Biography Special: D'espairsRay - Part 2

file - 25.10.2009 11:01

We’re continuing with the years from 2006 to today in our second part of D’espairsRay’s history.

Part 2 - Years 2006 - 2009 (to today)

Everyday is Halloween on January 8th, 2006 at Shibuya O-EAST started the New Year, a new logo design and the new playing season of D’espairsRay. At the live itself HIZUMI and Karyu exhibited sinister masks or Karyu’s deeply loved red top hat - faithful to the motto “Halloween." European fans surely had marked the 13th of January in their calendars, since on that day the first full album of the visual kei rockers was in our countries.

On February 5th they played at SHOCK WAVE 2006 1st STAGE in Shinkiba STUDIO COAST alongside their colleagues Nightmare, Phantasmagoria, ayabie and D and captivated the masses.

With their US tour Global Infection they rocked on the 23rd of February The AVALON in New York and three days later they starred at MEGACON in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile the label in Japan eagerly worked on the editing of chosen footage, which the four young men made themselves with their own cameras the year before. The complete works were released, after a single postponement, on March 8th as a tour documentary DVD, The World Outside The Cage. Many interviews, backstage material and more gave a unique view into the world of D’espairsRay. Around the release time the recordings for a new single were going full blast. But before it entered the stores, their Live Tour 2006 -[PIG] headed- was held and with it a lot of agitation arose. The reason for the scandal was the huge pig head, which was chosen as the tour logo. Critics thought that the four musicians wanted to made their fans out to be pigs, but the whole thing was referring to the musicians themselves, as Karyu and TSUKASA explained once. So, it was all a big misunderstanding. On April 5th the new work with new musical pieces (including an element of the pop rock genre), titled Kogoeru yoru ni saita hana, could be found in the stores. Indeed the tour was going full blast around the release date of both versions (they only differed in color, a random card the B-type hadn’t included, and the CD extra). The tour ended on April 15th in LAFORET MUSEUM ROPPONGI. The sound of the single was so shocking for old fans, that many turned away from the band, but at the same time D’espairsRay won over a lot of new fans. Even their look changed; instead of the black patent leather or laced costumes, they were wearing snow-white outfits.

A little revival was held in the middle of May: D’espairsRay and kagerou had revived their Ryuugai no kannou coupling tour for three concerts, this time with a small addition to the name - the tour from the 16th to the 21st of May was called Ryuugai no kannou sono ni. They had also invited TRASH LIGHT VISION as another guest to the show. The tour final was held at Shibuya O-EAST, where all three bands adamantly showed off what they are made of. The fans in the US didn’t recognized anything from the coat change at the three lives in June, because they were already wearing their gear for the upcoming summer tour in Japan - and this was once again casual black. However the four musicians played at last in the famous New York club CBGB. Shortly after, the concert it was closed. In the summer, the band’s most hated season of the year, they returned to the already worn casual black jeans, waistcoats etc. Furthermore they changed from SWEET-CHILD to Sword Records in the summer and their tour [LIQUIDIZE] -Yuugousuru taion- was ready to begin.

The starting signal fell on July 27th in Shibuya O-WEST. The tour had the following interesting aspect as well: The specially made tour merchandise featured a photo book, which included a CD with the track Closer to ideal, and also between the 3rd and 5th of August they performed at the probably biggest metal festival in the world - WACKEN OPEN AIR, in Germany’s most famous village in the north. The response to their performance was so enormous, that shortly after it a European tour was announced. This one was of course still a long way off, because they were still in the middle of their [LIQUIDIZE] tour. The final took place on the 8th and 9th of September at LIQUIDROOM ebisu. And because the 9th of September was their 9th anniversary as well, the fans got one encore in the first venue, and also a free short live afterwards at Shibuya BOXX.

The long awaited fan club [un]Beautiful opened up in October, and until December everyone had free access the special site. Right after that you had to become a full fledged member to enjoy the site and a lot of other privileges. D’espairsRay kept their promise and on November 10th they started into their first long European tour in the Netherlands. Germany gained the most during that tour: six concerts plus one in Switzerland. Almost the whole month the band was traveling through Europe, and for the first time Great Britain, Italian, Finland and Denmark were visited. Even before the tour began, they had spent a lot of time in the recording studio, where they were already working on the next songs. On December 20th they released footage of that summer's tour final, [LIQUIDIZE], on DVD, and even some footage from the additional gig found its way onto the disc. The year ended with the LIVE 2006 FINAL-Closer to ideal- on December 16th in Yokohama BLITZ.

At the beginning of the year they were fully busy with the studio and clip recordings of Squall and a new album. In addition, their official MySpace site opened on January 20th. The recordings threatened to get longer than expected and it was feared that they would have to postpone the release. They took a short break on February 4th for their performance at the annual independence-D 2007, but after that they returned to the studio immediately and D’espairsRay were able to finish the recordings just in time, so that Squall was released on the 14th of March. For the first time it great importance was attached to the interplay of music and lyrics. The guitarist got the inspiration for the melancholic leanings in the song through a letter. The single was also the first one whose track lists of limited and regular versions differed through one song: while the limited came with the PV to Squall on its DVD, the regular one had the ballad Screen.

Right after that they added the finishing touches to MIRROR, their second full album, which was sold on April 11th. The title track MIЯROR was chosen as the new sign of D’espairsRay itself. On the same day the four started a tour their Spiral Staircase#15 tour, and ringed in the tour season for 2007 as well. Also on April 13th the German version of their [LIQUIDIZE] -Yuugousuru Taion- DVD was released.

The first live of the spring tour was limited to their fan club members, who were able to get the first impression of the new album. Behind the tour title was a background in which every venue corresponded to one step on the staircase. On the 15th of May they reached the 15th step and the final show. They played, for the first time, a one man at SHIBUYA-AX, though they had played once for an event in that venue a few years ago. But for this show everything was almost cut out for this tour and they had to admit right after the live that they would like to play there again.

Still in the same month their path led them and several other artists into the USA, to Los Angeles, where they performed at the J-Rock Revolution Festival on May 26th. This was the perfect warm-up for Europe, which enjoyed the release of the European press of MIRROR (with nice CD extras) on June 22nd, and from the 29th of June a new tour. Aside from Spain and Sweden the four charismatic musicians performed in Finland twice, in the context of two festivals: on July 1st at TUSKA OPEN AIR 2007 in Helsinki, and on July 7th at RUISROCK 2007 in Turku. An enormous media circus at the Finish concerts provided another popularity boost for the group in Europe.

In August bassist ZERO's longtime dream came true. Though it had been postponed several times, they were able to do a coupling live with his idol Mana-sama and his band Moi dix Mois. The Event was called Dark Sanctuary and they surely won some new manias at that show on the 19th of August at Shibuya O-EAST. For all who had missed the tour finale of the spring tour, an alternative was been released on September 5th: the DVD of the final gig, and this one included several additional tidbits. Only a few days after the DVD release their next tour was scheduled: the Spiral Staircase:Break the MIRROR? tour.

The tour started exactly on the eighth anniversary of the band, and they had another special treat for their fans. While they gave a free live the year before, fans were able to see an acoustic live in the encore this time. Karyu played on an acoustic guitar and TSUKASA drummed on some bongos. The tour final was held at Kawasaki CLUB CITTA’ on the 25th of October and left the insatiable crowd of manias thirsting for more. They got this with a short winter tour in December, the Spiral Staircase:Outflies tour, which ended on December 30th, again in Yokohama BLITZ. Perhaps they were starting a custom or even a tradition, as it was their second time to play a final live in that venue.

Already in the spring of 2008 D'espairsRay were running recordings for a single, but they were interrupted several times for some performances. First they participated at the stylish wave ILLUSION’08 event at the end of January. As a side note, a few days later the live DVD of the Spiral Staircase #15 tour was released in Germany. They also interrupted their recording for their own lives on the15th and 21st of February, which can be seen as a foretaste for the approaching big event in the USA: their participation in the ROCKSTAR taste of CHAOS 2008 tour.

Alongside MUCC and the Underneath they traveled from the 29th of February to the 15th of April. It was their first real tour through the US. In the middle of March their American fans were finally able to buy the latest album and live DVD. After a long search they finally had found a label to release their works within the US: J-SHOCK RECORDS. In spite of their success in the US, the musicians remained down to earth - strenuous weeks laid behind them, even though there was a party somewhere every night and they were able to form friendships with their Japanese and American colleagues performing in the tour. TSUKASA and Karyu collected several impressions of the not quite two months tour and felt their work would pay off in the end...

