Interviews with Old School Visual Kei Bandomen

Suuuup everybody! So now that I’m officially done with battle royale bracket things, I decided to delve into some of my loose associations and get some interviews with some old school visual kei bandomen! Not expecting much traction on this one, so I’ll treat this like a blog of sorts to keep my interviews. This will be English only as I never keep the Japanese originals, and most of these will be retired guys, so I hope someone out there gets some interest from these!

#001: Yasunori Henmi (逸見泰典)
Famous bands: Black Berry, JITTERBUG (ジルバ)

  1. What first got you into visual kei?
  • I actually didn’t know about visual kei music and its style. I started my band activities during my school days with a taste of “pop glam rock”.
  1. What made you want to form a visual kei band and form Black Berry?
  • Because when I was a student, I was immersed in music. Society tends to think of it on a vertical scale called “ranking”, but I felt that music is on a horizontal scale.

3. How did you feel when Black Berry suddenly became popular (around 2000)?
I never felt Black Berry was all too popular, but I felt happy that I could play “catchball” with the music. (I don’t know what he means by “catchball”, but cool.)

  1. Black Berry was a representative band in the softkei movement. What was it like when softkei was really dominant in the early 2000s?
  • While there were a lot of bands that looked alike, it seemed that more and more bands began to find their own individuality in their music at that time.

(Black Berry, Henmi on the far left)

  1. I saw that in July of 2002, Black Berry were sponsored by HMV. What did it feel like to receive that honor?
  • In the category of “visual kei”, it was a rare occurrence, but perhaps because the music was pop rock, it was received well!
  1. Why did Black Berry disband?
  • Simply because we couldn’t create the music we were aiming for. Especially me. I wanted to cool down, and the activity then stopped.
  1. What made you want to retire from visual kei and form JITTERBUG (ジルバ)?
  • I originally wanted to create music in a style that is “just as it is”, a style that is “undecorated”, and I wanted to express something that raises an emotional “roar”.

(JITTERBUG (ジルバ), with Henmi second-to-the-left)

  1. What is the current status of JITTERBUG (ジルバ)?
  • Just before COVID19, I coudn’t create what I was aiming to do anymore, just like with Black Berry. Why that is? I don’t know. Similarly, JITTERBUG (ジルバ)'s activities then stopped.
  1. What are you up to now as a musician?
  • I was involved in the 2012 film “SADO TEMPEST” with the other members of JITTERBUG (ジルバ), which we all starred in. I am currently working on forming a unit with Scarlet Valse’s YOU. and Black Berry’s JACK (bassist).
  1. Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • Next week, I am having dinner with Black Berry’s JACK and PIERRE (guitarist)! (lol).

(Henmi, today)

#002: Yusuke
Famous bands: GIGASLAVE, CHILD, High Speed Boyz

  1. How did you first become interested in visual kei.
  1. I see that your first visual kei band was GIGASLAVE, which had a noticeably aggressive heavy metal sound to it that was rare in mid 90s visual kei. What inspired you to go in that direction?
  • I think in particular, I was inspired by AION and Rosenfeld, not to mention X.

(Yusuke while in GIGASLAVE)

  1. Why did GIGASLAVE disband?
  • I left the band and wanted to pursue more of a rock direction instead of metal.
  1. Your next band, BP.Moscute, has a bit of an air-of-mystery to it in the sense that it has a lot of unknowns behind it. What was the story behind this band?
  • I was working with HASE (formally from NAKED ARMOR) and he invited me to form a new band.
  1. After BP.Moscute disbanded, you joined CHILD. How did you meet them?
  • Around 1998, MAR and JIN attended a GIGASLAVE live at Neyagawa Vintage (寝屋川ビンテージ), and we talked and hit it off after the show, being from the same generation.
  1. With the release of the single “undo”, CHILD were able to establish a working relationship with Zetima. I read on your blog this led to turmoil and multiple problems in the band. What were some of the problems during this period?
  • Unlike the indies era, there were a lot of people involved and got in the way of the recording process, and we could no longer express ourselves the way we did. Along with that, things got a little awkward and tense between the band members.

(CHILD, with Yusuke in the upper middle)

  1. Being that I’m a huge, huge fan of CHILD, I have to ask: is there any way CHILD could reunite to do new music or tour in the future?
  • No way. (Sidenote: Ahh shit, I tried lol)
  1. After CHILD disbanded, Indigo7 was formed with a lineup that was largely erased overtime which included you on drums. Can you tell me the history of that original lineup of Indigo7?
  • The first era of Indigo7 was formed by myself, JIN, MAR after CHILD split. SHOW (CHILD’s bassist) and YUJI (CHILD’s vocalist) were feeling weary from the world of music, and so the remaining three of us from CHILD decided to do another band, this time purely indies. We recorded and released an album with vocalist Toshikazu (俊和) from WITHOUT FEAR, who MAR was an acquaintance of, and later on recruited Yuji Kitadai (キタダイユウジ) on guitar (from SHULA and the Swis). This then established the first lineup of Indigo7 as a five-piece.
  1. After Indigo7’s initial split, there seems to be a gap in your musical history. What were you up to during this period?
  • I was a support drummer for TAKUI, participating in studio work and live tours.
  1. In 2008, you reunited once again with former members of CHILD to form High Speed Boyz. What was it like to not only reunite with them again, but also do work as a non-visual band?
  • JIN and MAR invited me into the band, and that’s how the formation happened. We wanted to be a revolutionary band like the big bands that appeared all of a sudden from years ago, rather than a band that would gradually change like we had been. We wanted to be a revolutionary rock band, similarly to when TM NETWORK first appeared onto the music scene.
  1. Around 2011, it seemed that all of the members of High Speed Boyz, except JIN, left. What was the reason for that?
  • Because we as a band couldn’t cooperate with the major label (freedom records), and we felt we couldn’t do the music we wanted to do. There were also musical differences, but mainly overlapping problems, so we all decided to go and do our own separate thing, with JIN staying in High Speed Boyz.
  1. Can you please tell me about your current musical endeavors?
  • I am currently working as a solo artist as YUSUKE ANDO. I am pursuing my own progressive rock style, and currently am wrapping up work on my fourth solo release.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • I have had many encounters and partings. I am a musician, so I express myself through sound. I hope to use my experiences to express both the good and the bad through through sound. And from now on, I would like to share my rock music not only in Japan but also overseas, carrying the soul of Japan on my back. Thank you very much.

