Kaito, Guitarist of Esprit D’air (LONDON, UK)Posted: November 23, 2011
Kaito was having a day off. He wore no guy-liner, no studded choker, and no black nail varnish. In fact, sitting demurely on a sofa at Costa as he sheepishly eyed the decadent glass of festive hot chocolate before him, he looked almost shy. That said, however, there’s still something about him that unmistakably screams ‘I’m A Rockstar’. And a rockstar he is. As the guitarist of the London-based Japanese rock (J-rock) band Esprit D’air, which got together at the beginning of 2010, Kaito has some serious onstage presence.
The four band members – Yoshi (vocals), Kaito (guitar), Erisu (bass) and Daishi (drums) – met at a J-rock concert in London a couple years ago and their mutual passion for music inspired them to start working together. They took some time to find their sound but have since grown from strength to strength, performing at major Japan-related events such as the London MCM Expo last year. ‘When we first started there was no one else like us in England,’ recalled Kaito. ‘Our stuff is definitely not chart music – we cater to a very specific niche in the sense that people have to deliberately seek us out.’ So what do their songs sound like? Kaito thought for a while, and then replied, ‘It’s heavy but beautiful. The music is grungy and Yoshi’s voice is very smooth, and the contrast results in a sound that is really loud yet melodic.’
Esprit D’air has had one album out so far, called ‘Deai’, which loosely translates as greeting or encounter. ‘Sort of like the first hello from the band, I guess,’ grinned Kaito. The album’s concept revolves around love and betrayal, and attempts to explore a range of emotions through the songs. ‘We always put the music first. I get zapped by melodic ideas and work around them, and then Yoshi adds the lyrics after. The creative process is really important to us because we make music to express ourselves – not to become famous.’
J-rock must be his favourite genre, then? ‘Actually, I don’t really listen to that stuff very much. I started learning the guitar when I was 16, and my teacher mostly taught me blues so I did a lot of that,’ replied Kaito. ‘But I also like experimenting with different styles and see what I come up with – rock, metal…’ At this point, he noticed my expression change and I had to confess I don’t really understand metal as a genre. ‘Well, think of it like classical music played with different instruments.’ What?! Was he seriously comparing Metallica to Mozart? ‘They’re really quite similar,’ Kaito insisted. ‘Both styles focus on technicalities, like scales and things. They’re both difficult to play.’ Well now that he put it like that…
As for what exciting projects lay in store for them – the band has been releasing samples of their new tracks on YouTube recently and their next album will be out sometime next year. For now, though, they’re going to be busy touring Spain. ‘We’re off in two days time actually! We’ve toured there before and it was amazing. The money we earned barely covered our flights, but we’ve had some of our best concerts there and the crowds are amazing,’ Kaito gushed. ‘I loved it!’
We look forward to hearing more about Esprit D’air’s success in the future!
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You can find out more about the band at: