Yusuke Kobayashi, singer and guitarist of rock band The Novembers, is wearing a black Pink Floyd T-shirt and sipping a tea as I sit down to chat with him in a cafe in Tokyo's Ebisu neighborhood.

Outside, Typhoon Mindulle is causing a bit of chaos, which is fitting because Kobayashi himself cuts a rather intense presence on stage amid his band's chaotic performances. But it becomes clear early on in our conversation that his approach to music is actually quite focused and logical.

"I don't make music freely following absolutely no rules; I like having rules, and I think you can only feel truly free when you go wild within certain boundaries," he says. "It's not about playing freely, it's more about feeling free when playing the music. This album may have been the catalyst for making me feel that way, and I think it's the most honest and open thing I've ever done."