(Yusuke, today)
Check out YUSUKE ANDO’s solo work on Spotify!

#003 - Akito Hashizume (橋都章人)
Famous bands: ALL I NEED, HUSH

  1. What first got you interested in visual kei?
  • I think either X or DEAD END.
  1. Your first visual kei band was SYNDROME. Can you tell me about their history?
  • Yes, that’s right. That was back when I put a lot more emphasis on the visual appearance, and was more inexperienced in the actual music. Formed in my hometown of Shizuoka, we then moved to (Yokohama) Tokyo. As soon as we moved, the number of fans greatly increased and we were featured in a few local magazines. However, the band ended up getting destroyed. Because we got so popular in such a short time in the Tokyo area, we ran into some bad guys. I can’t really get into too much detail, but there were acts of violence that occurred to other bands during this era, including extortion, kidnapping… There is a saying in Japan that the nail that sticks out gets hammered down, and that was exactly the world of visual kei back then.
  1. SYNDROME would change their name to VIRGIN. What inspired the name change?
  • Since SYNDROME self-destructed, we changed our name to VIRGIN, refused to do any sort of media press, and began performing with non-visual bands for the first time as well.

(Akito while in SYNDROME/VIRGIN, in the center)

  1. After VIRGIN disbanded, ALL I NEED was formed, but this band clearly had a softer image and sound. Was the change intentional? Were there any influences that helped fuel this redirection?
  • While VIRGIN was active, I also had other activities going myself that stretched beyond visual kei. While in VIRGIN, for example, we were supported by the Sony development department. After a while, I just stopped doing music I didn’t feel like doing, and naturally shifted towards doing music that I did want to do.
  1. In 1997, ALL I NEED released their first mini-album “BEAUTY MANIACS”, which became the name of your solo project a few years later. What does the name BEAUTY MANIACS mean?
  • We chose to go down the rougher path after SYNDROME’s issues. I was sure that I would make it to the majors because there were a lot of fans who continued to support me. As a result of the fanbase, I got a major contract (with ALL I NEED). I named the audience who loved the music and poetry I made “BEAUTY MANIACS”, and created an album and a fanclub with the same name. When I went solo years later, I remembered all of that and named the project BEAUTY MANIACS. Beautiful things, sad things, ephemeral things, tenderness and weakness, I wanted to embody all of those things in my song. I also wrote about some very difficult things… I guess that’s why I named the audience who understood, sympathized with, and loved it, and later named myself, BEAUTY MANICS. I intended to coexist.
  1. In 1998, ALL I NEED became a major band. How did you and the band feel during this period?
  • I was able to face music more, and I was inspired and grateful to be involved with many professionals. On the other hand, I was always irritated because it was a very commercial world, and being entangled with major visual kei bands sometimes felt restrictive.

(ALL I NEED, with Akito on the far right)

  1. ALL I NEED’s sound was very melancholic and alternative, unlike many of the major visual kei bands at the time. What inspired ALL I NEED?
  • Producer Hikaru-san, and engineers Gary and Ueda-san, were all on the same wavelength and helped the way we sounded. Gary was an engineer in (the popular Britpop band) Suede, and I think that also was an influence. Personally, I think a large part of ALL I NEED’s sound was because I constantly digested the influences of the bands I liked, such as X and DEAD END, (THE YELLOW MONKEY’s singer) Kazuya Yoshii, Spitz, GUNS & ROSES, Radiohead, U2, Jane’s Addiction, etc… Well, I just want to do something more melancholic and alternative.
  1. In late 2001, ALL I NEED disbanded. What was the reason for it?
  • We were dropped from (Polydor), and suddenly I found myself doing more on my own than on a major. As a result, I was overworked and exhausted, so I decided to disband ALL I NEED and form HUSH.
  1. You then formed HUSH with musicians based in Yokohama, such as Platinum Cat and W.A.R.P. What kind of experiences did you have compared to ALL I NEED’s era?
  • I was able to do more of what I wanted to do. It became possible to express more intensely and more painfully. The band was only around for 3 years originally and was short-lived, but I have no regrets.

(HUSH, with Akito second-from-the-left)

  1. Sometime later, you formed acalli. What does the name mean?
  • acalli is a romanization from the Japanese word of light (明かり, akari). I use the word “akari” a lot because to me, it feels like it brings up the image of cloudy and bright. Because you have to be the light, guideline, and flaghead for the customer.
  1. You seemed to have retired from music after the breakup of acalli. Is that so? If so, what made you retire after decades of music?
  • I was fully retired. It indeed was a a long time. It wasn’t anything because of bitterness, but except for HUSH, it felt like each band was like a solo project. I felt quite lonely. We have excellent fans, so it’s not like our mobilization or sales have fallen… but it’s not a necessary evil of self-sacrifice. I guess I always thought I did too much.
  1. In 2022, HUSH reunited after nearly 20 years apart. Is there a further future with HUSH, or perhaps a revival of your other bands or new projects on the horizon?
  • Well, during my 12 years of retirement (after acalli disbanded), I did receive some offers. But I really didn’t have any intention of returning. I even had the teeth on the bottom of my jaw surgically removed and replaced with dentures to ensure I never sang again. I felt that I would certainly never return to music, even if holding down an everyday average job was difficult. Well… HUSH ended up unexpectedly returning, and it’s pretty tough to juggle my current full time job and overall new responsibilities with music.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • Well, I’ve been dragged out of retirement, so I’m going to do music with HUSH for a while. We even plan on holding another live later in the year. To revisit your question before about my future plans as a bandman, but in 2021, hiro from the band te’ passed away. He’s a junior that I’ve known for about 30 years. After I retired, we didn’t see each other, but sometimes we exchanged emails, saying things like “Let’s play again” and “Let’s drink again.” When hiro, who was younger than me, died, I was completely ashamed of himself. He didn’t want to regret anything anymore, so he felt from the bottom of his heart that he had to do something that would allow him to see his friends even if he was busy. So I think at some point, I’ll create a new band. I’m also glad that people overseas enjoy my music. Just to say, Japan is a shittier country than you would think, but there are also beautiful seasons and beautiful humility. Thank you very much.

(Akito today)

#004 - KOUKI
Famous bands: ODDZ, eden gate

  1. Did you have any musical history before ODDZ?
  • I formed my first band when I was 14 in 1983 as a guitarist. I liked listening to YMO, Eiichi Otaki, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Deep Purple, and Van Halen. In 1985, I formed a band with twin guitars, but my teacher suggested that I try singing, so I switched to vocals. I then became active in cover bands of BOOWY and Van Halen. I then got acquainted with the drummer of ODDZ (Kazuhiro Mikami, 三上和博) in 1987 through the BOOWY cover band, and we then formed ODDZ shortly after.
  1. ODDZ was formed right when visual kei was born. What was the environment of the scene like back then when it was so young?
  • Back then, Japan was in the midst of a huge wave of band booms, and there were many events all over Japan. It was the heyday of live houses!
  1. In 1993, ODDZ released their first single and became an underground sensation. How did it feel to know that the single was well received?
  • I was particularly very happy to be have able to release a CD in the heyday of demo tapes!

(KOUKI while in ODDZ)

  1. Around 1994, you left ODDZ. Why did you depart the group?
  • I left ODDZ because I thought I did everything I could for the group.
  1. Afterwards, you formed psychic noiz with members of NERVE. How did you become acquainted with them?
  • I’ve known REN (the guitarist of NERVE) from before he even formed NERVE. Also, I’ve known NOBUMASA (later joined GLAY) when he was a roadie for ODDZ.
  1. The history of psychic noiz is shrouded in mystery. Can you please tell me about its history?
  • Actually, psychic noiz only played one live before disbanding.

(psychic noiz, with KOUKI in the middle)

  1. You would then form a few more bands, with your last one being jul+et, before seemingly retiring from the visual kei scene. Is that true?
  • Yes, I temporarily distanced myself from original bands. I would instead form the BOOWY cover band ROXIE.
  1. In 2020, you would form Nue≒speed and rename it Neu Spiral Code. What was the reason for the name change?
  • It was originally formed with the other members of ODDZ, but since a few other members joined instead and it was the first time that I sang with these new members, I changed the name to have the meaning of connecting genes.
  1. Neu Spiral Code is your first original band in almost 20 years. How did it feel to officially return to fronting an original band?
  • I feel a sense of relief that I have returned to my home ground, and I am enjoying the new scientific reactions that come from each members’ interactions.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • Rob! Thank you as always!♪

(KOUKI today)
Check out Neu Spiral Code on Spotify!


  1. Unlike a lot of people I’ve interviewed so far, you were actually active before visual kei existed! Your first band was BLOW UP. What can you tell me about that band?
  • BLOW UP was the first band I ever performed with at a livehouse. We experimented a lot and constantly changed shape, before settling on becoming a glam rock and roll band.
  1. Your next band is VATHOKIJA in 1987. Along with Gargoyle, VATHOKIJA is a band that foresaw the compatibility between visual kei and metal. When VATHOKIJA started, what kind of reaction was there in general?
  • Actually, VATHOKIJA started with SHI-JA, who later joined Gargoyle. It was sold out from the first live.

  • (KEN during the first period of VATHOKIJA)
  1. In just a few years, VATHOKIJA disbanded. What was the reason for the first breakup?
  • VATHOKIJA disbanded because the musical direction of the members gradually changed.
  1. After VATHOKIJA, STEPPEN THE BLUE was formed. What does the band name mean?
  • The meaning and theme of STEPPEN THE BLUE is that sad feelings attack like a pack of wolves.
  1. STEPPEN THE BLUE had a milder image compared to VATHOKIJA’s louder costumes, even though it was still a visual kei band. Was this intentional?
  • With VATHOKIJA, there were a lot of hardcore songs, so I wore more aggressive makeup, but with STEPPEN THE BLUE, most of the songs were poppier, so I went with a lighter image.

(KEN during the STEPPEN THE BLUE era)

  1. After STEPPEN THE BLUE disbanded, you began a solo career. What inspired you to become independent as a solo artist?
  • At that time, being that a band was a group of people, I got a little annoyed when my opinions weren’t accepted, or when I was asked to do something different than what I was aiming for, so I thought I’d try doing it alone.
  1. Around 2001, VATHOKIJA was reunited and you reunited with SHI-JA, who was famous with Gargoyle. How did it feel to reunite with SHI-JA after years apart and doing different things?
  • I was very happy and nostalgic to see SHI-JA again, as well as trying VATHOKIJA again.
  1. In the early 2010s, NAKED SPY was formed. This band has a very unique style and image. What is the inspiration behind that?
  • I thought that NAKED SPY would be something I had never done before. So, I thought it would be interesting to have a band of “yokai” (sidenote: supernatural entities and spirits in Japanese folklore).
  1. You are also the producer of SLAM CAVALLEY. Please tell us about your relationship with the band.
  • I’ve known KYOJI, the vocalist of SLAM, since the days of STEPPEN THE BLUE.
  1. Can you please tell me about your future musical endeavors?
  • For now, I would like to continue NAKED SPY and spread the greatness of this band to many people.
  1. Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • I’m sure people who don’t know NAKED SPY will feel the greatness of this band once they hear it. Thank you.

(KEN now, with NAKED SPY)

#006 - Kasumi (かすみ)
Famous bands: SNOW STYLE, GENE

  1. Were you in any other bands before visual kei?
  • Yes, I was actually in several punk bands before my first visual band (RaysiA).
  1. What first got you interested in visual kei?
  • I loved the expressiveness of it.
  1. Your first visual band was RaysiA, which later changed its name to SNOW STYLE in 1998, adopting softkei elements as well. Was was the reason for these changes?
  • The members changed and our sound toned down its heaviness a lot and became more melodic. The fact I was a part of an agency also helped influenced the changes as well.
  1. Less than a year after RaysiA became SNOW STYLE, the band exploded in popularity. How did you feel when you broke into the visual kei underground?
  • I was honestly happy that something that only we could do (as SNOW STYLE) was appreciated.

(Kasumi, during the SNOW STYLE era)

  1. In the fall of 1999, you left SNOW STYLE. What was the reason for leaving?
  • There were various personal reasons, but the main one was that at that time, there were a lot of disagreements about the way we should move forward as a band. I decided the best way was to leave.
  1. Later on, you formed WILD VANILLA, which had a slightly heavier sound than SNOW STYLE. Was this change in sound intentional? What was the inspiration behind it?
  • When I formed WILD VANILLA, the drums were very heavy and rocky, and the bassist was from the glam rock arena. So the heavy foundation in WILD VANILLA’s sound may have originated that way.

(WILD VANILLA, with Kasumi in the middle)

  1. Your following band, 2nd North, is shrouded in mystery due to the fact that hardly any information has been archived about it. Can you tell me a bit about it?
  • Around this time, I had surgery on my head where I would have died if I had waited a bit. After I came back to music, I still had a song I wanted to do with WILD VANILLA’s guitarist (Tomoya), so it was like a unit that I was doing with the guys from WILD VANILLA that I felt I still had a connection with.
  1. In 2006, you formed GENE, your current band, which seemed like a supergroup of softkei musicians. Was that its original intent and purpose?
  • Upon formation, there was only me, the drummer (junichi) and one other member (sidenote: it is not clear as to who the other member was, but due to Kasumi’s vagueness, I would assume one of the previous members: guitarist Kyotaro or bassist Ichi). Afterwards, more musicians from softkei backgrounds joined. Originally, GENE was supposed to be a live act only.
  1. In 2013, GENE released their first full-length album, which was amazing. The interesting thing about GENE is that a new album hasn’t been released since even though the band is still active. Will there be another album in the future?
  • Nothing is currently planned, but maybe in the future.
  1. Most of the musicians from the softkei period have long since retired. What inspires you to keep going?
  • To put it in a cool way, I guess it’s because it’s a way of life. Being in a band is always one of the best ways to express yourself.
  1. Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • On June 11th, GENE will be performing a live. Please stay tuned. Thank you!

(Kasumi today, with GENE)

#007 - Miyuu (美誘)
Famous band: Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒)

  1. What first got you interested in visual kei?
  • When I was about 14 years old, I discovered SHAZNA, and started to really admire the scene. Starting out, the vocalist I most looked up to was YUKI from Raphael.
  1. You formed your first band, Allule Ailis, when you were only 16 years old. Did you face any difficulties when you were in a VK band at such a young age? For example, age-restricted lives?
  • All the other members of Allule Ailis were already 18 years old, so I couldn’t go to school when the activity schedule was adjusted. I then dropped out of school halfway through the run of Allule Ailis.
  1. I saw you were a roadie for bands like SCLATCH and VIDOLL (ヴィドール). What were those experiences like?
  • I learned a lot from them. I was also a roadie for Jubaku (呪縛) in the beginning as well.

(Miyuu, during the Allule Ailis era)

  1. Your next band was Mamma0℃☆Cookie. The spelling of the band name is pretty crazy! (lol). Where did you come up with that spelling?
  • The band name was thought up by bassist Megumi, so I don’t remember the origin.
  1. Mamma0℃☆Cookie eventually got to be pretty popular due to its many events. Did you ever get tired or exhausted?
  • I actually didn’t feel tired or exhausted at the time. On top of Mamma0℃☆Cookie, I also had a real part-time job.
  1. Later, you formed Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒), which would be a pretty popular band in the 2000s visual underground. How did it feel receiving the attention the band got?
  • I actually didn’t feel the band was all that popular. However, being that Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒) was based in Tokyo, I got to meet and get to know a lot of bandomen.
  1. It is known that you are a part of the LGBTQ community. Since there are few gay bandomen in visual kei, was it ever a challenge or difficult environment?
  • Perhaps a bit so, but I ultimately tried to use that difference as a selling point in Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒).

(Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒), with Miyuu on the far left)

  1. After the disbandment of Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒), you seemed to have retired from the visual kei scene. Is that true? If so, why did you choose to retire?
  • At the time, the real life part time job was going really well. I would begin to spend more time on that end than as a bandoman, and gradually lost interest in Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒) and visual kei life in general.
  1. Today, you are working as a bartender. Can you tell me about the transition between bandoman life to the life of a bartender?
  • Well, originally, work in the customer service industry suited me, so it was more-or-less a natural transition for me.
  1. Would you ever return to visual kei?
  • Actually, I’ve been talking with the members of Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒) recently about reuniting.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • It’s very encouraging to see various older visual kei bands reviving these days. As a fan, I’d love to see formally disbanded visual bands if given the opportunity.

(Miyuu, today)


Daaamn, this is what I wanted to do myself, but never got around to it (and unlikely to do so in the near future). Thank you.

1 Like

I must confess I don’t know these guys (so far), but really cool idea! I enjoy reading it. :slight_smile:

That’s to be expected! I’ve got several more in the works that will hopefully be edited in and put in tomorrow. Swinging for the fences on some with some monstrous names, but… not holding my breath on those lol. We’ll see though!


