DIR EN GREY: One Step Closer

With their fourth official release in North America, DIR EN GREY continue to break new ground and reach out to an ever growing fan base. While much of their appeal to some may be their country of origin, they are determined to get respect based purely on the quality of their music. The new album, Dum Spiro Spero, takes the band to progressive and challenging new places. APESHIT met up with guitarists Die and Kaoru in Los Angeles a few weeks prior to Dum Spiro Spero’s release in order to gain insight into the growth of the band.
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Watch X JAPAN’s New Video for “Jade”

The long-awaited new single from X JAPAN will be released in North America, Europe and Latin America tomorrow, June 28, in all digital formats. “Jade” is the first track from the band’s English debut album, currently in the final stages of recording.

Watch the video for “Jade” here:

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“This is a years-long dream of X JAPAN‘s, to release a record in the Americas and in Europe,” said band leader/producer/songwriter/drummer/pianist Yoshiki. “Music is very powerful, and we believe it can help us bridge the gap between east and west. We hope that ‘Jade‘ will be the first step.”

X JAPAN Announce First Ever U.S. Tour

They’ve sold 30-million records and DVDs, filled the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record-breaking 18 times, they pioneered “Visual-Kei,” the Japanese music movement that helped spark the current world-wide anime craze, and their leader has been referred to as “the Bono of Japan.” But the one thing the band has wanted to do for years but has never done, is tour America. That’s about to change, as on September 25. Tickets go on sale today.

“We feel like a new band now, like we are going back to the beginning,” said X JAPAN’s leader/drummer/pianist/composer Yoshiki about the upcoming U.S. concerts, “and it’s very, very exciting. We are looking forward to playing smaller venues here in the U.S., something we haven’t been able to do in Japan since the very early days.”

In Asia, X JAPAN plays arenas and stadiums, bringing in elaborate production including lasers, catwalks, and holograms. Comparably, the North American dates will be “back to basics,” with pyrotechnics and some production, but with the band focusing primarily on the music. As Yoshiki told one reporter, “You don’t see good rock shows anymore. Rock doesn’t have enough drama now, rap, R&B, and dance music have taken care of that. We want to be part of bringing the drama back to rock.”

While this will be X JAPAN‘s first U.S. tour, the band made its American concert debut on August 8, 2010 playing the Main Stage at Lollapalooza in Chicago in front of some 10,000 people.

The members of X JAPAN have been writing and recording what will be their first album to be released in North America and to contain English lyrics. According to Yoshiki, about half of the album will feature some of the band’s most popular songs from throughout their career, with all lyrics re-recorded in English, and the other half all brand-new songs. The album’s first single will be “Jade,” which was performed at Lollapalooza and will be on the North American dates’ set list.

X JAPANYoshiki (drums, piano), Toshi (vocals), Pata and Sugizo (guitars) and Heath (bass) – has its roots in the life-long friendship of Yoshiki and Toshi who met when they were four years old. While still in high school, they formed the band, known at the time simply as “X,” and over the next 13 years, X JAPAN released five studio albums as well as six live albums, 10 compilation albums and 15 video albums, and attained iconic status in Japan. With the late-90s breakdown of Yoshiki and Toshi‘s friendship, combined by the sudden death of then-guitarist Hide, the band called it quits. It wasn’t until 2007 that Toshi and Yoshiki reunited, that X JAPAN was reformed, and that the band put America back in its sights.

“While we are confident about coming to America,” Yoshiki added, “I don’t know if we are going to end up being successful or not. But what I do know is that music breaks down barriers, and it doesn’t matter what country the music comes from. Good music is universal.”

Tour dates:
25 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
28 Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA

1 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
3 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC CANADA
6 Riviera, Chicago, IL
7 Massey Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA
10 Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY