Hottest Bands Now – umbrella (Japan)

Hottest Bands Now – umbrella (Japan)

Now that you have some idea of what the Visual-kei scene is from the previous issue here, you’re probably wondering which bands to check out first. Since it wouldn’t be too hard to find out more on the more popular bands, let us introduce you to the upcoming bands that need the most support now.


umbrella is a four-piece band based in the Kansai region, formed in March 2010. Members are Hal (bass), Yui (vocals/guitar), Sho (drums), and Shu (guitar) from left to right, and the music they make are sentimental but not just melancholic, as if it is sympathizing with those unexplainable feelings, matching their catchphrase “an umbrella over your heart”. Yet, this does not mean that all of their songs are ballads; they also have upbeat music with more punk-like lyrics, that make you want to bang your head to.


As a big fan of this band, there are a lot of songs I would recommend you to listen to if not all of them, but if I had to pick just one, it would be “Kuda”, from their sixth single of the same name. Like almost all of their songs, this was written by Yui, but he mentions this song as one of his most favourites. The word “Kuda” literally means “tube” or “pipe” in Japanese, which he uses to symbolize the vital connections in life, which is the theme of the lyrics of this song. I usually favour the more upbeat songs, but the steady, heartbeat-like rhythms of Hal and Sho’s bass and drums, Shu’s weeping guitar sounds, and Yui’s warm and soothing voice and lyrics made me fall in love with it. It’s like it is giving you the kind and gentle hug when you need it the most, and it becomes even more emotional when you listen it live at their gigs.


They released their first full album “Darwin” in May this year, and have successfully ended their tour around Japan in July and also played in Canada for the J-Music Festival held in August. They still have many shows coming up later this year, so check out their website for more information.




What is next age of music?

What is a future of music?

Nowadays, IT technologies have been growing up rapidly. The CDs, tapes, videos are about to being gone in the decade.

As well, it seems to be less opportunity of talking with friends about music. Everyone gaze at screens, without sharing and doing acts for going to live with their friends. However, I think if it is a kind of wrong direction or not. it is focusing on individual too much.

Music is Human’s works.

Music is based on social activity, always.

Even if you listen to music by yourself,

the songs were made by artists.

It has the system which the makers send music to audience and audience react.

So, however the apps and technologies were progressed, whatever those are, the principal of music would not be changed.

Our long history of music proved that.

That is what music is all about.

written by Daiki Suzuki

Nothing But Thieves is going on third year from their debut.

Nothing But Thieves is going on third year from their debut.


It will be 3 years since they releaced their debut album “Nothing But Thirves” October, 2015. The album appered on the Official UK chart at No. 7, hit a peak at No. 3 on iTunes and was No.1 on the vinyl album charts. Especially their single “Trip Switch” got a number one spot on Billboard’s Alternative Songs Chart, and gathered more than 26 million plays on Spotify. Also their “Ban All The Music” tour of the UK in October, 2015 was sold-out.

In September, 2017, their second alubum “Broken Machine” was releced with high anticipation. “Amsterdam” and “sorry” were particurally recommended.
Amsterdam: It is a frustrating song. The song starts with high tempo and from bridge to chorus, you can feel your heart beating. You will never forget when you listen this song once. Amsterdam is a place which they can be relaxed and when they want relief, they come back to it.
Sorry: In contract, “Sorry” is dark and hopeless. The song is about dealing with the problems and flaws for getting older. At the biginning of the song, there are only voice and guiter’s sound. Then to the end of it, the song gets melodic climax added drum sound.

World Tour will start soon
Free-Photos / Pixabay

In addition, there is no end to their popularity.
They are going off on world tour in August 2018. First place is to be in Brazil. Subsequently they are goig to travel in South America, United States, Canada and Europe.

Who They Are

The band “Nothing But Thieves” was formed in 2012 by five pieces of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. The band consists of singer Conor Mason, guitarists Joe Langridge-Brown and Dominic Craik, drummer James Price, and bass player Philip Blake.
Their songs are writen by Conor (singer) and Joe (guitarist) basically. It takes a few hours to weeks to write one song which is influenced by eange of music such as Twin Alantic, Led Zep and Foo Fighters. And also Jazz singers which conor loves.

