I have been to more shows than I can count, and so I have seen a lot of what’s out there. It’s rare to see an act that is truly inspiring these days for me.
Crystal Lake woke me up and made me realize that true passion is still very much alive in 2019.
The extreme metal band from Japan made their way to the US for the first time last month and I was fortunate to see them as they opened for August Burns Red across the country.
I was also able to interview their vocalist Ryo (over email – they speak no English) and so below you’ll see photos from the show, mixed in with questions and answers from the interview.
Hope you enjoy as much as I did! Definitely check out their new album Helix if metal is your thing – you will not be disappointed!
Would you please introduce yourself and your role in Crystal Lake?
I’m Ryo. I do vocals.
How did the band come to be with your current lineup? What brought this group of people together, playing this type of music?
Crystal Lake has been around for 17 years and I joined the band 7 years ago. We started as a hardcore band and has been changing the style of the sound.
On Wikipedia, it says the band has been together since 2002 and that your guitarists have been in the band since then – is that true? What has allowed the band to persevere so long and not have everyone give up after nearly 20 years?!
True. YD and Shinya are the original guys. When I joined, the fire was reignited I guess ha.
I feel like you guys have sort of a mystique surrounding you, being a really heavy band from Japan, and never having toured the U.S. before. Do any of you have superpowers we should know about? I’m pretty sure your drummer is at least part-cyborg, after listening to that double bass part in the breakdown on “Aeon”.
I have no idea but finally we got the chance to tour in the US and I’m sure we’re doing pretty well. You’ll be surprised at his drumming when you come to our show.
The video for “Aeon” was super interesting and intense as well. I felt like I was watching this crazy sci-fi movie or an episode of Black Mirror or something. Where did the idea come from for that video and what is some of the deeper meaning behind what is seen?
The idea came from sci fi movies like you said and the same as the lyrics. We wanted to describe that machines are going to take the place of God and religion.
“Aeon” is actually a single from your new record Helix that comes out February 15th on SharpTone Records – which is brutal in the best way possible and an incredible album. How was making this record different from any others you have done with Crystal Lake?
When we started to work on this album, we realized that our good points are heaviness, unique melodies and composition. But those songs came naturally. We tried some new things but I’m sure this is what Crystal Lake has been doing for a long time.
Any interesting tidbits we should know about the recording process, or things we should pay attention to when listening?
We described theory of relativity on the album. The change of tempo, strange breakdowns and bizarre melodies.
Why did you decide to name the record Helix? What are some of the themes and ideas discussed on the album?
Helix means DNA that consists of history of Crystal Lake. The past, the present and the future were mixed into this album.
Who writes the actual songs/music for the band and what is that songwriting process like for you guys?
YD writes the songs and I write lyrics. We used to jam a lot but now work with pro tools.
What is your reasoning for going with English lyrics instead of opting for Japanese when most of the band doesn’t speak English and your career has developed (to this point) in Japan?
People understand our energy that comes from music and lyrics. I don’t care if they don’t understand the actual meaning.
This is your first time touring the U.S. and you’re doing it in style with August Burns Red. How has it been so far? What has surprised you about America?
Amazing bands, amazing crowd, amazing tour. I was surprised that people were chanting our name before and after our set. Unbelievable.
Judging from your music videos, it looks like you have some wild performances at shows. What can we expect for those of us coming to see Crystal Lake for the first time?
You can feel true energy. I’m sure you can’t help moving your body.
What makes Crystal Lake different from the many bands out there in the genre/scene?
Our unique melodies that only Japanese can write.
Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you would like to promote or add to what you’ve said here?
We’ll be back in the states this summer. So see you guys then.