XaaXaa made their American debut at Katsucon, an annual celebration of Japanese culture in National Harbor, MD. XaaXaa’s Friday night performance packed the ballroom, with fans queuing hours before the show. As soon as the doors opened, attendees swarmed the barricade for a better view of the stage.

As a band that thrives on stage, XaaXaa did not disappoint. A larger-than-life video projection set the scene for the four members—vocalist Kazuki, guitarist Haruga, bassist Reiya, and drummer An—as the band’s logo burned vibrantly behind them.

The opening notes of XaaXaa’s 2018 single Love Letter floated softly over the speakers, sparking screams of delight from the crowd. Then, the crowd’s screams blurred together with a roar as the song, and the set, took off with explosive energy.

Haruga’s guitar screamed with distortion, An’s drums thundered and Reiya’s bassline pulsed through the air. The members strutted and thrashed, feeling the intensity from the crowd and giving it back tenfold. Kazuki wielded a notebook prop as he gazed out at the crowd with his eternal pout. They tore through their setlist with ferocity, blurring the boundary between artist and audience.

XaaXaa’s essence lies in its moody themes melded with infectious earworms, blending darkness with a sense of hope and irony. Their music is addictive, relatable, and just a little bit quirky. Though the lyrics are completely in Japanese, they express universal experiences, from personal insecurities to the complexities of love. Kazuki’s emotional delivery, paired with XaaXaa’s catchy melodies has leapt over language barriers and hooked fans worldwide.

During the band’s first concert on US soil, what stood out most was the crowd’s readiness—many already knew the songs by heart, singing along without missing a beat. Fans hurled themselves over the barricade headbanging, before pivoting on a dime into memorized choreography. It became clear that XaaXaa was no ordinary convention guest, only just becoming acquainted with an overseas audience. They had an established overseas fanbase waiting for them.

The crowd’s immediate enthusiasm fueled an intense and passionate show from the start. Despite playing a generous set of 12 songs from throughout their catalog, the concert seemed to fly by in an instant.

After the live show, JROCK NEWS caught up with XaaXaa for our first interview since 2020. Read on to discover how the members felt about their US debut and more. You can also check out the band’s setlist at the bottom of this post.

XaaXaa poses with the crowd at their Friday night concert at Katsucon.XaaXaa official on X

Thank you for chatting with JROCK NEWS. To begin, please introduce yourselves to our international audience.

An: This is the drummer of XaaXaa, An. I look forward to working with you!

Kazuki: I’m the vocalist, Kazuki.

Haruga: I’m the guitarist, Haruga.

Reiya: I’m the bassist, Reiya.

From left to right: Bassist Reiya, drummer An, vocalist Kazuki, and guitarist Haruga.

XaaXaa has an impressive following both domestically and internationally. What do you think makes XaaXaa stand out from other visual kei bands, to get such attention?

Haruga: Our unique standout is that we write all the lyrics in Japanese.

Since you only write lyrics in Japanese, what fueled the push to perform abroad?

Haruga: We got an amazingly huge reaction from overseas audiences, so that made us want to tour abroad.

After your US debut, I’m sure you’ll amass even more international listeners. Which XaaXaa song would you suggest as the perfect introduction for newcomers, showcasing the essence of the band?

Kazuki: For readers in America, I’d recommend the song Kuroineko-chan. It’s pretty famous overseas, and one of the top-streamed songs on Spotify. We played it live at the concert last night.

Vocalist Kazuki pours his soul into every note.Chaotic Harmony

Yeah, the audience went wild when you played that song last night. Lots of people sang along, too.

Kazuki: Yeah. Surprisingly, that song isn’t that popular in Japan, but it’s widely popular here.

XaaXaa recently released Draw, the theme song for the kid’s anime Duel Masters. Since XaaXaa’s music is usually darker and more mature, did you shift your writing approach to a younger audience?

Kazuki: We didn’t change our usual approach or make it specifically for a kid’s anime. The anime is centered around a card game, so I made the song with that image in mind.

Ah, I see. So, because of the card game theme, the song’s name became “Draw”, as in “Draw a card”.

Kazuki: Yes, that’s right.


Let’s talk about your US debut. When JROCK NEWS interviewed XaaXaa in 2020, you said you wanted to tour abroad more. How does it feel to reach that goal?

Haruga: The best. The response from the audience was so amazing, that it shocked me. The fans’ excitement and passion really boosted my confidence.

Reiya: Performing overseas was totally different from performing in Japan. Here the fan reaction was really enthusiastic, and that got me feeling hyped too.

