What is your opinion on foreign VK bands?

If this is in the wrong category I’d request someone to move it to a more appropriate cat, and apologies in advance.

So yesterday I thought about Yohio and Seremedy and it brought me down a bit of a pipeline of foreign VK bands. I’ve listened to some of these bands, such as Disreign, Seremedy, Die/May, Kogure, Junction Skies, etc. Some of the bands are pretty good and actually sound sort of VK, and some a bit less so obviously.

Another thing that’s hard not to notice is how polarizing these bands are. I even remember back in the day it would be common to hate on these bands. Seremedy received quite a lot of hate back when they started to build an audience back in around 2010 and it’s hard not to believe the main reason for this was because people find foreign VK bands cringey.

On the positive side, bands like Seremedy received quite a good amount of popularity and I’d imagine the reasons for this likely were:

  • They’re relatable to many of us. I’d imagine some of us can see a bit of ourselves in them.
  • Many of these bands sing in English, and many people enjoy hearing lyrics they immediately understand.
  • They’re often much more accessible.

I honestly have a lot of respect for these bands for a couple reasons. For one it’s very rare to meet people who even care about VK in the first place, let alone enough to start a VK band which not only takes some level of skill but a tremendous amount of BRAVERY on top of it, and when most westerners think of Japanese music they think of anime openings. On top of that the average VK fan I witness is more of a surface fan who seems more interested in the aesthetic of VK than the actual song structure of a VK song.

But anyways, I’m just curious what your opinions on these type of bands are.

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When I started in VK I came across some songs from the bands mentioned above, some even passed camouflaged.

But personally when I discovered their origin I discarded them at the root for some inexplicable reason (finding them cringey would be a good one). There’s also a point where these bands try to get 100% inspiration from somewhere (one band) and maybe they can’t come up with freshness. I mean more of the same, but more cringey.

But personally I like to trying them. I even have a Brazilian visual kei band on my main playlist (ohh, they were so good). I think they have already disbanded years ago…

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I’d love to find more foreign vk bands, but I unfortunately rarely ever find any I like, and when I’ve found a few that I liked, they’re always disbanded or something lol. I found this one New York (I think?) Based band that I liked via Vkgy but I could only find like, a few videos and that was it. It was such a shame honestly


What was the VK band where the entire band is from Cincinnati, Ohio?

They never really make it past “acceptable” or “decent” for me with the below points:

  • While applicable for many other genres of music, foreign vk bands, in my listening, clearly, audibly have mainstream artists (of their time) as major influences. Moot point on its own, but if you’re already knee-deep into vk, most of these bands were just concentrating the major vk tropes that you would already be familiar with, and frankly be more tribute-ish than anything transformative. Great gateway artists, but unless you were that averse to listening to music in a foreign language, you would eventually move on to the larger pool of artists in the genre. Doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of them if they’re from your home turf, but their appeal is a bit lost on me.

  • Japanese music adapts better to less syllabically restricted languages because of some linguistic & JP music theory stuff that I’m less than qualified to explain. Bands that I found sounded less jarring were Chinese, Korean, and Thai, albeit still run into issues from the previous point. Applied in English, due to its different cadence, songs and their vocals would either align to a slower Western tempo or follow tempo and have lyrics compressed in a hamfisted way that resembles how deathcore harsh vocalists stuff a bunch of “profound-babble” in a few seconds, except less extreme.

  • Last point, perhaps serving a bit more as a counterpoint, is that many overlook the effects listening to a foreign language in “proxy” has. I’d reckon for many that if they understood Japanese with the same fluency and viscerality that a native has, there are bands in their circulation that would probably be off the table. Inversely, the foreign bands that might seem cringy to you because of their lyrical content are not so removed from some of the Japanese bands you already listen to, content-wise.


I have a similar question to this but what about foreign members? Like not all members are foreigners but just one?

