hem 12012 is a section in California's Dangerous Weapons Control Law. Miyawaki Wataru (vocals), Sakai Hiroaki (guitar), Suga Yuusuke (guitar), Enya Tomoyuki (bass) and Kawauchi Tohru (drums) have chosen the same name for their band. The beginning years of this band were a bit easier than your average band's, because many of the members used to be in successful bands earlier. Since the beginning, 12012 had a record company. But that is no reason to undermine the music they make. 12012's singles and mini albums have each been more successful than the other and they have lots of fans who appreciate their ambitious and honest ways.
Like so many Japanese bands and artists nowadays, 12012 has released their first whole album PLAY DOLLs also in Europe, where even more fans await. It's not difficult to predict them a bright future
Alice Nine was started in 2004 and they make heavy rock with catchy guitar riffs. Alice Nine's line-up is Shou (vocals), Tora (guitar), Hiroto (guitar), Saga (bass) and Nao (drums).
Shou and Tora used to belong to a band called Givuss, and it might have brought a few fans to Alice Nine, but mostly their big success in such a short time is no doubt their own making. Alice has so far made one whAntic Café
Antic Café, that can sometimes be seen written also as An Café or Antique Café, was formed in 2003. Miku (vocals), Bou (guitar) and Kanon (bass) started a typically cute Oshare Kei-band that wasn't afraid of trying also some rougher material. The drummer Teruki joined the band later.
This Oshare Kei-band was started in 2004 by five cute guys named Ryohei (guitar), Aoi (vocals), Takehito (guitar), Intetsu (bass) and Kenzo (drums).
Despite the band's young age they have released quite a pile of singles, mini-albums and DVD's and made their way to the top. Having made their first European tour in the summer of 2006, they have already gained popularity outside Japan, too. Unfortunately Ryohei, the guitarist and song maker, left the band shortly after the tour.
Ayabie has released two whole albums, ayabie sokukan ongenshuu (2005) and the European-only release
Ayumi Hamasaki is a Japanese pop princess and a superstar. Forever trying new music styles, making top selling records, performing in front of huge audiences, she has had a long career in spite of her young age.
Her most important releases include her first single Poker Face (1998), the first platinum-selling album A Song For XX (1999), her 1,5 million-selling hit A (1999), dozens of remixes and collections, and her newest album (miss)understood (2006).
The Back Horn
Yamada Masashi (vocals), Suganami Eijun (guitar), Hirabayashi Naoki (bass) and Matsuda Shinji (drums) gathered to Tokyo from all around the Japanese countryside to start a band in the late 1990's. This band, named The Back Horn, was so successful that in just a few years they were offered a major record deal. At the same time the band went major, the bass player was changed into Okamine Kohshu.
A song called Mirai made for the motion picture Akarui Mirai was a great hit for The Back Horn and made them even more famous in Japan. Nowadays this band has toured all over Europe and the United States and they are one of the biggest bands in Japan
BLOOD is a band that started their whole thing with the idea of taking on the world. They have been on tour several times in Europe, USA, Mexico...
In Finland they have already been twice. The members of BLOOD are Kiwamu (guitar), Kaede (bass) and Fu-Ki (vocals) Their most important release is the Vengeance For Blood- trilogy from 2004-2006
D'espairsRay was started in 1999 by Hizumi (vocals), Karyu (guitar), Zero (bass) and Tsukasa (drums). Their music is darker then hell itself, very intensive and in-your-face.
Since 2005 they only released mini-albums, singles and DVD's and due to their massive success, many of these were sold out very quickly. D'espairsRay also gained popularity outside Japan by touring in Europe.
The first album, Coll:Set was very waited for all over the world. It was released in Europe in 2006. The second whole album, Mirror, was released in 2007 while the band enjoyed great success touring all over Europe, and, of course, Japan
Dir en grey
Dir en grey was founded in 1997 on the ruins of a band called La:Sadie's. The members are Kyo (vocals), Kaoru (guitar), Die (guitar), Toshiya (bass) and Shinya (drums). Today Dir en grey is one of the biggest Visual Kei bands in Japan and its popularity has spread all over the world.
Their most important releases are the first album Gauze, the 2003 album Vulgar and the 2005 Withering To Death, which was the final breakthrough in Europe. It was followed by the 2007 album The Marrow Of A Bone and finally a concert also in Finland
In the beginning of the 1990's Ryutaro (vocals), Tadashi (bass), Akira (guitar) and Takeshi (drums) started a band called Plastic Tree. It was a rare Japanese rock band because the influences of Western pop music were so obvious. Some people say even their name is taken from the Radiohead song Fake Plastic Trees. So Plastic Tree's music is a bit melancholic and angst-ridden.
Their albums include Hide And Seek (97), Puppet Show (98), Parade (00), Träumerei (02), Shiro Chronicle (03), Cell (04) and Chandelier (05). In addition to these, the band has released several different compilations
The young band Wizard (Japan is added to the name to avoid misunderstandings) was originally founded with three members, Kaito (vocals) Hiro (guitar) and Mitsunori (guitar). Later the former members of Quarry, Saki and Masuni, joined and Masuni took Mitsunori's place. A bit later the drummer Shou joined in, to be later replaced by Haruka.
Despite of all these people joining and leaving the band, Wizard was gradually building itself success by playing gigs and handing out free records in concerts. In time this proved a good way to find fans and only a year after its forming Wizard landed a record deal. The releases they made started gaining sales list success, and in 2006 Wizard had their first Oneman concert. By the year 2007 they are already taking over Europe, as well - their second album, Aquarius was released here in January 2007.
They say Malice Mizer is one of the most difficult bands to define. Their music can take so many turns in a totally different direction even within the same song, that it's probably the best just to call their music Malice Mizer-music.
The band was started in 1992 with Mana (guitar, keyboards), Közi (guitar), Yu~Ki (bass), Tetsu (vocals) and Gaz (drums). Gaz was later replaced by a new drummer Kami and after Tetsu, Malice Mizer had two singers, Gackt and Klaha.
A band called Dué le quartz had a very interesting young guitarist called Miyabi. He flirted with he audience, acted all cocky and smiled innocently. When the band fell apart in 2002 it meant the beginning of a solo career for Miyabi, who now changed his whole image, the way he dressed and his name to Miyavi.
He was immediately followed with a huge fan base, after all he was the one who made all the songs for Dué le quartz and now he could just do all kinds of things he wasn't able to in a band. He played all his instruments himself and made no compromises in his music.
Miyavi's albums include Gagaku (02), Galyuu (03), miyavi~miyavizm~shugi (05), MYV POPS (06) and miyavi-miyaviuta-uta~dokuso (2006)
Moi dix Mois
After Malice Mizer's end Mana didn't sit around for a long time: he started a band called Moi dix Mois, which was actually just his solo project with a steady band on the background. Or that's what most people would say anyway, because he takes care of the visual side as well as making the songs.
The band members are nowadays Mana, K (guitar) and Seth (vocals). The Moi dix Mois albums are Dix Infernal (2003), Nocturnal Opera (2004), Beyond The Gate (2006) and Dixanadu (2007).