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MAGORiA

How to make Visual Kei popular again?

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I have been thinking a lot about why the Visual Kei "trend" outside of Japan faded, just like the emo/scene kid trend did. I miss the old days a lot, I am so tired of all those Kardashian wannabes... no originality, everyone is dressing up the same way and everyone is listening to Ariana Grande etc.

 

It feels like all the subcultures are gone. Feminists are the only ones you see these days who has piercings and colorful hair... which is sad.

 

If you went to the mall about 10 years ago you would see huge gangs of Visual Kei fans hanging out. They were everywhere playing music out loud from their phone speakers, talking about how to get their hair perfectly straight or teased to perfection, the hottest member of their favourite band and they had cute pins on their shirts with band names.

 

I hope I'm not the only one who is missing the old days. I want it back, and I hope you can help me make Visual Kei popular again :(!

 

What caused it to become so popular? I think this question is very important to be able to bring it back again!

 

My thoughts on this is that some people outside of Japan discovered Visual Kei on the internet. Then they started to dress that way. People saw those people in public or in schools etc, and thought they looked cool, asked them what it was all about and then it kind of spread.

 

I saw that happening a lot, me and my friends showed up in school after the summer break 2007 in 7th grade dressed up in Visual Kei after we had discovered Phantasmagoria a month or so earlier through a friend of a friend who was into Visual Kei. After that more and more people at my school started to dress in visual kei and it became super huge in my city. Online we got in touch with other fans across the country and it felt almost religious!

 

Sadly it faded away around 2010... only a small percent is still holding on to it. It's sad!

 

It started to fade when Facebook became more and more popular, I believe. Before that everyone just spent their time online in old forums etc you know.

 

I believe facebook, instagram, twitter and stuff like that killed the subcultures because everyone is exposed to the mainstream and everything that isn't mainstream gets filtered away because people tend to upvote Kardashian related things etc which makes visual kei related things etc harder to discover.

 

I am a member of a lot of visual kei groups on facebook, I follow pages of my favourite artists etc... but when I scroll through my feed about 90% of everything I see is just posts with 100K+ likes about Ariana Grande and things like that.

 

No wonder why Visual Kei is fading more and more, social media etc filters it out even for the most hardcore fans.

 

Same thing on youtube, I use youtube mostly to listen to Visual Kei music or watch art channels. In my feed, recommended videos and related videos I only get videos about James Charles and "10 things you didn't know about Kylie Jenner"... I never even watch or care about that shit.

 

Are we getting brainwashed into becoming mainstream?

 

What is it that Visual Kei doesn't have that James Charles, Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande etc has? I mean... they seam to be so important to everyone and I am getting forced to know everything about them because social media won't show me the stuff that I am interested in, even though 70% of everything I ever do on the internet is Visual Kei related... >___>

 

The new generation can't discover it like we did because social media filters it out!

 

It feels like they want Visual Kei to be forgotten. I mean... we still hear scene kid music playing on the radio, we still hear 90's grunge playing on the radio... but not Visual Kei even though it was just as mainstream back in the day as grunge etc was. Only difference is that Visual Kei isn't dead and new bands are still popping up and the genre is changing/evolving which makes it new and fresh unlike grunge and scene kid music which is exactly the same as it was back then(just more dead).

 

How do we change this? What if we all dress up as visual kei as possible, take the hottest and coolest pictures ever and post everywhere, link Visual Kei related things all over the web and go outside and inspire people? Is that what it takes to make it popular again? Who sets the trends? Who decided that Visual Kei should fade right after it's peak in 2009?  

 

Would you be happy if Visual Kei became popular again? Why/why not? What are your thoughts?

Edited by MAGORiA
Wanted to add something.

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Visual Kei was, and pretty much always will be a counterculture movement with a cult following. Things come and go in popularity. That's been the case with Nu Metal, Eurodance, etc.

 

Part of it is the fact that Harajuku culture is dead and J-Fashion is so toned down, and a proper J-Fashion revival is possible, but no matter what, Visual Kei isn't going to be the mainstream phenomenon it barely even was at one point. Its always gonna be a niche movement with niche music tastes. Japanese people and Americans always have, and always will be mainstream taste-wise. Thats the nature of things. No use getting mad about it, because there really is nothing you can really do about it. Just enjoy Visual Kei while it's still a thing. 

Edited by Himeaimichu

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Also, there are a ton of people, regardless of their political affiliation, who wear colored hair. Dyed hair is arguable more popular and accepted than it ever was, and so are piercings and makeup on men. 

The current social climate is arguably the best for Visual Kei, because alternative fashion is becoming more normalized as people just stop giving a fuck. I mean, Scene fashion is seeing a revival in 2020, and in recent years, Gothic Rock and Post Punk made a mini comeback. People are finally starting to no longer giving a fuck what you look like, or what you wear. 

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13 minutes ago, Himeaimichu said:

Also, there are a ton of people, regardless of their political affiliation, who wear colored hair. Dyed hair is arguable more popular and accepted than it ever was, and so are piercings and makeup on men. 

The current social climate is arguably the best for Visual Kei, because alternative fashion is becoming more normalized as people just stop giving a fuck. I mean, Scene fashion is seeing a revival in 2020, and in recent years, Gothic Rock and Post Punk made a mini comeback. People are finally starting to no longer giving a fuck what you look like, or what you wear. 

Curious to see where is post punk and gothic reviving.

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3 minutes ago, saiko said:

Curious to see where is post punk and gothic reviving.

There are a few bands recently that have seen some minor popularity, like Drab Majesty and She Passed Away. It's not on the same level of popularity as in the 80s, but it's more than we had in say 2010.

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At the current time it isn't possible to make any Japanese band popular, or those popular people should promote any Japanese thing in a REAL good daylight and not only pointing out how weird Japan actually is.

 

currently it feels as I am a weirdo to even LIKE stuff from Japan. Because liking cute stuff at an older age isn't seem to be NORMAL here in the west. 

 

We tried hard, but even if I do agree with most of your points... I doubt we ever get into an area (again?) that Visual Kei or Japanese music is cool again.

 

 

And nowadays artist, are just different, so kids like other stuff. 

But eh... wasn't visual kei only popular a few years? kinda 2006-2010. After that... it went down down down...

 

 

The only thing we can do is to SHOW visual kei to popular vloggers in hoping they will vlog about it in a positive way...

 

But do we really want that?

I mean... visual kei... most bands suck anyway and don't even play the music which the mainstream will like. 

 

 

The real people who killed the alternative music world...

well... it are the DJ's who create music for everyone...  yes those people.. https://www.festicket.com/magazine/discover/top-10-biggest-djs-world/

Edited by BrenGun

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Even when it was popular it was a niche thing. I would say people in the community could do a better job at broadening the discussion and making communities more lively to join. That would help but a lot of the fans have gone silent or moved on to more active fandoms/communities.  

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1 hour ago, BrenGun said:

The real people who killed the alternative music world...

well... it are the DJ's who create music for everyone...  yes those people.. https://www.festicket.com/magazine/discover/top-10-biggest-djs-world/

I don't think anyone can honestly blame DJs. DJs are just doing their jobs. At the end of the day it is music fans who hold the most power. I can't remember which TV pop talent show it was but I remembering reading about fans in like the UK being over those types shows and they all mass streamed/bought Rage Against the Machine music pushing it to number one in protest. When fans start throwing money around and making noise stuff happens. 

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Just now, Cereal Killer 13 said:

I don't think anyone can honestly blame DJs. DJs are just doing their jobs. At the end of the day it is music fans who hold the most power. I can't remember which TV pop talent show it was but I remembering reading about fans in like the UK being over those types shows and they all mass streamed/bought Rage Against the Machine music pushing it to number one in protest. When fans start throwing money around and making noise stuff happens. 

I don't blame them, actually when they were getting more popular the DJ stuff also got better and better, and they still do create amazing songs. I'm not a fan perse but I do even like what they create. 

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2 hours ago, BrenGun said:

 

But do we really want that?

I mean... visual kei... most bands suck anyway and don't even play the music which the mainstream will like.

This is, for me, one of the key points on the matter.

 

2006-2010 was a period when the offer VK did was still innovative, diverse, and at the same time close to the on-going music trends worldwide (rock was still in their cool years). It couldn't not have a success, at least at a minimum, in a niche way. Even with their flops, because yeah, I agree with many of you here that Mucc, Dir, Giru, D'espa or Gazette's take on Western trends sometimes delivered cringe-worthy material, plus all that no-homo shit over getting rid of their queer aesthetics... but hey, isn't that what art is about, creativity? At least they tried to evolve, offer their worshipers something different and outdo themselves each time.

 

So, speaking of today, I don't care about whether the music of the VK scene will be taken or not by the mainstream media, but I certainly will care about the quality of it if that scenario ever happens at least at a minimum. It would be actually embarrasing to have someone you've previously told you like "vk" finding about Pentagon, Golden Bomber or Under Fall Justice after looking up for it in the web, or keep wowing over the same boring heart-munching blood-sucking perfos since  

Obscure's PV... 

 

That said, over the years it happened to me that the more VK band I discover, the more shitty stuff I find, like, the stuff that really makes the difference in a listen could be actually, let's say, a 30~40% of the whole VK releases, while the rest being cheap BL cosplay ost's that I will always prefer it stays on the niche it belongs.

