Why do VK bands disband so often?

So someone on JROCKNEWS discord actually brought this note, written by Seiya from the Desperado up

And i feel like it could be worth talking about it.
Also i think we all can agree that the metal band gone VK called N he is refering to is Nocturnal Bloodlust.

He makes a lot of comparision towards non-VK bands, which i guess if fair, because you need somewhere to have a measurment and see if another scene has more or less disbandments.

Let me point out something where i would like to add something on his writing

Unless you are a fan of a minor non-V band, V-kei fans do not receive information about non-V bands leaving or breaking up. However, information about V-kei bands is coming in more and more, so V-kei fans may feel that there are more V-kei bands.

I really want to comment on this part, because looking through the metalcore scene that i love i know they had a fair share of disbandments or forever hiatuses. But what i also noticed were bands, that have stayed alive over years, because one member stayed and didnt gave up, which is something i have seen less with VK bands.
It seems for VK bands easier to re-group completly and go on under a different name.
But i also account in that especially VK fans like to have some tunnel vision towards VK only bands and might not notice what goes on in other scenes.

Another part of his writing what i want to point out is this one

V-kei is a genre in which aspects other than the music (e.g., appearance and character) are also important, and many fans attach themselves not only to the band but also to individual members.

As i mentioned before non-VK bands sometimes get carried by one member only, why it works? Because fans care more about the band itself than about individual members. That doesnt mean that there are members who will end up and stick more out. But all over members are easier exchanged than in a VK band that will loose fans if they loose a member.
Just think of Jiluka, how many fans would stop listening to them, if Sena would leave them?


I never considered the “some guys will want to do VK because they want to and others will do it to sell” aspect. You’d think a band would think this through and talk about it before forming.

While I think there are a variety of common reasons like changing sound direction, conflicting member personalities, differing approaches to idoltry vs artistry, and participating in vk adjacent stuff like nightlife, I think it can be simply chalked up to people naturally changing and how that’s dealt with.

I think most people don’t understand that from a band’s perspective, especially doing lives several times a month, things can get old real quick. Instead of putting effort into reinventing your sound or going stagnant, in certain cases it’s probably more productive to disband and recollect with other musicians. It’s not like you suddenly become no-contact with your ex-bandmates. I also think the cross-pollination of band members is something that makes vk really special.

“V-kei is a genre in which aspects other than the music (e.g., appearance and character) are also important, and many fans attach themselves not only to the band but also to individual members.
Therefore, even if a band breaks up or leaves the group, many people can “continue from where they left off,” which may be a low hurdle to overcome.”

This certainly makes it easier as well.


simply not breaking out and having low numbers is a big reason for a lot of bands to quit.


Is it still a “band” if it is just one person though?

It does make sense for a VK musician to have a harder time keeping up the look. Well the Visual part anyway. If the focus is just music, then it isn’t too hard to keep up the concept but compared to the visual part of VK, a whole group may be needed to provide the visual effect the concept is going for. This might be difficult for a soloist.

I like what Kamijo has done for his band members though in giving them a unified outfit to wear to complement him in their performances. His visual work is still displayed without the others being a major factor in the visual appeal.


Well, music world is a hard world and if you don’t play music with all your heart, you won’t be able to make your band popular for long term.

What I notice is that many vkei bandman pay too much attention on their looks aka branded stuff. they wanna walk in expensive clothes, drive expensive cars etc.
And if you feel serious about music and you are in a band with folks who only care about the newst guccci bag… you know you don’t belong in that band. and the otherway around as well.

But also music labels know how to play a game with bands :triumph: And most bandman fall for the lies, so they be doomed at a point as well.

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I’m interpreting the prompt as “Why do VK bands disband so quickly?” and I’m going to come at it from an unconventional angle. As always.

Band members have the most agency over whether their band stays together or disintegrates but they can’t do everything. If the band leader and main songwriter leaves, a band is done for even if they don’t want to admit it. If someone gets sick and/or dies suddenly, that’s an unexpected blow they can’t recover from. Crime and drama can force someone out of a band. The rare traffic accident can also bring an end to someone’s career. And finally there are the unreliable, flaky kusomen who don’t make good band mates. Visual kei is a local scene, and local bands self-destruct. It’s what they do.

But another large component of visual kei are the fans, international fans included. Even more so, in this case. If the fans are not actively talking, spreading, discussing these acts in their language then there is no scene. There’s a reason why this site is called JROCK ONE and not VKEI ONE. There is no scene for indie Japanese rock and metal music. I’m sure the die hard J-Pop fans have a realm of their own, but that’s because those fans are just as passionate as us visual fans are.

My theory - which I have lots of anecdotal evidence for - is that there are very few indie fans of Japanese rock and metal today because during the boom from 2005-2009, those fans did not do the job of spreading the music they were into and cultivating a community. In fact, they did the exact opposite and hoarded releases. There was no front door because they were busy building brick walls.

Remember how I left a bit of a rant in Random Thoughts Thread about how I think trading in the visual kei scene is dead in 2022? That ties directly into this! The whole indie scene was built on the backbone of trading, private servers, and exclusivity. It was all about what you had and what others didn’t, and what you could get for what you have. @CAT5 can speak more authoritatively on his experiences in these waters.

From my perspective, when an entire scene trends towards trading, you have a Catch-22 where new people can’t break into the community because no one will give them the ability to join because they’re not already in. How are you going to trade with anyone if everyone only trades with people who have rarer things than them and the people at the top are only looking for goods rarer than live distributed blank DVDs limited to 10 copies of Kar+te=zyAnose’s third live at IKEBUKURO CHOP? Half the members that I converse with daily on JRO are relatively new on the scene, and if it wasn’t for the people that came before who built the foundation and left behind yesterday’s music and music videos for today’s fans to enjoy, then I doubt that many people would even be reading this message. Y’all would probably be listening to something else entirely.

The whole concept of exclusivity and trying to strike a balance between “rare and valuable” and “obscure and worth less than nothing” over music you don’t even own is the highest form of ego-tripping. Maintaining a list online of all of the music “for trade” is right below it. No one wants to talk music with an egomaniac who will yammer away about all the music they won’t share. No one would chill around here if the moderation team were condescending dicks. You either have a warm and welcoming community or nothing.

You see what happens to an entire scene when the fans choose nothing. Indie fans congregate here because there’s nowhere else to go - and you are most welcome to stay! - but that’s the reality of the situation. There’s no separate international forum to go chat about indie rock! It’s here or nothing. It’s a prime example of what happens when elitism gets in the way of enjoying music and there are and were fans that just don’t get it. Ask the few who lurk around here and listen mostly to non-visual music - they probably feel very isolated in that no one wants to talk about TK or Sailing Before The Wind, but they have nowhere better to try!

Don’t get big mad when the promising indie visual kei band whose music you went out of your way to withhold disbands without anyone ever hearing of them. Most people aren’t fans of and won’t buy music from bands they don’t know and have no connection to. That’s the part we have to play. We have to build that connection or the ones we have will wither away.

Word of mouth - and the music to back it up - is essential for bands in 2022. All bands are competing for the attention of the same fans. Not everyone is going to get heard. Not everyone will be liked. Not every band will be good. And even the good ones might not make it before reality settles in and hard choices have to be made. That’s music.


to be honest there is no real jpop realm.
Only some anime forums or discord thats about it. few facebook groups… of course twitter too and news sites and such… but not a forum like this anymore :sunglasses: But the jpop idol fandom is huge tho just around everywhere :expressionless:

Following up on the previous commenter. There never was a Japanese indie rock non-Visual Kei online fanbase network. I know. I took an interest in bands like The Pillows and Jinn.

Such bands usually disbanded so I think for us overseas fans, like me, I am a foreigner that type of music never grew.

Also, before TK from Ling tosite sigure. I always have loved bands like Buck-Tick and Nightmare. TK actually loves Buck-Tick. He has worn a band t-shirt of them. Although I do not see them returning the favor.

I have known about the VK scene for years the forums, etc. Actually what tends to be the case I am not much for online communities. I tend to listen to music alone and don’t typically feel like discussing with others. I just had more down time recently and thought the forums looked interesting here at JRock One.

No, wrong, THERE was a Japanese indie, rock, non-visual kei online fanbase network forum. but that’s years years ago. I even forgot the name of the forum. However the forum didn’t lasted for too long maybe 5 years or so, guess bit longer. But I totally forgot how the forum was called. It was lively and even before the LIVEJOURNAL time. I believe around 2002 until 2008 or so, something like that. Back then there were a bunch of users who already where in their 20ties while I was still a kid of 14-15 years old. One of the owners/founders or most loved member died and people were very sad about it. also one of the members had an almost deadly accident in South Africa (He married one of the users). Some members tried to keep the forum alive but after all it’s gone.

