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Zeus

A Decade of Musings

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I find myself with a lot of time to think about the state of Japanese music and how things have changed since I first became a fan. I'm sure you guys have these thoughts as well. For the 10th anniversary, I'm going to publish some random musings I've had about the scene. They'll just be bullet points from one sentence to a few sentences about anything related to visual kei or J-rock. If you guys want to join in just leave your bullet points below and I'll be posting them sometime soon.

 

Thoughts from @Zeus:

 

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the GazettE

 

  • We always had a dream of getting together a J-Rock Wikipedia of sorts to catalog our history. That idea is all but dead in the water. Last.fm is the closest we have to that and it's very decentralized. The day those servers go down is the day an entire epoch of international visual kei ends.
  • From the perspective of an international fan, live distributed releases suck ass. It sucks more when the song in question is not put on another purchasable release, rendering that song out of reach for people like me unless we fork over tons of money to a third party reseller, so it's not like we could benefit the band if we tried. It really sucks when it was given away at a band's last gig, because the fans of that band will only dwindle from that moment on and the release will become even rarer until it reaches a tipping point where no one cares anymore. Then, you might get it if someone feels kind and doesn't purge it from their hard drives.
  • An entire era of Japanese history was lost when Mega Upload went down. Many places exclusively used that website for all their deeds. It's said that 4% of all the traffic in the internet flowed through their servers at their peak. I say this because there are lots of releases that you just can't find anymore because links are dead and the fans have left. I've learned a valuable lesson about the permanence of data.
  • I used to hate collection albums and viewed them as a quick way to make a buck. But after some stellar recent releases and faves of mine that broke up and left a collection album behind before they broke up, they are very useful for both sharing a blast from the past and for making mix tapes.
  • Most blogspots have always seemed like a futile attempt to mimic what we do here for some bored teenagers 15 seconds of fame. I used to expend my energy trying to stamp them out, but that's just as futile. There were a select few that actually served as an archival device and were lit. Places like Byouto and Evil en lucifer existed with a plan and a demographic in mind and actually bothered with mirroring their own links and getting their own CDs.
  • Re-recordings are almost always better than remasters for me. At least with the former it feels like the band put some effort into it. Speaking of which, the re-recordings on Lycaon's second album aren't that bad. I still don't like EROS or Aventure though.
  • I've never listened to an X JAPAN song and I don't understand all of the hate Yoshiki gets sometimes. I like poking fun at Japanese Democracy, but other than that I'm from a different era than original X fans (are there even any left) so I can't cash in on nostalgia. I'm so far divorced from their music I have no feelings one way or another and if it ever does get released, I plan on buying, listening, and reviewing the new album fairly as if we haven't been waiting forever to hear it.

 

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THE PIASS
 

  • Never thought I would see a scene without UNDERCODE. Then again, there was a time I thought there would never be a scene without Matina and these days few people remember that label.
  • Does YOHIO hang around here? He must visit every now and again - this place is too addictive and centralizing not to.
  • Is there even anywhere else to go? Where do all the n00bs come from?
  • I haven't heard anyone refer to anything as "too American" in years. We successfully stamped that ignorance out of the scene!
  • I remember when XodiacK was first formed, their partnership with HearJapan, and their subsequent financial failure with their first single. They were a joke back then. Now they are considered a cult classic. It's crazy how malleable opinions are.
  • BORN and Lycaon are two bands I waited forever for their disbandment, and when it happened I wasn't happy.
  • Visual kei is making a third shift in sound away from the millenial-kei tunes into the unknown. This is a great time to be a fan!

 

Thoughts from @fitear1590:

 

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the fin.

  • I need more VK bands with technical guitar work that aren't necessarily tied to some offshoot of metal (Aicle was a perfect example)
  • The lines between VK and certain brands of indie are getting more porous; a very exciting combination of worlds!
  • Honestly, what happened to Shiina Ringo? She was such a prominent figure in my music taste at one point, but she fizzled out...
  • Please. End. The. Treble. Synth. Fad.
  • Long live "art kei". May the patron saints (ex-members of bands like Moran, yazzmad, amber gris, etc.) keep the style going!

 

Thoughts from @emmny:

 

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DIV

  • amber gris saved visual kei after Buglug tried to destroy it and before issei literally almost destroyed himself falling off a balcony meto style
  • Few things were more depressing than seeing Yuuki ruin UnsraW and then flop into infinity with DOAK
  • "Lost november" by Diaura is the most iconic vk song released in...ever
  • Revival kei was the only thing that saved vk past 2012
  • DIR EN GREY's career trajectory has been amazing and no I don't care what you have to say about DSS
  • No, i'm not EVER getting over D'espairsray so can it.
  • Can bands stop acting like visual kei is still popular, trying to play massive venues (which would have been considered average size 10 years ago) and then flopping intensely? Miztavlah YOU'RE NEXT...300/1200 O-West wait on it
  • DADAROMA and Mejibray have the biggest followings in the western fandoms since vk died and its actually kinda adorable...won't save vk tho
  • Ikenai Kiss by DIV was both the peak and death of EDM kei...RIP

 

Thoughts from @doombox:

 

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CROSSFAITH

 

  • I still don't know how baby VK bands manage to pay for their costumes and make up artists when they can't get 100 people in a venue.
  • MIYAVI proved you can survive after VK, have a public marriage and family, be covered in tattoos, and still be wildly popular.
  • These days it's getting plain to see VK has gone down like the Titanic and we're all waiting in tiny lifeboats, clinging to each other and hoping another big ship will eventually come to save us.
  • I'm still not over K (Pay money To my Pain), Shunsuke (Eldorado, bis), or Jasmine You (Versailles). 
  • ONE OK ROCK took over the world. I'm still in shock.
  • Japanese electro-core burnt out way too fast but man it was fun while it lasted. 

