Kansai Progressive Rock Orchestra is a newcomer band, whose name says it all - they come from Japan and they play in a fantastic progressive rock style. Their superb self-titled debut album was originally released in 2020 and sees now again the light of day via WormHoleDeath. KPRO rises as a new force in the international progressive rock scene and Myth of Rock comes in contact with the band, in order to examine its peculiar case. Good music enthusiasts shall check this band, because its songs are at least remarkable! Read what Yasuhiro and Dune answered to our questions! ...
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
When and under which circumstances was Kansai Progressive Rock Orchestra formed?
We each played in progressive rock bands, so we knew each other well before we formed. And we would get together for drinks whenever we had the chance. The idea for the formation of the band was conceived by Yasuhiro at a drinking party.
Present to us the members of the band.
Yasuhiro Nishio (guitar): guitarist and composer of Show-Yen. Show-Yen has released two albums on the French label Musea and one independently. He is left-handed and plays a right-handed guitar upside down like Jimi Hendrix. Derollin’ Kataoka (Melodion): after joining Magdalena, he formed the band Derollin' in 1997 and released demo albums in 2002 and 2007. In Derollin' he plays keyboards, but in KPRO he decided to concentrate on melodion. He is currently active as Derollin' and Koganeju. Dune Tanaka (Keyboards): joined Acropolis from 2010 - 2012 and participated in prog rock cover bands and sessions mainly in Kansai area. He also serves as the point of contact with labels and plays a variety of roles in all aspects of publishing, including website development and mixing the first album. Shohei Matsuura (Stick): a rare stick player in Japan. After working with Mugen, Magdalena, Midas and Punpkin Taste, he joined Derollin' and Acropolis and formed Koganeju in 2020. He is still active as Derollin' and Koganeju. Wakyo (Drums): He started playing piano at the age of three and started playing drums at the age of ten. He joined the brass band club in middle school. He also participated in local sessions and other activities from around the age of twelve. He is currently playing drums in a local band, while attending college.
Why did you decide to name the band Kansai Progressive Rock Orchestra?
Kansai refers to the region of Japan, where our members live. We named as "Orchestra" with the idea that in the future the members will be fluid and may increase depending on the music.
Your debut album was first released in 2020. Which was people’s response to this first album, until now? Why did you decide to re-release it via WormHoleDeath?
Even before the release of WormHoleDeath, the album had been picked up by Japanese magazines and was well received by some enthusiasts. However, sales were not good at all, and we were looking for a way out, when we were introduced to WormHoleDeath. By re-releasing our music on WormHoleDeath, we hope that more people will listen to our music. As a result, we look forward to the opportunity to perform in front of a worldwide audience.
Where was this first album recorded? Who did the mixing? The mastering?
Before recording, the arrangements were thoroughly rehearsed and decided upon. Each member recorded the songs at their own homes based on MIDI data created by the composer of each song. Dune mixed and mastered the recorded data to complete the album.
I liked very much the cover of album. Can you give me all the details about the cover?
The members discussed the concept of the album and conveyed it to the designers. Incidentally, the concept was based on Yasutaka Tsutsui's full-length novel "Traveling Lagos". The designers, Satoshi Tonokito and Motoyori Edure, did a great job in giving shape to our image. We think they did a good job.
Your songs are instrumental. Why is that?
All the members love instrumentals. We think some of the songs could have vocals.
Which are your favorite artists/bands? In your opinion, which artists/bands have influenced the music style of KPRO?
There are four composers in KPRO, so we think it is a fusion of their musical styles. Our favorite artists are: Yasuhiro Nishio- The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Derollin’ Kataoka - Arti e mestieri , Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Locanda delle Fate, Return to Forever and Chick Corea - Dune Tanaka: Genesis, Camel, The Flower Kings, The Beatles and Ryuichi Sakamoto - Shohei Matsuura: Area, David Sylvain and King Crimson - Wakyo: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and King Crimson.
Have you written any new songs? When do you plan to release your next album? What should we expect?
We are always coming up with ideas for songs. As for the next album, the content is still a secret, but we have started recording. Please stay tuned.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect you as a band and as individuals?
COVID-19 has stalled the flow of people. Even after the pandemic subsided, people's values seem to have changed. We're meeting more and more people online. We want to perform in public as much as possible because music is best heard live.
Do you play live in concert? How is a typical concert of KPRO? Do you have plans for a tour?
Of course, we perform live. We love performing in front of people. Right now, we are only performing in Kansai, Japan, but we hope to tour abroad someday.
How easy or difficult is it for a band to play progressive music nowadays? How are things for rock music in Japan, in general?
We think progressive rock is seen as the music of some enthusiasts. Even though it is not like that at all. So, we think it is difficult to be commercially successful in Japan.
Which are your ambitions and your goals for KPRO?
To have our music heard by people all over the world. And to perform in front of people all over the world.
Send your message to the fans!
Thanks for your interest in us. If enough people want our music, it will lead to the creation of our next album and tour. We look forward to seeing you all.