I like cats :black_cat:

I just came in here to say this. Lol

But tbh foreign vkei I think it’s okay. I like that other countries participate in the vkei movement and it makes it more powerful and gives us a different take on how other countries see vkei or would do vkei. My fav foreign band so far is Disreign


That’s an interesting one, because while the first thought in my mind is that they usually just mesh well with the rest of the band, if they’re the frontman, they can become the “hook” in that instance. I’ve seen it done well plenty of times, but sometimes it can come off “forced”, like that was like the sole-intent and there wasn’t much backing substance.

judging SOLELY by the music, putting aside everything i ““know”” about artists’ reputations, personalities etc -

imho by their third single, i couldn’t listen to the music & tell a difference between Disreign and an average vkei band. They sounded like an average startup in the scene - and i think that’s a compliment, given that they were …literally startups. i don’t think their music was on a trajectory to revolutionize or inspire anything, but i think the concept that a group could go to Japan & through struggle end up resembling the scene enough… that’s pretty cool!

~ i’m still not talking about anyone as personalities or reputations here ~

Bataar i knew less about but i never really seemed able to find a hook in their A-melo as easily as i could most vkei bands & Disreign. i know this is a super unscientific analysis, but i wasn’t sure what i could point to in the pure audio of their music and say “vkei”. some guitar tones, yeah! The vocalist is more melodic than rock and metal afaik. Incidentally, i thought they sounded by far the best one that one Tekken song where he sang in swedish! English is a shit language to sing Japanese melodies in lol, so i can sympathize with someone’s voice coming off as flat & unnatural by comparison to jp artists in the genre. But the swedish verse was nice, the character was completely its own; i wish there was more of that.

Die May - i keep forgetting about them but they’re my favourite out of all the scandanavians - IF ONLY they didn’t sing in Japanese - i can hear crumbly prononciations and weak verses & i don’t even speak the language :frowning: i wanna hear Finnish kei! i honestly think that’s the one thing holding them back, aside from a guitar tone that’s too samey from one track to the next. But the first half of their album easily holds my attention - you gotta give them credit for (i think?) being the only group of these to commit to an actual full-length. And tho their style’s pretty derivative of The GazettE, so is a lot of startup bands’, esp around that time mid 2010s.

oh! if anyone remembers nana:shi from Germany - their vocalist has a new project called Leere - they just uploaded an EP to youtube today! i haven’t heard it yet, but from past projects of XiL’s i expect it’ll be dark, moody, and progressive - i’ve never found bands he works with to be half-assed or facsimiles of any other bands’ sound

and then reset memory - what do we think about those guys? :thinking::thinking::thinking:
fr tho, i don’t wanna self-promo too hard but i spend a lot of time wondering how much we sound “like vkei”, what we’re doing wrong, and how much that all even matters. i wonder if it’s a losing battle, doing something that no one in the local scene knows & has no basis of organic reference around - i wonder how much that weighs against the ‘universal language’ thought of music being music.

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The lyrics/language myth on melodies is one I so badly want to set straight → It is not true at all.
I write/make all of the melodies from {mid:night}, En’Cell~Dis’Dein, even up to XAVAK now,
as well as all of the melodies I write for idols etc. I can sing English over those melodies or Japanese,
the language does not change the melody at all one bit and Japanese language or English language being a factor never ever comes up when I am making melodies either.

That being said, one of the biggest things I see as foreign Vkei’s weakness is tied to this myth of “Japanese language is easier to sing with” and then they are just singing really bad japanese or even if they get translations they do not know how to sing it properly but the biggest thing is they just need to sing in their native tongue and quit doing imitation and move unto innovation + more importantly “think of your audience!” some dude at a regular bar in your country is just going to be like “the f*ck is this weeb shit?” even if the music is cool.
Have had this conversation with vkei seniors or my japanese staff friends here too after showing them some overseas stuff and them laughing at the lyrics/singing etc. they often all say the same thing “what a waste” “it would be cooler if they sang in their language.”

There were some really cool bands back in the day like the french band CLOSER who did not sing in Japanese but were awesome, Finnish bands too who also stayed to their languages and it was way cooler. I think lots of these bands end up in wanting to just imitate a bit too much and forget the bigger picture of where they are in the world and what that entails for local growth. “aiming for japan” is kinda silly too, if you do not build a home base and then are aiming at an overseas genre that is kinda dead I do not know how you think that’ll lead to success >.<

the coolest Vkei influenced band lately I have seen are these guys:

They take the influence of vkei but actually mix it into their original sound, not just some weeb imitation stuff~ great stuff!


I think the problem that “foreign vkei bands” face is that they’re stuck in a really weird place.

They need to sound “vkei” and fit into its tropes enough to be recognized as such, which is made much more difficult by being physically separate from the scene. They can’t participate in what makes vkei itself (the whole system of lives and fan culture), as opposed to just Japanese-flavored glam rock/deathcore/etc. They basically end up being the parallel to netogya, “netoban” (I am coining this and taking credit for it): connected to the scene purely through the internet with no physical presence to speak of.

Unless they can make it to Japan and somehow penetrate the scene like our spicy spectral pepper man Kairu, they’re just a band cosplaying as vkei.
Playing gigs in their own country isn’t the same, because Japan has normal non-vkei bands too.

HOWEVER, even if they do manage to perfectly vkei-ify themselves and mesh into the scene, they’ll just end up being unremarkable. Like others said, if they try to become vkei by following the tropes (which is the only way they can) then they’ll just become boring. They can’t out-vkei ACTUAL japanese vkei bands. Mediocre, derivative bands are already a dime a dozen.

Therefore, foreign bands have to strike this magical balance of being vkei without being TOO vkei, which is a stupidly impossible thing to achieve. I think it’s better for them to just pursue being an original “insert genre” band that includes vkei themes WITHOUT SAYING SO (important to avoid impossible comparisons) instead of trying to fit themselves into the amorphous vkei box.


hey i’m really curious - when people talk about ‘overseas/foreign vkei artists’ do you feel they’re talking about you? bc definitionally you aren’t overseas lol, and your bands’ members are mostly not foreign

do you see yourself like fundamentally as an american who’s currently in japan doing vkei, or has being in & around the scene made an appreciable difference in how you’d say who you are?

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hmm I have been outside of that scene for a decade now but I will always feel a responsibility to help others/keep raising the flag that I am from that scene (as you know personally haha.) so half way yah and half way no? because I am just a part of the local vkei scene to the point where I can just walk backstage to any event gig without a pass because pretty much everyone knows me but idk man, labels are just weird and that thought process doesn’t apply here so, I guess it is up to how outsiders choose to label me.

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I would consider myself a western VK artist and have a reasonably high opinion of my own music, so…

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I never bothered listening to foreign visual kei bands because I believe visual kei is a type of rebellious expression against Japanese culture. Hard to nail the counterculture for a country you aren’t even a part of. I do not deny their influences; but as others have said they need to add a lot of uniqueness to it to stand out, so I would rather call them something else. Don’t have a working title.

Also, sing in your native language folks; I hate people who try to sing in bad Japanese almost as much as I hate Japanese artists tackling songs with bad English. You can make your English fit into a Japanese cadence; you just have to try.


So many great comments! I kind of wonder what would happen if VK influenced foreign bands managed to get signed to indie VK record labels. Their potential would be massively heightened at least. I’m pretty sure many actual VK bands can heavily attribute their entire sound to the label they were signed to.

The language point is very valid considering that we are restricted by our own accents when we sing in Japanese, but if a foreign singer can get past that barrier and learn to sing Japanese with a VK accent, I think it’s fine.

Imo VK nowadays is much more assessable than in the past from a vocal standpoint as it transitioned to a more ‘pop’ friendly sound and lost a lot of the harsh vocal elements that made it unique. Hell nowadays there are VK bands that just sound like standard deathcore lol.

But for a foreign VK band to sound really good we would need the training, the writing, and perhaps immersion into the actual scene to get a better feel of things. It may even help if you have a deeper appreciation of VK and can sort of carry that indie spirit within you.

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I like checking out bands like this just to see their take on VK. Like I don’t expect them to imitate VK or to sound like it, but rather to take the inspirations and put their own twist on them. Some of these end up being really cool.

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Since we are already on topic, is there an interested drummer in Northern Germany available, in and around Hamburg? Currently searching as so many people nowadays are so very flimsy :'D I do not think this forum or thread will yield a response but it seems foolish to me not to ask.

Often I think people apply a kind of romanticism or how do you say like… they want something to be totally unique to their sub genre small interest things as an extension of their own need to feel unique maybe? idk. but Vkei really does not really have some thing in it that makes it solely a counterculture just to the Japanese government/social norms. If anything it thrives on the social norms of regulated nightlife and such at times for many bands now and cookie cutter ideals of “menhera appeal”
that even a huge company like Sanrio survives on with some of their characters.
Just like you can have punk everywhere, or say a country-western band in Africa etc., vkei can be done anywhere if you have the right sense and remove that same kind of romanticism rose tinted filter and get more realistic about the things you need to do I think.

I hope some bands take note of Flood District and some of the stuff I did on solo albums last year, like doing En’Cell~Dis’Dein songs in English, and they really do pick up on doing things in their own languages and remove some of the mythie type views of like “ahhh vkei is sooo different!”
“vkei isn’t a genre it is a subculture with so many different sounds!”
when like vkei senpai here will agree with me and be like “naww, yes and no, there is a core sound style also from the 90s you can hear without even seeing the visuals” “doesn’t the word rock also encompass tons of different genres and movements also?” etc.
but those weeb types you are aiming at with your japanese lyrics and such will be super strict with those ideals, they’ll be your biggest/only supporters and also mainly biggest roadblock because they make it their personality, so if you are a foreign vkei band you have to try even harder to try and get those types to like you I think, another thing to keep in mind if you wanna do vkei overseas I think.
Better to aim for like gothic stuff etc.
I talked with Nero from Psyclon Nine once about his visuals and he mentioned seeing and being influenced by Vkei a bit also, dude makes a living off of music, and if he came to Japan everyone would look at him and think Vkei! plus lots of my fellow vkei musician friends like his stuff.

Also someone commented on indie labels: an indie label signing in Japan’s current vkei scene would possibly be the worst ideal possible. You would just be overpaying for them to do things for you with no money support coming your way. if you are overseas doing western vkei learn to do anything and everything yourself, Japan music scene is a huge money trap for suckers in every semi popular genre. >.<

to sum that all up for anyone doing this or wanting to do:
don’t imitate, do what you want to do but also balance out the reality of where you live and make opportunities within that reality, work hard to build experience within those realistic parameters and then use that strength to do something in Japan in the specific visual kei scene someday, also be prepared to be let down because the reality of current vkei scene now is def different from your dreams/views and music scene may be much better in your own home country’s similar genres (goth,metal,industrial, etc.)


As for my second point, I think it’s that what I’ve listened to in that foreign space were either in a similar vein to song covers where the instrumentals were completely inflexible or bands wanting to retain that “Western” sound as it’s more familiar, and perhaps more approachable from a consumer-standpoint. That latter point having a ton of weight, because it’s an uphill battle to begin with to even approach the Japanese market.

Not exactly my cup of tea, but one of the best that I’ve heard for a ground-up composition. That being said, if we’re moving past soft & kote-kei and that swathe of neutral/dark stuff into the uptempo oshare, and even more so, kira-kira space, I’m curious how that would work (both musically and stylistically.) There’s a semblance of that in some of that math-rock/jpop/hyperpop fusion stuff I’ve heard lately, so it does pique my curiosity.

This is something I overlooked and is another major factor. (circles back to that “is vk dying” thread we were having about what constitutes as vk)