Bassist Reiya greets the audience under the spotlight’s glow.Chaotic Harmony

Share some insights with us from your US debut concert. What moments or experiences left a lasting impression on you?

Kazuki: In America, I was able to feel all kinds of emotions from the fans directly—the passion for the music, the hype, all of it. In Japan, it’s not common for us to realize that we have fans in the United States. I was astonished.

Haruga: There were a lot of people who knew the songs and sang the lyrics. It was quite moving.

An, I noticed you were barefoot on stage, why was that?

An: I play barefoot so that if I play poorly or make a mistake, I can’t blame it on my shoes. Also, it eliminates the need to hunt for better shoes to play drums in constantly. I want to showcase my own talent without relying on external factors like footwear.

Drummer An rises from his drum kit to greet the audience.Chaotic Harmony

Reiya, I also noticed that you use a glove when playing bass live, why do you use it?

Reiya: A bassist friend recommended that brand of glove to me. Now, I feel like I can’t play without it.

To all the membershave you experienced any culture shock in America?

Haruga: [In English] Oh my god [laughs].

Reiya: Strangers here will greet you often. Like even if you’ve never met, they’ll smile and approach you. They’re very friendly.

An: The burgers are super good [laughs]. Also, everything here looks like it’s straight out of a movie.

XaaXaa has an upcoming release on March 27, Boku to OD (僕とOD). Please tell us a little more about the single.

Haruga: It’s a heavier-sounding song, so please look forward to it.

How has XaaXaa evolved, from your previous work until now, with Boku to OD?

Haruga: We haven’t changed at all since the beginning, but I mean that in a good way. We are still “XaaXaa”.


Moving on, I have some more personal questions. Haruga, you recently changed your name from “Haru” to “Haruga”. Tell us how you reached that decision.

Haruga: In the realm of visual kei bands, the name “Haru” is pretty popular, leading to numerous members sharing the same name. When I shared a name with so many other artists, I felt it erased my uniqueness, so I decided to change it. However, as soon as I changed my name to “Haruga”, a number of people with the name “Haru” suddenly quit visual kei.

Guitarist Haruga takes the stage at Katsucon 2024.Chaotic Harmony

Kazuki and Reiya—as siblings, how was your experience growing together in the same band?

Reiya: We don’t really feel like brothers, we’ve always been more like friends. We talk about everything with each other, including music.

An, you do a lot of eating challenges on your YouTube channel. How did you get into that?

An: I like to watch those kinds of videos, I can eat a surprising amount of food, and I also enjoy shooting and editing videos. I thought I’d combine those interests and try it out; that’s how it got started.

Are you going to try any eating challenges when you’re in America?

An: I want to! If you know of any, let me know.

One more fun question. I’m fond of the song Aruchuu (アル中), which is about going out drinking [laughs]. In the beginning, a voice is calling out drink orders. It made me wonder, what is your favorite alcoholic drink?

Haruga: Highball.

Kazuki: I like umeshuuJapanese plum wine.

An: I’m not a very strong drinkerI choose beer [laughs].

Reiya: I’ll go with beer too.


Thanks for indulging me [laughs]. That’s all we have time for today, but in closing, do you have a parting message for our readers?

Haruga: Please, come see us in Japan.

Kazuki: We’d like to come back to America, and perform again.

XaaXaa at Katsucon, Friday, February 16, 2024


  1. Love Letter (ラブレター)
  2. Dosu Kuroi (どす黒い)
  3. Guchagucha (ぐちゃぐちゃ)
  4. Chameleon Onna (カメレオン女)
  5. Kumo no Ito (蜘蛛の糸)
  6. Gogatsubyou (五月病)
  7. Kage (影)
  8. Iraira suru ame (イライラする雨)
  9. Kuroi Neko-chan (黒い猫ちゃん)
  10. Ibara (茨)
  11. Horror (ホラー)
  12. Draw (ドロー)

It seems all tales have a happy ending. An’s fondness for American burgers didn’t end after the con. As it turns out, An did find a place to complete an eating challenge in America!

How many hamburgers can Americans eat in one sitting? Despite popular opinion, it’s certainly not five! Watch as An, the drummer of XaaXaa takes on five burgers from BurgerFi! Perhaps he’s more American than this reporter.

You can also see some scenes from the live performance and the crowd at Katsucon! Some fans even stopped him during his burger battle. Why not check it out below?


Big thanks to Katsucon and Chaotic Harmony Imports for bringing XaaXaa to America, and making this interview possible.

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  1. Boku to OD
  2. Muyuubyou
  1. Boku to OD music video
    僕とOD (MV)
  1. Boku to OD
  2. Uzai
  3. Muyuubyou