It was the forum who introduced me to visual kei, without I even knew that someone introduced people actually to visual kei. One member shared lots of Janne Da Arc, Pierrot, Dir en Grey, Malize Mizer, Raphael, Gackt and such kind of 2000 early bands.
And just lots of JPOP, which the forums main focus was.

But after they where gone I never found a big community forum anymore. I’m still glad we continue now as jrockone, which we can focus on any genre :smiley: Need some more time to grow in more variation but it happens lately too.

Are you thinking of Batsu?

Nooo, not Batsu, it’s way older than Batsu I guess.

Was it an invisionfree forum?

I don’t think so…
The name was something like J-POP something more.

'People also shared Gravure photos that forum

People aren’t really willingly to play dress up, the craze is long past, only reason to do it now is to pander to teenage grills. Creative difference, turmoil, lack of budget, corporate rest. I mean it’s not a hard question if you know anything about music is if there’s a band that releases a sick album and breaks up its either one of these reasons and for vk that’s harder because we’ll its silly.

Coming from the jpop side here, i would like to disagree. The problem on Jpop is more that its heavly group or company biased.
As someone who was into LDH based groups i barely did get to know what johnny idols were doing, unless “crossovers” did happen or you knew a LDH fan who was into other groups too.
Forums are indeed missing, but lets admit it, how popular are forums still these days? And most forums that exist till now are either very old ones, or like us have build up on the community of another existing forum.
Also let me say add this that the Jpop community faces constantly trouble with the companies themselves, because of sharing paid content etc on sites like twitter.

Depending on the concept i guess. Also i said its often just a founding member that goes on, that doesnt mean the band will have each week a different line up.
Also i noticed people care more about the bandname, than individual members.
If you want i can go into futher detail and give you some examples.

Answering that partially right away. On metalcore sites i feel like the weirdo, because i listen mainly japanese bands, also because i know more about the japanese music industry than your common metalhead who listens to crystal lake and maybe 2 more japanese bands. (On the other side, i am lacking huge knowledge of american bands, altough i am working on that slightly) But yeah when i come here i feel more on par with people.

there are bands that start out so loose that almost nothing is talked through from what i did read. Basically those bands figure out their stuff along the way and then might figure out at one point, that some of em just care to sell and give a f about being VK

Coming up with another point here
Missing support of labels, not being able to get staff etc
Let me quote Sailing Before the Winds Bassist here
I mainly use him to quote, because he is quite open about anything going on behind the scenes, dude doesnt really hide anything and he usually sounds quite reasonable.
Also bear in mind that those are deepL translations.

After 10 years of being in a band, I ended up without a label or an office and without any backing…

Well and thats of course another point. Bands that stay without label, without any back up. It might be easier for VK bands to find labels, but how many still end up without one?

SBTW, I’ve never felt like I’ve gotten the recognition I deserve. I’m not doing this for the recognition, but it’s a bit empty unless I get enough recognition from other people. So I will continue to do SBTW as always until I get at least the recognition I deserve.

Now, he might not be in a band merely for recognition, but how many other bandmembers do bands for recognition??? How many bandmembers get frustrated if they perform in an empty live hall?



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groups Isn’t same as a forum full of people talking about variation of music.
So, jpopfandom doesn’t have any forum since years anymore. There are only groups on various platforms.

And about labels.
Bands, gottta be careful to which they signup with. Or what kind of shitty contract they even sign. Lots of labels won’t give a band good paycheck or even put bandman in debts. Speaking for JDA after they disbanded, the guys still had money debts they had to pay off. While they signed to one of the biggest labels of Japan… which they helped to be rich, they sold so much to not need having any debts. So hearing that they had a debt was odd already. which means managers and labels still fly off with earned money :expressionless:
Still to be known well enough you cannot stay independet. Because labels have the connections you need to be more known. But well bands should not agree with any label contract they can sign. They have to talk carefly about each contract point.

Contrary to popular belief and insta numbers, he’s the second least popular member in Japan and 50% of the live-attending fans are there for the much-more-charismatic bassist. And none of the members are replaceable on a technical level.

To answer the question itself: there’s a variety of reasons and I think it can mostly build down to a) not being cost-effective for them or b) internar turmoil.

It’s not rocket science imo. It is what it is.