Interview by Jennifer Elise Wang
January 5, 2023
On December 3, 2022, FLOW made their return to America after three years away. Although they remained in touch with international fans during the pandemic through a year-long series of on-line concerts and other virtual projects, fans were clearly ready to see them live again.
Fans from across the U.S. came to Anime Frontier in Fort Worth, Texas for the concert, and J-Generation got to speak with the band before they played their sold-out show.
Welcome back to Texas. You’ve played here several times since your U.S. debut. What is your favorite part about coming back to Texas?
TAKE: Texas whiskey. I enjoyed some last night, and it was delicious
GOT’S: Our first American concert was in Texas so this is a special place for us.
KEIGO: The cowboy image.
TAKE: We tried to go horseback riding but couldn’t. We did enjoy sightseeing.
IWASAKI: This place [Fort Worth] feels like the image of Texas for us. We feel like cowboys here.
How did you select songs for your special on-line lives during 2020-2021?
TAKE: We picked from each of our eleven albums for every month. Then for the twelfth month, we asked fans to give us a collection of songs they liked.
Did any of you develop “quarantine hobbies”?
TAKE: Bicycling. I love road biking!
KEIGO: Playing video games
IWASAKI: Before, I went out to practice drums. During the pandemic, I set up a studio inside the house.
GOT’S: I moved. [His bandmates joked that this is not a hobby.]
KOHSHI: I ran the FLOW YouTube channel.
Having been a band for so many years, you’ve probably seen a lot of changes in the music world. What has been the most surprising trend or technological advancement?
TAKE: Streaming music. CDs are no longer popular in America.
GOT’S: YouTube and social media. When we started, we played small clubs with few people Now you get the chance to build a following and play a huge venue with little experience.
On the subject of technology, what was it like working with vTubers?
TAKE: It feels like an actual person is no longer present. They cannot get older and do not have imperfections in their appearance.
GOT’S: I’ve been trying to figure out the appeal. They are different from humans, but it’s the person behind the character who is the charm point. That’s what attracts people’s attention.
TAKE: We kind of became vTubers with our live in the Metaverse. We got to explore the world of Code Geass.
How did being a part of the 15th anniversary of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion influence the creation of “Dice” and “Daydream Believer”?
TAKE: We were happy to have collaborated again after the first time. Orange Range also made a song for them, and we were finally able to work together [on “Daydream Believer”]. That was a memorable experience.
Can you say more about working with Orange Range? Were there any challenges in writing for five vocalists?
KOHSHI: All five of us vocalists are also songwriters. The process actually went smoothly because we were able to communicate through LINE and Zoom.
Who are your musical influences?
TAKE: X Japan.
KEIGO: Zebrahead. Before we formed FLOW, we talked about which band we wanted to be like, and it was Zebrahead.
IWASAKI: When I started, I wanted to be like Joe from 44 Magnum. My influences have changed as I’ve grown as a musician.
GOT’S: X Japan and Metallica. Recently I re-discovered LUNA SEA. J’s bass is so cool.
KOHSHI: hide. He was the original inspiration for me wanting to have a musical career.
In addition to your special 20th anniversary live, what are your plans for 2023?
TAKE: Our twelfth album will be released. We’ll tour Japan, but globally, there are two continents we have not played [excluding Antarctica]: Australia and Africa. We want to play there, and of course, we would like to come back to the U.S.
Concert photos were by Rogue Monkey Media.