Monday, August 31, 2009

Alphabet Soup


Daaaaang LDP got rocked in the clock with a sock full-a rocks! DPJ with a 300-seat upset ending like 55 years of stagnation.
If you are one of those who believe that the Dems and Repubs are pretty close to the same thing (I don't), then you should see the LDP and DPJ; not really a lot of difference in policies. So it'll be interesting to see if Hatoyama is able to pull things together and get things moving.

Friday, August 28, 2009



(Thanks to Ethan; hey Ethan can i give you a hug and hold it like two seconds longer than you are comfortable with; thanks in advance)



Grrrrrr when we were in the studio i found the music station performance on youtube and meant to put it up here but now i cant find it at all graaaaaaaahhhh

Yesterday's Cyber performance was pretty bad but the crowd seemed into it. Other than Misa from Babylon asking my manager "Is that Jimi guy half or something?", it was fairly uneventful. He is real nice though.

I'm still really tired; I have the weekend to try to FIX THIS though.

I bought a baseball cap yesterday, the first I have ever bought on my own volition and worn.

I'm looking for music/bands that sing in English that have memorable, ear-wormy vocal melodies. So, since none of you have ever steered me wrong yet, if you'd be so kind to help a brother out, I would be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mixed and Mastered


I can't take a schedule like that for too long. It didn't help that I had Music Station in the middle of it all.

The day we laid down vocals for the other song, I was sort of a bit overambitious and wrote out these layered vocal arrangements for certain songs that looked good on paper and sounded fine in my head but sometimes you need to go the more minimal route.

Another scary thing: on the day of mixing, one of us had another one of those only-cool-in-your-head ideas. We tried it out in mixing and to be honest it was terrible. No one seemed okay with it, and usually we're very open to being told our idea is stupid, but for some reason none of us spoke up. Eventually we finally just said oops that is a dumb change so we changed it back to the first idea. Truthfully, it would have been atrocious.

Mastering was this morning, and mastering was handled by Naoya Yoshida from Valentine D.C. Then into the studio to throw together a setlist for a live we have tomorrow at Cyber with SuG and thanks to those jerks the place will be packed and crowded oh wait that is a good thing from a band perspective :3

So the single will look like this:
1. Reincarnation
2. Praparat
3. SE
We just turned in the name of the 3rd track; this will be the full version of the guitar song that plays when you go to the CP website. A lot of people seem to like it a lot, and people have told me they like it, so I'm really proud that we get to offer this. Don't let "SE" fool you; I don't want this to be viewed as a few seconds of throwaway noise.

Anyway. I really think we've put together a coupla nice little ditties.
It's funny; I always hate it when bands or artists say that they're unable to fit in any genre or that they're doing something different--that is not for them to decide, that is for the listeners to decide. If you as a musician want to defy genre or do something different, you do it with your music and not with your spoken words.
That said, when our engineer told us that we had brought him two decidedly un-VK-ish songs, I smiled. I couldn't tell if he meant it in a good way or a bad way. I'm going to assume good because that's what I do. Even with a question of genre out of the picture, and even though these songs do not sound like In My Dream, or really sound like each other, I hope everyone listening finds something about them to appreciate.

We're currently looking for a way to hopefully make this single available to overseas customers, but I can't promise anything yet. I hope we can. >_<

5 straight days of midnight to 8am; hoping my sleep schedule is okay tonight...


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Studios 1, 2, 3ish


Last time we recorded "In My Dream", I recorded straight through my Sansamp. Also, on the whole, the recording process was difficult and left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. So I sort of had this idea that I don't enjoy recording. But now that we're recording the songs for Praparat, I find myself enjoying it actually.

We're not using Masami or Shota for drums this time; Okachin has drummed for a lot of people, most notably a particularly Kamen Rider and Gundam-obsessed singer. :-* He was great. It took a bit long, and admittedly that's because we didn't do as much pre-pro as we should have, but he did his own thing, asked for feedback, and did most of the stuff we asked him to do and was able to tell us what wouldn't work. It was surprisingly easy.

As for bass, I was able to do both songs in an hour. All in all it was painless compared to In My Dream, but that's probably because we're far more used to these songs. I made a basic sound through Sansamp and laid down the bass.

Then I went to Music Station, and came back.

Day 2 started with me running the bass tracks through an Acoustic head. There were a few bass amps to choose from but when I saw they had an Acoustic I knew I wanted that. I only have one bass, but with these two songs, it would have been nice to have, say, a J-bass and a fretless for certain sections. Still, I was able to emulate those sounds surprisingly well. To make a sort of garage-y picked J-bass tone, I also went through a Boss Blues Driver modified by Weed.

Then we laid down the majority of Schwarz's guitars, and at the end of the night/early morning, Joe put down the acoustic guitar parts. I wish I was more well-versed in guitar amps and stuff or I'd love to tell you guys what we used, but lots of different guitars are also coming in and out of play here and yeah.

Today we started with Tenten's vocals on Praparat, and I am really quite pleased with what he did here tonight. He sang my usual chorus parts for better blending purposes as I worked them out on keyboards and we added some other vocal bits that worked quite well.

Now Schwarz is finishing up some other stuff, and most likely Joe is going in with his parts soon. Tomorrow will be mostly mixing or taking any little bits we couldn't finish today if any, and then mastering, and then hey when do i get to sleep at all seriously

Music Station


Music Station was a lot of fun, and I absolutely love getting cool work opportunities like this.

We did our first day in the studio, from midnight to 8am. I finished my basic tracks in about an hour and finished right at 8, then went out to Roppongi.

Steve rolled in and Ryo, Tomas, JJ, and I headed into our first of a few run-throughs of our 3-minute song.

The first thing we noticed was that the set seems so much bigger on TV. We were also really impressed with the staff and the speed with which they were able to tear down and build sets for each act. Given that it was a live broadcast, they had to have it all done within two minutes, which is no small feat.

We were treated very well, and we took advantage of the downtime we had. Everyone but me and Tomas have iPod Touches or iPhones, and Steve, JJ, and Ryo had drum and keyboard apps. We did a nice little Web 2.0-ish jam session with those apps and a couple guitars.

I wore my Chemical Pictures T-shirt. :-*

In the hallway I passed a very pretty girl and she said hello and I realized it was Yui Aragaki and I sort of turned into a pile of embarrassed jelly.

Anyway, once the actual broadcast started, it felt like we got on stage and then stepped off. It was over just like that.

Steve gave me his new album, and I have yet to really listen to it because other than that taping I've been in the studio all this time.

So hopefully that'll be up on Youtube soon in some fashion! I have to say that I'm VERY lucky to be able to do things like this for freelance work and for a new artistic perspective, and then go back to where I want to be in Chemical Pictures. I like the attention I get as a member of CP during shows and stuff but I like the anonymity when I'm on stage with Steve.

I must have received well over 50 messages on my Japanese blog that day, and I had like over 4,000 unique visitors. Before we went out to do our bit, I read the 15 messages that had built up, and we couldn't have been gone for 5 minutes when I came back and saw there were 30 more in the inbox, and more trickled in. Some of these girls watched with their families and recorded it; some have supporting mothers who have also found things to like with CP. One girl told me her mother jokingly threatened to complain to TV Asahi because she felt the camera wasn't on me enough; another girl told me she was getting her nails done at the salon and asked if they could switch the TV to Music Station! Everyone at my label was watching too; Tenten called me afterward and Joe called as well. Schwarz slept through it and mailed to apologize. :-P

After it was all over, I then went right back to the studio for day 2. (On day 3 now)

That was humbling--I get that Music Station is a very big show and certainly not many people can say they've done it, but for CP fans to watch, even though it wasn't CP, and even though I wasn't the focus at all and didn't show on camera too much, they still made a big deal out of it and watched and let me know that they did. These people were so excited to see me there, and seeing them that happy just to see some random dude off to the side on some music show... that is so, so sweet of them. They're just darling people. Gotta admit I got a little emotional. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

6 Trees


Drums and bass done.

