Friday, February 22, 2008

Laverite origins, part 4


I woke up extra early since I'd slept for 11 hours, got my shopping done, then got ready and headed off to Narciss by noon.

Most of the members of most of the other bands were trickling in, and we all sort of claimed a spot in the place to set all our gear for the moment. Narciss's wonderful staff made sure all bands were present, handed out forms for us to fill out, and then we had a little meeting about logistics, schedule of rehearsal, schedule of actual bands, what rooms to use, etc etc.


There were two forms: one was for the passes (pictured top) which Yue filled out (above), and we had to provide both our stage name and real name, which must be funny for all those big artists who have gone to such efforts to keep their real name unknown. The other one was stage and lighting direction for the set list: we had to write who was going to need to use what equipment, whether we were using some pre-programmed tracks or not, how many mics, what kind of style each song is, and how we wanted lighting to be directed. Ryota filled that out in nearly no time at all; his vision is pretty clear.


This is where Narciss put our flier. That's Byakura's flier, on the door. I feel lonely way up there, and not too happy about being caddy-cornered next to a band called "It".

The rehearsal schedule is the real schedule backwards, so we went up for a short rehearsal right after the Luna Sea cover band. Narciss's staff is insanely helpful and friendly and many of them remembered me from many a free live and they were very pleased that I was now here in my capacity as a performer. I was slightly worried as to how other bands would react to us, but saw some bobbin' heads and some tappin' toes and I got lots of comments on my playing as I came off the stage. Nice blokes.


Here's Ryota's rack system. From the top down: 19-inch Chameleon LED light, Rexer wireless system, KORG digital tuner, Digitech pre-amp, Marshall power amp. Mayu of Lareine used the same pre and power amps, and hide and Kaoru used the same power amp. Me, I just use the house bass rig and my wireless.

And then it was up to the dressing room with the rest of the bands, and a looooooooot of time to kill. We went to the Lawson and bought food and came back to eat and hang out but mostly it was just a lot of being nervous and doing our makeup poorly for some reason.

We also played with this for awhile:
And I never lost once!



We were really, really nervous, Ryota most of all. He didn't move around much, but I tried to. I tried not to affect any unnatural VK posing but instead acted as much like myself on stage as possible. I'm kinda smiley, but they're gonna have to deal with that!

We had three girls down in front doing all the requisite headbanging and saku-ing and whatever that thing is that they do when there's a guitar solo. Not too many for a regular live but for a first live, with 15 people coming for us, I wasn't too disappointed. I was really just happy to be on stage again after two years (almost SIX years, if you don't count that show two years ago).

I was a little bit bummed because it was becoming increasingly apparent that none of my friends were coming. But as the curtain went back, I saw four of my housemates against the right wall toward the front, and I was really moved by that. These are people that I'm sure couldn't care two shakes about VK and probably actively dislike it but they still came out anyway. (My French housemate had no clue what was going on but liked the makeup of the crowd, by which I mean almost completely chicks.)

I did a big ol' jump during the last song and I'm surprised I didn't fall flat on my butt because of those boots.

After the set we came back into the main area to man our table, take anquettes, and hand out CDs and tickets for the free show. It was hard for me to take people coming up to me and thanking me and saying "great job" and writing nice things on the questionnaires. Some people worry that that's the kind of thing that'll go to a person's head, but for me it has almost the opposite effect, especially in the moment. Some of the girls look so nervous; frightened, even, to approach you. You can see them shaking and their eyes wandering and their mouths twisting in needless inklings of lack of self-confidence, but you smile at them because you want them to go home thinking they enjoyed themselves, and finally they approach and make the most beautiful small talk because they're too scared to say anything of substance, and I adore it. It's charming. And I've been in that position, so I want to reward that kind of bravery with my attention.


Also one girl bought us donuts!!

Over donuts the three of us talked about the live, what went well, what coulda gone better... Ryota the perfectionist initially wasn't pleased, but Yue insisted that there was nothing bad about it, and I'm a disgusting optimist so I was just all overwhelmed and smiles. Still, the first live was out of the way and now suddenly I felt like I wasn't just messing around anymore. That's why I waited until after the live to announce Laverite here, because it didn't feel complete without a legitimate performance under our belt.

I'm really looking forward to the free live; I like the set list a whole lot and there should be lots of people coming. I think I'll be more nervous for that one.

Finally, I just want to thank you all for the wonderful comments and well-wishes. I was telling Go that it's a loyalty that I've done nothing to deserve and I really appreciate it. Whether we rock or whether we suck you guys and gals are just plain nice and supportive. You make ignoring awful comments so easy! XD

I'll try to respond to some of the questions raised in earlier comments here:

We're a three-piece right now. We're going for that 'one guitarist' thing to begin with, and then drummers (e.g., good drummers who can follow a click track and aren't already in a band) are extremely difficult to come by. Heck, they're lucky they even found me. We'd like for a drummer to come along (me most of all, perhaps), but for the moment this will do, or else we'd never get around to actually performing.

We have just over a dozen or so songs in the repertoir right now, many of them from our previous bands. I'll be contributing a couple soon as well.

I forgot to mention how much money has gone into this, per person: approx. 2000 yen per rehearsal, 10000yen for the costume matrials, 7000 for the photo shoot, 3000 for website registration, I forget how much to print up 100 CDs, 5000 for fliers and photo printing, and then just under 10000 per live. It's adding up but this experience has been worth it so far.

One of you asked about a band "concept"; I personally don't pay things like this too much mind but because it has something to do with Aestheticism I'm quite pleased by the providence of it all. All of Mr. Volt's training and my studies that started in December of '06 have culminated in my chance joining of this band. I hope he's proud. :-P

Thank you all again very much!


Laura said...

This has all been so awesome; I'm pleased as punch for you! All the backstage stuff you are sharing so much fun too.

Jen said...

I totally get what you mean about nice comments having the opposite effect. But if it still turns out well then it's all good :D
good luck at the next live!

Xelyna said...

It's great to hear that everything is going so well for you! I somehow feel proud as a gaijinXD Gambatte kudasai!

Fumashi said...

"It" aren't thaaaat bad... your Flyer could have been placed far worse actually XDD

Anonymous said...

A very nice read with lots of funky information~

Congrats to your stage debut! =)

cj said...

what's that pirate in a barrel thing?

mrvolt said...

Elec wrote:

it has something to do with Aestheticism I'm quite pleased by the providence of it all. All of Mr. Volt's training and my studies that started in December of '06 have culminated in my chance joining of this band. I hope he's proud. :-P

Indeed, I am proud -- proud to have learned -- and still to be learning -- as much from you as you may have learned from me. ^_^;

And it is not, in my view, premature to declare your "Laverite origins" series a cornerstone piece of English-language commentary on visual kei as an art form. Granted, Josephine Yun's book certainly has its uses, wikipedia generally seems to get the facts right, bloggers occasionally make insightful remarks, j-rock forum members every so often have a point, but you're pretty much at ground zero, so far as this VK stuff goes, and I personally take comfort in the fact that, in addition to this, you're armed with Wilde's imperishable dictum -- "The artist is the creator of beautiful things".

go said...

i'm with mr. volt, this is groundbreaking stuff -- the behind the scenes details offer some deep muthafuckin' insight into what so many indies bands must go through / think about / deal with. keeps it ups!

Harumi00 said...

Yeah, all the backstage details are an interesting read.

Mindi said...

I agree with what's been said already but figured another comment couldn't hurt. I love reading your blog and reading this last set of entries has been a highlight in terms of reading my blog roll. I wish you and your band all of the best and I'm definitely already a supporter! Thank you for sharing so much and I look forward to reading any updates.

mimi said...

keep up the good work~
i really look forward to hearing you guys :D