Edited by saiko

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Well there's many reasons and we've had topics or discussions about this before on the forum so if you do some digging you'll find some decent posts about it. Here's some points tho:

 

1. The Japanese have stopped investing time and money in the western market. The big tours and promotion campaigns and shit are all long gone after everyone ( most likely ) lost their money ten years ago. This situation has actually now started to change slightly with big relevant bands like DADAROMA making the exception for anime conventions for that big anime cash, and also they've been starting to wake up about the potential of streaming services like spotify despite having been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I don't think this will amount to a boom like it was before, but maybe at least it will normalise the situation where our existence is at least acknowledged in some roundabout way. 

 

2. Visual kei ain't doing so hot in Japan either. Now with the hiatus of R-shitei the amount of big bands is only dwindling down and the fact that successful new bands like Raid that, let's be real, are nothing to write home about musically and that would never ever get any press outside the vk fandom because it's strictly for visual kei die hard gyas only, super niche. Also the biggest media draws are getting dangerously close to retiring for good if not by their own will then by time itself. The international rock circuit is not going to recover once those legends are gone and the time is almost here, and I'm open for suggestions as to who'll replace X, GLAY and L'arc and draw like they did. 

 

3.  General culture shift is hugely in favor of music that can be done at home and then toured for fraction of the price ie. rap music and electronic music. Big spectacle pop performers aside, touring a rapper and a singer without loads of equipment is significantly cheaper and easier.  People can start realising their musical ambitions without finding other people even in the middle of nowhere; and then to this you add the reality that rock music stopped innovating for the culture years ago. Nothing came after the metalcore post-hardcore fad, and rock audiences are aging by the year while hip hop audiences span multiple demographics from all male to all female and from young to older and the underground scenes change faces around every six months. Techno is also insanely profitable where the night lives of cities around the world function around the techno economy that can cater to normies and underground diehards at the same time. People ( normies ) go to rock clubs on the weekends as a curiosity to listen to shit that's at least 20 years old and most often between 30 and 40 years old.

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24 minutes ago, Disposable said:

Also the biggest media draws are getting dangerously close to retiring for good if not by their own will then by time itself. The international rock circuit is not going to recover once those legends are gone and the time is almost here, and I'm open for suggestions as to who'll replace X, GLAY and L'arc and draw like they did. 

 

d-dude...

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  • vk's largest active demographic is domestic and centered around live venues and night life (hosts, etc.)
    • any cultural references basically go over foreigners heads, the music has never been meant/directed for a global market.
  • vk's propagation and global interest stemmed from its parallels to emo culture (i'm talking about '06~ish onwards), which in its current form has merged with the hip-hop scene and barely resembles what it once was aesthetically.
  • we're "old" dawg, like the median age here late-20's to 30's. it's natural to see things come and go, musically.

preface

what could happen

  • japan needs to take more risks in mainstream jpop promotion for heightened global interest, and instead of trying to emulate the kpop sound, they should try and put money in the right place like korea did. 
    • when mainstream stuff gets popular, indie follows suit
  • youtube is a powerful tool that has become increasingly popular in japan. take advantage of the platform. rev up that SEO and tackle that youth insatiability for music discovery by releasing targeted videos. perhaps they could collaborate with the rising utaite on the site w/ global recognition (ex. mafumafu)
    • ex.
      • vambi who was the vocalist of LOG, a band that did pretty meh under B.P, is now a youtuber w/ 1.83 million subscribers and making bank.
  • visual kei would have to completely change into something that it's not, palatable enough for global consumption...

...so what's really going to happen

  • nothing. the music industry is doing just fine and japan's "galápagosization" or "island mentality" hasn't really costed them.
  • vk making some sort of western resurgence is a pipe dream, and only future iterations of the genre "might" attract interest again.

 

Edited by colorful人生

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I'm completely fine being in the remaining minority of a dying genre. I would rather find what I like on my own, then have 'them' figure it out for me.

 

I think the whole 2006-2010 resurgence of the genre was more organic than any of the created/algorithmic/lackadaisical trends the post 2010's have given us. This was in part due to social feeds/search terms/content that we were using/sharing/discovering ourselves during this period. These days, the internet has basically been turned against its users, and through very powerful technology, we're shown a barrage of cookie cutter content that the vast majority are entertained by. It doesn't matter if it's good or not, or if some of us aren't interested in it, it's what works. Fortunately, VK is only cookie cutter enough for it's own genre, and too risky for mainstream audiences.

 

If it takes VK following mainstream trends to get popular again, count me out. I am grateful for the old bands and existing bands that keep true to their style without selling out.

Edited by zombieparadise

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two main thoughts, really:

1) it's too ''edgy'' and whatever you think about social justice, it's a big factor in the mainstream + it influences consumers so obviously a lot of bands... wouldn't be getting away with their antics. it's not even trendy to be edgy

2) big fandoms are cesspools and it's bad enough as it is, so if it takes it being niche for it to be relaxed... so be it

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5 minutes ago, webm4ster said:

1) it's too ''edgy'' and whatever you think about social justice, it's a big factor in the mainstream + it influences consumers so obviously a lot of bands... wouldn't be getting away with their antics. it's not even trendy to be edgy

 

i don't think that's tru m8, the lamestream is for sure edgier it has ever been before. there was a time when you couldn't even make a political platitude without the management being out for your ass, and now it's sometimes even part of the marketing both from left to right to say something inflammatory.

 

coloured hair, face tats and anti-social behaviour is endemic and you have dudes like XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep becoming legends. After years of everyone looking the same ( think of a generic early 90's rapper and then a generic early 2000's rapper, now think of the scene today )  all kinds of old barriers are breaking down, aesthetic movements from the past that people used to think were in bad taste like nu-metal are being reappropriated almost solely for being edgy and brutish. even Billie Eilish is a gigantic jump from the saccharine feel good corporate morass of the 1980's that everyone loves for some reason, the same 80's where without the big business say so no one could get famous because the music business controlled every single media outlet that didn't involve some dudes mom's basement 'zine factory; now you can make a living independently and do what you want just by E-begging, let alone being "yourself" and selling the music you do. I doubt we've ever had as sincerely political and personal music before as we do now with all sides of the spectrum being represented.  

 

it's even acceptable and almost expected to like all kinds of music now, whereas back in the day it was common for the general music consumptee to identify with just one thing. theoretically I think if there was ever a time for vk to finally break through with people who seriously actually spend time with music then the time should be now, but in my opinion we'll never see a time when vk will get rid of the anime weeaboo kawaii stigma. people who like good post-punk, goth etc. stuff will never discover what vk had to offer and all those gems around the millenia will be just forgotten somewhere in dead blogspots and dusty cabinets because of this, and that's unfortunate. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Disposable said:

i don't think that's tru m8, the lamestream is for sure edgier it has ever been before. there was a time when you couldn't even make a political platitude without the management being out for your ass, and now it's sometimes even part of the marketing both from left to right to say something inflammatory.

 

coloured hair, face tats and anti-social behaviour is endemic and you have dudes like XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep becoming legends. After years of everyone looking the same ( think of a generic early 90's rapper and then a generic early 2000's rapper, now think of the scene today )  all kinds of old barriers are breaking down, aesthetic movements from the past that people used to think were in bad taste like nu-metal are being reappropriated almost solely for being edgy and brutish. even Billie Eilish is a gigantic jump from the saccharine feel good corporate morass of the 1980's that everyone loves for some reason, the same 80's where without the big business say so no one could get famous because the music business controlled every single media outlet that didn't involve some dudes mom's basement 'zine factory; now you can make a living independently and do what you want just by E-begging, let alone being "yourself" and selling the music you do. I doubt we've ever had as sincerely political and personal music before as we do now with all sides of the spectrum being represented.  

 

it's even acceptable and almost expected to like all kinds of music now, whereas back in the day it was common for the general music consumptee to identify with just one thing. theoretically I think if there was ever a time for vk to finally break through with people who seriously actually spend time with music then the time should be now, but in my opinion we'll never see a time when vk will get rid of the anime weeaboo kawaii stigma. people who like good post-punk, goth etc. stuff will never discover what vk had to offer and all those gems around the millenia will be just forgotten somewhere in dead blogspots and dusty cabinets because of this, and that's unfortunate. 

 

 

i suppose so, i think it's a balance between appeasing the more socially conscious, while also making something sincere.

and obviously attention is currency after all, i see your point.

 

i think the concept of the 'mainstream' is kind of not applicable to our times too, now that i think about it. the internet has too many different channels of expression + allows a lot more art to be visible. what's mainstream in 'traditional' media isn't always congruent to the internet, but then it feeds off it too. 'mainsteam' is... yeah, difficult term.

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There were rappers outside of the "norm" in the 90s and 00s (Andre 3000 being an example who became extremely mainstream). Also this emo rapper thing is pretty much the new norm and standard. It's all still really manufactured when you think about how these streaming sites and social media sites work. I noticed how manufactured it had become when Adele would show up on lesser known R&B singers streaming stations but the lesser knowns would NEVER get streams if you were listening to an Adele station. But that is a totally different conversation.  Unless vkei bands start mumble rapping I don't see it. (That would be hilarious tho). 

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