MORE THAN OK ROCK
JAPANESE ROCK SENSATIONS ONE OK ROCK ARE GEARING UP FOR A FULL-ON ASSAULT ON THE UK IN 2017. SINGER TAKAHIRO MORIUCHI EXPLAINS EXACTLY WHAT’S COMING YOUR WAY…
THE Japanese rock scene is thriving like a well-watered bonsai tree right now, and the next band to break into the Uk from the land ofthe rising sun, looks set to be one ok rock.already an arena-sized outfit in their homeland, last week thetokyo four-piece sent out an exciting tripleannouncement: they’d signed to U.s. label fueled By ramen, home of Paramore and twenty one pilots; they were dropping a brand-new single (Bedroom Warfare) and they’ve got a new album – their eighth – on the way in January, called ambitions, collaborations on which include 5 seconds of summer,all Time low’s alex Gaskarth and avril lavigne.we got frontmantaka (Takahiro Moriuchi) to tell us why everyone wants a piece of his band…
HEY, TAKA! TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW SINGLE, BEDROOM WARFARE…
“it’s a very new sound for one ok rock – we’re trying to break into american radio and wanted to try a different sound to do that.the lyrics are about a boy and a girl fighting each other. it’s about that weird in-between stage when you’re not dating someone, but you still have that physical relationship. it’s odd, but the fun part about being in the relationship is having that back-and-forth. so it’s kind of a battle.we shot the video in Manchester – it was at a huge castle where there were still people living there. Just one person, a grandma. she was very kind to us, and she brought tea and stuff out.”
AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE SIGNING TO FUELED BY RAMEN?
“it was our dream.when i went to the states for the first time i wanted to sign a contract with them. one year later, it came true.we were in talks with other labels, but in the end we ended up where we wanted to belong in the first place, so it’s kind of a dream come true.when we found out, i was like, ‘We DID it!’ (laughs). i felt so strongly about doing that, that it had to happen.when i put my mind to something it ends up happening.”
THE TITLE OF YOUR NEW ALBUM, AMBITIONS, MAKES SENSE NOW…
“on this album we have three themes: one is hope, the second is ambition, and the third is singing together.we’re at the point in our career where we’re trying to break a new market, and go worldwide, so it was the ambition that was inside of us to do all this new stuff and to be successful and that became a really prevailing theme.the album artwork is yellow – that was because yellow is the colour of hope. so we tried to put those themes together:ambitions is the title, yellow is the hope and then the actual songs, there’s so many that we had 50 people come in and sing the chorus on. There’s so many epic moments.”
WE’VE GOTTA ASK… WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH AVRIL LAVIGNE?
“i actually interviewed her in Japan for ATV show a couple of years ago. she’s friends with the guys in 5 seconds of summer and she came out to one of the canada dates [when we supported them], and we saw each other for the first time in a long time. she was like,‘let me hear some of the new songs off the album.’ i sent her some stuff, and she asked if she could do a song. she’s amazing!”
YOU MADE YOUR RECENT RECORDS IN ENGLISH AND JAPANESE – HOW MUCH WORK IS THAT?!
“it’s very difficult, but i’m getting used to it.the first time i did it, for the last album, they told me after i made the full album, so that felt like double the workload, but this time when i was writing the songs i had it in my mind that i had to make a Japanese version as well, so i was thinking of Japanese lyrics as i was writing it. i’m getting more and more used to it, so it wasn’t as bad as last time, but it’s definitely not an easy thing.”
YOU’RE HUGE IN JAPAN – WHAT’S THE BIGGEST GIG YOU’VE PLAYED THERE?
“The most recent gig was the biggest. it was over two days and it was 110,000 people. it was crazy! it wasn’t scary – i was pretty calm and composed when i was up there. next year we’re gonna tour the Uk. i’m so excited because in europe and the Uk music styles vary – we love Bring Methe Horizon and Don Broco!”
FINALLY, HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR 2016?
“super-busy! lots of shows and touring, and recording.time off? in Japan christmas Day is not popular – we’re not spending time with family. i’ll maybe see some friends and go to dinner and talk, it’s very normal. Presents? not really – if i have a girlfriend i’ll [give gifts], but i don’t have a girlfriend right now, so i’m not doing that.”