VK adjacent Bands

@reminiscing2004 brought up in the random thoughts thread that grey area of VK and non-Vk, bands like Omnyoza or Waggaki Band and others, who use make-up/costumes, are close with VK bands. perform with VK bands etc.
I thought we could collect some thoughts and infos on the topic

Did you fall for those bands already and thought they are VK?
Do you insist that they are VK, even if everyone else says they aren’t? I actually came across a person who claimed that Waggaki Band are Wafuu Kei.
What bands do you know belong to that grey zone?
Also, you know any bands that havegotten upset when being called VK?

(i moved the posts from the random thoughts thread over to here, for more clarification)

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Does anyone want to help sort me out? I’m having a strange meditation on the grey line between vk and not-vk.

Randomly watched the PV for Galneryus’ Silent revelation and thought “Damn, if I had no other context of the band, I’d think this is some type of vk based on the video”. It’s certainly more “visual” than some soft visual acts and just as “visual” as Mucc or Plastic Tree.

And it brings me back to similar bands where at different points an ambiguous line can be drawn. I always think of Sex Machineguns and 陰陽座 (Onmyouza). You’ll find adverts in old Shoxx magazines for 陰陽座 releases, alongside GazettE, Mucc, Rentrer en Soi, Phantasmagoria, and other “typical vk” acts. And the band will say in interviews that they have been inspired in ways by VK, but that they will leave it to the fans to decide what kind of band they are. And for some reason the (western) fans seem to have decided that an act like 陰陽座 are definitely not VK? (at least as far as I’ve discerned)

I understand Galneryus particularly not being considered VK because they dropped their intense costume look after their first album or two… and I know a lot of this has to do with what kind of acts they share lives with, what kind of magazines they are featured in, etc…

Maybe I’m just rambling and don’t have an actual question, but I’d like to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.

Isnt the main factor for those bands often that the bands themselves said “we are not VK”
The problem is i think that for some bands the resource where they said it went lost.

I know there are tons of people who think of Waggaki Band as VK too. And i get it, even i fell for bands like that and thought they are VK for a long time.
i think on vkgy i did read the term VK-adjacent Bands :thinking: (someone correct me if i am wrong, please)
Basically bands that are close to the VK scene, maybe even take over some of their stuff, but are not VK.

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I think we should consider also that the make up isn’t the only factor that makes the band vk I would say. Do the bands participate in the vk subculture? If so to what extent? I think many bands will wear make up but refuse to participate in the vk “culture”. Hands off that filth if you know what I mean. So they won’t label themselves vk and can also find the term offensive to them (I can’t remember the exact name of the bands but there were some that were really against being labeled that way)

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To piggyback on what @JohnN said, I would say the most concrete thing you could point is whether or not they follow the VK industry business models of selling cheki, doing typical instore events, making furi videos, encouraging gya culture, signing with known VK labels, that sort of activity. You can’t say “we aren’t VK” if you do that stuff because the rest of the Japanese music industry doesn’t function that way. It’s less to do with style and music so much as business practices and participation in a subculture. That’s why I’m hesitant to label any non-Japanese acts as VK unless they have enough of a presence in Japan to participate in the culture.

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Man, gil, you memorized that somewhere from a book, right😆
Nah i get the point.
Although there are things that we associate with VK but are not VK exclusive. Cheki namely are not VK exclusive. Idols sell them too, even non-VK bands have spelled cheki’s here and there already.
I think idols do have in-store events too.

Thinking about it :thinking:
Nocturnal Bloodlust should have become a band of the grey zone. They don’t wear make up anym but are still signed with a label that has mainly VK bands under contract.
Also last year at least they still had in-store events

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RUDE :triumph:

Nah but I think it’s just a combination of all these factors that makes a band vkei. Maybe a band does it on a smaller scale or just isn’t as noisy about it, but the way the scene functions, you’re either in or out (as we have been shown with Koichi and Tsuzuku). The VK industry seems closer to the idol industry than the normal music industry in terms of artist relations and marketing, and especially now with the “VK idol groups” forming, the lines are even more blurred.

I suppose you could also say that VK is more of an emphasis on performance and spectacle than just music (hello overly dramatic gesturing during lives and MVs where they’re obviously relying on the backing track lol).

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I think what you wrote is quite contradictory. While outside of Japan, the term is used differently, in Japan Marilyn Manson or other foreign artists who are “visual” would be considered VK in a way. So I think Wagakki band for example could be considered VK even though they’re not “part of the scene”. Especially when you keep in mind that Kagrra, were a VK band too. Despite them being signed to a “vk label” (PS Company), I don’t see much difference in their appearance (not even their music, even though that’s not really part of the definition of vk).
Is DIR EN GREY still VK because they mostly dropped their VK appearance? Does a band become VK if they wear VK clothes?
I think Nocturnal bloodlust who “turned vk” are a pretty good example of how little defining VK makes sense if you compare their looks over the years (To be honest, I still think they just “went vk” to be more successful/more appealing to a bigger scene, especially considering they are dropping this image again):

image

Especially more recent bands like DEVILOOF don’t sound like a “classic vk band” at all. Without their visual appearance, I wouldn’t consider them vk at all (implying that vk bands have a “certain sound”). So does a band “turn vk” just because they put on some make up or certain clothes for a photo shoot?

tl;dr: The differentiation of “This band is vk, this band isn’t” is stupid, because the music varies too much but just defining a “vk band” by their visuals doesn’t make sense either. “Being part of the vk scene” isn’t really a good criterion either.

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So it’s pointless is what you’re saying.

To a certain degree, yeah. There’s not much that every band that’s considered being “vk” have in common that let’s you distinguish them from non vk bands. That might have been possible in the 80s where every vk band looked like X JAPAN, but it’s barely possible in 2022 where vk bands go “normal” and back and “normal” bands might adapt the “vk look” but not be in the scene or be in multiple scenes at the same time

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What I would say is that VK is not and has never been a specific genre. It’s not only the type of music but also the band’s identity and the way they view themselves that makes them part of the sub-culture. Take the originators like X who existed before the term was even popularized - they were just imitating the kinds of popular glam rock and heavy metal of the day. While it’s true that certain subgroups like ‘kote-kei’ have a very unique and recognizable sound, it would be doing a disservice to the variety of rock and metal being produced to put artists such as LM.C and Dir en grey under the same ‘genre’ label.

That said, in terms of popularity the scene is well past its peak and has been on the decline for years, so there’s not much incentive to start out as an indies VK band over a non-VK one (other than the fact that there is definitely an -albeit very niche- audience). Even the old typical behaviour like fanservice is rare these days. I would say that a large difference between a lot of VK groups from mainstream rock music is the way that the members are essentially trying to sell themselves as much as their music, and this is assisted by things others have already mentioned such as cheki, photo-ops and in-store events where fans can get to know the members better than they would usually be expected to.

Ultimately I think the main factor for whether a band should be considered VK or not is whether they themselves claim to be so. For example Tetsuya of L’Arc was shocked in an interview when I suggested that they were VK - he told us that he had never considered them to be so nor publicly stated as such. Admittedly I think things like being signed to a predominantly VK label and appearing in events with other VK groups should be a major clue though. However, these days you don’t even have to be strictly ‘VK-only’ - take a look at Dexcore for example who have been both playing with and collaborating with major players in the indies metal and alternative scenes for a while now.

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I’ll be honest this topic will probably be a bit of a debated thing but I honestly believe in my opinion vkei is it’s own genera. It was created by humans just like every genera of music throughout history and will basically stay that way for years to come.

Also I feel as tho this thread could be similar to like bands that are formally vkei or bands that sound and look vkei but later on state they are not in like an interview or something. It’s a bit confusing. I guess this thread can be renamed to probably like " Jrock bands that you thought were Visual kei" but this is my opinion of course.

Bands I thought were vkei but not I have a couple.

I guess G.L.A.M.S counts thought they were vkei but I guess it’s just a Jrock solo project by mikaru.

This band called オノマトペ. Thought they were vkei. They sound a bit vkei but they are not.

A band called Artemis not to be confused with the 2-3 other bands named Artemis. They had a female member.

Artemis 「楽園」MV(FullVer.) - YouTube

got a point there, tbh the VK adjacent part i catched it up on vkgy
“Jrock Bands that look like VK” could be too
I will think about it, till now everyone seem to have understood the topic

Basically a Bandmember is a product, but that makes them close to idols again.
Also i think sometimes the Bandmember sells better than the actual band.
I mean as much as i am annoyed when i see Sena plasterd over 20 different twitter accounts, that stuff is PR in the end and helps CD sells or streaming too probably.

I know M.:a.ture had been confused to be a VK band too.
Apparently it came a lot from them being active in the VK scene having mainly bandmember from VK bands and playing with VK bands.

And are under critic for that on tanuki. Or lets say they are under critic for using VK only if its for their advance but rejecting it on other sides.
At least thats what i read, i dont follow dexcore up that close.

i remember people critizising me whenever i said that VK scene operates similar to the idol scene. XDD The way VK bands sell themselves is very similar towards idols.

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