Catching up with Kazuha Oda - Lead singer and Bassist with Kazha!
JPR.com: Hello Kazuha Oda! We've actually met at a couple of conventions last year—Sabaku Con 2016 and Saboten Con 2016. Is there something particular about anime conventions that draws you to perform at so many?
Kazuha Oda: Hello :) I'd say that we are just fortunate to be able to attend a lot of anime conventions. My band is not anime related at all, but the members of the band are all Japanese, and we all have artist visas to work in the USA as musicians...and because of all those things, I guess it's definitely easier for conventions to invite us as their guests. And of course, I hope the organizers and staff of those conventions loves our music :)
I love seeing Japanese culture and Animation being loved by so many people, and we're happy to be a part of it. And I'm trying to be the bridge between Japanese and American culture through my music, so attending Anime Conventions is something I want to continue from now on.
JPR.com: Your love for your fans is deep! At Sabaku Con, you interacted with the audience frequently throughout the show. What do your fans mean to you?
Kazuha Oda: I wouldn't be who I am as a musician without my fans. I can never imagine myself retiring from being a musician as long as there is a fan who is waiting for me.
JPR.com: Out of all the concerts you've performed, are there any special moments or events that stick out?
Kazuha Oda: I honestly enjoyed every moment and every event I've performed at, but if I had to choose one, it would be Saboten Con in Arizona. I can't say which year it was, but I've been there every single year since 2011 and it feels like going home every year. It is something special seeing the convention grow and to be able to be a part of it.
JPR.com: Kazha has toured all over the world. Has there been any specific countries that you especially enjoyed?
Kazuha Oda: We enjoyed Mexico and of course USA :)
JPR.com: Many of us here at JpopRocks are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. You made your debut in San Francisco back in 2009. Any plans on returning to the Bay Area in the near future?
Kazuha Oda: I do not have specific plans yet...but I really hope to return!
JPR.com: When did you first start to sing and how long have you been playing the bass? When did the other members start playing instuments?
Kazuha Oda: I started classical vocal training when I was little, but I started playing bass since 2014, so I'm still very young as a bassist.
My bandmates have been playing their instruments since they were in Junior High.
JPR.com: It shows! Hideki Matsushige is a talented guitarist. How did you meet and decide to form Kazha?
Kazuha Oda: I met him when I was a singer in another band in Japan. We had similar thoughts and influences in music, and we learned that we work very well together writing music, so we decided to start Kazha.
JPR.com: How did your drummer Masaya come to join Kazha?
Kazuha Oda: Masaya was in the band since almost the beginning, when we started touring in America, but he was absent from the band here and there. Working as a band in a foreign country where you never grew up is very difficult, so I've had to decide on a drummer replacement time to time.
JPR.com: Who are your influences?
Kazuha Oda: We all love classic rock. Rush, Metallica, Journey, Alice in Chains... too many great bands!
JPR.com: If you could choose any band to cover one of your songs, who would that be and what song?
Kazuha Oda: I would love to hear Rush covering "Break Into Pieces" !
JPR.com: We would love to hear that too!
"Frozen" is an absolute favorite here at JpopRocks. It has a great combination of lyrics and rhythm. Do you have a favorite song, and what makes it so special?
Kazuha Oda: I also love Frozen, but my favorite might be "Wake Up" (the first song on our first album) because that is the very first song that Hideki and I ever made for Kazha when we first started the band.
But to be honest...I love all of Kazha's music LOL It's too hard for me to pick one, and that is why I make albums.
JPR.com: Before forming Kazha, you were a solo artist. What are your thoughts about being in a group versus going solo?
For me, both being a solo artist or being in a group are great, but I think it really depends on what you want to pursue.
It was easy for me to be a solo artist in some ways... like you can control your own schedule, and do what you want to do. And you can also travel alone. However, I felt alone at so many situations when I was a solo artist.
I grew up listening to rock bands and my dream was to sing in a rock band. But when I realized, I was signed to a music label as a solo singer already... and I almost didn't have time to think of what I really wanted to do.
I was always feeling lonely even when I had a back band that plays for me at a concert. I felt that they were playing music with me mostly because they work for me. I guess I was hoping to have someone that I could call "band mates".
Few years later when I started to sing in a group, I realized what I really wanted to do...and finally decided to form my own band "Kazha".
This is my personal opinion from my own experience, but being in a group gives you the opportunity to grow (as a musician) with your people who respects each other, and who believes in you. Finding the best (right) people for your group is the most important part which is not easy at all... but being in a group could give you a great feeling that you have someone who can follow a dream with.
JPR.com: We think you expressed both situations very well! Regardless, we think your work with Kazha and your past solo projects are both great!
Thank you for allowing us to interview you! Is there anything you would like to say or mention to the JpopRocks fans out there?
Kazuha Oda: Thank you very much. If you never knew about us until now, please check out our music! If you like our music, please follow us and tell your friends about us. And thank you all for reading my interview