It’s been a busy few years for Japanese electro-metal quintet Crossfaith, who have unexpectedly amassed an international fanbase after successful tours in Australia, the U.S., and Europe. But they’re back with new material with the release of their latest album, Xeno. Metropolis talks to the five-piece’s vocalist Kenta Koie about their unanticipated global conquest, metal in Japan, and their new record.

How do you describe your music?

Our style is very new. We mash up extreme rock music and electronic sounds with Hi-NRG.

Why did you choose to title the album Xeno?

“Xeno” is the best word to describe us. Like I said, our style is very new and our activity is not like others’. For Japanese people, Crossfaith is strange: we have Japanese blood, but I sing in English and we play all around the world.

In the track “Xeno,” what were you saying with the lyrics “give me pain / lead me to truth”?

There are two characters in “Xeno”: one is the cyber brain called “Xeno,” and one is a guy who wants to end this world ’cause he thinks this world is [messed] up by human beings. He wishes he can be reborn, so he screams, “Give me pain, lead me to truth.”

How does the album differ from your previous efforts?

Everything is different, but everything comes from our older records. We’ve released three albums and played a lot of places around the world. This time, we put in every experience that we’ve had. On this album, I sing a lot, and the writing process was totally different. Producer Josh Wilbur suggested we start tracking from guitar, bass, and vocal, then drums last. It worked out well. We all could focus on writing and arranging from beginning to end.

How is the metal scene evolving in Japan?

It’s getting bigger and better. Xeno is on the mainstream music chart. When we started Crossfaith, there were few bands who succeeded in the mainstream music industry. We began as an opening act for Western bands; now, we bring them to Japan and play shows together.

What’s your take on Babymetal?

They’re super huge in Japan and maybe in [the U.S.] as well. A lot of people outside Japan think Japanese culture is crazy—and it is.

What do you think of local metal festival Loud Park?

Other festivals invite idols or weak bands for the money, but Loud Park never does. The lineups are classic, so there are a lot of classic metal lovers.

How do you want your music to speak to young people across the globe?

My lyrics always come from myself. I’m very ordinary, yet I’ve had so many great achievements, so I want to say, “don’t give up on yourself.” I was not special, but I could become special.

What is the image of Japanese metal abroad?

It’s a hard question. I’m Japanese, so you tell me!

What’s the most unusual thing about touring overseas?

Tour buses! Japan is a small country and the traffic is terrible. The first time we used a tour bus was 2013 in Europe; that was the most amazing thing.

What will Crossfaith be doing in ten years?

I’m not sure, but I want to be playing music. I’m now 27, so I’ll be 37 ten years later. Playing music in the band is not easy ’cause each guy has his own life; I can never control anyone. But I think we’ll be fine, and I can see myself screaming and singing loud on stage in ten years.

What does music mean to you?

Music is my life; I don’t want to imagine not being a musician. Music saved my life and created myself as I am now—and I met so many amazing people through music.