Title: The "truth" about visual kei
Pythos - April 15, 2010 04:02 AM (GMT)
I came across this rather old, and disturbing interview with a VK label executive. I don't know if anyone else here has seen this thing.
My question is: Is it me, or was the interviewer really irresponsible having this info apply to all VK artists? How about practically linking Kamijo with the Yakuza?
Then the more "important" thing.
Where does Mana, fit in this? Since this is a forum about him.
I personally think that he, and the members of Malice were entangled in this in the beginning, but then all have broken free....Mana and Gackt being the most successful, though Mana is the only one with two thriving things going (M+N, MMM), to my knowledge.
Or was he indeed one of these drop outs with no future that were enticed to wear effeminate, or androgynous, clothing and have wild hair that he should have dropped when he hit it big (Versailles doesn't seem to think they should do that as well). Total talentless loser that has other people make his music (This I just can't fathom, he takes forever to release a new album, unlike the bands referenced in this interview.)
SAY IT AIN'T SO MANA!!!!!!! :)http://www.hellodamage.com/top/2010/03/01/.../#comment-26013
Maybe I am just naive, but I just finished listening to Mdm's, Dixanadu, Nocturnal Opera, and Velvet Eden's Street of Alice, and Versailles Jubilee. In my heart of hearts I think these bands are as real and legit as any. There is talent, somewhere, and I feel Mana, Dada, Kamijo, and Hizaki are the genuine article. (I don't know of Dir en Gray, or plastc tree, or other bands.)
Also found the tone toward the intended audience rather rude. There are several male fans as well as just smart people in general. They just aren't rabid and crazy like many fangirls can be.
fufudixtonrabbit - April 15, 2010 07:18 AM (GMT)
I just have to say....reading this is like being in a cesspool of ignorance.
everyones entitled to their own opinion but...wow
I really couldn't finish the rest of the interview because it was just so very insulting. Especially that comment about Dada.
Pythos - April 15, 2010 03:23 PM (GMT)
What I want to know is why? Why did this individual (I refrained from using a more colorful metaphor) put this piece out?
Well, I found out with futher research of this blog. It would seem this person does nothing but put stuff down
I do not doubt there is some truth in hear, the music industry is notoriously a messed up thing in some circles, but I don't think all. I'm sure there is the trenches were everyone starts. But the scenario painted here is just too much.
The bit about the credits for the music being false, has got to be a lie.
Maddy-chan - April 15, 2010 06:44 PM (GMT)
I feel like i have been shot..... OWCH..
BloodRoseBed - April 16, 2010 08:53 PM (GMT)
Probably 80% of this is right.... sigh
It feels like a betch slap in the heart T.T
Pythos - April 17, 2010 04:46 AM (GMT)
Sarah and I engaged in a correspondence that helped back up my feelings on this. Upon examination you will also see the points I was thinking and Sarah re-enforced.
Mana is not one of these groups talked about.
The sheer reason being, he is just not popular enough. He has his fan base, that he loves. He has a small label which is run by a close friend. It is a label that is no where near as slick and well run as a certain other group, and no I am not referring to Versailles.
Midi:Nette is its own entity, hence the simply white paper with black print flyers for his events that Sarah has mentioned in the past.
Now as far as other groups, they definitely follow the patterns described in this article. Sadly this does include Versailles. Look out how the release multiple releases of the same single....Mana has not done this since the inception of Mdm.
I think, and feel, that our dear maestro is free of the influences described by this ex label executive.
He has had his chance to be part of the biggies, and he chose the more honorable, safer and better course to just be himself, not have to follow the guidelines of a big label, and hopefully be free of Yakuza influence.
Other groups seem to have dumped the visual aspect as soon as they could. Mana, and Versailles seem to have reveled in this part of VK.
With Sarah's permission I can post what she sent to me, she explained better than I can.
BloodRoseBed - April 17, 2010 04:35 PM (GMT)
I imagined this was so, since Mana has his own label.
It's just sad that other bands I love so much are like this (I'm seeing Versailles this june in Mexico)
Izumi - April 17, 2010 09:19 PM (GMT)
This is nothing new though.
You have to be really naive to think that none of this stuff goes on in our industries too...
Maddy-chan - April 18, 2010 05:14 AM (GMT)
I know It goes around everywhere... And I myself could analyze the "fake" bands...
But but... I fear that when I'm listening to Versailles I'm lead to believe a lie.. A Lie about their lyrics being their feelings. A lie about them actually caring about the Rococo or Victorian era ... That they think that their fans are some weird-ass people who wear some retarded clothing and they don't care...
I Don't want to live a lie...
I can trust Mana because he has truthfully earned his fans trust through hard work.. But Hizaki.. Kamijo.. or even Kaya??..
To they actually want to wear the clothes and make that kind of music? Who knows..
I mostly fear for Schwartz stein because it spared me from making the biggest mistakes of my life. And.. The lyrics for me are everything..
fufudixtonrabbit - April 18, 2010 07:46 AM (GMT)
I really feel like most of the newer VK bands aren't all in it for the music anymore. VK is not the same. Thats why I presonally prefer old school visual kei, because they stayed in the true spirit!
I do trust Kaya Sama, Versailles to mean what they create. Otherwise it wouldnt be such good music with so much to say. :) so please dont worry!!! they are genuine
what makes me mad about this interview is that he generalised every band like they were all in it for some cheap lame reason. which is not true ><
i hope ive worded everything correctly!
xit - April 18, 2010 09:26 AM (GMT)
I'm in no way surprised by that article.
To think most aren't in it for the money and/or fame would be silly.
Perhaps sad, but true. :/
They create an illusion of grandeur for us fans to loose ourselves in, but that's precisely it, an illusion.
It might be that some of the bands do care for the fans and believe in what they create, but I don't think it's a lot. :)
naomisan - April 18, 2010 12:39 PM (GMT)
Wow. A really interesting point of view. I've never thought about this in a serious way :huh:
Pythos - April 18, 2010 04:18 PM (GMT)
As many here have said, all industries have this element.
There are the people in it to just make money and get fame.
And there are others that truly enjoy and are the real deal. They love making the music, they love the fans, and the make their own stuff mostly.
I think, Mana, all of Versailles, Kozi, Gackt, Velvet Eden, and even GPKISM are all genuine VK.
With the exception of Versailles, these bands are all small, one is no longer around.
In the case of the works created....someone created them, even if Dada didn't make Street of Alice, it is still a good work.
Mana I think is all real, I now have little to no doubt of that.
I am sure there are more bands out there that are also real.
Just like in western music, there are the real ones (Ozzy, Elfman, Enya, The Rolling Stones, ect...) and the fakes. They can usually be identified by little or no effort being put into the overall look, and are very short lived.
When it comes to the "funny or weird" clothes or costumes you wear. Do you have fun with them? That is the important thing. It doesn't matter what the original intent behind the idea was. You can twist it around on those ideas, and truly enjoy something that is unique.
It is like the who Mili Vanilli mess. Who was the one writing the music? The two band members could obviously dance, and perform...they just couldn't sing :) If you indeed like the music, then who cares where it comes from.
BloodRoseBed - April 19, 2010 02:47 AM (GMT)
It's such a beautiful lie, really.
I mean, I absoultely hate this world's corruption. It's something I must live with, but detest with a passion. And well, now something I love so much, coming into conscience of what's truly happening. I thought VK was soooo underground not much of this happened... I never really thought about it.
I know the newer VK bands tend to suck, I hear them once, never remember them again. I always keep music I hear and impacts me someway. Which is why I tend not to hear most modern american rock.
But well, sigh. This world isn't a cupcake filled with pink sprinkles. Boo. <33
Did that sound coherent? Aaa I'll edit later, to late at night right now e.e
ManaVampire - April 19, 2010 01:22 PM (GMT)
Pythos, you're more than welcome to post what I wrote. I don't care at all. XD
Actually, since I'm writing now, here it is for your enjoyment:
Sorry guys, its LONG!!!
I actually read that article a few weeks ago at Denny's in Shibuya when I was with some friends! XD
As I was reading it, we ended up in a big discussion about Japanese bands/musicians and involvement with the Yakuza and such, and this is basically the conclusion we came to--
You're right, this doesn't apply to all Japanese artists. If you want to talk about Mana specifically, I don't think for the largest extent this idea of Yakuza involvement really applies to him, mostly because of this -- the Yakuza are looking for labels and bands that have an extremely high success rate. Although Mana has popularity, he is not someone like Dir en Grey who make multiple World Wide tours and sells out at the top venues in Japan.
Actually, I believe it was back in 2005 or so, there was a big scandal with Free-Will's record label where basically the heads of the label were taking money from smaller bands and investing it into more popular bands, such as Dir en Grey, for tours, concerts, music videos, etc. In the end the smaller bands who were still trying to make their way up were getting shafted while Dir en Grey was able to enjoy an extensive amount of wealth. Don't get me wrong, they ARE tremendously successful, but it seems as though these smaller bands placed under the Free-Will label were just around as a source of money to provide for the larger bands. I don't remember exactly how it all ended up, but I believe the head of free will was fired from his position...but I wouldn't doubt the reason he was fired was because he got caught publicly more than anything.
One of the people I talked to about that article happens to be a huge Dir en Grey fan and she said she honestly wouldn't be surprised if they were involved with the Yakuza, and I have to admit I wouldn't be at all surprised either.
Actually another interesting thing that could apply to the idea behind that article is this -- Apparently Free-Will DOES involve a variety of label names for the sake of appealing to a particular group of fans. Back in the early 90's Dir en Grey went under the name Sadie and one of their band members was the bassist, Kisaki. It turns out the other band members for the most part didn't get along with Kisaki and eventually he was kicked out of Sadie. However, eventually Kisaki went to work with other bands and eventually formed Phantasmagoria which around 2007 gained a large number of popularity, until Kisaki was caught for Tax evasion. Phantasmagoria eventually decided to "quit" activity around 2008 (although they're STILL having concerts and events XD) but Kisaki rather than doing any major jail time only ended up in some minor prohibition and is now the claimed to be CEO of his own record label, Under Code, where he produces and manages a large number of indies bands. Under Code also affiliates with various popular magazines (Cure magazine, etc) and tons of VK related industries.
But the catch is this -- It turns out Under Code is an extension of Free-Will, the label which Dir en Grey so famously works under. So all this time, Kisaki never really let go of any connections, and Free-Will is more than likely banking off of whatever success Kisaki is producing with giving everyone the impression that he runs a separate kind of label aimed to "help out" brand new bands looking for success.
There truly is some fishy stuff that goes around in Japanese music labels. I've heard of bands signing onto contracts where they are only allowed less than a week of vacation per year and there are no excuses for taking a break from work. Then to top it off, the band members themselves don't even earn a fraction of the money they make -- the labels take it all. I believe in one case I heard about a highly successful band actually being able to take 20% of their entire profit for themselves; they weren't even able to live adequate lives on their own because their own pay was at a poverty level, even though as a band they were making millions!
To top that off, even TV channels in Japan are a part of this -- there are many popular variety shows here which will channel themselves ONLY to one successful label or band. TV channels in Japan are notoriously run by the Yakuza for the most part and do some pretty awful things, while still maintaining a "family friendly" image to majority of the population when it comes to television content. The thing is, if a program is focused on one popular band, they are not allowed to advertise or invite any kind of rival band -- the content must be restricted to said band and said label, just to make more money off of them.
But these are all very large very popular bands and music labels... As for Mana, I believe at the Madou Shuukai (his birthday concert) there were maybe 200-300 fans that attended and that was a sold out show. In fact, the venue was Shibuya-BOXX; Its in a location with multiple venues and out of every venue in the area Shibuya-BOXX is the smallest venue to perform in (which when you go inside, that was very apparent). I can't say Mana is completely run down and unsuccessful -- if he is able to have a one-man live hes doing decent. But in no way is he filling up baseball size arenas.
Also Mana works under Midi: Nette, and the only band currently under their label is Moi dix Mois. Midi: Nette is basically self run by Yukie Itoh and her staff; no real affiliation with larger labels such as Free-Will. They do work side-by-side with Hot Stuff, which is generally the concert staff, and I have some speculation as to why, but I don't think it really contributes to any mafia or illegal involvement. As for the ESP thing however, I'm not really aware what Mana's involvement with them is other than the fact that he has a contract with ESP where they produce free guitars for him. However, I'm under the impression that Mana's involvement with ESP is no more than living up to the contract he signed -- mostly allowing them stage access, photos, articles, interviews, selling models of the Jeune Fille, and making sure Mana advertises these kinds of things with events, concerts, and the ESP guitar festival.
I think Mana and Midi: Nette have made their own label away from the others for a reason -- they are actually very isolated from other bands and labels. Mana often writes that when he performs with another band often times the bands have personally gone up and asked him if they could do a concert together - there isn't much middle man involvement and pre-arrangement outside of Mana himself.
So rest assured, the yakuza probably ARENT coming after your favorite bands, unless you so suddenly decide to go off and follow the main stream ones. The Yakuza are looking for something that can profit on a large scale, rather than bands such as Moi dix Mois who are going to stay true to privately owned record labels away from a lot of "major" industries.