As morning broke, came to TV Asahi in Roppongi.

how do i get into the building D:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Live Report 8/18/09, Shiuya Boxx: Chemical Pictures, Downer event: Cellt, VelBet, DOG in the Parallel World Orchestra


I really like Boxx. I mean I like the venue. It's got a big area outside that you can chill in, the drink bar is separated from the main hall so you don't have to see a band you don't care about... I mean, from a band perspective you want to keep as many new people to see you as you can, but I totally get the need to escape from a group you're not interested in.

I did not like the sound or lights, though. We were a little bit frustrated but we sort of figured we'd just roll with it. We know we need to stay positive, so we just approached it from the aspect that Shibuya is sort of our "away" game.

But otherwise the show went well. Another reason I like the place is that there are 3 dressing rooms, which are very small but there are actually separate rooms instead of a general "backstage". Also, there's a large central backstage lounge with a fridge and freezer, an ice-maker, water cooler, couches, rice cooker, sofas, and a huge TV and sound system connected to the stage cameras which made observing the other bands so much easier.

Yomi (Nightmare) came and saw us and he spent some time complimenting my singing, which was an honor.

Some other potentially neat things in the works? There were some suits there for non-music-related things who started talking to me about the obvious jazz and blues influences on our playing styles and I like it when I seem to have bamboozled people over 30 that I'm any good! :-P

Next is RECORDING gah this week is going to be crazy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

shota n me


Today is Boxx. First live in awhile with a soundcheck and a nice long set!...where 'long' is 30 minutes, since Shikkoku Symphony was 20. We could only do 3 songs!

Shota and I are groovin' to Sikth right now♪

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Live Report 8/15/09, Saitama Kaikan: Chemical Pictures, FIFTEEN OTHER BANDS


When unexpected or unplanned stuff happens on stage--if I get a wire wrapped around my leg, or I bump into Joe, or my mic stand falls over, or Tenten tickles me onstage, what have you--I laugh it off and move on, try to recover well. After all, part of the measure of a good band is how well they can play off of that blip.

And honestly, all in all, things went fine last night, but I don't think I've ever been so embarrassed on stage!

First of all, it was really cool seeing a lot of the old Narciss staff again, and they remembered me and 'welcomed me back' with open arms and big smiles. So great to see Hidetora again, and I also had a great reunion with Kuma, now in Gizel. He's a friend of Joe's too, which just goes to show how dang small this VK world is.

Zero, formerly of Ghost, is now in Hi:BRiD and we hadn't actually spoken in almost a year or so, so it was cool to catch up with him too. And Leo from Cinema Strip. Yuri from Rubik has been a great friend to the band and he was there, as was former beaU bassist Kino, and Soan from Moran. He's been around a lot lately and he has the most calming effect.

Now, after each band's performance, a member or the whole band goes out to the front to do a short talk session with the Zenit Music Factory boss lady, who is admittedly a cool old lady. The idea Tenten wanted to do was, since he was going to jump off the front of the stage and run to the back door after our last song, he wouldn't be able to do the talk. So they were going to send me out there. All I really had to do was announce our single, our 3-man with Otogadead and Juliette, and that we'd be playing at Narciss in October.

Tenten thought it would be funny if I went out there and put her on the spot and say "I don't speak Japanese". I would be speaking Japanese the rest of the time anyway, so I wasn't put off by the idea for the schtick.

I hope I'm remembering this right, because it was sort of a blur.
I get out there and play it Steven Wright-ish, and I get laughs, but I realize that suddenly I have to be committed to this gag. Because she kept asking me questions, when she had assured me that she would keep it short! So I had to come up with these short English answers that Japanese people would understand.

FINALLY, she gets to the question about upcoming activities for CPs and I switch to Japanese, and I got HUGE cheering and applause.

And then it was over and all, and by everyone's account it went fine, but I was SO embarrassed for some reason!

And apparently people were really confused as to whether I can actually speak Japanese or not. Now, she was asking me questions in Japanese and I was answering them in easy English, so I don't know how I could have answered them if I didn't understand. Or how I could wing the tail end of the talk session in Japanese if I couldn't speak. Oh, silly people.

Man, this is why I quit being the singer in bands years ago!

