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ayabie new digital single: “SENTIMENTAL BY NADESHIKO” NAMELESS new live limited DVD: “Shidou ONEMAN「Mada BANDMAN Yattenno?」”

Our interview with Kaya about his 15th anniversary

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Kaya recently granted us the opportunity to interview him about his 15th anniversary activities. Please enjoy!

You can support Kaya's projects through his 15th anniversary crowdfunding campaign until March 11th.

Interview with Kaya

Kaya, thank you for participating in this interview.

  • ROSE, your first formal album in 8 years, is scheduled for a May release. How are you feeling about it?

    Before I noticed it over 8 years had passed; I was even surprised myself. But during those 8 years I had lots of important experiences, like the official revival of Schwarz Stein, and the forming and ending of Femme Fatale.

    I'm going to use all I gained from those 8 years of experiences in the new album's songs, so it will be a really great release. It has me very excited!



  • The album is being produced via crowdfunding. Have there been any challenges or differences in organizing it this way?

    I also did crowdfunding for the cover album DRESS, so this is the second time doing so. With both the album production and 15th anniversary live it was really difficult for me to tackle these two big projects at once on my own, so I decided to use everyone's help this time again.

    With everyone across the world dealing with the troubles of the coronavirus I wondered if it was the right time to do a crowdfunding project. However, I am sure this album will bring positivity to the listeners, so please support me in this effort.

    The crowdfunding website can be difficult to understand for some; I'm really sorry to everyone overseas who faces any inconvenience. For any troubleshooting issues, contact the official English support staff: @Kaya_ITN.

  • Please tell us a little bit about the collaborations on this album, and how they came about.

    It's a collaboration with old friends who have supported my music and new friends I met during these past 8 years!

    I think the greatest thing for personal growth is fateful meetings between people. In Japanese, we use the word en (縁) {fate}. With this release, I will embody the important en (fateful) encounters that helped me grow as a person.

    I think we will be able to show a brand new Kaya that has never been seen before, so please look forward to it!

  • Are there any artists with which you still hope to collaborate?

    There are so many but I would like my beloved Mana-sama to compose a song for me someday.

  • On June 11th, your 15th anniversary live, Rose Addict, will be held. What are you looking forward to from that show?

    Up until now, Kaya's lives have had the backing tracks playing with dancers performing and such; but this time we will have songs with a backing band with support members, and chanson-style songs with a pianist. So we will perform in various forms! Of course, we will have songs with dancers as well.

    I think I will be able to convey my evolution from the past 8 years.

  • The live will also be the debut of your new visual. In general, how do you decide on the visual elements for each work?

    Usually I decide while matching it to the concept of the songs, but this time I kept in mind the 15th anniversary as the main aspect and designed with that in mind.

  • Over the years, you've had many “feminine” and “masculine” looks. Do you enjoy playing with gender expression? Has this changed over time?

    It's very fun! Now what's important to me is “wearing the clothes I really want to wear.” In the past I was strict about trying to protect my character thinking “this is the image of Kaya.” But now I think “Kaya is Kaya no matter the costume or makeup I use!” I think this gave me more confidence in how I approach my career and songs.

    Now I think it is even no problem to stand on stage without makeup or dressed as a man, as long as I feel firmly that this fits Kaya. However, I really love makeup and dresses so I will continue to dress up for the stage. So if you prefer cute Kaya don't worry! Haha.



  • You are often associated with drag, and have even attended RuPaul's DragCon in the past. What attracted you to this world?

    I felt that the visual kei and drag worlds, while being similar, were also completely different-at least in Japan that is the case. However, I felt that being in that category was not so interesting to me, as I want to freely express the things that are interesting and wonderful to me.

    I have lots of drag queen friends so I first participated in their events here in Japan. Later I was able to participate at RuPaul's DragCon in Los Angeles and it was really fun and exciting! I want to continue to do music activities regardless of any genre.

  • Looking back on your 15 years, how have you changed as an artist?

    As I answered before, now I feel very free, so I would like to continue trying to challenge many different things.

  • Your music spans from many genres. Does your performance change accordingly? Can we expect to hear you in new genres?

    Maybe the way I sing changes a little but there is not really a significant change in how I approach it all, I think. Next I'd like to try and sing some jazz music.

  • Do you ever hope to form another full band?

    I love the band format so someday, if the chance ever comes up!

  • You have always been open about your love of classic vkei. Please tell us about how you fell in love with vkei, and why you still like it.

    Since I was little I was more attracted to dark and beautiful things rather than bright things. For example, I liked the moon more than the sun. So I think it was natural for me to be attracted to dark visual kei music.

    Also, here in Japan where old gender ideals still strongly persist like “men should be like this and women should be like this,” 90s visual kei showed a coolness that was beyond the ideals of gender. When I first encountered vkei I thought, “Even men are free to wear makeup and dresses! This is so cool! What a great genre!”

    In Japanese cultural roots we have Kabuki theater in which a man dresses up as a woman for the stage; there is also the essay Inei Raisan (陰翳礼讃) {In Praise of Shadows} where we can see the cultural favoring of darker subjects—I think the genre also makes use of those ancient ways of Japanese thinking.

    To find such a genre in Japan is really rare and since I also like history I was attracted to visual kei from that viewpoint as well.

  • What about your love of chanson? What are some recommended artists?

    Chanson are old french songs popular between WW1 and WW2 so there are many dark songs; so the worlds of chanson and visual kei matched inside me. I think it's not only chanson but also European gothic culture and 90s visual kei that values the dark aspects of the world like Inei Raisan (陰翳礼讃). So it is all really compatible to me.

    As for a recommendation for chanson music? Édith Piaf maybe.

    愛の讃歌 mv
  • What are your goals as an artist beyond this 15th anniversary?

    From now on I'd like to make songs with an even greater feeling of freedom.

  • In closing, please give a final message to your fans.

    My dear fans, thank you always for your support.

    You are what drives me to continue on.

    The world is in a terrible situation now—

    To forget the sad reality, even if for a moment; to be healed in an unreal world; and when you return to the real world that you may have a bit more strength:

    I will continue to sing and create a beautiful world so that we can overcome the difficulties of life. Let's move forward together.

    With love, Kaya.



How to support Kaya

The crowdfunding campaign for Kaya's 15th anniversary ends on March 11th. Overseas fans are encouraged to participate—there's even a special plan just for overseas fans that includes a limited edition of the album. Please view the special instructions put together @Kaya_ITN:

Thank you to Kaya for participating in this interview.

This interview was conducted by @inartistic with much assistance from Kaya's official international support staff, @Kaya_ITN on Twitter.

If you want to support us and make future artist interviews possible, please consider joining our Patreon.


  • New Releases Playlist - June 2022
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ayabie new digital single: “SENTIMENTAL BY NADESHIKO” NAMELESS new live limited DVD: “Shidou ONEMAN「Mada BANDMAN Yattenno?」”