--On a side note, I'm sure some of you know this and maybe others don't, but corporations being tied to the Yakuza and holding similar scams and such is NOT an uncommon practice in Japan. It happens all the time in just about every spectrum of the business world over here. Sure its a horrible thing, but I honestly can't say its that much different from corruption in industries anywhere else in the world...the word "Yakuza" may seem to give it a special meaning at first glance, but...its nothing unique...I think the writer of said article, as he/she quite blatantly stated, just wants to put down VK fans. I just have to say their article is somewhat laughable and humorous to me because they're trying to make the VK industry look so uniquely problematic when its not nearly as bad as construction companies and politics in Japan!
Pythos - April 19, 2010 06:42 PM (GMT)
When you get down to it, most everything is corrupted in one way or another. Then there are those that are outside of the corruption....and their existence is often a struggle. Sometimes even those that are free of the corruption need to enlist the assistance of those things that are corrupted.
It is a sad fact of life.
All we can do is support those that are free of corruption, more than those that are willingly feeding it.
ManaVampire - April 20, 2010 03:51 AM (GMT)
It is indeed a sad fact of life and unfortunately unavoidable...
However, I don't think I would let corruption change my point of view on a band/musician/entertainer I like just because of the notorious conditions of the industry... Sometimes its the only choice you have if you want a name for yourself. I don't believe its always necessarily the individual them self that is corrupt, so why focus and perhaps point fingers at a single artist/band for what a company is doing?
I honestly didn't read the whole article, but from what I heard they said some pretty nasty things about Dada right? I've talked to him a couple times online and as an individual he seems to be extremely polite and even caring a great deal for his fans. If you talk to him, he'll tell you straight out where hes not feeling confident or what his plans/ideas are. He even goes out of the way to attempt some English to ask an even wider selection of fans what songs they would like to hear from him. Also, when Jasmine You was alive he also left a very good impression on me when I got to meet him -- he actually seemed very genuine and sweet...so I think although these things about the industry itself may not be so great, we can't always let it suede our outlook on an artist because THEY may actually care, but they also have a job to do.
Sometimes these bands/artists have to do things that are less than desirable in order to make that cut to get the pay to make a living...but don't we all at some point or another? Its the conditions authorities (bosses, managers, etc) put over us that unfortunately decide what we will do and how we will act at times...We can't always do what WE think is right in the working world because it could risk our jobs. It sucks, but I think its something everyone must face. I certainly know tons of people, including myself who have had to conform to things at jobs we didn't want to.
Having said that, there is actually a VK band I have found myself immensely drawn to since the first time I saw them perform. After I saw them I looked up more info about them online and realized they're with Under Code. Well as you know from my last post, Under Code in a sense itself doesn't have the best reputation in the world with all that it has done and been involved with...but it doesn't change my opinion on the fact that I still like the band and I wish for them to continue to succeed. I don't know what kind of people they are since I've never met any of them, but genuine or not, I still like their music and performances, so I personally don't let that negative stuff bother me too much. At least they have a label, right? ;)
Pythos - April 20, 2010 04:45 AM (GMT)
Sarah, The statements about Dada that were mean was something concerning the length of his shorts, and what could be seen. It was really unecessary and i think completely un true.
Here is the part.
TDR: Remember VELVET EDEN? The drag-queen with the 6 foot fiberglass batwings and foot-long “vampire” fingernails?
SATOH-SAN: That guy is a graphic designer now, at FREEWILL records. But yeah, I remember being shocked by them because his pants were so low, there were pubes sort of sprouting out.
TDR: I think I would have remembered that. Maybe I went on a bad day.
SATOH-SAN: Well, pubes are strange because it’s too much! Traditionally, Visual bands are very sensual but they are not supposed to have a gender – they are not ‘men’ or ‘women.’ The idea is to give the fans a band of androgynous, ethereal, magical creatures.
As I am sure you can see. TDR is a class A JERK. Referring to Dada as a drag queen coming from this guy is just him insulting Dada. The statements about the costume obviously illustrate the ignorance of this guy.
The executive isn't that much better with what he says. So his pants were a bit too low....what was he doing looking there? LOL.
It just seemed that this part of the interview was a "let's be mean to Dada." They didn't even have the decency to say his name.
Seeing that he is a graphic designer at Free Will was not all that bad to see, at least he has a job.