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Why do you like VK?

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Since many users of MH are living under quarintine control since at least a month ago, I thought many of you would have the time to write down here your thoughts in a more elaborated way. So, I wanted to ask anyone here interested: why do you like visual kei?

 

The most common way of aboarding an answer to it should be 'because I like metal/punk/goth/post-punk music, etc.', 'because I like make-up', 'because I like X member'. Say, answering by remarking the presence there of the feature you like. 

 

Although this isn't a wrong answer at all, I would like you to elaborate on why you,  for example, when looking for metal music that satisfies your ears, would choose this kind of metal music that is VK (among many other features).  Say, what means those VK metal or make-up for you, what's its value in contrast with other metal of make-up artists?

 

I know this questions could look odd, considering the majority here moved from that high-school phase of "Oh, you like VK??? Me 2!!1, i thought i was the only weirdo in the freaking world!!!" at least ten years ago. But I was interested into asking it directly because, considering that when we talk here we do it leaving implicit what we like and what not, sometimes I wonder which are some users' interests after reading the post they make periodically. Perhaps there are some folks here who would like to take the chance to speak more words over their love for VK!  

 

I'll be reading you!

 

 

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Being an otaku since age 7, I always had a small idea of what Visual Kei was. I was aware of Dir en Grey, Gazetto, L'arc en Ciel, etc., but I always regarded them as just "Japanese Rock".

From age 14, I got a huge interest in traditional Japanese music. I then found this group called CrowXClass, that called themselves Visual Kei, and used traditional Japanese instruments. From there, I found Memento Mori, Kagerou, ACE, Kiryu, and other bands.

 

I think what mostly draws me to Visual Kei is the mishmashing of genres, kinda like prog (in fact, a friend of mine who is a huge prog head, thinks Visual Kei has a lot of its origins in prog) but done without thinking. By the late 90's, bandmen probably weren't thinking "Oh, I'm going to intricately mix Post Punk and Thrash Metal", they probably were like "I wanna sound like Luna Sea and Kuroyume". Most of these indie musicians were unknowingly making some really cool sounding stuff.

Also, I just really like the Thrash metal sound, but I hate the majority of western Thrash bands, so 90's Vkei has got me covered. That's another thing I like about Vkei over western metal. In western metal, it's like a competition to see who can be the biggest, manliest, and most brutal. But in Visual Kei, there is none of that. You don't have those really rough vocals you find all the time in western rock, and bands aren't afraid to mix genres.

Edited by Himeaimichu

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It's hard to describe but I love the overall atmosphere/mood I get from listening to (most) visual kei, that is what drew me in back in the day. A weird clashing and mixture of various influences that kinda sound terrible in theory but somehow it clicks perfectly with me. Phased post-punky leads over thrash riffs that sound like they're coming from an amp used by a run-down punk band, ridiculous bass lines, clever or odd drumming, melodramatic vocals often made by singers who would have no business aiming for stuff like that... I know, this is a picture super-specific to just one slice of vk, but this is what first came to my mind when thinking about this.

 

By the way it's so strange, I can almost always instantly get on board with any old-school vk band drawing influences from old Western post-punk/goth/metal music (and I myself do love those genres), however when newer bands play music influenced by more modern extreme or djenty metal/core-ish genres, it's usually a turn-off for me except for a few examples (even though, again, I love those genres otherwise). Dunno what this has to do with anything, I just thought I'd write it down, lol.

 

Oh, and it doesn't hurt if the clothes/costumes are killer too. :D 

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A big part of it is that I'm half Chinese and I grew up in two cities where there weren't really a lot of Asian people around, I suppose. Growing up, there were almost no Asian bands or artists on TV. There was like LOUDNESS on VH1 sometimes and the guy from Linkin Park, and that was it. I mean, I'm exaggerating a bit, but those are literally the only two examples I remember.

 

I was really into hair metal/glam rock, etc. as a teenager, and I was so excited when I saw that there was a whole genre that Asian people made that took influence from that style of music. That's a big part of it.

 

I'm also just kind of an introverted weirdo and an emo kid at heart, so the really over the top emotional side and quirkiness of it is also appealing. 🤣

Edited by violetchain

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Honestly, i just like the music. I found visual kei by accident in middle school when i was listening to some anime music on youtube, thought it was pretty good and kept listening till today. 
I also think that japanese language sounds really good in songs, if i were to point the main reason i listen to japanese music, that would probably be it.  

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I personally never was into old school Visual Kei (both music and aesthetics), even back in the days I was only listening to the bands who went for a more modern/heavy sound and sleek black leather jackets (instead of the extravagant cosplay look most bands went for at the time) such as Dir En Grey, 12012 (Post Deicida of Silence) and lynch.

 

Started getting more and more into the genre as more heavy bands have started emerging on the scene. The turning point for me was the release of Dogma by the GazettE which was kind of the official announcement that the Visual Kei scene fully embraced the heavier sound and was ready to follow the prophecy of Dir En Grey.

Edited by Dxrk1sm

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MUCC, DespairsRay, and Girugamesh were the bands that introduced me into Japanese rock, but it took me maybe a year afterwards to actually fall in love with VK and appreciate it. Basically started going downhill from there. 

 

You all know how VK has THAT certain sound. Idk, it just really hooked me. But the GazettE was what did it for me. I was hooked instantly, loved anyone else I found and loved that VK sound. The music was certainly different and the makeup didn't really surprise me or anything. I just rolled with it??? It was (still is) super fun.

 

I'm still in it/I love it because I've met so many of my good friends through the scene and honestly, everything I've done since becoming a fan most likely wouldn't have happened if I hadn't found VK. Or... maybe I'd be following American bands around the States rather than Japan lmao but still so different!


Meeting awesome friends, traveling and gaining all sorts of experiences, and learning funny shit about bands and the members is why I loved it. Of course, I love the costume/makeup side of it too. I absolutely love the concert culture in Japan too. Regular j-rock/metal shows are fun and are just like any western live, but shit. While there are some downfalls to it, I fucking love VK lives lmao VK is ridiculous and fun.

 

(what isn't great about loving men twice my age in makeup and throwing my money at them while I struggle how to pay the next trip outside of Tokyo for another live LOL)

Edited by solaris05

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Man, I remember seeing a picture of Versailles as a kid and just being amazed by their hair, makeup and costumes. I'm really girly now but back then I was quite tomboyish so I wasn't usually into stuff like that but there was just something... I dunno, different about it. Teru's hair in particular blew me away; I couldn't imagine how he'd done that! I was really intrigued so I checked out their music and again, it wasn't like anything I'd ever heard before. I can't put my finger on it since I'm not good with musical terms and whatnot but there's just something about the style of Japanese music that separates it from a lot of what I was used to. Soon after I discovered it, I went on a bit of a spree of finding VK bands and just being astonished time after time. When I got a little older, I started wearing makeup which wasn't anything I'd ever really considered before but VK showed me just how artistic you can be with it. It's got a kind of aesthetic beauty to it. I especially like the visuals/makeup of tanbi kei, partly because it's where I started and partly because it's really dreamlike and again, not like anything I'd ever seen before. Maybe I'm drawn to the new and exciting?

I guess you could say I like VK because it's opened my eyes to so many different possibilities both visually and musically. There's also the fact that diverse cultures/languages have always fascinated me and it's actually a goal of mine to become a polyglot so listening to music in a different language helps a lot with that.

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The most important things to me were the complexity of the music and the juxtaposition of heavyness with beautiful things(melody and visuals). The unique sound of 90s VK has specific musical qualities that define the genre and those are the things I enjoy about it mainly. Have no interest in the newer generation of クソガキ who have no knowledge of vks roots but just use the image along with djent, metal core, nu metal etc. Have sadly met tons of guys like that. But of course if thats what you like, that is cool, different strokes for different folks. 

Love the pre-vk having a name roots bands as well, lots have become friends and it is always fun to hear how they all where all mixing western influences at the same era though in different parts of Japan. Those older guys who were all crazy and real rockers, not menhera appeal host looking things are infinitely cooler to me ❤️

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Considering how long I've been into VK at this point, I'm not sure anymore.

 

I found about this scene when I was in my early teens. At the time I mostly listened to different types of metal (mainly nu, death, black & power). I just remember finding out about Dir en grey, Girugamesh, Mucc, LUNA SEA and thinking "holy shit, this is it". For me this was something completely different and new, despite having existed for a long time already. It was probably a combination of the looks and music, and as I dug deeper down the hole of all types of shit-kei  and different sub-genres, ranging from, to and everything between Eze:quL and GLAY, I realized that I'm stuck. It's pretty scary to think about how much of an impact this scene has had on me, even to the point of making big life decisions (i.e. moving to Tokyo back in 2014), and to be completely honest, I'd probably be a totally different person today if I never had gotten such a huge interest in visual kei.  Of course, I was into japanese culture already such as anime, video games etc, otherwise I probably would've never found this scene to begin.

 

I'm just rambling now, and to get to the answer quickly: It's very likely a mix of the looks and the music. Nowadays I rarely listen to western metal, and my favorite genres besides VK is indie pop/rock and rap, so I get most of my metal cravings from this scene now.  

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Compared to others on the forum, I only got into metal and prog-rock maybe a few months after J-rock (and then Visual Kei.) I was always interested in very atmospheric 80's/90's pop, AOR (album-oriented rock), R&B, and yacht-rock. It was a combination of my parent's music and "watching" MTV music videos all day as an infant that made that kind of music comforting & impressionable to me. Stuff like 90's R&B gospel synth sounds and chord progressions that were so prominent during that time were also popular in J-pop, so I'm not surprised that I would take interest in Japanese music. Also, J-music, and a lot of East Asian contemporary music, continued to roll with that melodic slant while Western Music would have more distinct, separate music eras/styles. Japan was also that main entertainment powerhouse in the late 90's ~ early 00's for most of us in that East Asian space, which meant exposure to anime, games, and the like at an early age.

 

Fast forward to about '08 ~ '10 I was transitioning from J-pop & trance to listening to rock bands like No Regret Life, UVERworld, flumpool, RADWIMPS, Last Alliance, Breakerz, etc. Got into Janne Da Arc pretty heavy and then an absolute flurry of Visual Kei stuff. I really liked the heavy soft-synth with the really visceral, raw instrumentals combined with the cool, effeminate ikemen visuals. Visual Kei became kind of my own space for a time because I knew almost nobody who knew about it, so it felt very special to me.

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Well I don't know, it's just that I've been changing my music taste so much throughout my life until I discovered visual kei. I remember when I was a kid I really didn't like heave music, rock and stuff but one day as a kid I came across a dadaroma song and I was like "oooh a song in japanese wow" and as the anime fan I was I clicked the video and the first thing I thought and I still remember to this day was that it was so weird, I really didn't pay attention to the song I was just hella traumatized from what I was overall seeing and listening, so I was like nope and never thought about it again. But years later I started getting into vk because I came across the gazette one day while I was watching youtube videos, and it was so different from the rock and heavy music my father listened, it sounded almost like that but I found the band dudes so cool with their makeup and hairstyles that I inmediately loved it and started discovering new bands and songs. So rn I don't know exactly why do I love it but it has influenced my life so much that I'm so glad I gave it a second try, like hell, I didn't even remembered I had listened to dadaroma before until the day I came across that same song and it was like a deja vu experience, still hilarious to think about it. But yeah I think it's like because the music and the visuals, like japanese fits so good in this type of music and I kinda like the fact that I can't understand almost anything, also the androgynous style of the members of the bands is so unique that I can't help but love it.

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I honestly don't really know anymore.
The first bands I heard about were Nightmare and the GazettE. My sister was a fan of them both and showed them to me. I just thought it was OK. But when she showed me LM.C I just fell in love. I had never heard anything like it, and their old music videos are so cute haha. After discovering LM.C I got more interested in the genre, so I started to check out other bands as well. I got really into Versailles, the GazettE, Pierrot  and a bunch of other bands, and vk just became a big part of my life. I was 10 years old at the time, and I'm 22 now, so I kinda feel like there's no way out haha. As I got older, my taste in music has changed a lot, but vk is still one of the most important parts of my life. It just kinda feels like "home", in a way? Also, being a musician myself, I feel like there's always this weird pressure to listen to only the coolest and most technical music, so it feels really good to just put on some weird-ass japanese punk 🙃

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Honestly what made this choice for me was simple. Ive been into this genera for 13 years now and I used to be that person that was trying to get into music i didn't know what i was looking for at all. I started off with rap and techno believe it or not (This may sound surprising to some people). I start to not like rap and leaned more toward techno then late became a techno head for a year or so. Then out came metal, deathcore or that stuff. I started to notice a trend with not all but most of them. They sounded the same then again i was into emo screams and all that. I asked myself why cant i find a band that sounds different and unique something i never heard before. Dont get my wrong i still love those nice metal classics from the 2000s - early 2010's but i never saw any progression toward something that would interest. Then i found Visual kei and the anime that sparked it was bleach. Blue by Vivid was my first v-kei song. I started to look up the original artist on youtube, come to find out i got a entire list of suggestions/related video of this type of stuff. As i progressed i later found the genera and ended up here some how altho it wasn't by accident. I love visual kei because its so different then other music in many different ways. Im the type of person where i dont like the same things over and over, well in some areas, but most of the time that is how i am. The variation in music style is so different from deathcore, metalcore basically almost all the core genera. I find it hard to like the different styles of english metal as i would like to call it and it  makes me appreciate the older ones more (preferably pre 90s early 90s) but dispite this fact i do love and cherish some bands of those genera as well that make themselves different in this regard.  The riffs and instrumentals are different, the presentation in videos are different, The lives and the atmosphere are different, The use of different weird sounds and instruments,  Even down to the releases sometimes are different. I know in the us/uk i dont think they have limited live cds, type releases, and setlists. (surprisingly, unless im wrong on the setlist part 50/50 i guess). Either way Overall a good genera to get into if you are open minded to trying something cool and different musically.

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I know visual kei for a long time ago, because  old  French Rock Music describe and show bands. Visual kei are not a edvidence for me.  When I was young I listened many pop music  and when was a teen I listened rocks bands.

 

In 2006 or 2007, I discover An Cafe who allowed to escape from the reality. This band save me and help me  during my harrasement at middle school. Their world seems attract to me and after , I search meaning of their lyrics. This band is really special on for me.

I discover Alice Nine on 2009, after I like the GazettE in 2010 and Golden Bomber in 2011 , this band help me to figth my loneliness when I was in higschool because I am no friends this time and this are really hard. I Listen and discover other bands many laters.

 

 

Visual kei help me during funural and others events during my life .

 

Maybe I actrated because it's a another culture and I love discover other cultures.

 

I assimilate visual kei with my feelings because I am not expert in music skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Miku70

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I liked metal a lot, but always feel distant from his comunity. I was just a skinny teeneager, so I tried with the emo but also feel weird in it, all the other emo kids from my middle school rejected me lol. At the same time I was entering the anime world and discovered BABYMETAL and holy crap I loved that band (I bought a fucking Funko Pop) later I listened bands like Fear and Loathing, SiM, Coldarain and one time I discovered DADAROMA and lost my mind, they were perfect all I ever wanted in a band (I didn't listen to any beyond Ii Kusuri) , so little by little I found more bands and got more into this called VK.

It just mixes music, asthetics and theatricality in a way I love. I love the random and not intentional experimentation. I love that the br00tal bands can be poppy too. Even when the sound is generic at least I have fun with the asthetics. And even the poppiest stuff is still more interesting than the new Asking Alexandria songs.

The music scene in my country is generic indie rock music that I don't like and find boring, the stereotypical and also generic metal with the stereotypical metalheads and latin music for parties and dancing that simply is not for me.

So visual kei has me covered

 

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I think I liked it at first because when my ex best friend introduced me to it, it was something that helped us bond. Then I met more friends in the fandom, and talked about all sorts of bands. (Back then my main bands were GazettE -they still are- Kagrra, and LM.C)

Nowadays I just listen to GazettE and GOTCHAROCKA. I do find myself throwing back with Phantasmagoria and BIS, but I haven't listened to any of the newer groups though I wanna give a few a shot. I just had bad luck with some bands disbanding after I discover them LOL

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Visual Kei was a taste changer for me. It came into my life after a period of darkness that should probably be left not talked about. It ravaged me so much that I kind of lost myself… I struggled to keep a sense of self together; I felt like a collage of failed expectations if anything at all. One of these facets was music taste. I didn’t have one anymore. I just listened to whatever was popular, because I didn’t care about what I listened to anymore. But popular music no longer really gave me the spark it used to during the darkness, and after. I just listened to it to be cooler, so maybe I could appeal to people and make myself… Into something I’m not, I guess. It was just crappy hip-hop, from artists whose names I’ve blacked out, but Chris Brown and Tyga still come to mind. Anyway, one day I was watching Black Butler (only watch a few anime here and there, I am by no means an anime enthusiast) for the first time (Netflix only had season 2, so I just stuck with that), I was really taken aback by how freaking awesome that OP sounded. I didn’t just make sure to not skip it, I rewound back to it like twice an episode just to hear SHIVER by The GazettE. After I finished with season two, I made sure to properly watch season one, and the OP for it was just as amazing to me. So I looked up SID and The GazettE’s music online to hear the OPs in their full form on Spotify, I think. They weren’t there at the time, but I felt this strange urge to hear what these bands were all about. The GazettE, they were my gateway band. As soon as I heard The Invisible Wall, I felt like something clicked; as I had just came home again after walking a lonely road for God knows how long. I heard something that didn’t go in one ear and out the other, but something that actually stayed with me, like I was whispering “sorrow made you” even when I was in bed trying to fall asleep. There was something about this music that, as the kids say, hit different. I never thought that music could be like this... I didn't know that music could do that... Maybe it was the emo-ness of it, as pop music and Hip-hop didn’t really explore those kinds of emotions (this was before the trend of “emo rappers” like Lil Peep and XXXTenacion became big btw… And back when Billie Eilish wasn’t all the rage), or at the very least the way Invisible Wall did.  I also did not have even a single iota of taste for rock and metal at the time. So I also listened to some of SID’s other tracks, and I liked them too. Then I began to go down the Spotify rabbit hole, listening to L’arku, GACKT, lynch., Kamijo, Kaya, you name it, I was listening to it. And I liked just about all of it, too. Soon, I tried to find as many new bands to listen to, new or old. I looked up band recommendations and once I saw a name that stuck, I’d go to Youtube and listen to as much of their stuff as possible. It was thanks to this forum (I think? Can’t recall MH by name as being one of the forums) and many others where I heard about my all-time favorite band, Malice Mizer. And after discovering the amazingness that is MM, I was naturally steered in the path of Kote Kei and began to find lots of new artists to love. I continue to search for songs that bring back that feeling of "Holy shit, I didn't know you could even do that", and even when I can't find something like that, I always find something that does something that captivates me or interests me. Now I listen to so many artists that even listing a top ten is hard for me.