Just put up a few more interviews, including an unexpectedly honest interview with Akito from ALL I NEED. Easily the best and most engaging interview I’ve done. Anywho, still waiting on hearing back from a few guys, including a surprise one that a few old school guys around the 2000s may remember. I’m not even sure if he was ever interviewed by a foreigner, which will be even more interesting lol. It’s no one huge though, so don’t get hyped about hearing from anyone like KISAKI anytime soon lol.


Dont really know any of them, but are very interesting interviews. Really gloking forward for more.
Akito’s one seems like the one that was more interested to be interviewed or had more stuff to tell and that can be felt.

Yeah, I agree. His interview was really something else, I loved how honest and open he was.

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Just secured some interviews with some VK bandomen that I’m pretty sure a good core on here may know, especially if you were around during the 2000s. Can’t wait to finalize them!!


Still waiting on several, but in the meantime, here are two more I’ve done, with one hopefully tickling the fancies of 2000s VK fans: Miyuu (美誘) from Oshare Dorobou (お洒落泥棒)!


Just got done with two more, including an interview with Takashi Oshodani (大正谷隆), who is best known as a drummer for Plastic Tree! It’s a fantastic one that really gives a surprisingly candid and eye-opening view at one of the most iconic visual bands ever. These will be posted below, along with a few more to be added as I complete them, since apparently there’s a text limit to each post. Check em out!



  1. What first got you interested in visual kei?
  • The shock when I first saw hide… that was the trigger.
  1. You formed your first band in the early 90s, ERECTION, which is… a very interesting word in English! (lol) Except for one sole Polaroid, nothing about this band is known online. Can you please tell me a bit of its history, including how the name was decided! (lol)
  • All of the members were still in high school, so the name ERECTION just sounded right. It wasn’t until later that we actually learned its meaning (lol). Since we were only in high school at the time, we didn’t have the budget to put out much promotion in terms of photographs and the like. We only released two demo tapes that we pressed all by ourselves.
  1. After that, you were temporarily a member of DUKE. Can you please tell me a bit of this period?
  • I decided to start DUKE with the vocalist of ERECTION (RYO), but shortly afterwards received an offer to be a member of GRUDGE/CURSE, and then I left DUKE and joined GRUDGE/CURSE.

(GRUDGE/CURSE, with TADAMITSU on the far right)

  1. Naturally, GRUDGE/CURSE were very popular in the underground visual kei scene. How did you first meet the members? And what caused the band to disband?
  • Vocalist SADAYA was a pretty well known senior figure in the area, and bassist KAZUMI was in ERECTION, so I already knew of them. I didn’t know drummer XNHU until I joined the band, however. After a while, I moved to Tokyo to join SUCKERPUNCH, and that’s when GRUDGE/CURSE disbanded.
  1. Where the did the name of your next band, SUCKERPUNCH, come from?
  • The name came from a song by the (English) band The Wildhearts.
  1. Little is known about the early visual era of SUCKERPUNCH before they became a straight punk band. Can you tell me a bit of that history? Also, what caused you to leave SUCKERPUNCH?
  • Vocalist GAIRRY was previously in YOUTHQUAKE, so that was probably where the visual aspect came from. Other than that, there’s nothing too significant about that era, I don’t think. And the reason I left SUCKERPUNCH was because I wanted to be in a band where I could have leadership, which is when I formed PINKMACHINE.
  1. Before forming PINKMACHINE though, you were also a member of JO:YA PROJECT, a project centered on vocalist JO:YA shortly after his run with DOPE HEADz, who had decent commercial success. Did you happen to know JO:YA before his stint with DOPE HEADz?
  • Yes, I knew of JO:YA before DOPE HEADz. When I was still a member of GRUDGE/CURSE, we did a show together with JO:YA’s earlier band (PLUSRAY).
  1. You later formed PINKMACHINE, which was your first non-visual band. Was there a reason why you retired from visual kei?
  • Not particularly, really. I just felt that the makeup and fashion sense of visual kei had changed and wasn’t really for me anymore.


  1. Later on, you supported various visual bands, including Ravecraft which you are currently a support member of. Would you ever consider returning to a full-fledged visual band?
  • I would wear the makeup and fashion of a visual kei bandoman if it was necessary in the band. So yes, I think I would still like to join another visual kei band! (lol)
  1. You are also currently active in a supergroup called QUAKEDOPE, which got its name from the legendary debut album from YOUTHQUAKE. Can you tell me a bit about it?
  • It’s an irregular band started by HIME, who was the drummer of YOUTHQUAKE. Most of the lineup switches every live, so the future is pretty murky. But I will say that the members from the last several lives have been really good.
  1. What are your future plans as a musician?
  • In the future, I’d still like to provide support when asked, and also form another original band. There are still many things I want to do after all these years.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to say?
  • Thank you very much!

(TADAMITSU today, as a member of QUAKEDOPE)

#009 - Takashi Oshodani (大正谷隆)
Famous bands: ZELIACORT, Plastic Tree

  1. How did you first become interested in visual kei?
  • In my opinion, the term “visual kei” is more of a product that came after I was exposed to music. When I first got into music, I loved UK artists like U2 and The Cult, but after starting my first band, I got into Japanese hardcore bands like EXECUTE, GASTUNK and MOBS, mainly through my friends introducing me to the music. While playing the drums, I went through different periods, and later went through a visual kei period. Even though these bands were later classified as visual kei in nature, I later became a fan of bands like THE WILLARD, BUCK-TICK and DEAD END, so I think that’s where I became interested in the scene.
  1. Your first visual kei band was ZELIACORT. What was the transition from a hardcore drummer to a visual kei drummer like?
  • Pretty natural. When I moved to Tokyo, I was active in numerous hard rock bands, and one of them was called BLADE. BLADE was my first band where I wore visual kei makeup and that’s when I became introduced to ZELIACORT, which I later joined.
  1. In 1996, ZELIACORT suddenly exploded in popularity in the visual underground. Did it have any internal effect in the band?
  • ZELIACORT not only performed at livehouses regularly, but also would do street lives to attract any potential fan around the Harajuku pedestrian zone. We would then start appearing regularly in visual kei magazines, and even before we released our first album (“SARCASTIC”), we ended up doing a tour that spanned all across the country, making stops in Nagoya and Kansai, which seemed endless. Also, I also had a part-time job in the day time, but because I was lazy, every day seemed like a struggle! Whether the band or the part time job! (lol)

(ZELIACORT, with Takashi on the far right)

  1. After ZELIACORT, you joined Plastic Tree. How did you first encounter Plastic Tree?
  • Well, to be precise, I left ZELIACORT and joined Plastic Tree. ZELIACORT continued for a bit with a new drummer that I introduced. With Plastic Tree, vocalist Ryutaro (竜太朗) and the band happened to be a part of a live event that ZELIACORT participated in as well at the Club Gio livehouse. After the show, me and Ryutaro (竜太朗) began to talk and quickly became friends through common interests. One of the things we had in common was a love for The Smiths, and after the first conversation, I listened to a Plastic Tree release, which I enjoyed. A bit of time passed, and I was then invited to attend a Plastic Tree oneman, which was the first time I saw them live.
  1. Plastic Tree became a major band in late 1996, just a few months after you joined. What was the environment like within the band after it became major?
  • Although we became major, Plastic Tree didn’t exactly gain too much media exposure during its first year or so, besides occasionally appearing on an episode of BreakOut (a late 90s TV show that spotlighted numerous up-and-coming artists, most of which were visual kei). We would eventually gain traction regardless, however, and although we would receive some mainstream success around 1998, it didn’t change my lifestyle personally, as I would maintain my part-time day job. A hard thing was that after Plastic Tree’s major debut, our agency literally disappeared. So although we were major, our management was gone. So then, Plastic Tree had to tour endlessly to pay off various expenses that our management team was not able to. The livehouse audience and staff was really kind to me, and while Plastic Tree were eventually able to pay off the debts, we still didn’t have management for a while. It was a really ambiguous situation, like having an indies contract with Warner Music. But in 1998, Plastic Tree were able to spark some mainstream attention with “Puppet Show”, and the attention it received changed everything on that front.
  1. In the late 90s, Plastic Tree were able to separate themselves from the floods of visual kei bands with a very unique alternative sound. What inspired you guys to have such a unique sound and style?
  • The reason I decided to join Plastic Tree at all was their UK-inspired alternative/grunge sound. As I mentioned earlier, me and Ryutaro (竜太朗) had some lively conversations before I joined about our favorite artists, and when I finally was able to see them live, I fell in love with them. Regarding favorite artists, I already felt very close to the fanbase, so when I was a member, I would put in a lot of effort to try to bring out what I felt were some of Plastic Tree’s best qualities. At the time of the late 90s visual kei boom, there was a clear line drawn in the sand from the more popular visual kei bands and the standard bands. As far as visual kei audiences were concerned, our sound “wasn’t visual kei”, and as far as plain rock audiences were concerned, Plastic Tree “wore makeup and were definitely visual kei”, so we were kind of sent to our own underground world (lol).

(Takashi, during the Plastic Tree era)

  1. In 2000, Plastic Tree released “Parade”, which seemed more thematic in its sound and visuals than the previous two albums. What was the creative process like for this album?
  • With the release of “Puppet Show”, we were able to join Sweet Heart, a large visual kei management agency at the time. From here on, the management and label (Warner Music) would work strategically together to get us to play larger venues, while we kept doing our thing with music. Because of the agency, we got to play the Nippon Budokan (日本武道館) during the era of “Parade”, and our live performances got significant coverage on TV. So with the agency doing their job, that left us time to fully concentrate and do ours, giving it our all with “Parade” (also, thanks to Sweet Heart, I was finally able to leave that part-time job! w).
  1. In early 2001, Plastic Tree left Warner Music and became indies. What was the reason for leaving the label? Was there any tension in the band from that big leap?
  • Sweet Heart were intending on leaving Warner Music. After Plastic Tree left with Sweet Heart, it was decided I would leave the band (when my contract with Warner Music ended, my contract as a member of Plastic Tree was then also ended, and I was then only contracted as a support member). As far as the band going indies again, I don’t think it had too much of an impact on them, since they already were in negotiations with a big manufacturer. On the contrary of it being a roadblock, I viewed “Chiriyuku Bokura (散リユク僕ラ)” (the first Plastic Tree single released after they left Warner and became indies) as a signal to further great music.
  1. In late 2001, you officially left Plastic Tree. What were some of the reasons why?
  • Naturally, the biggest reason I left was conflict with the agency. For me, I never thought about severing away from Warner Music, who I felt took care of the band at some of its lowest points. However, our agency asked for a bigger fee, and when Warner declined, the contract was not renewed. Also, there were talks at the time among people in the agency on how they could more easily sell Plastic Tree, and one of the reasons they gave on why Plastic Tree could be having trouble was me. I wasn’t sure if I was being evaluated as a musician or as a talent, but either way, it was starting to chip away in my confidence as a musician. It was said amongst the band that it can’t be helped, and I had to leave, which led to me feeling like I caused trouble in the band by being selfish. But to be clear, I don’t dislike Plastic Tree or have any sort of bad feelings. Since it was hard for Plastic Tree to find a replacement drummer, I introduced them to who I thought would be good (Hiroshi Sasabuchi (ササブチヒロシ)).
  1. Pretty immediately afterwards, you formed HUSH with Akito Hashimoto (橋都章人), who was also previously in a major-label visual kei band right beforehand: ALL I NEED. How did it feel to officially return to the basics and form a band in the indies world?
  • In terms of how we were able to express ourselves and do what we wished to, I was glad that I was able to return to that without all the stress from before.
  1. After HUSH split, you joined a band called bibi. I could not find any information about this band online. What can you tell me about it?
  • After HUSH, I decided I wanted to be more flexible in my music and not as confined in genres. I then came up with a band, bibi, which would have female vocals. Since the members were younger, there was a slight sense of mentoring them, but I think overall I accomplished what I set out to do.
  1. In 2006, you formed MILLION RED FEVER with Takumi Ando (安藤匠), who was the vocalist of one of my favorite indies visual bands E-QAL. What was the writing process like in this group?
  • I first met Takumi (匠) when Plastic Tree played an event with E-QAL in either 1996 or 1997, and we kept in touch. However, after a few years, I lost contact with him, only to find him in Tokyo! (w) (E-QAL was a Hokkaido band.) While I enjoyed working in bibi, the age gap between me and the members was making it a bit of a struggle, and the vision that I had and they had were totally different, so I then formed MILLION RED FEVER with Takumi (匠) as a band to hopefully be more intuitive. The songs were written in a potluck fashion, with the lyrics and melody of the songs belonging to Takumi (匠). As you know since you’re familiar with E-QAL, he’s a fantastic vocalist, and I love his work. He tends to see things in the long term, so I feel happy to still see him regularly.
  1. Currently, you’re a member of two directly opposite bands: BMXX and Kodebiru Tai Hentai Shiten (子でびる隊変態支店). How does it feel to be in two bands with completely different approaches? Is it ever difficult to maintain a sense of duality?
  • It is absolutely true that the genre and style of each band is completely different from each other. In my case though, I’m a musician who loves to work with an image that works for the band, so I can do both without a sense of stress. Kodebiru Tai Hentai Shiten (子でびる隊変態支店) have a style that’s akin to visual kei, having a reliance on makeup to portray a sense of emotion. On the other hand with BMXX, you are free to express yourself without aesthetics, so both ways are a lot of fun.
  1. In 2022, HUSH reunited for the first time in years. What was it like to reunite with the band after all this time?
  • When the first revival live happened, I was like “is this really going to happen?”. I really felt happy to see Akito (章人) on stage again. I was really worried about how this was going to work before the first rehearsal, but the moment we made those familiar sounds again, I knew that it was all going to work out. After the first rehearsal, the expectations within the band towards perfection became higher and higher, and it was admittedly difficult! (lol) But I’m full of gratitude and moved by the experience.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • Before I knew it, I became an “old school” musician (lol). I would like to continue to play music without any change, so if you don’t mind, I would like for you to continue to follow my band activities. Oh! And on July 1st, Kodebiru Tai Hentai Shiten (子でびる隊変態支店) will be releasing a new album, so please check it out. It was a great opportunity for me to look back on my history, and I thank you for it!

(Kodebiru Tai Hentai Shiten (子でびる隊変態支店), with Takashi on the far right)

#010 - Shunsuke Okumura (奥村俊介)
Famous bands: JADIS, solo work

  1. What made you interested in visual kei?
  • When I was in high school, I saw Kuroyume (黒夢) at a livehouse, and I was absolutely shocked. I thought “is there really a world like this?”. I remember really wanting to be Kiyoharu (清春) (lol).
  1. Your first visual kei band was JADIS, which you formed with your brother, bassist KOHTA. Not much is known about the band’s first few years of activity. Can you tell me a bit about it? Also, what was the reason for the original members (HIRO, MAKI, 彩-aya-) leaving?
  • I first formed JADIS when I was in high school as a Kuroyume (黒夢) cover band. Before long, we started writing our own material and appearing at livehouses across Nagoya and Yokkaichi. Not too long after we started performing at livehouses, however, (HIRO, MAKI, 彩-aya-) decided to leave and start another band, so me and KOHTA decided to continue JADIS as a duo and not disband.

(Shunsuke during the early days of JADIS)

  1. In 2000, JADIS revived after a year of a hiatus with a much lighter, more softkei look and sound. Was this change more intentional or natural?
  • When me and KOHTA were kids, we grew up being huge fans of JPop, so I think we decided to let the more poppy side of our childhoods bleed into the music.

(JADIS after its softkei revival, with Shunsuke on the far right)

  1. JADIS would disband in 2004. What was the reason for this?
  • JADIS disbanded because one of the guitarists, MISSY, would leave and move to Tokyo to pursue other musical endeavors.
  1. After the dissolution of JADIS, you started a solo career and retired from visual kei. What made you want to retire from visual kei?
  • Towards the end of JADIS’s run, the members of the group had pretty much all departed from the visual kei style, so it wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision.
  1. In 2011, you halted your solo career and retired entirely from the underground music world. Why was this?
  • I decided to get a real job due to family reasons, and at this job, I was careless and ended up almost losing my left ear and a lot of my hearing for a while. This made me self-conscious, and I then quit music.
  1. In 2019, you returned to music. What inspired your return?
  • When it was decided that JADIS would reunite for one-night only, MASA (from Dear Loving) was particularly excited, telling me things like “when you decide to fully return, I’ll prepare a place for you!”. The reunion live was full of people who knew me for a long time as well as family, and it was really just amazing and inspired me to return.
  1. What was it like to reunite with the members of JADIS in particular after all this time?
  • We would say things like “no, the key isn’t right!” and “we need more oxygen!”… it was a very athletic band! (lol) But that’s what youth was all about: it’s not necessarily fun or happy, it’s just alive! So it was nice to recapture that period of my life again.
  1. Speaking of reuniting with the members of JADIS, you are currently in a new band called Kimifuruboku。 (キミフルボク。), which you formed with most of the other members of JADIS, with the only exception being MISSY. Why didn’t he return?
  • Well, I’d love for MISSY to join Kimifuruboku。 (キミフルボク。), but he won’t come back from Tokyo! (lol)
  1. Kimifuruboku。 (キミフルボク。) is a non-visual band, versus JADIS. Is the atmosphere any different now versus the visual kei days (JADIS)?
  • The atmosphere is totally the same (lol). When I met (keyboardist) sao (サオ), I was thinking “I really wish I could have had this kind of sound back then”. With her in the band, if anything, it’s just a further expansion of our musical expression from the days of JADIS.
  1. What are your current future plans as a musician?
  • I really want Kimifuruboku。to be the kind of band that plays at music festivals! I also one day wish for us to work on theme songs for anime and movies!
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • The music of Kimifuruboku。is available on YouTube, so please be sure to check us out at least once! Today, I’m glad to be able to make “love songs” that I can sing wholeheartedly all because I’ve been alive! Thank you!

(Shunsuke today)

#011 - Marsuke (マースケ)
Famous bands: L’luvia

  1. What first got you interested in visual kei?
  • When I was in the 6th grade, I was introduced to bands like GASTUNK and DEAD END through my older brother.
  1. Your first band was CraizVice. Where did the name come from?
  • I actually was a second generation member, so I’m not sure! (lol)
  1. CraizVice had a strong heavy metal sound, which heavily contrasted your later work. What was the inspiration for CraizVice’s sound?
  • CraizVice, I feel, had a heavy performance, with a sound that was both heavy and melodic, so I believe the foundation and inspiration of its sound was both aggressive and melodious.

(CraizVice, with Marsuke on the far left)

  1. In 1997, you joined L’luvia. How did you first become familiar with the band?
  • I’ve known (vocalist) KAORU since before L’luvia, and my older brother (KAZUYA) was the band’s original bassist, so through all of that, I knew of L’luvia and attended lives. When KAZUYA left and L’luvia was looking for a replacement, I received an invitation to join, but I received offers from three other bands as well, so I didn’t join right away. After about 3 lives of playing support, however, I decided to join! (lol)
  1. Around this time, L’luvia began a close association with the BreakOut series. How much of an impact do you think the label had with boosting L’luvia’s popularity?
  • BreakOut’s exposure stretched nationwide, so it definitely helped put us on a larger platform!
  1. Around 1998, Niigata began becoming a hot spot for various softkei bands, with L’luvia arguably leading the craze. Why do you think so many softkei bands began popping up in the Niigata area around this time?
  • In the case of L’luvia, we were always conscious to make our lives fun for the entire venue, so perhaps the atmosphere from that helped lighten up the regional visual kei scene.

(L’luvia, with Marsuke on the upper right)

  1. In the summer of 1998, L’luvia became a major act for the second time. With how strong of a presence L’luvia had in the indies scene, how much of a role did the major label (Mercury) play?
  • During the indies days, L’luvia indeed played many lives, doing three tours a year, so we all had great confidence in our live performances. Since (Mercury) was basically more of an entertaiment production company, not so much a band-focused label, L’luvia had more of a presence in the entertainment world than other bands, so that helped us spread our name in the mainstream.
  1. L’luvia’s single “Suki Suki♡My Girl (スキスキ♡マイガール)” was used an ending theme for the massively popular anime Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん). How did you feel when your song was used in the anime?
  • I was totally surprised! It is absolutely a huge anime, and to be featured in it… I was more surprised than happy, I think.
  1. In 2000, L’luvia disbanded. What was the reason for it?
  • It was me. My right arm developed tenosynovitis, and I lost grip strength as a result. I was very close to L’luvia, and rather than replacing me, the members decided that they wouldn’t feel comfortable replacing me, so the band then disbanded.
  1. In 2009, after a decade, you returned with the formation of MARQUEE MOON, which also had L’luvia guitarist TAKANORI and drummer NAO. What was it like to not only be in a new band, but also reunite with some members of L’luvia, after all this time?
  • I was ecstatic when I heard about the formation of MARQUEE MOON! It was great to return with my comrades-in-arms after all that time, and it was a really fun experience, both doing lives and recording.
  1. Afterwards, you then formed the group Maakujo Rengou (魔悪助連合) with the vocalist of L’luvia, KAORU. Hardly any info about this group is currently online. What can you tell me about it?
  • I had a meal with KAORU, and afterwards, I brought up the idea of forming a new band with him: Maakujo Rengou (魔悪助連合), and development was quick from there! Lastier guitarist Kyoichi Miyazaki (宮崎京一) and Yuuki (悠紀) and keyboardist TAKASIXX from SUZZY&CAROLINE were also in the group.
  1. After that, you formed eis, which is another group shrouded in mystery. Can you tell me a bit about them as well?
  • eis was most of the members of Maakujo Rengou (魔悪助連合) with vocalist Setsuki, who was significantly younger than the rest of us! I was in charge of songwriting.
  1. After eis split up in 2014, you appeared to have greatly decreased your musical activities. What are you currently up to these days?
  • I am currently not involved in any band per-se, but I remain active as a session musician.
  1. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you would like to say?
  • Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity! I still believe everyone can laugh and have fun today with my old precious band L’luvia. Thank you!

(Marsuke today)


He kind of says that PT’s drummers (at least after the original) are just “label salarymen” despite being “members”? :open_mouth:

Well, Idunno about the other drummers, but they certainly did him in particular dirty. Sucks, cuz Takashi’s era of PT is my favorite.

I always saw that position as a risky job…but wasnt expecting that kind of situation. At least he seems not be holding a grudge against them.

Just finished a last minute interview with Shunsuke Okumura (奥村俊介), who was previously in the painfully underrated softkei band JADIS. Check that out too!! More interviews are on their way!

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More cool interviews, thanks again! I recognize almost all of these faces this time around! :smiley:

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You’re awesome Rob

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Just added an interview with L’luvia bassist Marsuke (マースケ)!


I am a massive fan of L’luvia. I really enjoyed the interview with Marsuke

Just did two more interviews: one with Jun (純) from SEPHILA and 404NOTFOUND, and one with Kazunori Akihara (秋原和教), best known for his work with SHONEN KAMIKAZE (少年カミカゼ). In fact, this may be the first interview I know of his where he talks about his visual kei past? Not too certain about it, but it isn’t exactly common knowledge in the music world. But yeah, those interviews are directly below this post!