Screamo From the East

Big Hour presents: Raion

For the longest time, R&B, ballads, and hip-hop have been the most dominant genres in the Asian and Asian-American music scenes.

Artists such as Jin, Far East Movement, Hyori, Boa, Utada Hikaru and others have contributed greatly to the image of Asian music culture. Along with the rise of YouTube and other online communities, many Asian artists emerged out of obscurity and became true underground sensations. Many talented musicians showcase their skills by interpreting songs through cover versions of famous tunes or by exercising their creative muscles to create their original songs. However, the styles of the genres music and have not changed at all. There are many variations of covers and original materials, but the default genres are still the usual R&B, ballads, and hip-hop. With their very first full length, Raion tries to break the Asian artist mold by adding some heavy guitar riffs, some screams, and some good old fashion power chord chugging and punk drumming.

Artist on Artist:
Joey Ma with Moses J Lee (guitarist & vocalist of Raion)

1) How would you introduce yourself and your band if a friend’s friend is inquiring of you?

I would probably tell them my name, and say something along the lines of “We are an asian hardcore band that loves to rock out and make music”. In my opinion that’s one of the hardest question to answer because its such a general and vague question that it takes some time and thought to give the person a good answer.

We all like different styles of music. For me personally I like country and folk. Allen likes metal core and hip hop and rap. Stan loves a lot of post rock stuff like Explosions in the Sky and Mono. Eric likes metal and anything that has distorted guitars and screaming. When we come together it’s really tough trying to make a song that we all like, but when we do come together, the writing process and things just fall into place, and we all just get lost into the music.

2) What’s in the name, Raion? 

It means lion in Japanese. I don’t think there is any specific meaning behind the name. We were looking for names and we couldn’t really find a good name and we just took the least cheesiest one and went with it. I still cringe when I say the name, but you know we need a name and this is the best we got. Its funny how names work. Sometimes it just comes to you, and sometimes you just have to struggle on through until you have something that is somewhat passable.

3) How did it all started?

I knew Allen (the lead guitarist) from 6th grade. I met Stan (our bassist) at college. We all met Eric (current drummer) during our shows in San Diego. I think from the beginning Allen, Stan and I were all drawn to each other because we were the few people amongst our group of friends that played guitar and enjoyed hardcore music. We started meeting up and started jamming and thought “why not go for it?”

4) What type of shows have you played at?

We played at a bunch of small cafes and small venues all over San Diego. We also played some shows in Hollywood and couple places in OC; nothing too big. Hopefully in the future we can play some shows here and there where we can actually start making a name for ourselves.

5) How did people respond to your music?

I’m not sure. A lot of our friends are Asian and a lot of Asians are not into this whole screamo punk genre. But for the most part when we go out and do play shows, people seem to like it. I think the best compliments we receive is when we are just cleaning up our gear, someone random comes up to us and just wants to hang out with us.

Check out Raion’s YouTube channel at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/raionmusic

cheers,
– Moses J Lee

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