Archive for April, 2007

[Video clip] Japan electro-clash Goths Aural Vampire uploaded a super hot video clip to MySpace for “Freeeeze!” a couple of weeks ago. Check it out!

[Gothy-alternative - Live] Toge Toge Tokagee is an art-pub style event mixing a range of bands and performances from different scenes from around Tokyo. Along with the live shows there are various art exhibits in the lower labyrinthine level of Head Power.

Tonight’s event scores big time with the Psydoll and Zombie Lolita – yummy.

Toge Toge Tokagee (info)
@ Head Power Shinjuku TOKYO
Open: 18:00 :: Start: 18:30
Live: Psydoll (info), Zombie Lolita, Redsun, Knife, 紗羁E

[Japanesque Gothic & Fetish Dance Party] Undoubtedly one of the hottest nights of the month; Club Theatic is just exploding with power. Featuring three live acts from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, plus a smeg-load of DJs from the scene. There is also a special performance with the return of The Bloody Vampire herself, Tamaki Carmilla!

The live sets will feature hi-tempo tactical industrial from 2 Bullet along with Agent Murder’s screamer Awi (!!!), vicious electro-industrial from Nagoya’s Demonoid 13 (bring your ear plugs because these guys want your eardrums to explode… seriously bring ear plugs), Sawdust in Me, Hail! Mutante, and more.

On the DJ-side there is DJ dora (RadioActiveDreams), Chihiro, Acid Kluxx (Rieu from Despair) Statik (Midnight Mess) and VenoMoth (Sister Levi from Stigmatic/Demonoid 13 Nagoya).

There is also a lot of other things going on including the aforementioned performance by Tamaki Carmilla.

Club Theatic Show @ Studio Cube 326
Open/Start: 17:00
Live: 2 Bullet (info – with Awi from Agent Murder), Demonoid 13 (info), Sawdust in Me, Hail! Mutante, and more!
DJ’s: DJ Dora, Chihiro (Tokyo Dark Castle and more), Acid Kluxx (Rieu from Despair), Statik, and VenoMoth (Sister Levi from Stigmatic/Demonoid 13 Nagoya).
Performances: Tamaki Carmilla, other, dance performances, exhibitions and more!

More details here

[Electro-rock/hard alternative] Drool, drool, drool. This Electrock Circus is super hot. Apart from the Twisted Clock (ex. Calmando Qual), who have taken Europe by storm with numerous tours these past three years, there is dark NIN-style industrial from Nicht, Japanese Babies, Red Mecca and more! This is one dirty line-up that will get things pumping along nicely.

Extra bonus – Neu! from Neurotic Doll is on the DJ desk.

Full details and linkies are here!

[CyberGoth - Underground fusion event] Europeans wanting to get a taste of a Japan underground clubbing would do well to check out this event as it rolls through Paris and Germany. It is a difficult event to describe because it kind of crosses CyberGoth, alternative dance and sound, a bit of exoticka and a twist of continental flourish from Adrien, the creator of the event.

From the Goth side there is the ever-gorgeous operatic diva, Selia, Goth DJ (also ever-gorgeous), Sisen, and I do believe that Aural Vampire (did I mention ever-gorgeous?) as well. But this is just a part of the troupe with dance and performance from Kengo, Exo Chika (AV) and Anna, DJ’ing from Takuya Angel (house and industrial) and AV’s Raveman (hard house and industrial), and lots more. I haven’t been to a Tokyo Decadance event, but from friends who have been it sounds… gorgeous ;-)

Trust me, this will be a yummy event.

JGoth event information:
May 12 in Paris France
May 19 in Munster Germany

Wow, it has been 3 years since I first decided to do this site (1st year anniversary message :: 2nd year anniversary message). The last year has been difficult with the body conking out sometime in April 2006. Lots of missed parties, lots of quiet Saturday nights tap-tap-tapping away because it was all I could do. The site went from being relevant to being comical-sad. Perhaps there is no recovery from that fall, but it doesn’t matter. I only came online to do one thing, facilitate the birth of an appreciation of the Japanese Gothic underground scene.

:: Why does Igor do what he does? ::

Way back in the first half of 2005 when I first met U-tarou and Mikito of Chronotrigger, now called Baal, U-tarou asked me why do I do this site. I could not explain back then, but I can now.

I see a fractured, earthly beauty of the Japanese underground scene, that I have not seen anywhere else in Japan. While the many aspects of Japanese culture that I know have such strong connections to fixed traditions and etiquettes, the Gothic scene is like a wild child; perhaps lacking some finesse, but awe-inspiring in its natural, unconscientious beauty. It could be light-hearted or it could be pure darkness, it could be melancholic or it could be manic, but it always remains an unrepentant an expression of self. It breaks with the mores of Japanese society and is untainted by the manufactured processes that feature prominently in many music scenes. It is an unpolished gem that very few people can see (although many more can see it now).

Since mid-2004 I have wanted the world to see what I could see right in front of my eyes. I wanted to make something happen. And I guess my senseless screaming worked a little bit to bring attention to this scene. Can you see what I see?

:: The high point with Astan ::

By October 2005 I received an e-mail from the German magazine Astan – a magazine I had not heard of before, but they are the third-largest Gothic mag in Germany. They were interested in contacting a couple of more widely-recognized visual bands (they actually are quite good bands), but since I didn’t know these bands personally I could not get a response from them. However, I certainly knew quite a few Goth bands so I started doing a little jig to introduce bands that I personally knew to the lord of Astan.

It was a lot of work, with e-mails buzzing around and some home-brew copy-editing and re-translation for my friends in Baal, as U-tarou and myself attempted to bring Mikito’s poetic genius across from Japanese to English – but it was time well spent. After about three months Astan 22 came out and Germany got its first full-dose of Japanese Goth. There was even a whole page dedicated to me as Igor and a little photo of me with one of my faithful ferrets, little Truffle. It was golden. Here’s the official victory announcement.

And here’s Astan’s interview with Igor.

:: Falling down, but nice memories ::

Soon after that, my body conked out and the rest of 2006 faded away with it. There were also a handful of problems that caused a great deal of concern for me, and by the time I started to regenerate sufficiently to look at my little world as lord and slave, I realized that the train had rolled out of the station while I was in the lavatory!

Not to worry. I know I can never be omega, but, in some ways, I was part of alpha, and it was nice. I want to thank Steff from Astan for trusting in my judgment for bands that he had never heard of, and the bands for trusting my judgment with Astan, and Kiwamu from Blood for sharing his wisdom in those early days.

Most of all, I want to thank U-tarou & Mikito for taking the challenge and making the most of things. You guys shine brilliant like diamonds in the night. Baal reminds me that no matter what happens to and “Igor” that the effort was worth it. Every time I hear Baal piping in my speakers it brings a smile to my dial – their music is the sound of hope.

:: Where to now? ::

So year four rolls around and the things boiling my noodle are direction of the site and the upcoming re-connection with a few good friends. I don’t know what value is to people now, but that didn’t stop me before. The site has almost fully returned and will be around for a while, but there are other ways to move the agenda of getting more people to see what I can see. And perhaps I’ll turn up in unexpected places doing unexpected things in the months ahead.

:: Thank you ::

To everybody who has been kind enough to drop in from time to time – thank you very much for your support, I am so grateful.

[Moody & Spiritual] 101A moody guitars and strong femme vocals are nicely matched with Rowthe’s dark spiritual rock. They will be joined by Emmuree and 夢中夢. Should be a well-balanced alt-indy evening.

G’s Funeral/Gの葬刁E/b> @ Chop Ikebukuro
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 19:00
Live: Rowthe (info), 101A (info), Emmuree, 夢中夢.

Full details

Yes, even nerdy types like me get interviews. This was an unexpected benefit of doing some legwork in the initial Japanese Goth invasion of Astan magazine! Aside from knowing I doing good work, there will always be this interview on page 15 of the magazine. As it is now over a year since I did the interview and as the magazine is in German, I’m guessing it is cool to put this online now. I would guess staff from Astan pop in from time to time – so if there is a problem guys just tell me. Want to see what Igor was thinking over a year ago?

* Actually this is a draft, I cannot find the final original now… Well read on…

Astan: Please describe for our readers: what is JP Goth?

Igor: In a nutshell, it is a launch portal for Japanese Goth. is essentially an attempt to develop a guide and community to Japan’s underground scene. It aims to highlight bands and events in English, which may be hard to find otherwise.

The site began as a mixture of diary and blog in 2004. But when I started mentioning major Gothic events in Japan, I started receiving emails from really interesting people who were looking for more information on the Goth scene so by early-2005 the site switched to a Japan Goth news and event information center.

The goals for the 2006 version of the site is to move towards a bilingual interface (haha that died!) to encourage people from both sides of the language fence to venture into the scene and hopefully bring people together globally.

Astan: What is your personal role in JGoth and tell us something about your person?

Igor: The site is still a one-person show, so I guess (old site) and play a role in my life rather than the other way around. Around 90% of the news and event information is coming from me, but a couple of members are taking a more active role with reports and information and keeping the board ticking over. The launch of the bilingual will take this cooperative effort further with a better interface for people to get more actively involved to create more of a community site (Well it was nice on paper!).

About me? Well, I hail from Australia and have been in Japan for around eight years. People have spotted the obvious lack of “Gothishness” in me at events, but I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys alternative scenes rather than belonging to a particular group. My music of choice at home is pretty mellow – 70′/80′s punk/alternative/instrumental, but that is quickly changing to local Goth bands who have a real edge and witchy sound.

Astan: What is typical Japanese Goth Bands?

Igor: The great thing about Goth in Japan is that it is not bound by sound or image limitations. The unifying concept seems to be that they have stepped away from the mainstream to create something that touches the spirit.

The common visuals with elaborate kabuki-style face make up (whether the look is china doll, horror or industrial accident), mixing leather, lace and Victorian dress, seems to be the trade mark of the Goth underground, but the variance is incredible.

Likewise the sounds span a broad spectrum of genres from opera, to Grimm-style story-telling, to harsh rock, retro, elektronicka and beyond. The Goths are united by their diversity, their desire to step beyond the system. This is very different from the Visual Kei, which tends to be more uniform in look and many bands having a distinctive synth-pop sound – of course there is some diversity there as well.

These people are here to release themselves from a society that does not satisfy the needs of their hearts and souls. This would be the base core where the scene launches off. Emotionally powerful.

Astan: Please describe in short words what the J-Goth Scene is and who are the important bands?

Igor: I’ll tell you who buzzes me in the underground scene. I won’t mention the big names (like Mana) nor Visual Kei as 1) You probably know more than me and 2) I’m into the underground scene.

Auto-Mod  EThe Goth father with 25 years of solid Goth/hard rock (Tokyo Dark Castle)
Jubilee – Goth-glam legends from Osaka (Glamtronik).
Agent Murder  EPsycho hard elektronika and more (Adultery),
Despair – