What’s up with the head banging? Btw, that’s Maria Cross, the cross dresser.
What’s up with the head banging? Btw, that’s Maria Cross, the cross dresser.
Közi (こうぢ Pronounced “Koji”) is a Japanese visual kei artist who plays guitar, piano, keyboard and synthesizer. Közi is most famous for his time in the largely popular visual kei band Malice Mizer. Currently Közi is playing in industrial rock act Eve of Destiny, as well as continuing his own solo project.
Közi’s career began at the end of the 1980s in two bands, Girl’e and Beyond The Reinsight. Information about these bands is very scarce. In 1991 he joined Matenrou (also known as Matenrow) with future Malice Mizer member Mana and released two demo tapes. Mana and Közi left Matenrou after deciding they both had similar ideas about creating music. They formed Malice Mizer in 1992. After Malice Mizer disbanded in 2001, Közi joined Haruhiko Ash and created Eve of Destiny, an industrial rock band that toured outside of Japan, performing at various festivals in Europe.
In 2002, Közi collaborated with Japanese author Minako for the book Izayoi No Tsuki (十六夜の月), which Közi provided the eerie soundtrack for. He then performed a special singing event in Japan which cemented the fact that he was following a solo career. Közi’s first solo release was the double-disc, double-single package KHAOS/KINEMA, which included the memorable “Promenade”. The track was re-released several months later on his debut album Catharsis (カタルシス). Közi’s MEMENTO single is dedicated to the late Malice Mizer drummer Kami (drummer).
During his time in Malice Mizer, Közi often assumed the role of a pierrot doll, dressing in clown-like costumes with large ruffs, always in shades of red, his favourite color. In music videos and on-stage he would often make movements reminiscent of a marionette (string puppet). Közi has continued this visual style to some extent, but his contemporary stage costumes are more gothic. His work on the Izayoi No Tsuki project was reminiscent of carnival music, and artwork for his projects usually follow a dramatic, theatrical theme. Details about his private life are sketchy. Due to lyrical and visual content in his work, it is generally assumed that he is interested in sado-masochism and has an eyeball fetish, a source of continual amusement to his fans.
Song: Life Goes On
Luna Sea is a Japanese rock band. It was formed in 1989 by Ryuichi Kawamura, Yasuhiro “Sugizo” Sugihara, Shinobu “Inoran” Inoue, Jun “J” Onose and Shinya Yamada, a lineup that remained consistent until the band’s breakup in 2000. They released seven studio albums and several singles and VHS/DVD releases throughout the 90s. Luna Sea recently announced that they will reunite for a concert in December 2007.
Discovered by the late Hideto Matsumoto (then lead guitarist of X Japan), Luna Sea were signed by X Japan co-founder Yoshiki Hayashi to his independent label Extasy Records, on which they released their self-titled debut album in 1991. Originally a visual kei band, they held the “Luna Sea First Year Anniversary One Man – Kurofuku Restricted” concert, which earned them the label “Kurofuku Kei” which was later applied to other bands. Kurofuku (黒服) means black suit or mourning clothing.
By 1995 the group’s popularity had reached the point at which it would headline the Tokyo Dome, Japan’s largest indoor live venue. Five years later, the stadium would also host the band’s farewell concerts. Having already been on a year-long hiatus between releases of the albums Shine and Lunacy, Luna Sea decided to disband after two more performances on December 26 and 27, 2000.
Since then, the members have either pursued solo careers (like Ryuichi and J), new bands (like Inoran with Fake?) or collaborations with other musicians (such as the short-lived The Flare by Sugizo and Lazy Knack vocalist Yuna). Shinya mostly retired from the music industry after marrying Aya Ishiguro of the pop girl group Morning Musume. More recently, Inoran has left Fake? and reunited with Ryuichi to form Tourbillon in 2005, while Sugizo has joined the supergroup Skin in 2007, which also features pop/rock artists Gackt and Miyavi, as well as Yoshiki.
On August 27, 2007 Luna Sea announced on its official website that the group will reunite for concert at the Tokyo Dome on December 24, 2007, titled “God Bless You ~One Night Dejavu~”.
Song: I for you
Song: Long song (live)
Panic Channel (written パニックちゃんねる or PANIC☆ch, both pronounced the same way) is an independent Japanese Visual kei band signed to the label Mission Music Factory. They perform under two personas: パニックちゃんねる is their gothy, Visual Kei side, and PANIC☆ch is a light visual boy band side. Some fans consider PANIC☆ch to be Oshare Kei, however, the band itself claims not to be.
Panic Channel (known in Japanese as panikku channeru) was founded by Meguru (ex- GARASU), Kana, and Tara in November 2002. In January 2003, the line-up of the band consisted of Meguru (Vo), Kana (G), Tsubasa (G), Tara (Ba), and Yuusuke (Dr). After two months, in March 2003 the band decided to show their “second face.” The alterego Panic*CH was born.
Panic Channel gave their debut in May of that year at the Osaka club Vijon where they sold their first video tape Panic Channel Kyouzai Video. After that event, the band started advance; they had one gig after another, always switching between the two egos during the long line of events.
The band had its first oneman at the Urawa Narciss on 21 September, 2003. It was completely sold out. One day later, they sold their first single Debutsen ~minna no chikai hen~ in a limited edition of 2000 copies. The CD was sold out on the same day and it was not printed again. Panic Channel kept on performing, most of the time at the Meguro Rock May Kan. Towards the end of the year, they released their first mini-album Shinjisen ~Yume ni mukatte hen~.
In the beginning of 2004, the Shinjisen ~Yume ni mukatte hen~ tour was listed on Panic Channel’s schedule. It ended on St. Valentine’s Day, 14 February, in the Meguro Rock May Kan.
On March 18, there was another oneman in the same concert hall where both personalities of the band performed. After that concert, the drummer Yuusuke left the band. Takumi (ex- Aile) substituted him at first only as a support member, which changed when he became the official drummer of Panic Channel on April 3.
A lot more concerts and performances followed, and on 29 July, their next maxi-single Iyagasare was released in a limited edition of 3000 copies. One month later on August 29, the boys released their 5th single with the name Freestyle.
In September, Panic Channel’s label Mission Music Factory arranged together with Undercode Productions (Kisaki) a two-man concert with Panic Channel and Undercode-band’s Karen. On September 23 and 26, the bands stood on stage together. The next release followed shortly after that event on September 29: the single Kesshousen.
In the beginning of October, the band took part in the Mad Tea Party Vol. 4 which was sponsored by the band D. Afterwards, Panic Channel had a couple of performances again. From the 13th and 17th of December, 2004, performances at the Meguro Rock May Kan took place, arranged by Panic Channel. On those five days, Panic Channel played together with Iroha, Gift, HenzeL, and Luvie. The event ended with a “panikku channeru” vs. “Panic*Ch” oneman. After those concerts, Tara was brought to the hospital because of ear problems. Panic Channel continued performing and got Saburo of Gift as bassist, However, the recording of their new album was rescheduled.
After more performances in 2005, Tara’s recovery was announced in February. His first performance after a long time took place in Nagoya’s Shinsakae MUJIKA on 10 March. Panic Channel recorded their new album TRICK, which was released 26 March.
But the peace did not last for long. After the UnderCode 3 Day event final on 22 March, 2005, in Osaka, Meguru announced that Tara had to go to the hospital again because of new ear problems. During the time in hospital, Tara announced that he would leave the band because of his ear, just as the fans suspected. The true reason is apparently that Tara already did not see himself as member of the band anymore because in the end of 2005 he started the new band project Betty with Yuu (ex-Never Crazy).
After Tara’s departure, Panic Channel had a couple more concerts. On 28 August, the band announced after a concert that Tsubasa and Takumi were going to leave the band. Their farewell concert was on 30 October. Meguru and Kana remained.
In the beginning of January 2006, Meguru announced that positions in the band would be replaced by MAYO (G), kiri (Ba), and KYO～YA (Dr). In February and March, the band had a nation-wide tour, seven secret concerts included, where they switched constantly between their alter-egos. In April 2006 and released two new singles, Plow~forward movement~ and Ishin.
If you like visual kei music, check them out:
Song: Pink Cherry PV
Song:パニックちゃんねる VS PANIC☆ch～孤独妄想 + メイキング映像
Malice Mizer is a popular band in the visual kei scene. Formed by Mana and Közi - both of them are cross-dressers. The band’s name stands for “malice and misery” — their answer to the question “what is human?”. Their earlier music and themes were characterized by their strong French and classical influences, later moving away from deliberate French romanticism and incorporating Gothic-Victorian aspects after several tragedies befell the band. Despite the stated archetypes, Malice Mizer is best recognized as a thoroughly original entity. The band is also known for their strings of dramatical changes and events.
Malice Mizer were as famous for their music as for their live shows, featuring lavish historical costumes and stage sets, short silent theatre pieces preluding various songs, whimsical dance routines, and even a particularly notable instance of the vocalist descending to Earth (the stage) as a fallen angel, only to ascend again at the end of the concert. Throughout their history, the band went through several different lineups and three drastic image changes.
On December 11, 2001, it was announced that Malice Mizer would begin an indefinite hiatus.
A few months after Gackt’s departure, drummer Kami died of a subarachnoid hemorrhage on June 21, 1999, leaving behind a handful of songs, which the band eventually released as part of the mini-album/video boxset 神話 (Shinwa ~Kami’s Memorial Box~). Kami was never replaced; from that point on, Malice Mizer would only use support drummers (namely Shue, who is not shown in the band’s later and final music videos, nor credited) and Kami would be credited as “eternal blood relative” on all their future releases.
Well, check out their gothic music videos:
Beast of Blood
2,200 goths showed up for a show by the Japanese cosplayer band Dir en grey in LA, despite the fact that the band has never released a CD in the US, sings in Japanese, and has no US airplay. The fans organized elaborate, synchronized stunts via LiveJournal, and sang along phonetically with the words. “Half the songs, I don’t know what I’m saying,” admits Joy, one of the diehards.
Haha, ain’t that the truth. I often just mouth along phonetically with the Japanese music I have. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of Dir en grey, being too heavy for my tastes. But I do like their Visual Kei dress sense. There’s a lot of kids in Harajuku that cosplay their favourite Visual Kei bands – here’s a wallpaper of two of them that Yves published a while ago.
There’s quite a lot of Japanese bands releasing albums in the States now. No love for Australia! This article was slightly incorrect as Dir en grey (yes, the lower case letters are deliberate) released their first U.S. album in May, about 3 months before the tour.
I’ll have to do an in-depth write-up about Visual Kei and bands like Dir en grey soon!