 

Also can’t get enough of Jrock chords. Like, that shit really does hit different. Someone once described it to me as a "Question and answer" sort of progression, and that's why it sounds to nice to the ears for many people, it intrinsically aims to resolve itself in the best manner possible. I mean, a lot of the music is composed in a way you won't find in the west. It's western inspired yet still follows the rules of the homeland. Not to mention the acts that literally couldn't exist as we know them if they weren't from Japan (literally any Angura band). The use of Visuals to coincide or represent the meaning within the music is something that I really like. One example I can think of is how The GazettE changed their look to something darker to show their transition to metal and an overall darker sound. Lastly, I really like the lyrics in lots of VK songs. I began learning Japanese just a few months after I got into it, and throughout the years I can definitely say that my love for VK is one of the things that have kept me going in the learning process. I went from being able to understand  like one to two words in a song, to being able to understand the gist of a song and sometimes even the entire song completely without needing to see the Japanese lyrics at all. I’m still so far from being skilled at Japanese, don’t take this as a bragging session, but the amount of progress I’ve made in ~3 years is a lot more than my peers because of this (their words, not mine!). This has made me really appreciate the differences between Japanese and English lyrics. Japanese lyrics are so much more indirect and less centered on “me”. I’ve always adored the difference in focus. If I can make an example, LAREINE’s Metamorphose is about being sorry for messing up in a relationship instead of being like a western break-up anthem that blames everyone but yourself, I really grew sick of those in high school. I guess it's just individual appeal too, I've always been an oddball with gloomy mannerisms. Really, if VK didn't get to me then maybe emo or western goth would've first. Also, I love this community a lot. It’s pretty chill, and I’ve been treated really well by just about everyone in it. People have been there for me when times get tough, and I’ve been there for others when they need some support too. And so many people have shared rips and scans with me just to make me happy or make a new fan for their favorite band… I don’t know if it’s sad or moving that some of my real-life friends have done less for me than people on the internet that I’ve talked to for like 2 days. But maybe that’s the beauty of the community, we’re so small compared to others that we stick to each other and help each other out when we need it. I’ve made so many friends, and have bettered myself as a person thanks to this community. Honestly, it’s been amazing to me and I only want to be amazing back.

Edited by Total Saikou

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I spare you a wall of text and get right to the point: I got into VK, because I was an edgelord weeb that liked fem boys, and VK was edgy and japanese and has crossdressing. Nothing deep about it, honestly.

 

Tho I also like goth rock shit, hence I like oldschool crap, but that wasn't the initial  or main reason why I liked VK. Plenty of gawfs don't give a shit about VK.

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As weird as it sounds, I think the events in my life led up to me discovering and falling in love with VK. My mom raised us on 90s rock, I idolized my big sis who was a mall goth circa 2004, my older cousin introduced me to 2007 weeb youtube. It was only a matter of time tbh. So when I found out about VK (probably from stumbling on a pic of Bou lmao) I was like fuck this is everything I like all rolled into one concept. Loud, upbeat/ heavy music combined with OOT looks and makeup. 

 

A good chunk of why I like VK is the nostalgia factor. It got me through some pretty stressful times as a kid who was bullied and felt super isolated. I got an iPod nano for christmas in sixth grade and you bet that shit was FILLED with visual kei music ripped from those youtube to mp3 sites. I also used to print out pics of my fave bandomen and put them on my binder 😅 A lot of my classmates would ask about them so I was able to make friends that way. Just brings back a lot of fond memories.

 

Also I dig the way bassists are a lil more appreciated compared to Western rock. As a failed, shitty bassist, I love actually getting to hear the bass in the song. We stan a good rhythm section. 

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- It is still around

- It is diversificate as hell

- It changes over the time

- It has no shame of its gimmicks

- I just want to protect Tsunehito

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I think it was a way of escaping the dull suburban life I lived as a closeted gay teen. I liked the flamboyance, theatrics and expression. The catchy guitar riffs and pronounced basslines captured my interest sonically, and I liked the way Japanese flowed with the melody of the music. I think being a sensitive and empathetic person by nature I gravitated to the idea of expression through sound, without understanding the words.

Edited by Paraph

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