Billboard.com recently caught up with X JAPAN drummer/mastermind Yoshiki to discuss his new album, Yoshiki Classical, which was released in North America on September 24th:
Yoshiki, a living legend in Japan, is founder and leader of the massively influential hard rock band X Japan, and creator of the revolutionary indie Japanese label Extasy, and owner/operator of a successful LA recording studio (formerly Larrabee East) that has recorded or mixed RIHANNA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, JANET JACKSON, NO DOUBT and MUSE, among others.
Why then would a musician with this kind of heavy rocking pedigree release a classical album? Yoshiki tells Billboard, "This album reflects my 'other' love outside of rock and roll. I'm always composing music like a diary, whether it's rock or classical. Because I did the Golden Globes theme song in 2012 and 2013, I thought it was a good time to release my classical side of my music worldwide."
Yoshiki composed every piece on Classical, but for the recording he collaborated with renowned BEATLES producer Sir George Martin and enlisted the talents of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Symphony and the Quartet San Francisco. The result is a collection of beautiful pieces of music with sweet melodies, soaring voices and vibrant strings. Yoshiki notes he doesn't see the traditional art form at odds with his rock career.
"Actually classical music came first, and has been by my side ever since. I started playing classical piano when I was 4 years old, and started playing rock drums when I was 10."