My Journey into Visual Kei

The Gazette (2014).

The Gazette (2014).

Visual kei is a Japanese music movement, where musicians wear heavy make-up, elaborate costumes, and crazy hair styles. Androgynous fashion aesthetics are a norm. Visual kei is often mistaken as a "type of music," but visual kei encompasses a wide range of genres, including heavy metal, electronic, and rap. Thus, visual kei is the world's only music genre that is defined by visual characteristics (as opposed to auditory). 

My journey began in 1999. A lazy summer night, and my Fujitsu laptop was running hot on Napster, the thing we used before Bit Torrent. I was looking for music... different kinds of music. On sheer chance, I downloaded a bunch of songs by a Japanese band, Luna Sea, not knowing that they were one of the biggest J-Rock bands at the time. The song that blew my mind was Luna Sea's Sweetest Coma Again, with its explosive bass and guitar solos. With this song, Luna Sea ignited the fire that is my love of visual kei.

Days turned to months. I discovered many other talents in the visual key scene: X-Japan, Malice Mizer, and Gackt. Months turned to years, and the new generation of visual kei rockers matured. The Gazette. Nightmare. Matenrou Opera. Mejibray. And the rest is history... much of my iTunes playlist is heavy, gothic, rock in the visual kei tradition.

Beautiful men. Dark maudlin rock ballads. Sex and smoke guitar solos. Can you ask for more?