Anyway. Next is

-Shibuya BOXX on the 18th, with VelBet, DOG in the Parallel World Orchestra, Cellt, and Downer

-Ikebukuro Cyber on the 27th, with Canzel, Cult Fiction Club, SuG, Toon Factory, DragonWAPPPPPPER

-9/18 O-West, with OZ, Nega, Lulu, born, Skull

-9/23 Meguro Rokumeikan, Chemical Pictures (with Otogadead and Juliette), release date of 'Praparat'

-10/4 Omotesando FAB, with Inugami Circus Dan, Hana Shounen Baddies, Monokuro Cinema, Hitotsume, and comedians Gorgeous and Jaa Takeya (Gorgeous is a space pirate with a globe who does jokes that end in country names, and Jaa Takeya sings about awkward situations, I guess comedians warm up VK shows now)

-3/14/10, Shimokitazawa Mosaic, 1st birthday of Chemical Pictures

and some in-stores?? I think those scare me the most!

Friday, August 14, 2009



Les Paul will also be missed; everyone says he was just the nicest, most helpful person in the world, and an incredible innovator and musician, performing regularly up until he left us.

So, next Friday. August 21st. Music Station, 8pm, broadcast LIVE.
Steve Appleton w/ JJ and yours truly.


Monday, August 10, 2009



Jasmine You passed away, and I don't really know what to say or how to say it but I've gotta say something.

He was always a lot of fun, definitely a unique guy. The first time I went out to dinner with him he tried to help me talk to women, and while it was a bit embarrassing, there was a sweetness to his attempt all the same.

The last time I spent time with him was on the Ascendead Master shoot. They say hindsight has 20/20 vision, so I don't know if this matters at all, but I remember him not being as conversant and thinking he seemed like he deserved a rest, considering the other four were in relatively high spirits and spent downtime in lively conversation not only with myself but some of the other foreigners on set.

The very last thing was when he had me play his bass, as the other guys were interested in actually hearing me, which they'd never been able to. I played a little bit for them, and they said I was good, and Jasmine You said I was good, and I thought, that was very nice of him to say. I'll miss him.

Sunday, August 09, 2009



It is RAINING and LIGHTNINGING super hard and basically God is pretty mad probably at something you did.

I was Skyping with my parents, wanted to go out shopping for some food, took one step outside, got pummeled by sky bullets, and gave up. No way. No. Way.

Rain in the summer is pretty nice actually. This is just... a bit much.

Also, no weather outlets are giving me any information on this storm. They insist we are merely 'cloudy'. I insist they are merely 'severely stupid'.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

um what


I am watching women's volleyball on TV right now, and the background music they've used so far underneath all the clips are some of the more obscure Yes songs, Vince Di Cola's instrumental tracks from the 1986 Transformers animated movie, one of the more ridiculous System of a Down songs, and Maximum the Hormone.

I know that all might not be too obscure but there are other times when I seriously think, "hey, I know this song, why the heck would they use that"

Thursday, August 06, 2009



So on the 4th it was Joe's birthday as well as my president's birthday, so that's pretty cool I guess.
I got him that Kimura Kaela photo collection that I made a huge deal about a couple of years back. He loved the thing. It might be one of the best reactions I've ever gotten from a birthday present I've given someone.

Mom sent me a package in the mail with some American goodies, some music they liked, and a copy of The World is Flat. She also sent me a sizable photo album she made, and it's lovely and very well-done and carefully crafted both in a material sense and a pull-my-heartstrings sense. There's a particularly great image of my grandmother on the steps of the church where she got married and she is clearly moved. And then of course just seeing the requisite family, extended family, friends, old friends, and NEW BABIES.

I really don't like being so far away from NEW BABIES in the family. ;_;

Monday, August 03, 2009

X marks the West


Schwarz took this of me on the stage after all was over. :D

That was fun!

also you guys are seriously funny with your suggestions for next goals

oh man


Shibuya is Chaos right now. Vans and bands everywhere, girls in unrealistic numbers, hilarity... wow. More later, almost go time-- Hime Ichigo just went on and we're next♪♪♪♪♪

next goal


Ever since I'd joined Laverite, my goal was to someday play O-East or West. Then, I'd be fine.

Today is West, so now I need a new goal.