Schwarz Stein

biography - 04.20.2013 12:07

Close Encounters Of An Electronic Kind

In 2001, vocalist Hime (ex-ISOLA) and keyboardist Hora (ex-Velvet Eden) formed the visual kei duo Rudolf Steiner. The band released two demo tapes, Perfect Garden and Queen of Decadence, but a recording deal remained elusive. In 2002, their unique style attracted the attention of Mana (Moi dix Mois, ex Malice Mizer), who signed them to his independent music label, Midi:Nette, and changed their name to Schwarz Stein.

The duo made their debut under their new name in July 2002 at Midi:Nette's Dis Inferno I party, where they opened for Moi dix Mois and also starred in a fashion show for Mana's fashion label Moi-même-Moitié. Around the same time, Hime changed his name officially to Kaya. Their appearance at Dis Inferno I also coincided with the release of their first single, Perfect Garden, which was produced by Mana. Now thrust into the limelight, they quickly gained popularity both in the visual kei and the Japanese goth scene, continuing to support Moi dix Mois, but also playing oneman lives in their own right. In October, they performed at the Tokyo Goth & Darkwave Festival 05 - a remarkable achievement given the bitter rivalry between the Japanese goth and visual kei scenes.

In March 2003, Schwarz Stein released their first album, New Vogue Children, followed in November by their second single both again produced by Mana. Appearances in popular Japanese music magazines, such as Shoxx, UV and Fool's Mate, followed as well as an interview on the TV program Hot Wave, which often features visual kei artists. In December, they performed once again at Midi:Nette's Dis Inferno II party.

In February 2004, Schwarz Stein announced that they would split up after the release of their second album, Artificial Hallucination, the first release they had produced themselves, due to their different personalities and stances towards music. In their final interview, Hora announced his retirement from the stage, stating that from now on he wanted to concentrate on working as a composer. They played their last live on March 29th but had a one-off reunion on the occasion of Midi:Nette's Dis Inferno III party in December, where Hora also announced the release of his first solo album.

Despite their creative differences, Kaya and Hora remained on friendly terms. In April 2006, they once again collaborated on a one-off project called ANOTHER CELL and released a self-titled album, for which Hora wrote the music and some of the lyrics. Apart from brand new compositions, it also features re-arranged versions of songs by Rudolf Steiner as well as music from Hora's solo project. In June 2006, ANOTHER CELL was performed live as part of Kaya's first concert as a solo artist, albeit without Hora, who couldn't be coaxed out of his self-imposed retirement.

This changed in July 2011 when Hora and Kaya decided to stage a one-off Schwarz Stein reunion concert at Takadanobaba AREA. In the same month the duo also released a new mini album called Recurrence of Hallucination, which contained a new song as well as remixes from Hora's solo project with Kaya on vocals, and December saw the release of a live DVD of their revival concert. The return of Schwarz Stein was so successful that they decided to play a second one man in November 2012. In February 2013, they played a two man with their former label mates Moi dix Mois as part of the band's ten year anniversary celebrations.

In February 2014, Kaya and Hora finally decided to revive Schwarz Stein permanently and announced a new single, GEBET. We look forward to their future activities.
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