It’s tough to imagine a more unlikely pairing than Portland singer-songwriter Casey Neill and Takashi O’Hashi.

Alan Sylvestre/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Neill has his own band, and is a solid presence around Portland, spinning out heavy gauge country-rock with some folk influence.

O’Hashi is a legend in Japanese metal circles. He spent time playing with the highly theatrical art-thrash band Seikima-II. (The YouTube videos must be seen to be believed.) But he’s done different kinds of projects through his career, and he says he’s been a fan of Portland music scene for years.

“Fortunately, we have a mutual friend, [drummer] Joe Trump. I asked him if he knew a good collaborator, a singer-songwriter I could work with. That was in 2011.”

Neill says he was dimly aware of O’Hashi’s work, when Trump introduced them.

“I loved it — even though it wasn’t the kind of music we’d be playing together.”

They started playing together, did a benefit for Fukishima tsunami relief, and then turned out about a dozen songs, O’Hashi composing the music, and Neill adding lyrics. The band rounded out with Trump, bassist Allen Hunter, and Kathryn Claire — both of whom spent some time in Japan growing up.They workshopped their sets in Japan for a few months, and will make their Portland debut at a CD release party Tuesday March 10th.

Click the link above to hear Casey and Takashi talk about working together.