Whoever says the heyday of pop punk lived and died during the aughts probably hasn’t listened to ONE OK ROCK who, in their discography, has evidently taken the dominant sound of your pre-adolescence and given it new energy. Give their new album “Ambitions” a listen you’ll get swept.
They came over earlier this week for their concert at the Mall of Asia, and we found the time to chat with vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi (a.k.a. Taka) about where the band is at, at this point in their career.
YS: You guys are here partly to promote your new album “Ambitions”. Were there any new things you wanted to do with the new album?
Taka: When we started this album, I was thinking about, like, our different fans [from different countries], y’know? So before, we were all the time thinking about Japanese fans. But this time, I’m thinking about European fans, and Asian fans, and American fans. So it sounds a little different than before. More American-style, I think.
It was a very interesting thing, all the time, living together [in a] big house in L.A. Downstairs, we had a recording studio. We made it. And then everyday, [we were] playing, seasoning… it was really, really busy. It’s like camp.
Would you say there’s a big difference between American rock and Japanese rock?
I think it’s super different. American sounds like, more simple, and very powerful. But Japanese music is more sensitive, and the sentences are very short, and it’s more technical.
You’re one of the few Japanese bands signed under Fueled By Ramen, which is a very popular pop punk label. What’s that like?
When we started doing tours in the United States, we didn’t have a label, so I was looking for a good American label. We just like the musicians that belong to Fueled by Ramen. [So] I wound up working with Fueled by Ramen when we got started doing our job in the United States. It’s just a dream come true.
I believe some time last year, you were supposed to tour with Linkin Park, but then Chester Bennington passed away. How did you guys take that as a band? Because I know they were a big influence on you.
I was very sad. I feel like, almost empty. One of my favourite singers is gone. I actually still can’t believe that. That is true, [but] also, I’m living real life right now. So I have to understand, Chester is dead already, but we are alive right now, so I have to keep doing music.
And you guys cover One More Light whenever you tour. How is that like, what feeling does that give you when you do it on stage?
I’m all the time thinking about Chester when I’m singing on the stage. I play for Chester.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t know. I think it’s the same thing, over and over again. Making music and doing tours. Sometimes big gigs in the world somewhere. That’s our life as a rock band.
You can listen to ONE OK ROCK’s new album Ambitions here.