It was fun.
I fly to California tomorrow.
More later. (but we played with ROACH today; remember them!?)
Thanks for all your support. :)
It was fun.
I fly to California tomorrow.
More later. (but we played with ROACH today; remember them!?)
Thanks for all your support. :)
Written by Elec at 12:06 AM
(Saving this as a draft and not posting it until it goes live somewhere, just to be safe!)
Okay, seems like some people have heard about this so here it is. Wrote this a few days ago.
Just got a text from Schwarz.
Shota was our drummer after Masami and before Shiun. I'm glad they're both still goin' for it. :)
That super funky-sounding song you hear, the 2nd and 3rd clips after the flash intro (why do bands still do that!!) was one of my favorite songs we'd done together when he was still with us in Chemical, even played it live a few times. It hasn't changed much, but I'm glad he's putting it out. I hope they do a version of Suffering; that song was cool too and we played the heck out of it.
Written by Elec at 2:13 PM
First of all, I am so lucky to have such awesome readers/friends as all y'all. Thanks for your comments.
The comments from my Japanese blog have been similarly touching, so thanks.
Oh, first of all, I am not leaving Japan. Stayin' right here.
Here's my visa sitch: I'm on a Humanities visa, which seems to be one of the broadest kinds of working visa. My work in music or TV hasn't netted me an income more than X amount (I forget what it is, but the ceiling is very high) to warrant any sort of funny business. It's side income and totally fine. How else would it be legal for people to teach private English lessons, I guess is a good way to look at it.
Anyway, it's up at the end of the year. I changed from "Instructor" to "Humanities" when I started working for private kindergartens after JET, and I've already notified the various govt's that I've moved, changed jobs, etc. I pay taxes on the money I make doing TV or PV's and all's good. Which isn't really even all that much, or often. Seriously; add up all I've done and it's pretty paltry.
The band is getting too big for me to continue. Visa's up at the end of the year. To continue, I need to be a viable wage-earner. Not possible while touring the country making 0 yen. So either go home and not do a band, or stay in Japan and not do a band. Bummer! D: :-P
EDIT: Oh, and to answer some other questions about work and stuff. I am working full-time. I have been since I set foot in the country. In fact, most, most, most musicians are working. Even on major labels. I think you'll find that bands who don't have to work are in the minority.
There was no option to approach our management because we don't have management (Speed Disk only financed and distributed our releases).
On to some of your comments:
"I paid 3800 yen to see you, and you played with six other bands; it was a relatively large venue, but still: I don't see how that makes enough money for food and rent for everyone involved, while still covering costs."
-It doesn't. :)
Ken said: "If you ever want to grab a beer or bounce song ideas off somebody after everything settles down, let me know, I don't see myself leaving Japan for quite awhile."
"Now it'll be way easier to visit you next time we come over. :P"
-I know, right?!
"I'm just glad I was able to see you guys live. That experience is easily in my top ten shows."
-You're silly. :-* Kidding, kidding; that is really cool to hear. I sincerely hope we get displaced, though! :D
another Anonymous wrote:
"I'd been pretty scared about going to see Tenten live, after some rumours in the English-speaking community about him being rude to white girls in the audience in some live. You definitely cleared that up for me, haha. I was excited to see you two on stage together."
-Haha, I wonder what that could have been about. His mom is a white girl so I really see no reason that he would have done something like that. Maybe he was trying to be fun and got misconstrued, or they were being annoying, or he really was a jerk. I find all three scenarios equally baffling, though. Maybe it's just some weird telephone game thing!
"Myself and the huge, scary Jimi fangirl I call a friend (she's too afraid to comment to you herself as well) are wishing you success and happiness in whatever your future endeavors are!"
-Thank you! And to your friend: DON'T BE SHY :|
"PS: Maybe those roleplayers will stop playing you now, haha."
-Hahahaha wait whaaaaaaaaaaat D:
Written by Elec at 1:10 PM
We did this awhile ago, and it was pretty fun. I'll transcribe it later, maybe?
Written by Elec at 11:47 AM
December 20th is my last show with Chemical Pictures.
There are lots of reasons I'm leaving--wanting to get my visa straight, wanting a more stable life, ftc.--but none are due to 'musical differences' or internal struggles.
I still believe CPS is a strong group of great musicians and friends who should and will go all the way. I just won't be there with them.
You've all been great supporters and friends and I hope you've enjoyed watching my little foray into music and such. And I'm sorry if this is a sudden shock.
I don't see myself being in bands anymore, at least not as a main member in an active vk band, but it wouldn't be fair to disappear forever. I'll be around in some capacity, maybe, though it may not be soon. And I'll still be in Japan.
Thank you all so much!!
Written by Elec at 6:19 PM
I forgot to say!
Choice Chemical Pictures songs can now be sung at karaoke now. :)
Feels like an accomplishment!
Written by Elec at 7:11 PM
Yesterday was Saburou/Zill's memorial live. It was neat.
Since Sizna joined Moran, Ryota was there as a roadie. Was nice to see him again and catch up. I hope he can restart something soon.
Before I left Laverite we had jammed with a singer named Kousei, who is now in a band called Levia with former Seven Seas members. He's really very good and I think that's a good fit.
Gift had a one-day revival so Shinno was there, and Dancho and Kyrie so you know how fun things get when nogod and cps are in the same room.
Miki from Mix Speakers Inc was in Scissor with Shiun so he and Yuki came to our dressing room and Yuki and I became friends.
Soan/Towa and Hitomi worked really hard so I'm glad it all went well.
I think its finally time for a birthday party
Written by Elec at 8:02 PM
Also thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday last Friday! I was on tour so I was exhausted. I think this weekend shall be celebration time.
Aaaand thats it :D
Written by Elec at 8:03 PM
aw yeah, time to do the birthday dance
2 years in a row with lives on my birthday. Whee!
Written by Elec at 3:07 AM
Has anyone heard case 5 yet? :D
New guitarist is rui from The PumpkinHead.
So many people came to see me, which was great. Nathan from HearJapan, JJ, Mackaz from High and Mighty Color, Yuki and Hizaki (who later wrote on the Versalles blog that he's the one who recommended me :-P), Shizna, and tons of others.
It was a loooong set. We played everything from our catalogue except for Rubbish and,Sick Boy. We even played most of the SE tracks live.
Cryptomayhem and biju_ska came out from the US, and I was lucky to have dinner with them the night before. They are wonderful friends.
CPS is planning a mini-album and 3 months of one-mans for January. Yes we are kinda dumb.
Thank goodness for a 3-day weekend plus another national holiday afterward!
Written by Elec at 7:45 PM
Written by Elec at 12:04 PM
"As a musician (albeit an inactive one) in Japan with a lot of old VK influences, I'm always surprised to talk with guys who play Japanese rock because generally, the influences they cite are predominately American or British. A lot of musicians (and mainstream music fans) over here seem to think of Jrock as less cool/authentic than American rock. Why do you think think that is, and do you and the other CPS dudes have any all time favorite Jrock bands? :)"
I do suspect that some of the reason they find British/American/etc music so exciting is the same reason you find Japanese music so exciting.
Another thing is, they are surrounded by Japanese music, inundated by it, every day. They have experienced the stagnation and homogenization first hand, and in real time. They will tire of it quicker than you do.
Another thing I have found is that, unlike in the west, to most young Japanese people, it does not matter what a group's fans are like, it just matters if they think the music is cool. Thus they have no cultural analog to show them why some people don't like the kind of people that bands like, say, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Slipknot, etc. might attract. And that is really neat to me. I have deepened my appreciation for pop music by ignoring what I used to think of as the teeny bopper contingent, as well as my appreciation for heavier bands by disregarding stereotypes of angsty hot topic shoppers. Because an audience should have no bearing on the merits of a piece of music. (There was a great review of Scott Pilgrim that touched on this point that Neil Gaiman linked to on twitter, and I would search for it but it's too hot and I'm going to use that as an excuse.)
Anyway. Thanks to the internet we can know a lot more than we used to be able to about the Japanese scene, but unless you are subjected to the entire machine at once, every day--TV, magazines, billboards, radio, commercials, etc.--you can't really see why things seem a bit more boring to the musicians over here. Though, I suspect that since you're here, you'll start to be able to put it into words better than I can very soon.
As for the jrock bands that are universally respected, it would be Luna Sea all around, I think. You don't meet too many guys who admit to liking X anymore. Tenten and Joe grew up really liking The Brilliant Green, too. Tenten got into vk thanks to Rouage and really likes Ellegarden. Joe likes Plastic Tree, Number Girl and stuff like that. We all like 9mm Parabellum Bullet and Radwimps, and MAN there is this one band we're really into but I canNOT remember their name right now. This is going to bug me all day. Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by Elec at 2:43 PM
Cosmos asks some more:
"Ok, here goes another: have you faced any kind of discrimination in the visual scene because of your origin? I mean, being and American in the middle of the Japanese, wasn't it a bit strange?"
Here's the deal: if you can communicate easily and are good at your instrument, you will have no problems. Young people are not that bigoted. They may be misinformed, ignorant, and wrong about a lot of the world, but they are curious and will take the time to get to know you. It takes patience on both sides.
Actually, I have noticed that the reverse is true: I didn't face discrimination, so much as I faced some sort of...Charisma Man transformation. People were interested in me, people thought I was interesting or talented solely because of my non-Japanese origin. I'm actually not all that interesting but somehow they hear about the other things I've done and they think I am. Then again, these are people who don't remember much of their Jr. High English class and have probably never traveled outside Japan, so I guess it makes sense. It's slow going trying to convince people I'm just as normal as they are!
I have found at this point that I will not be discriminated against because I am a white American; if I am disparaged at all it will be because I was a jerk or I sucked or something. Sometimes it isn't about race.
Basically, communication is key!!!!!
Written by Elec at 2:25 PM
Mizuka also asks:
"Anyway, I read on your twitter that you're not even a little japanese, then, must how do you get in a visual kei band? You already knew some of the members? And how you live in Japan without being Japanese?"
Sometimes I forget that there are a lot of readers of this blog who weren't with me at the beginning, which is really neat. So I forget that people sort of don't know where I come from or how or why I'm here. Let me bring you up to speed, which will double as a resume of sorts:
I am a white American born in Napa, California but raised in Clovis, California. I grew up playing lots of music and lots of instruments and lots of genres in lots of formations. I also did dance, and lots of acting and theater, dramatic and comedic.
I started learning Japanese language at the local Japanese school at the Buddhist temple for Japanese Americans when I was 16, mostly because I just wanted to learn a language that didn't use the Roman alphabet for kicks.
I went to the University of California, Davis, came to Japan for an internship at an orphanage, went back, graduated, came back to Japan on the JET program, then started trying to see if I could do anything in music or acting again.
After trying to join a band for awhile, I met up with Yue and Ryota and formed Laverite. One day we played with a session band called Kanabun, whose singer was Masaki from Sulfuric Acid. He and I met later, totally by accident, at a beer garden in Ueno Park, became friends, and he introduced me to Hizaki from Versailles.
Hizaki introduced me to Tenten, who was looking for a bassist, and here I am in Chemical Pictures.
I've also done TV and music videos on the side, mostly through having registered at several casting agencies for foreigners in Tokyo, but also through friends subsequently made on the job. At first it was genuinely non-exciting stuff: background in a Toyota cm, or background in a tokusatsu children's show, or going with a newscaster on a variety show to check out a weird kind of maid cafe, but luckily someone I'd met on a previous job recommended me for a music video that was being cast and needed a decidedly rock guitarist.
That's how I started doing music videos. That one was for Becca; through that job I was chosen to be in several videos for Tommy Heavenly6/February6, which is how I met JJ, with whom I have worked on AJ McLean TV appearances as well as Steve Appleton tours and TV appearances. I've also done videos with UVERworld and YUI. (My advice is to avoid jobs for saigen (re-creation/dramatization) as much as you can!)
That's pretty much it! It looks like a lot but that's been over several years, and I still keep a day job. (I am not an English teacher, though.)
"Y'know, I dream to participate in a visual band from Japan someday, so I'm asking to have a basis for my future. And, at the moment, you and JJ are the people that inspire me most. And, about my dream, you have any tips for me?"
That's cool that you have a dream. I always ask people, what exactly is the motivation? I was brought into the whole Japan thing 10 (or so) years ago by a series of coincidences, so the love of Japanese rock music came later. (I did not actually like heavy music until that point, actually.) Is it for the novelty of the genre, or the novelty of being a non-Japanese person? Is it out of a love for music? Keep in mind, though we are super tight buddies, JJ and I are doing completely different things. (I'm know he would be super happy that hear that you're inspired by him!!)
Also, be prepared to work hard and not see any profit for awhile if its a vk band. ...or really any band! Just like a new company doesn't pay off its investors/make money until a few years later (or something), bands are investments too. Very rare is the band that lives solely off its own music.
So, if you've got all that in mind, you still want to go forward with it. Awesome. Try what you love and never quit unless there's a good reason, then try something else you love. (Love a lot of things, that's my motto.)
So my advice? Learn Japanese. Learn it. Learn to speak and listen relatively comfortably in normal conversations, and most importantly, learn to read and write. You'll be able to pick up all the music- and scene-related lingo later. Everyone will know that you're not Japanese so you're Japanese won't be perfect, but good people are willing to talk until you're both in understanding. However, this should not be your greatest weakness.
Do not get full of yourself for being a rare non-Japanese person, because there are plenty of non-Japanese people all over the country who are way more awesome than you or me. Guaranteed. However, do not also fall into the trap of thinking that you have assimilated 100%. You're always going to be a little different, so find a way of operating normally in that framework.
Learn your instrument. You need to bring something special to the table. If possible, learn about equipment. I can play my instrument with pride but I don't know enough about gear; try to learn at least more than I do. ;)
Then, just go to shows, make friends, check out the "musician wanted" lists at rehearsal studios, and do your best!
Also, keep a day job for as long as you can, make sure you have a proper visa, and always, always have a backup plan, even just a tiny one!
Hope that helps!! :D
Written by Elec at 5:46 PM
Thennary Nak asks:
"And speaking of cdjapan, do you guys have any say on where the singles were available? Or do you just have to hope that the label you're working with will see the merit of having a release available to an overseas friendly store?"
All that's handled by Speed Disk, although I think more and more places are realizing the importance of making things available overseas, at the very least to Korea and Taiwan, where VK has some solid popularity. And they may have realized that if they don't make Chemical Pictures, with an American in the band, available to Americans, I wouldn't be very pleased. :-P
"I mean with the recent singles on a site like cdjapan it makes purchasing them pretty easy for an overseas fan like myself and I would love to be able to buy a copy of Präparat as well if it was available there."
I'd love to have Praparat available, but distribution for that is handled by Marder Suitcase, who did not market it as well as we would have liked. ;_; I suggest at the very least finding some mp3's!!
"And have you thought about teaming up with a company like Japan Files or Maru Music to have your music released digitally for overseas to buy as some other vk bands have done?"
To be quite honest, I'm wary of these companies for a few reasons. If we did I'd actually like to read over the contract personally. It's a lot easier when it's someone I know and trust--the guy that runs Hear Japan is a friend--and can tell me the ins and outs of the business. It's a new business model and I think everyone's a bit apprehensive, especially when you have this tiny network of indie bands who suddenly have all this attention from new sites like that wanting to sell your music. It sounds exciting but you want to go into it level-headed.
Also, one of the reasons that Japanese bands haven't necessarily marketed toward overseas very heavily is that profits from live shows tend to have a more immediate monetary value for bands. You get a headcount every night, a payout every night, money from your merch table, you pay your makeup girl, your staff person, and then you put the rest in the band account. CD sales are a bit more complicated.
It's all pretty confusing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by Elec at 5:16 PM
Sai asks some more:
"Do you think that the band can be successful without falling into the particular traps that most V-Kei bands fall into?"
Only if we start promoting outside the genre, to be honest. Difficult to convince people of, though.
"Do you think that you guys can continue making music and stay on the outskirts of the genre, or do you plan on integrating your music slowly?"
We'll probably just keep making the kind of music we want to play and listen to. We're sort of stubborn like that. ;-P
"From those exercises you have tried, it looks like your musical sounds and those of 'modern' bands just clash so much that they can't be connected, but do you think they can be? Or will you guys just say 'screw it' and keep going without a care to whether the larger audience is willing to bend?"
I mean I would LOVE a larger audience but who really knows how to snag them? For every band you think has the formula down, there are just as many struggling artists doing the exact same thing/sound, but not selling at all. Best to just do what you like and see if it sicks!
I think if we just focus on making good songs, 'modern' will have nothing to do with it, I hope. Hopefully, 'good songwriting' will then become the norm.
"Do you think that visual Kei as a genre needs to be revamped to allow the music to breathe? Or has it become so marketable the way it is that changing it is out of the question?"
I think the Japanese industry as a whole needs to be revamped. Even leaving the shadiness of some VK business behind, just take a look at how everything else is run. Usually it goes off without a hitch, but there's no denying that something needs to change. It's a shame because some very huge artists are still occasionally breaking ground with certain songs but those are never the singles, never the songs fans claim as their favorite. It has as much to do with the industry mindset as it does with the mindset of the average Japanese consumer.
It works on the flipside for any other place, though. We may wonder what the heck the labels are thinking, but they wouldn't push the crap if a ton of people didn't actually like the crap and buy it. No one's being tricked.
So, all that said, it is really nice when once in awhile, art that really deserves it, like Nogod, go major and I randomly see them in Young Guitar and Burrrn! :)
...not sure how well I answered these questions; a bit scatterbrained, sorry!
Written by Elec at 5:08 PM
Written by Elec at 5:35 PM
Sai asks some more:
“It's nice to hear that you're sticking with the indie-roots for the most part, despite being considered part of Speed Disk. Is that a permanent thing, or will you guys be parting with the company once the one-man and the release of your final of the five singles? Or do you think that you'll stay with them and put out an album? (Are you guys planning an album?)"
That’s still up in the air. We’d like to continue if they’d like to take us on more.
Not sure about an album yet!
“My brother plays guitar for an American band and he says one of his biggest fears is getting his band well-known, signed to a label, and then losing all artistic integrity.”
That’s awesome, and I’m glad he’s thinking about that. I'd love to check them out!
Me, on the other hand… I’ve done a lot of work with other artists here in Japan, as well as foreign artists coming to Japan, and the more I look at it all, I’m never really sure what ‘losing artistic integrity’ really means, and if it doesn’t mean different things to different people. I do, however, think it’s admirable to be dedicated to that. I’m the kind of person who just plain doesn’t like financial situations being up in the air, so if something can make me money, I’m more willing to consider that than the overall integrity of the product. Then again, maybe I’m just a huge sell-out! :-P
“It's nice to hear that CP isn't having those kinds of problems.”
Well, being in a visual kei band means that you do have those kind of problems, even if they’re small. It’s pretty obvious that in order to be a huge-selling vk band you sort of have to sound and do things a certain way. One of them is in terms of song-writing. Some bands are lucky and can generate hits, or a nicely-sized following, with their own style, but some are tempted to appeal to the masses a bit more. I don’t see that much of a problem in that, as long as you make your standards and boundaries clear on both sides before inking a deal, I suppose.
Another lies in image. Bands started to look like more harmless hosts and toned down for a reason, and it pays to look relatively harmless. We must face facts: most big-selling modern vk is, essentially, pop idol-dom, just add guitars. I am not saying this pejoratively.
Our problem lies in the fact that we are often told, in both good and bad ways, that we do not sound like a visual kei band. As an exercise, we have tried writing vk-ish songs, and they still end up not sounding very vk to listeners. Those who pledge their allegiance to vk as a whole concept haven’t quite warmed up to us yet, and those who try to avoid the vk stigma probably haven’t given us a chance. It also limits the media you can appear in, at least at first.
“It's also nice that you guys are working closely with only a few people, rather than a lot. I would imagine that it makes the process a little easier, or at least more comfortable. Better to have a few people you know and are able to form connections with than having nameless faces.”
This I definitely agree with, you’re right. I’m much more comfortable knowing everybody’s name, or at least knowing that I’ve seen such-and-such a person before. :-P
“As for the recording-- it sounds like it was quite an experience. You think you'll ever do it again? Think you CAN do it again? Do you think you'll ever WANT to do it again?”
“Impressive that you guys didn't break down into sad piles of musician-goo by the end of that.”
I don’t think it ever occurred to us to take a break!
“Also, you got to play around with some of the songs? Which one did you have the most fun editing?”
My skills were more in the music theory department. Do these parts actually match up on record, or did they just feel good at the time and did we not think it through? My job was to do all synth parts, which means the strings in Canvas, the horns, piano, and organ in Ashland, and some of the various noises on the first two singles. (The beeps and boops in the main part of Canvas, however, was all Joe.)
I was also in charge of all vocal arrangements; that is, everything that was not a main vocal line or harmony part. Any sort of choir in the back chorus, though sung by Tenten, was arranged by me. I also wrote the female vocal parts. I also wrote all the English lyrics, though that should be apparent. Most of it was either based directly on lyrics Tenten gave me, or based abstractly on themes he discussed with me, or made up entirely. :-P
The background chorus arrangements were difficult because Harlot, Bellamy, and Memento Mori were written just like that. The rest were sort of added as we went along, which means they aren’t as artfully crafted to my ears as those others, though I really like the parts I wrote for both ladies, and I think the choruses in Irotoridori and Sakana turned out really nicely.
My mother is a conservatory-trained pianist and vocal teacher, so I’m hope she’s proud!
Written by Elec at 5:15 PM
Written by Elec at 4:46 PM
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Written by Elec at 12:46 PM
If anyone has any questions about the songs, lyrics, instrumentation, recording process, equipment, etc. of any of our singles up to now, please ask in a comment!
Written by Elec at 4:44 PM
Go made this awesome ringtone of the Chemical Pictures song, Yami ni furu Planetarium, check it out.
We have official ringtone songs for sale in Japan, but I hate song ringtones, BUT I like SOUNDS in certain songs, and this is definitely the right idea!
...just thought that a cool sound for when I get a text would be the "stand by!" line from Bellamy. :-P
Written by Elec at 2:30 PM
So Summer Sonic 2010 is over.
If you aren't on twitter, here is a condensed version of my elbow-rubbing-with-famous-musicians-highlights:
-Damon from Bigelf being really nice and having a chat with me, he wears the top hat all the time
-I saw Taylor Swift's back (it was a cute back)
-Michael Monroe asked me if the gyoza at catering had meat in them (they did), then thanked me for translating
-Monkey Majik guys bein' totally chill and didn't give two craps that I was also a foreign musician living in Japan, just glad to meet other musicians, that was seriously bomb
-Playing pool at the table next to John Petrucci and his son, and while I was debating being a jerk and interrupting to say hi, Orianthi walked right up to them and JP snapped a pic of her and his son and then they went to a production meeting
-Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess walked past me to catering, and so did James LaBrie, but on the way back LaBrie looked at me and said, "hey, how ya doin'?" and I responded with speechlessness.
-Stevie Wonder walked right past me.
-There was a V.I.P. ARTIST HOSPITALITY area to which I had access, because I AM AN ARTIST. It was PRETTY COOL. There were GIRLS hired to TALK TO ME and make me feel like less of a LOSER because I wasn't the one being interview by MTV or RADIO or MAGAZINES. :-P
-Our group needed to catch a shuttle back to Tokyo so I only caught 30 minutes of Dream Theater's set. This meant two songs and a keyboard solo on an iPad.
HERE ARE SOME VIDEOS IN WHICH YOU CAN SEE ME
Written by Elec at 11:32 PM
Written by Elec at 9:57 AM
5th and last single almost finished!
If I were to name my 3 personal favorites:
2. Sick Boy Sam
3. Oboreru Sakana
from 1st, 3rd, and 5th singles.
Busy coupla weeks coming up!
Written by Elec at 3:13 PM
This scene has lost 5 people at least within the year and I've lost 3 friends. Some of us lose feeling with each one. We're too young for this crap.
Off to Saburou/Zill's funeral.
Everyone take care of yourselves and your friends.
Written by Elec at 7:40 AM
i will write a blorg here
First I'll get the in-store stuff out of the way. I want to thank KAY for pointing out that Zeal Link wrote about our event in their blog and put up a picture!
Written by Elec at 12:19 AM
These are already up too!
Yami ni furu Planetarium
Sick Boy Sam Sick Flower (i wrote this one, aw yeah)
Junpaku no zetsubou to Canvas
Written by Elec at 11:57 PM
Walking Ashland PV CM
Longer version someone put up? Did they rip it from our website? oh, technology~
LIVE IN SEOUL, KOREA
Written by Elec at 12:33 AM
Written by Elec at 3:22 PM
Some news: Samples from Beretta are UP on YouTube, so please check them out.
Also, a few weeks ago we filmed a PV for Walking Ashland, which will be on the 5th single Peacemaker. Tenten put a sample up on his blog and we should have a cleaner version on YouTube soon.
We have been recording the 3rd single, 火縄銃 (musket), which will contain the 1st song I wrote for Chemical Pictures. Let me just say that I have been arranging all the complex vocals for Tenten and the female vocalists,and programming synths and writing English lyrics and mixing and tweaking and engineering, and gosh darn it, I deserve some recognition for all this behind-the-scenes stuff. :| I didn't even know how to do half this stuff 2 months ago.
As for actual arrangement skills, I think I picked that up from mom and dad somehow, so I hope they hear their influence in our cacaphony.
Lastly, tomorrow, we leave for Korea with D=OUT. I'm excited and scared and secretly looking forward to the food more than the shows.
OH. If you haven't heard Tokarev, do so and let me know what you think. And then if you like it enough, please buy it if the mood strikes you. :)
See you soon.
Written by Elec at 2:12 PM
Pretty huge stage.
Shizna(Sugar) had a session band playing, he was disgustingly good and strange as usual. :D
His support band was kazu(kagerou), Atsuto(Sugar), and aie(deadman, studs), and theyre all fantastic. Put Atsuto in a regular, serious jazz band and he'd not be out of place and still be among the top.
Also chillin' with UnsraW, and Yuuki is pretty funny.
Deluhi and Sel'm put on great shows, and Duel Jewel remains flawless.
That's it for tonight, I think!
Written by Elec at 9:01 PM
Thanks to everyone on twitter who let me know about this!
I think it's awesome that you guys find stuff out about me before I do :D
Written by Elec at 11:55 PM
I am in YUI's new video for her single 'to Mother', playing bass! Check it out at Sony's website!
Written by Elec at 7:11 PM
My Harlot Broker
Written by Elec at 12:34 PM
I've been made aware that incorrect track listings for our singles are making the rounds, so here are the correct ones:
世界を撃った男 case 1 トカレフ
1. 世界を撃った男テーマ〜Welcome to our chaos
2. My Harlot Broker
4. Human Rubbish
世界を撃った男 case 2 ベレッタ
4. Memento Mori
Spread the word!
Written by Elec at 6:36 PM
Currently in the studio recording the 3rd single scheduled for June release.
This release is overall a bit heavier, but I think we've taken special care to ensure that our heavy tunes are a bit more intelligent than the rest of the rabble.
Still, I think the variety of songs on these releases is wide-ranging and I'm excited to be able to release this many songs in digestible bits.
Touring is hard but I think I'm getting used to it.
Recording is taking place in Speed Disk's studio, pretty much across the street from Takadanobaba Area. It's small and intimate and the engineer is a wonderful guy so I'm glad we're recording with the same person for this batch of releases.
Drums and bass done on the first day, and then though technically I don't have to stick around, Joe and I like to be around during each other's takes to tighten up riffs and sections and think of parts together. And then I have to be Tenten's English and harmonies coach. So I actually have quite a lot of work, and yet recording is my favorite part of anything.
Had a meeting for our next outfits and I'm actually excited for the first time since the suits. The best thing about just going with black suits for outfits is, hey, new suit! which you can wear anywhere to anything! Like to a job interview!
i brought my computer today because i can only play street fighter on my broken DS for so long :(
Written by Elec at 9:59 PM
i love the thorough sound checks at west!
i wanna play with nogod and sexandroid again :(
Written by Elec at 4:39 PM
Today is O-West.
if you are in a band that lip syncs and don't actually play you instruments and you point out to me that you noticed I messed up briefly, i will punch you in the face so hard you will poop teeth
Written by Elec at 10:50 AM
This year I am going to be playing the big Summer Sonic music festival, 8/7 Osaka 8/8 Tokyo, with Steve Appleton. :)
Written by Elec at 2:09 PM
We arrived way too early so we hung out in Chinatown and gorged on DELICIOUS FOOD and engaged in various hijinks.
We as a band never really 'hang out'. Every time we're together, it's work. I count them as friends but today was probably the first time I really felt that.
After yesterday's terrible show, I came back home and watched Office, 30 Rock, and Community, the latter with it's mafia-themed episode might have been the best so far. Also Annie is unfairly adorable (´・ω・｀)
Today should go well!
Written by Elec at 4:09 PM
also shoutout: hey white girls who came out tonight, you rock!
Written by Elec at 8:42 PM
There's a nice two-page spread of Chemical Pictures in this month's Shoxx.
In it we announce tons of lives, our sponsored event on 7/20, and our One-man in September that will culminate our 5 consecutive singles.
There are also 5 people visible, which means that yes, we finally have a new guitarist.
He was going to debut with us this weekend, but he was hospitalized yesterday.
Things are going to be okay, but we'll still be playing as a 4-piece for now.
Here are our shows:
4/23 Ikebukuro Black Hole
4/24 Yokohama Dragon Club
4/29 Ikebukuro Black Hole
4/30 Shibuya O-West
5/6 Takadanobaba Area
5/15 Takadanobaba Area
5/21 Shibuya O-East
5/29 Esaka Muse
5/30 Nagoya Electric Lady Land
6/3 Takadanobaba Area
6/12-13 Seoul Live club SSAM, Korea
6/23 Takadanobaba Area
7/3 Omotesando Fab
7/10 Nagoya Heartland Studio
7/11 Shinsaibashi FanJ-Twice
9/17 Shibuya O-West ONEMAN
Written by Elec at 2:13 PM
Recording is done!
Thanks to Cryptomayhem for pointing it out, but the first single in our campaign is up for pre-order on cdjapan!
Also keep an eye out in Shoxx maybe?!?!
help us sell out because we're not with a jimusho right now D:
Written by Elec at 6:09 PM
Recording is going ahead of schedule.
Yesterday I put down piano and synth tracks, and today I put in my vocal parts. As of today, all guitars are done, and tomorrow we finish up vocals. Then mixing, I suppose.
Recording is my favorite part of bandness, honestly.
Written by Elec at 11:53 PM
We'll be getting an extra hour or two of service in exchange, I trust.
Just frustrating when you're up at 4am and now standing in the middle of Ikebukuro in the rain in full costume and makeup!
Still, this shoot should be cool.
Shiun and I laid down bass and drums for 5 songs yesterday in around 6 hours.
basically we are over-rehearsed :-*
Written by Elec at 12:40 PM
Almost ready to hole up in the studio for the day.
Planning hasn't gone as smoothly as I'd have liked, but that's what happens when you decide to record 20 or so songs and release them in bursts over the next half year or so.
Remember how I've been saying that there's lots going on, but not much I can write about?
I've been given the go-ahead to exclusively let you guys know.
Later on in the year, I'm launching a solo project and we're going major.
For those of you who find this hard to believe, I'll just say that the Korean shows are a jumping-off point for a much, much wider tour...that's all I can say for now! Maybe just an Asian tour...
Or a European tour...
Or a world tour...
Lately I've been trying so hard not to spill anything and I'm kinda proud of myself that I was able to keep my mouth shut for so long!
See you when I get to the studio. :)
Written by Elec at 11:05 AM
That sure was a live...
Not great. New outfits always throw you off the first time. And the stagehands were frustratingly inattentive.
But the crowd was great so who cares really :D
The contacts are new too; from 9mm Sfx in the US. Pricey but look great. Theyre much bigger than regular lenses, which is a little daunting at first.
Crypto said I look like a drum major; I think I look like a wild west barkeep.
Next is photoshoots AND RECORDING
Written by Elec at 10:11 PM
TWO-MAN LIVE in KOREA
June 12 & 13, Seoul LiveclubSSAM
Written by Elec at 1:28 PM
One-mans are relaxing and yet busier at the same time.
We all met up in the 'Book (that's "ikebukuro" in bilingual brat slang) and drove on to Black Hole, which is a small live house that's gotten some more use lately as bands are trying to branch out and break away from the typical model of a floundering business. We hung up some decorations ourselves, tested the video projector, and did a nice lengthy sound check.
We have a few songs with lots of bells and whistles and we're using a cumbersome multi-track and mixer that Shiun has to control himself. We had been so, so strapped for time, what with building two of the three songs that use the douki from the ground up, that we were re-programming and re-mixing levels basically on the fly that day.
We got into makeup, took zillions of polaroids which I hate taking because they're time-consuming and I never know how to pose or what I should write on them, but they sell like drug-laced hotcakes so take them I must.
some Askew staff came to report and shoot, and Tomo from echostream also came, which was cool because I've only ever chatted with him over our Japanese blogs. Our one-time support guitarist Jun came, as did Jojo from Gyaro and shoot what was the crazy guitarist from Backdrop Zero-shiki's name...? And Musha and the accessory craftsman we work with and a bunch of other people. We're doing a 4-man with Satsuki at Black Hole later on and that'll suckkkkk because the backstage area there is practically non-existent.
Anyway. The show went really, really smoothly. There's something about having 200 people in a room that came JUST TO SEE YOU that pumps you up. I was drenched with set merely a few songs in, and we still had an hour and a half or so to go, and I thought I'd keel over any moment. And it was one of those situations where, keeling over would be awesome and SO rock 'n' roll, haha. Or so you think, in the moment.
Highlights I suppose would be "Planetarium", the clip of which I linked to Tenten's blog earlier. That's from the ending section, and I'm typically never really impressed with my staging when I re-watch videos, but I think it looks really cool.
Joe's strap broke right at the end of Kanjou Kuzubako Kyoukaisen, so the beginning of Yamusora was a bit anemic, but that's why we have lotsa gear waiting backstage. And two roadies!
I found myself reflecting on the lyrics to Reincarnation as we played it. On the surface, they are very deep, and to hear Tenten explain it, it really is a deep message, but when reminiscing on the high I felt during the performance, I remember the lyrics were inspired by Tenten's chihuahua back at home, and I laugh a little bit.
I should translate the lyrics and put 'em here, actually.
The first encore was a song we'd written in the week leading up to the show, based on guitar and keyboard parts Joe brought in. I haven't seen the lyrics yet, but Joe tells me he was impressed by them. It's a ballad, and it drags on quite a bit for my taste, but I'll help tighten it up if we decide to lay it down on wax. (hey youngsters, masters used to be pressed on wax discs. also we used to store data and play music via magnetic tape! DO YOU BELIEVE ME? it was just a metaphor anyway)
The second encore, which we hadn't really planned for, was Praparat. By this point I was seriously at the end of my physical rope. We went off stage and collapsed in a collective heap.
Oh, and what set the mood for the whole night? The curtain was closed, lights go down, an electro number we made starts playing, and the announcements come up...
Dr SHIUN Official Member
2nd Maxi Single
3rd Maxi Single
4th Maxi Single
All the way up to the 6th, and then the one-man announcement, great applause, and then the curtains whip open and we busted into My Harlot Broker.
As we were standing there, quivering with nervousness, listening to those surprised cheers at the news... we were grinning like idiots.
...It feels kinda, almost wrong writing a live report about my own band that's as gushing as this might read to be, but there was definitely something good about the event that'll always stick with me.
Thanks to Cryptomayhem, Biju-Ska, and all the other white dudes and ladies who were there, because it's so nice to know that I have supporters, in spite of the disjointed junk I write all up on this blog. You're all lovely friends.
I mentioned in an earlier entry that I don't like music much these days, and Silv knew exactly one of the interviews of which I spoke, in which an annoyed Patton interrupts himself to complain about Wolfmother on the next stage over. (The other one, in which he makes the same sentiment regarding new bands, is much older, and he is eating a sandwich.)
I was having a very spirited discussion with my best friend about my recent artistic apathy when I realized that even when nothing else thrills me, I can throw on my post-rock/metal mix and totally get into that. And though they often get lumped with prog rock, Porcupine Tree's older, long, super-ambient stuff relaxes me. But recently I'd also been getting into Deftones, and now with new songs coming out, watching their recent live performances and everything, they're really the sort of band that makes you want to join a band. I can't place a finger on what I like about their vibe.
SECRET SHOW THIS FRIDAY
Written by Elec at 12:50 AM
So our "new member" "Rudolf", its blog is over here.
A very short clip of last night's performance of "Planetarium" is here.
We are going to be releasing 5 singles, 1 each month, starting from May, culminating in a ONE-MAN at Shibuya O-WEST on September 17th, and the whole dealio is called "The Man who Sold the World".
Written by Elec at 6:27 PM
You make me SO HAPPY. And you have a knack for incredible gifts.
Goodness gracious I love you all.
haha who says goodness gracious
Written by Elec at 10:47 PM