The Story for the Band Name

Before having this name, they came up with other metal name. For example, Number One Elephant, Hammer Gods, Maggot Death… However the story of this unique band name “Nothing But Thieves” is not ovious. In Japanese interview, they told “Long time ago, Joe had worked at the pizza delivery with a friend and his friend thrieved toppings from pizza! Then Conor said ‘he was Nothing but thieves!!’”. Actually this is one of their stories and not true. They have some more. Their unique character is probably a reason why they are popular and attract a lot of fans as well.

Sourced by

Written by Haruka Momose

Hottest Scenes Now – Visual-kei

Hottest Scenes Now – Visual-kei

If you have some knowledge about Japanese subcultures you might have heard about Visual-kei before. This is a movement in the Japanese rock music scene, known for the colorful hairstyles, flamboyant costumes, and wearing a lot of makeup. It is important to know that this is not a music genre because many of the bands and their music don’t have so much in common, but they still are all part of the Visual-kei movement.


27707 / Pixabay

The term “Visual-kei” comes from the catchphrase “Psychedelic Violence-Crime of Visual Shock”, written on the album Blue Blood released in 1989 by X, formed in 1982 and currently known as X JAPAN. Since they were heavily influenced by glam rock and heavy metal, many bands that came after them also had these elements, but newer bands also show influences from bands that came before them in the Visual-kei scene, creating a lot of subgenres, such as Osare (fashionable)-kei, Tanbi (aesthetic)-kei, and Misshitsu (locked room)-kei.


It is quite easy to find your favorite band in this scene because there are so many bands making music of so many different genres, such as death metal, symphonic metal, techno, pop, punk, and shoegazing. It is not rare to find people avoiding listening to Visual-kei music because of how they look or for some other reasons, but judging their music without even listening to it is not the greatest idea. You will be missing out all the fun.


source :

Checking out their music is not hard these days and some bands even tour overseas as well, so if you like their music, make sure you also see them play live. Since most of the bands are all male, the majority of the fans are female, but that shouldn’t be stopping you to enjoy the atmosphere of the band and their gigs. Upcoming issues will introduce you to the bands you must keep an eye.

written by Mika Uchibori

9VI -Part 1-

Today we interviewed to a Boyholic style host club in Nakano, Tokyo. They looks like visual rock band members. Why do they choose the style? We will try to chase the truth this Boyholic aims.

What is Boyholic style?
Boyholic style means ladies behave as cool boys, wearing boy clothes and wicks. It is just a kind of style. Not so deep problem they have. They want to be looks of boys, only. So, they like both boys and girls. The boyish style is seen as wired, sometimes, in Japan. The conservertive people do not admit the progressive and expell us to pretend as ordinary. It is usual. However, “why aren’t we prohibit trying something, wearing boyish style all day long?” This club vice owner said. “We will provide the place of wearing boyish style all day long with the staffs and found this place.”

Why does the style similar to the visual rock bands?
“The Boyholic is demanded by young ladies and some boys. However, now most of our clients are composed of young ladies (most of 20s). The most of the guests like the style of visual rock band.” The owner “Nano” said. It is something relationship between Boyholic style template and visual rock bands. The two segment of guest are exactly piled, it seems.

Why does the style similar to the visual rock bands?
“We will aim for the Japanese image. One of the recommended menu is Matcha. We will intend to mix the images up, between Japanese and Boyholic.” When we headed the reply, we asked them if they intended to invite foreigners or not. However, the answer is “No”. “We can’t speak English. This place is talkative place. So, if foreigners come to our club, we would be upset.”

Daiki Suzuki

The Language of Music

The Significance of Listening to Music in Another Language
Nietjuh / Pixabay

Music can be found all around the world with lyrics in many different languages.  Many people tend to polarise towards songs with lyrics that are presented in a language that they understand.  However, does it really matter whether the lyrics are understood or not?

Originally music was played without lyrics.  The tune would invoke feelings simply through the sound of the instruments.  Eventually lyrics were added to music, and in places like churches the lyrics used were in Latin.  Latin, a language which few people understood at the time, was the language used in many songs.  Therefore, despite people not knowing the meaning of the words they could still enjoy the song.

China gives another good example of this.  Chinese is a language base on tones.  Therefore, Chinese spoken without tones or with tones changed to fit a song can be very obscure even to native speakers.  Despite this many people listen to and enjoy Chinese music in China.

Of course there are also situations in non tonal languages where a native speaker can misinterpret the spoken lyrics to the point of ambiguity.  For example, in English, there are “commonly misheard lyrics” in many songs.  But despite misinterpreting the lyrics of a song a person can still enjoy it. 