Back in Japan the last recording took place and were followed immediately by preparations for another big event and a new short tour. For their performance on May 4th at the hide Memorial Summit they wore nice, white casual suits and presented to the masses their new song BRILLIANT, which was released as a single two weeks later. Confirmed by two positive feedbacks on two events they set up a new tour, titled ROCKST☆R taste of Chocolate, from May 17th, which ended with a double final on the 31st of May and 1st of June in Akasaka BLITZ, but only consisted of four dates in total. Karyu wanted to have the “Rockstar taste of Ch*” in a tour title and so they came up with “Chocolate” in the end. Furthermore their forth logo design celebrated its premiere.

Before the summer season officially started, D’espairsRay starred alongside MUCC and Plastic Tree in a special concert in Akasaka BLITZ, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Like an Edison. The US tour in the springtime had another side effect on the three participating Japanese representatives. On the 14th of June all three artists stood again together on a stage for the event American Syndrome - a pretty striking name.

More events followed in June and July: On the 29th of June they performed at a special live organized by chain store Like an Edison; and from the 14th to the 23rd of July they played alongside 12012 on the V Kei Times supported by Pia tour and performed in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. In August the second new single of the year, KAMIKAZE, followed. Like several releases before, this single was also released in two editions: the limited version with a bonus DVD, from which fans could get a sense of their taste of CHAOS tour because it includes the complete gig from April 10th in Long Beach Arena; and the regular edition with a bonus track. The title track of the same name was used as the ending theme for the TBS Kei TV production “Ranku oukoku” in August and September. Not surprisingly, images from that above mentioned production appear from time to time in the music video. Only two days after the release came their summer tour 88-99 (the numbers indicate the beginning and ending dates of the tour; and the numbers 8 and 9, representing 2008 and 2009, forge links between both years), which ended on September 9th in SHIBUYA-AX.

That day they celebrated their 9th anniversary as well, and the gathered manias were able to see a musical, History Medley (with songs from all periods of the band), and in the second encore something really special: A role change, not unlike those from ANIMAL MANIA times. So vocalist HIZUMI plucked the bass, ZERO could finally play on the guitar, Karyu sat behind the drum set and TSUKASA showed off his vocal talent. Hours of preparations passed, in which old rusty skills had to be refreshed. Only TSUKASA was able to lay back in their two weeks of studies.

Aside from new recordings, among other things they did some new video recordings too, which ended by the end of October. By November it was time for more events: On the 16th they performed at TOKYO CHAOS alongside a number of genre colleagues, and on the 21st they performed at NACK 5 20th at the side of Vidoll. On December 3rd their new single HORIZON was finally released, which not only made it to rank 4 on the Oricon indies charts, but also had a mainly positive pop rock sound, much stronger than in BRILLIANT. In addition, the title track was used again as musical background for a TV production - but this time for “MUSIC B.B.” as the opening theme in December. This was a big stride in their career, because before August when KAMIKAZE came out, none of their songs had been used for a TV show or as an image song, and through HORIZON they suddenly had two that were. The single, which emerged on the market in two versions, offered on its limited press the PV, and the enchanting acoustic version of the classicist of 2003/2004, Yami ni furu kiseki -Classical White Ver.-, as bonus track on the regular press. D’espairsRay started in the last tour of the year, titled TOUR 2008 FINAL ROAD to BLITZ, only three days after the release. The final was held once more at Yokohama BLITZ on the 30th of December. Apparently Yokohama BLITZ finals have become a tradition after all. But their year wasn’t over yet, as one last big highlight waited: their participation at Over The Edge 2008 at C.C.Lemon Hall, in which they performed alongside MUCC and many other artists on the 31st of December until the early morning hours of January 1, 2009.

D'espairsRay had planned a lot for the new year. Already in the last year some suggestions about going major were made. These solidified in January, as the third album of the band was announced via Delicious Deli Records, another sub-label of UNIVERSAL. The new label was launched by UNIVERSAL to give artists - which are extremely popular abroad, for example Uchusentai NOIZ as well - a new platform. Furthermore the label was directly designed as major label. Over nine years had passed before the four musicians took that step. Through their performance in foreign countries and the enthusiastic reception there, they won enough self-confidence to risk this step.

