Arts & Entertainment

Japanese rock finds its place in the states

When people think metal, they tend to picture bands like Metallica or Black Sabbath. Many bands have climbed to metal dominance over the years, but few have come out of the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan. Dir en Grey formed back in 1997 and quickly became a force to reckon with in their… Read more »

When people think metal, they tend to picture bands like Metallica or Black Sabbath. Many bands have climbed to metal dominance over the years, but few have come out of the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan.

Dir en Grey formed back in 1997 and quickly became a force to reckon with in their local underground scene.

Their heavy licks and deep melodies have helped them gain attention here in the states. Along with that fame created a thirst for more.

Two members of the band, Kaoru and Die, both guitarists, took time to make a cross-country phone call (with their translator) to talk more about who they are and their upcoming U.S. tour with The Temple News.

“We don’t care how people categorize our music whether it’s metal, extreme heavy metal or whatever,” said the translator, who was answering for both band members.

“We don’t write songs and say, ‘Hey, let’s create the fastest song,’ or ‘Hey, let’s create the heaviest song ever.’ We just want to create good songs. We like to mix emotions, like pain or despair with the music.”

Though the band is about to embark on its first headlining tour across the U.S., it is not its first time playing in front of an American audience.

Showcases in New York, Los Angeles and the South by Southwest Festival gave the band a taste of America, but it was the Family Values Tour this past year that gave it a true American metal experience.

“For us the [Family Values] tour was kind of strange and new because in Japan we don’t have tours where you get 10 bands together and tour for two months,” they said. “The experience was so new and all the bands were inspirations to us, so it was fun and exciting.

“Then during the tour, every city we were in, we were able to find our loyal fans, which was a big surprise to us. We loved playing in front of American audiences.”

Dir en Grey have conquered the music charts in Japan and has been highly-acclaimed by major publications like Billboard, AMP and Alternative Press. They have had major tours in all parts of the world establishing a solid fan base.

Now with their first headlining tour in the States, they promise their loyal followers an intense show.

“From our past experiences playing those three showcases last year, besides the Family Values tour, we saw all our shows get sold out,” the guitarists said. “Now with more time we’ll be able to play our new songs from our album which comes out on Feb. 20. So this will give fans the opportunity to hear our new stuff before it comes out.

“We didn’t change the basics of the band on the new album. We unified some differences we had in the music for this album, but we didn’t change who we are,” they said.

“We made sure that everything that happens on this album was better. For instance, we made sure our songs were much heavier, that the songs got much deeper and that they had a much higher decibel level.

“On the Family Values tour we were only able to play for a half an hour every night, so we are really excited about this headlining tour and playing our new music for everyone.”

Dir en Grey kicked off their North American tour Feb. 1 in Fort Lauderdale promoting their sixth studio album, “The Marrow of a Bone,” which will be released Feb. 20. The group will grace the TLA stage tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Dan Cappello can be reached at dancaps@temple.edu.

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