Many people listen to songs, but without realising it they segregate songs through the language of the lyrics.  I think it would be good for more people to be willing to enjoy songs regardless of lyrics.

written by Eric Lundberg

Promising young band “Anteros” has just released new single “Call your mother”


Anteros which is an indie pop band has just shared their new single “Call your mother” in August, 2018. This comes after the release of  many EPs starting with “Anteros” in 2015.

Anteros is

The band was formed by Laura Hayden (vocal and lyricist), Joshua Rumble (bass), Charles Monneraud (guitar) and Harry Balazs (drums) in London in 2014.

Anteros is a sharp guitar pop band which they call “bitter dream pop”. Before forming this band, Laura was a former MTV Spain presenter and occasional DJ, Rumble did graphic design, Charles Monneraud used to work at McDonald’s, and Drummer Harry Balazs was a consultant sound engineer for Iranian weddings.

Band history

Laura Hayden decided to move out to London because of the high level of production and songwriting there. When she realised that she wanted to start a band she quit her job and started singing as a member of the band “Asteros”. Everyone told her she was crazy because she had already worked and presented for MTV. But the band turned her life upside down.

Since they formed Anteros in 2014, Anteros’s EPs have done well which has also helped increase the bands popularity. The few years they spent touring soon lead them to their debut album release. They had a performance for opening of Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival held in 2017. They caught lots of attention from the media and the public. Their new song “Call Your Mother” has just been released in August in 2018. Additionally, Anteros announced a UK tour for October. Here are the dates:


10 Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

11 London The Garage

12 Bristol Rough Trade

14 Manchester Soup Kitchen

15 Glasgow King Tut’s

16 Leeds The Wardrobe

17 Nottingham Rough Trade

Anteros will

Make you feel wanna dance

Anteros has their own worldview and their unique PV with addictive vocal’s shows it. Their PVs, songs, and rhythm can even give you a feeling of familiarity. Their music “Bitter dream pop,” which is free-spirited and unconventional makes people want to listen over and over again. Anteros hopes their music will bring up peoples spirits and maybe even cause them to dance.

written by Haruka Momose

editor: Eric Lundberg

People who still collect CDs in Japan

People who still collect CDs in Japan
Pexels / Pixabay

You probably have one of these apps on your phone: Spotify, Apple music, or Amazon music. Today Music is often consumed digitally, and  Japan is no exception as the second largest music industry in the world. Nonetheless, it is still common for people to buy or rent physical CDs in the country.

MIH83 / Pixabay

Although in most countries the sales of CDs has steadily declined  since the advent of digital streaming, it was reported by Forbes in 2014 that over 80% of the total music sale in Japan were CDs. However, in the past four years , digital streaming has become more popular  in Japan , as music streaming services like Spotify, Apple music, and even LINE music, developed by the same company who made the commonly used chat tool in Japan, “LINE”.  were launched. Despite this, it is right to say that the Japanese music industry is still reliant on CDs.

So why in Japan are CDs still a thing in 2018?  One reason may be because of the protectionist stance of the Japanese music industry towards digital streaming, and effective marketing strategies to sell CDs,  from giving out free goods and tickets to signing events. Some even say that people buy CDs because the act of collecting something is enjoyable in itself. Regardless of the reasons it seems that the  abundance of CDs  is what is holding back thousands of artists from becoming recognized.

As digital streaming services like Spotify and music platforms such as SoundCloud and even YouTube became popular as media for consuming music,  indie and  amateur artists that aren’t signed with record labels were able to gain access to many audiences through them.  There are even terms like ‘SoundCloud rappers’ referring to rappers that put  their singles and albums on SoundCloud. There is also a music genre called ‘bedroom pop’ typically referring to lo-fi pop music recorded at home, or literally in the artist’s bedroom. Some of them have even worked hard enough to gain millions of followers and get a contract with a record label.

Of course, most people in Japan have Internet access  too, and the indie/amateur artists can use  web platforms to grab the spotlight. Although some artists have been successful with this,  its seems that they often struggle to win over the CD dependent audience.

However, t;he CD culture in Japan is not the major issue. CDs offer something that digital files of recorded music cannot, like the small booklet, the plastic case and more importantly the feeling of possessing a physical CD of your favourite artist.  Those are things that can’t be obtained through music streaming. Nevertheless, maybe it is time for people to move on and let the unheard artists to become heardso that they may too  be exposed to millions of artists around the world.

AliceKeyStudio / Pixabay


McIntyre, H. (2014). 85 Percent of Music Sales in Japan are CDs. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from

written by Sion Lee

【海外ライブ会場特集】第2回 Hope and Anchor(イギリス)

第1回に引き続き今回もイギリス・ロンドンにあるパブをご紹介します。前回の記事でご紹介したThe Dublin Castleはブリットポップの発展に大きく貢献しましたが、今回ご紹介するHope and Anchorはパンクロックが発展した場所として有名です。

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1880年にオープンし、1970年代以降はパブロックやパンクロックシーンを盛り上げてきました。The Clash、The Police、Ramones、U2などのパンクのビッグネーム達もここでライブをしたことがある他、様々なバンドのPV撮影や、かつてはアルバムなどのレコーディングも行われていたことで知られています。パンクが特に盛んだった70年代後半頃のHope and Anchorの地下ライブ会場は清掃が行き届いているとは言い難く、空調も機能しておらず、ライブをするのにとても良い環境とは言えない場所でしたが、逆にこれがパンクのアナーキーな雰囲気に合っていると言われていたそうです。

現在のHope and Anchorは地下の80名収容可能なライブ会場と1階のバーとしての営業以外にも、2013年から2階で最大収容人数50名の劇場も運営しています。音楽はもちろんのこと、これから演劇の世界で活躍していく演出家や脚本家、役者の応援もしている、エンターテインメントの発展にかかせない場所になっています。

今のパンクロックシーンを楽しみたい方も、完全新作から名作演劇まで楽しみたい方も、是非Hope and Anchorまで足を運んでみては?

Hope and Anchor
住所:207 Upper Street, Islington, London

Written by Mika Uchibori

Don’t sleep on these underrated Japanese film music.

Music plays an essential role in films
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A soundtrack has the power to dramatize the film and it significantly affects how a scene is perceived, and the emotional reaction of the audience. So it is easy to think that much thought is brought into the soundtrack in filmmaking.

When it comes to soundtracks of Japanese films, the main theme of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is noteworthy. The film is a joint production among Japan, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and the famous main theme is created by Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the most internationally accredited Japanese musician. The melancholic and beautiful sound has become iconic, but what other music do the Japanese film industry offer?

Generally speaking, it is common for blockbusters in Japan to have a main theme composed and performed by popular J-pop and J-rock artists. The main theme of Your Name. by Makoto Shinkawa, a film that ranks fourth in the revenue rankings of Japanese films, was created by RADWIMPS, a popular Japanese indie rock band. The Moon and a Cabbage, a film by Tetsuo Shinohara has Masayoshi Yamazaki, a successful singer songwriter as the actor olaying the role of the protagonist and the singer/composer of the main theme. It is also common for idol groups like Arashi (a popular boy band that performs the main theme of Boys over Flowers) to perform the main theme of films. Many Studio Ghibli films have main themes created by acknowledged artists like Yumi Matsutoya and Ayaka Hirahara. However, Joe Hisaishi, the beloved composer of Studio Ghibli is behind most of the main themes of Ghibli films.

It might come to you as a surprise that the films that have main themes that become successful as individual songs, and appeal to the young audience are rarely awarded in the Japan Academy Awards. Some of the artists that have receive this award numerous times are Suo Yoshikazu, Shinichiro Ikebe, Keiichi Suzuki, Masaru Sato, Toru Takemitsu, and Joe Hisaishi. Although their works are highly praised, they are not necessarily phenomenons of the pop culture, so it’s easy for the general audience to miss these masterminds in charge of the soundtracks.


SplitShire / Pixabay

Furthermore, there are plenty of other underappreciated film music makers that do not catch the light. One notable underrated artist I recommend is Tenmon, who is a musician that often creates soundtracks for video games and anime. He has worked with Makoto Shinkawa, the rising director of anime films, and I believe that the soundtracks that Tenmon created for his earlier works, should be appreciated more considering the success of Your Name. and its soundtrack by RADWIMPS that took over Japanese pop culture. The profound soundtracks that Tenmon creates are very silent but powerful, and Shinkwa’s earlier films are not complete without them.

There are hidden gems in the deep ocean of Japanese film soundtracks. You might get caught up with the plot of the film, but remember that the film music is what guides you into the world that unfolds in the film.

SplitShire / Pixabay

Written by Sion Lee