Interviews: CHOKE

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Metal/Rap band, CHOKE from Japan. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

REON: In hip-hop slang, it has the meaning of “get panicked”. It came out while searching on the internet and this grabbed my attention from a list of various words.

KVYA NONO: REON was the one who came up with this word and we really liked it. Our former drummer suggested a different name, but we didn’t get fond of it. Thus, REON proposed “CHOKE” and we instantly liked how it sounded. I still think there is no better band name for us.

B5: REON chose it. I remember liking it a lot when I heard it for the first time. I like the band Sepultura and they have a song with the same name, that’s probably another reason why I got into it.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

REON: I’ve always been interested in rap metal and rap bands so, when this opportunity came to me, I gave it a try.

KVYA NONO: I was planning on doing only djent until I listened to REON’s rap. When I saw REON rapping, I thought it would be a shame if I let him go and I proposed him to do a rap metal band together. Even now, there aren’t many bands in Japan that have adopted rap. For this reason, I’m amazed at how good the response has been.

B5: This was the result of putting together our favorite things. We’re originally metalheads, so it was natural.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

REON: Before we formed CHOKE, we played at the same events with our former bands many times. That’s why it was easy for us to get in touch with each other. 

KVYA NONO: My band toured with REON’s band in the past and B5 has been that kind of friend that often comes to my place. I’m very happy to be able to play in a band with them. Both of them know more about music than I do, so I’m constantly learning about new music from our daily chats.

B5: That’s right. I used to drink and talk about music with NONO. We have been to concerts together too. We still do that!

4. Each band member favourite band?

REON: I used to listen to Limp Bizkit a lot. I like the vibe of the golden age of rap metal.

KVYA NONO: I’m unsure about my favorite one, but I’ve been listening mostly to hardcore bands like Jesus Piece and Knocked Loose recently. I enjoy beautiful tunes too, but lately, I like songs that give you the live feel. Because of that, I’ve been also constantly trying to bring the live energy into CHOKE’s music. It would make me happy if the listener could feel it even if it’s only a little bit. 

B5: It’s hard to choose only one but, if I had to pick, I guess that would be KORN. You could hardly hear the bass sound in old-school metal music, but KORN’s sound was different. It was extremely heavy that I was blown away by it. They showed me how important is the bass in metal.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

REON: Basically, I build up my ideas while recording but I also get fresh inspiration from my outside walks.

KVYA NONO: I look over new music every day, this way, I can find interesting ideas to put into CHOKE’s music next. I also take the old classics as a reference, but I don’t actively implement elements from them. I’m thinking about how to create something innovative all the time.

6. Where was your last gig?

REON: My last concert was on January 6th, 2021. Many shows have been postponed early this year, so I hope we can perform without facing any cancellation.

KVYA NONO: It’s been a while that I already forgot the date. Many live shows have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. It has been difficult for the concert organizers, but the audience has it even harder.

B5: It was held on January 6th, 2021 at Shinjuku, Tokyo. We were able to perform at a reasonable pace last year. I want to go back to the stage soon.

7. Where would you like to act?

REON: Having a concert at the beach or onboard a cruise ship in the summer seems to be so much fun. I would like to play at a school gymnasium too.

KVYA NONO: CHOKE’s set-up is designed to allow us to perform anywhere. Therefore, I would like to have a live show at a clothing store. At the rooftop or a bar would be nice too. We want to play outside Japan so please invite us, we will go everywhere. We will give a great concert no matter the circumstances.

B5: I would like to perform anywhere I get asked to go, in Japan or overseas. We always play at dark underground places, hence I would like to have an open-air concert for one time. I’m curious to see how the mood will be like.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

REON: I think it would be interesting to collaborate with a human beatbox artist. 

KVYA NONO: I would like to work with a rapper. I feel it would be good to have someone to pair with REON as a second vocalist. I would like to feature a painter as well to have a live painting during a concert. Also, I’d love to have a collaboration with a skater.

B5: I like many artists that I can’t choose from. But it would be amazing to be able to collaborate with Jared Gomes from one of my favorite bands, Hed P.E.

9. Whom not?

REON: Nobody in particular.

KVYA NONO: Someone who dislikes CHOKE. We are always open to working with people from any background who resonate with us. All of the members in the band truly appreciate that kind of passion.

B5: With a person who is only concerned about money and doesn’t love music. 

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

REON: Stage fright is a kind of social anxiety disorder, so I think it’s hard to overcome it by yourself. It’s fundamental to be surrounded by a team and friends who understand you and support you.

KVYA NONO: Getting nervous is something great. It’s proof that you’re in an exciting place. I don’t think it’s necessary to treat the stage fright. You should ponder on how you can enjoy this situation. A life with no thrill is quite boring. 

B5: I’ve been there. When I was young, there were many times when my legs were shaking and I couldn’t play well because my hands were too stiff. I guess the only way is to put yourself on the stage more often and get used to it. I was able to stay cool after many times of performing live.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

REON: The music and style of Linkin Park had a tremendous impact on me.

KVYA NONO: With so many bands breaking up, I look up to the bands who have stayed in business. Despite being able to find a replacement for members constantly, it’s still extremely difficult to continue. I’ve learned from these bands the determination to keep going on even in the current global circumstances. I think this approach is essential to survive, even outside the music industry.

B5: I believe METALLICA was the one who made me want to play heavy music. That was my first encounter with metal. I still remember how mind-blowing listening to The Black Album was. They changed my life. I’m sure there are plenty of people like me who also were inspired by METALLICA.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

REON: Nothing special. 

KVYA NONO: I guess it was when someone said to me “Take me”.

B5: It’s too over the top. I can’t mention it here (laughs).

13. What do you think of your fans?

REON: I’m truly thankful to them.

KVYA NONO: We have been always grateful to them but, under the current circumstances, this feeling has deepened. I’m sure we are not the only ones who feel this way. I think many other bands have overcome the adversity with the support and encouragement of their fans.

B5: I can’t be anything but thankful. It’s a miracle to be able to do what I love and having people that bring me their support. Many people quit because they couldn’t get fans; that’s why I’m happy to have people by my side.

14. What do you think of our site?

REON: It’s great to see a site specialized in metal with tons of information about cool bands. It’s interesting to have a menu categorized by country.

KVYA NONO: Most of the time, the interviews that CHOKE gets are from sites about Japanese culture. However, Breathing the core is a site visited by true metallers. As soon as I got asked to take this interview, I shared the joy with the members right after.

B5: It covers metal music from many countries. That makes it very interesting. It’s a great honor to be interviewed by a cool site like this. Thank you.

15. Something to add?

REON: If you have the chance, please come to Japan. We will be waiting for you. 

KVYA NONO: We are an eccentric band that plays nu-metal from a distant small country called Japan. I’m glad that people get to know us this way. We will do our best to make music that people can enjoy. And once COVID-19 is settled down, we would like to go overseas and have activities there. See you at our concerts!

B5: You can listen to our songs on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. There are also many other songs that you can listen to on YouTube that are not available on other platforms. I hope you can check them in both places. If you like our music, please check our online store too. It’s in English, so you don’t need to worry about the language. I would like to be able to perform someday in front of all the persons who are reading this interview. Stay in good health until then!

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