By Michael Diana
I hope you all enjoyed your July without my frankly terrible and mostly seasonally inappropriate music recommendations! I’m sure it was a wonderful, relaxing, pleasant-to-listen-to month. But now I return, like a pox upon your house… Ear pox. And, as I mentioned, today we have yet another seasonally inappropriate music recommendation. This band is about as far from summer as you can get, for which I would apologize if I thought it mattered. Luckily, it doesn’t! Nothing matters and this is my column so I can do what I want!
deadman is a visual kei band that formed in Nagoya in mid-late 2000.
Let me start by giving a brief description of what “visual kei” is for those of you who don’t know, since I’m sure there’s someone. Visual kei (meaning “visual type”) is a loose genre of music primarily in Japan that places a certain degree of emphasis on visual aesthetics (costumes, hair, makeup, etc.), sometimes with the music being of secondary importance. The first generation of vkei bands were mostly influenced by glam rock and hair metal of the 70s and 80s, but in its heyday there were visual kei bands representing a very wide variety of genres (pop, punk, grunge, new wave, goth, etc). There’s a whole culture to the visual kei fandom, with most fans being girls and many of those girls being into lolita or other kinds of alternative fashion. If you’re really interested in the culture of the scene, I suggest googling it. Visual kei is actually one of the more popular kinds of Japanese music abroad, so there’s a fair amount to read in English.
But back to deadman. They’re a good representative of what is called “Nagoya kei,” a variety of visual kei from, surprisingly, Nagoya. Nagoya kei tends to be darker musically and lyrically, with more punk/grunge/goth influences than other varieties. Visuals tend to have a lot of black. This is basically deadman in a nutshell. Their sound is very grunge/alternative/punk-influenced, and their lyrics are also generally quite dark. Mako frequently referenced religion/religious themes in his lyrics. Mako also brought in a unique sense of style (lots of black), and unique performances in music videos as well as on stage. He was certainly a charismatic frontman for the band. Unfortunately, in 2006 deadman broke up for reasons unknown. Guitarist aie formed a band called the studs that was active from 2007 until 2009, as well as another project called the god and death stars which has remained active. He’s also involved in another project that was previously called HIGH FASHION PARALYZE but is now called gibkiy gibkiy gibkiy. Mako released one solo work in 2008, and has been a substitute vocalist once or twice for a couple of different projects, but otherwise remains inactive. Bassist kazuya has been a support bassist for one or two bands as well, but also seems to be otherwise inactive. Toki seems to have stopped music altogether with the end of the band.
This Day, This Rain
Follow the Night Light (pretty sure this was in that Halloween playlist I made last October)
When The Saints Go Marching In
Sakura to Ame