 

Thoughts from @tetsu_sama69:



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BAISER

 

  • When will people realize that most VK bands are just homage of older previous groups and THIS WILL ALWAYS BE A THING?!!?
  • Most VK singers are just massive fanboys of Kiyoharu/Kyo/Hyde/Ruki even if it doesn't seem like they are there always SOMETHING that gives it away and trust me even your vk daddies had people they were fanboys of as well.
  • "Musical differences" is just an excuse for you ran out of mommy/daddy's money for your costumes/recordings OR you just don't get along
  • To survive in this fandom you either have to be extremely open-minded or stick to what you know you like but trust me... not everyone is going to like what you like and you have to accept that
  • Accept it, we're all weeaboos.

 

 

Thoughts from @Ito:

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Sel'm
 

  • Not only has aie somehow managed tostill be sticking around, he is almost seemingly trying to  single handedly save VK...and somehow suceeding? 
  • It took nearly the full span of 10 years, but every one of my favorite VK bands from 2007 has disbanded
  • I am not sure if VK has gotten worse or if I've just gotten older and grumpier
  • Yoshiki has transitioned from a legend to a laughingstock in the community
  • It surprises me when I meet someone IRL and they tell me they are a big VK fan...and then I find out they haven't heard of MH. Like where the hell else are you going?
  • I wish I was more inclined to go back and check out older work. I know I have missed out on plenty of wonderful Jrock, but I am just so keen on keeping with what it current. I really need to fix that.
  • Are we ever going to get any VK bands to come to the States again, outside of the biggest of names?
  • While I listen to far less VK now than I used to (read that as my musical tastes have broadened), it still holds an incredibly special place in my heart.

 

Thoughts from @CAT5:

 

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八十八ヶ所巡礼
 

  • International Visual Kei fans are some of the craziest, most irritating, and deranged people that I've come across. They're also some of the most passionate, interesting, fun-loving, and generous music fans that I've had the pleasure of knowing. There's always been a stigma surrounding the community, but in my experience, there's more good to be said than bad.
  • Monochrome-Heaven is one of the most slept-on forums of all time. We've been around for a decade and the community is still thriving despite the fact that forums are continually slipping into obsolescence.
  • The world of J-rock is vast and infinite, and there's always something new and different to try if you look for it or ask the right people.
  • Trying to convince VK fans that music outside of VK is somehow "better" or more worthwhile is an exercise in futility. Condescending or scoffing at VK fans is also equally idiotic. I've done both. Don't do it. You'll just come off as an absolute dick who's insecure in his own tastes and interests.
  • VK marketing ploys are still pretty fucking hilarious and ridiculous. 
  • Speaking of which, most of us have, at one point, gone broke for Visual Kei and Japanese music in general. It's expensive and wallet-crippling, yet glorious all the same.
  • I still can't wrap my head around cheki or conditional disbandments.
  • DIR EN GREY have never NOT been relevant.

 

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Phantasmagoria
 

  • MH and VK fans at large love themselves a good drama/scandal. From what i've seen, it's usually best to just have a sense of humor about these things.
  • J-rock changes over time. Your favorite era may have been five, ten, or even fifteen years ago. Hell, it might even be NOW. Whatever the case, accept that the musical landscape is constantly changing. I think it's more effective to cherish your favs. and continuously sing their praises than it is to bitch and moan about bygone styles and eras, and how all new music sucks.
  • Sharing keeps the J-rock community alive. It's what's kept us going this long. And not just the sharing of the music itself, but the sharing of news, lyrics/translations, scans, review, live reports, images...even something as simple as sharing your own, unique thoughts about a band or a release. It all counts. Every little piece contributes to keeping the scene alive at large. MH has truly been blessed in this regard, as so many of our members have come here to share openly and freely all out of love for VK, J-rock, and Japanese music as a whole. It's a beautiful thing and I thank everyone for every penny spent, every CD ripped, every mb uploaded, every post typed, and every general ounce of energy poured into our common love for Japanese music.



Thanks for reading! :)

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On 3/23/2017 at 0:23 PM, Zeus said:

An entire era of Japanese history was lost when Mega Upload went down. Many places exclusively used that website for all their deeds. It's said that 4% of all the traffic in the internet flowed through their servers at their peak. I say this because there are lots of releases that you just can't find anymore because links are dead and the fans have left. I've learned a valuable lesson about the permanence of data.

 

There used to be a saying that 'anything you put on the internet stays on there forever' but megaupload's death showed us that its simply not true. If some guy put up an obscure indies vk single on a blog and say 100 people download that file, 5 years later, megaupload is down and probably only 50 people still have that file. Then out of only 10 people that are part of a community where such a file would be shared, only 1 would be willing to put in the effort to share but if no-one requests the file...

 

As time passes the chances of finding the file go down to zero. It might exist on someone's hard drives but in that case its not on the internet. You could track down the CD and buy it but what if the file was not a vk single but a fan made game or something?

 

The main lesson here is: back up any files you deem important.

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  • No matter how wide and varied the styles of music are in the visual scene, how much creativity there has been over the 30+ years of its existance and the fact that pretty much anyone on the planet could find at least ONE group within it that they would like... even given all that, there will always be those people that take one look at it and, without even listening, will say: "It's all style over substance." :/

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