ONE OK ROCK talks knocking down 'wall' between them and US audience

Japanese rock band ONE OK ROCK may be a global name now, but this was not always the case.

In a recent interview on Saturday (20 January) ahead of their performance to a 6,500-strong crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the band’s lead vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi (known simply as “Taka”) shared their experience during their initial performances in the United States.

“There is that very strong, significant ‘away’ feeling,” Taka said of performing to an American audience at an interview session with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore and other media.

“We felt that most especially when we were touring America as the opening band for a couple of American acts. It felt like we were always being tested on stage,” said the 29-year-old, who grew up listening to American rock music.

Even on their first American tour, Taka said that “it wasn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies for us either”.

“The American audience naturally thought, ‘Why are these Asian people doing rock music and performing on the same stage as the rest?’ We felt that hostility, from the looks that we got and the atmosphere. So there was a need to change that,” Taka said.

(Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

He admitted that the band “unconsciously drew a line between us and the American audiences, just like they probably did for us as well”.

“This wasn’t something that was present in our Asian and Japanese audiences. Be it a good or bad thing, that wall came about from our aspirations to perform in the US,” Taka said.

“So knocking down that wall paves the way for everything else. We didn’t start from zero, because we started from below that.”

Taka also gave examples of how other fans in different regions would react to their performances.

“For example, in Japan, when we perform ballads, the fans get very quiet and listen to us sing. On the other hand, we also just did a concert in Thailand on Thursday and all the fans were passionately singing along to our ballads,” he said.

“When we were in Singapore previously, the fans were also similar. So you can see that even in Asia, we have a myriad of fans.”

The concert in Singapore was part of their Ambitions world tour, which also includes Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and South Korea.

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