing your own?
Hayashi: Covering songs is a great way for a band to have a catalog of music to play live. But, we all have such diverse tastes and no J-rock songs out today really capture the fusion of our own American and Japanese inspirations. If it doesn’t exist you create it, right? Playing your own music is the best way to express ourselves so it really seemed like the most natural progression. Not many bands have done this in America so why not be the first? I’ve learned a lot about music in general from covering songs, but you got to live and die by your own music and not rely on covers to keep people listening.
How does Chasing Lights reflect how each of you has grown over the course of ten years?
Ryuusei: Our recording engineer remarked that our songwriting had really grown since Heart, Attack! [their second EP, released in 2013]. I think we’ve really grown in how we develop our songs, particularly in the area of arrangement and with this release, adding different backing tracks. Individually, I think the individual parts we write have all gotten stronger and show more of our individual personalities.
Umi: We’ve built upon our previous experiences and tried some new things with Chasing Lights that we haven’t done before. Every time we do something, we try to make it a little bigger and better using what we learned from the process the last time around.