By Michael Diana
Welcome back to Mediabug Music! We’ve finally, at long last, after what felt like several years, finished talking about idols from the 1980s, so I thought I’d take us in a very different direction.
(very serious and dark and goth argh)
Debut: “Perfect Garden” 02/7/31
Schwarz Stein were a darkwave/visual kei duo originally formed around the year 2000 under the name Rudolf Steiner. At that time, they released two demo tapes, “Queen of Decadence” and “Perfect Garden.” They were then scouted by Mana of Malice Mizer fame and signed to his label along with his current band Moi dix Mois. Mana dubbed them Schwarz Stein, continuing his trend of naming bands in definitely incorrect foreign languages. They released two singles and two albums over the course of about two years and disbanded due to “creative differences” in 2004, after which Hora released a couple of very limited albums (both in 2005) which he sold through his website. I think they were both limited to 500 copies or less.
In 2006 they reunited under a different name for a one-off minialbum, “another cell,” the same as the name of the group. “another cell” included three covers of Hora’s solo work, one cover of Rudolf Steiner’s song Kuro Ageha, and two new songs. It was also sold through Hora’s website. In 2011 they released a new album as Schwarz Stein in honor of their tenth anniversary of working together, because despite having disbanded, Hora has consistently written songs for Kaya’s solo work. They officially restarted activities as Schwarz Stein in 2014 and have released a single or two since then, while both continuing to focus on their main projects.
Songs of Note
New Vogue Children (because I also h8 str8 ppl)
Queen of Decadence
Current (inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid)
(Kaya enjoys feeding candied roses to his alter ego)
Debut: “Kaleidoscope” 06/6/28
While Hora started doing solo music pretty much immediately, it took Kaya a little while to get his stuff together and release something. Kaya’s first several singles were written by Kalm, ex Velvet Eden (a dark wave/visual kei band that was also headed by a drag queen, of which Hora was also briefly a member), and Kaya’s first album included mostly songs written by either Kalm or Hora.
Kaya enjoys playing with gender, in that he has said he wants to portray a woman visually and to portray a man vocally (that said, his lyrics are often from a more feminine viewpoint). Kaya also writes from a sort of dominatrix-y point of view not infrequently. This is a bit of a holdover from Schwarz Stein, which had a lot of whips and chains and biting. He also writes songs inspired by strong women from fiction. Maybe strong isn’t the right word exactly–interesting women, let’s go with that. Along with all that sexually-charged gothy darkness of course is a lot of fairly relatable sad love songs, and a few sort of happier love songs (but not many). Kaya also likes roses a lot and is currently focusing on the band femme fatale more than his solo music.
Songs of Note
Hydrangea (my very favourite of Kaya’s songs)
Salome (an actual music video!!!)