While in the spring they devoted a lot of time to the album recordings, their final work was released, after a single postponement, on March 11th in two versions as REDEEMER. The album title refers to the musician themselves and not, like several other media assumed, to the musical salvation of the entire Japanese music world. The album is full of things that the musicians refer to as important, loved and cherished. The title track of the same name was chosen as the new sign and its PV could be found on the limited version of the album and was more metal again than pop rock. The album ranked 39th in the album major charts. And with this third full album D’espairsRay proved an extremely versatility. For over nine and a half years they have continued to discover and show off a multi-facetedness which is very unique, especially given that there were no changes in their line up. This versatility is a testament to their team spirit, the mutual trust in the band colleagues, through the long time they have been playing side by side now. They will surely continue their way together in the future and will continue to discover themselves anew. Particularly, because they’re always saying that a change in line up will never be a possibility for them; they would rather consider disbandment.

The accompanying promotional tour, titled PSYCHEDELIC PARADE, started by the end of the month with three lives for the fan club members. The Tour for the “regular” fans started on April 1st, but the concert in Sendai the following day was suddenly canceled and postponed. Singer HIZUMI had a strong cold and had to get back to the doctors in Tokyo as quickly as possible. Two days later he felt even better and the tour was continued as scheduled on the 5th of April. May 27th was chosen as the alternate date for the fans in Sendai. TSUKASA was able to enjoy a nice premiere on that tour: On the 17th of May they played their first one man in his hometown Yamagata. The final was held on the 31st of May at Shinkiba STUDIO COAST for the first time. In the meantime and after the tour they already recorded some new songs.

Even fans in Europe were able to look forward to another visit. Even as the band was busy with the Japan tour, they announced via Gekida Tours/ Weird World (the previous European tours were organized by Twisted Talent) their PSYCHEDELIC PARADE in EUROPE 2009 tour in July. This one started on July 10th and they honored France, Spain, Poland, Germany and Great Britain with a visit. They also played in Moscow, Russia, for the first time, on the 26th. To give the whole thing a worthy frame, they opened up their own channel on Youtube, “Maniac TV”, where they gave some short statements before their performances. Furthermore, two days later their third album was released in Great Britain via Spinefarm Records and on the 28th of July Americans were able to enjoy the same release (the album is distributed via Hip-O Records in the USA).

Their popularity is still rising in their home country and abroad. For years they have made regular appearances in radio, TV and in Japanese visual scene magazines like FOOL’S MATE, SHOXX, H’evn, Zy., Cure and many more. In SHOXX magazine they have been participating in a monthly column since issue 113 (July 2002), which is called “Mania no nozokiana” and deals with various themes. The four members always take turns writing. Even in Germany they can be found in magazines, for example in BRAVO, POPCORN, Orkus, Gothic, Peach, AnimaniA and Rockoon.

Since the beginning of August their new summer tour WAKE UP! COUNTDOWN STARTS #9 has been running. It started with a fan club live on August 3rd in Takadanobaba AREA. Into that tour they also worked the events MATCH UP’09 -SUMMER SERIES- on August 9th, where they performed alongside abingdon boys school and MUCC in Tokyo JCB Hall, and FM OSAKA “BUZZ ROCK” presents NATSU BUZZ on the 21st at Osaka Nanba Hatch. The summer tour ended on August 30th at HEAVEN’S ROCK Saitama Shintoshin VJ-3. And because in 2009 is their 10th anniversary, the manias and the band are in for another big highlight. On September 9th they released not only their anniversary single FINAL CALL in three(!) editions, but also they held a free live that day. The A-type of the single featured a documentary about the PSYCHEDELIC PARADE in EUROPE tour. Furthermore the 1st of October was chosen as the accompanying anniversary gig at C.C.Lemon Hall.

In addition, they will also be starring on V-ROCK FESTIVAL on October 24th, where they will play alongside artists from East and West (50 bands in total) like Versailles, D and Marilyn Manson.

The history around D’espairsRay hasn’t reached an end yet. But we hope that you have gotten some special insight into their history and development through our feature. So there is only one thing left to say: Happy Birthday, D’espairsRay!

In the next part we’ll address the following question: What would this band be without its members? Nothing, or a different band! In the conclusion of the series we would like to introduce the four members of D’espairsRay and bring them a little closer to you.
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