Sitting here in a red Hawaiian shirt I feel far too brightly dressed to be writing about The Gazette, yet here I am. The Gazette is the sort of band that appeals very much to a certain faction of the Tumblr crowd: After all, attractive Japanese guys acting all edgy and dark while attacking guitars on stage make for a good .gif animation – I should know; my ex sent a few of them my way on many occasions. But we’re here for the music, so let’s rock.
Act Name: The Gazette
Takanori Matsumoto (松本孝則) A.K.A “Ruki” (ルキ): Lead Vocals & Guitar
Kouyou Takashima (高島宏陽) A.K.A “Uruha” (麗): Guitar
Yuu Shiroyama (城山優) A.K.A “Aoi” (葵): Guitar, Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals
Akira Suzuki (鈴木亮) A.K.A “Reita” (れいた): Bass Guitar & Piano
Yutaka Uke (受毛豊) A.K.A “Kai” (戒): Drums & Backing Vocals
Years Active: 2002 – Present
Kaito’s Choice Tracks: Silly God Disco (2006), Remember the Urge (2011), Shiver (2010)
The Gazette falls firmly into the J-Rock sub-category of “Visual Kei”. We’ll quickly touch upon that before we talk about The Gazette themselves. First appearing in the late 80s/early 90s – mainly thanks to rock band X JAPAN – Visual Kei is what would have happened if glam rock went all edgy and gothic and moved to Japan when it was a teenager. In the world of VK the look and style of the band is just as important to their success as their music is and VK bands – including The Gazette – often make regular appearances in glossy photo-shoots in fashion magazines as well as the Visual Kei subculture focused magazine SHOXX. You just need to scroll back up the page to the photo of the band to understand the concept of Visual Kei. Although blessing it with the word “concept” seems a bit far. “Thing” might be more appropriate.
On to the music! I find that most of The Gazette’s music falls into one of three categories: The first is catchy upbeat melodic heavy rock – these are usually the tracks that I like. The second category is typical heavy metal shouty noises set to heavy metal guitar noises. Those I’m not so fond of. The third category would be the ballads that are included in albums to break up the stream of heavy noises. In hindsight my three track choices for this edition of J-Pop Sunday all fit into that first category which doesn’t make for great journalism – and I apologise for that – but I’m not a journalist, I’m a columnist. So I’m allowed pick, choose and say whatever I like. Anyway, here’s my first pick “Silly God Disco”, from 2006.
Contrary to what you made be thinking, I did not choose “Silly God Disco” as a pick because it has a daft title. It’s the funky bassline that I enjoy as well as the challenge of trying to determine when Ruki switches between singing in English and Japanese.
“Remember The Urge” features a mix of The Gazette’s three styles in one song. The majority of it falls into the band’s melodic heavy rock category however it also features a shouty metal segment as well as a ballad section. Three styles come together to create one cracking song. As well as one obligatory nonsensical video.
“Shiver” is my favourite track from the band. I love the chorus: I don’t know the lyrics, but I always try to sing along. The music itself also feels right, everything seems to come together the beat of the drums with the occasional tinkle of the ride cymbal, along with the ride and falls of the guitars which switch seamlessly between sharp staccato leaps and drops and more fluid changes in pitch and tone. It’s a fun song to listen to.
As always, this is just a small sample of what The Gazette has to offer. I’ll leave you with a few links to various official sites if you’re curious to find out more about the band and of course – with the band being so popular worldwide – there are no shortage of fansites, blogs and Tumblrrrssses devoted to the boys if you’re feeling adventurous which I’m sure you’ll be able to find using your internet search engine of choice. I just prey they don’t find this column; they’ll no doubt find something wrong with it. 16 year old girls are scary.
More on The Gazette:
Official Website (Japanese): http://www.pscompany.co.jp/gazette/
Facebook (English): https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-GazettE-Official/255684944526717
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/gazetteSMEJ
Until Next Time!