Tokyo, Japan Hardcore/Metal band Crystal Lake have the honor of being our #WeeklyDiscovery for this week.
Crystal Lake are on track to becoming Japan’s biggest metal breakout act in years. With the release of Helix, the band has become a global phenomenon, infiltrating the ears and hearts of metal and heavy rock fans while confirming their place among the genres’ most talented acts. We recently caught up with lead vocalist Ryo during their tour stop in Buffalo.
For our readers who may not be familiar with band, can you give us a quick overview describing the history of Crystal Lake?
We’ve been a band for around 17 years. I joined the band almost 7 years ago. We’re a metalcore, or rather a mix of metal and hardcore band.
Late last year, you announced that you’d signed with SharpTone Records. What led to the transition from Artery to SharpTone?
When Artery was bought out by the major label, Shawn (Keith) at SharpTone contacted us. He said he wanted to work with us. It was an honor for us, so we signed with them! They’re doing very well right now, and they’ve been treating us well, so it was a good choice.
“Helix”, your first full-length on Sharptone Records, has been out for about two weeks in North America, but was released in Japan last November. Is there a lyrical theme to it? If so, where did the inspiration come for the lyrical content of this album?
The album is filled with my personal feelings; Anger, depression, & overall heavy themes. Things that I’ve been through.
Tonight is the 3rd last show on this North American tour with August Burns Red. How has it been so far? How was the Canadian/American audience?
It’s been amazing so far! Amazing bands, amazing crowds! It has been a perfect tour for us. I was so surprised to hear people in the USA chanting our name before and after our sets! It was a mind-blowing experience, that never happens to us! This was our very first tour of USA!
What’s the major difference for you between touring in Japan and touring overseas?
Japan is a small country, so we don’t do large tours that are 30+ shows. Most tours in Japan are maybe 10-15 shows at most. America is so huge that we need to play that much more shows to see the whole country. It’s tough, but it’s also so much fun! No familiar faces from city to city, it feels like we’re making new friends with each show that we play here. Each tour stop seems so isolated from the previous cities that we’ve played.
When Crystal Lake formed back in 2002 it was part of a surge of new Japanese hardcore/metalcore acts. How much did the Japanese hardcore / metalcore scene change since then?
I don’t know exactly if it’s changed. We started as a hardcore band, and there was a lot of bands that time in the same genre like State Craft & Edge of Spirit were big in Japan at that time. Some bands have stayed around over the years. It’s hard to explain!
Do you feel like bands like Coldrain & Crossfaith have helped make Japanese hardcore music gain more notoriety in North America?
Yes! They’re more Post Hardcore, but they’re doing very well and making the Japanese scene known here in America! They’re doing big things in the mainstream Rock scene, so they’re definitely hooking up bands like us a lot! The overall scene is growing bigger & bigger all the time!
Outside of music, do you guys have other hobbies/interests?
I love to watch movies & sports, but really I’m just a music guy! I’m always listening to music, and looking for something new. I guess you could say that music is my hobby.
We’re big on indie artists at DigiSpun. Any hidden gems you’ve been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to Kaonashi, and other hardcore bands. I’ve almost been listening to tons of old school Death Metal, Black Metal & underground bands too!
What’s next for you guys? What does the future hold for Crystal Lake?
We are going to doing some touring in Europe for a few festivals, then come back to the States to tour some more. I hate to say it, but probably no new music from us in 2019. Maybe 2020 though!
Their latest full-length, Helix is available now wherever fine music is sold!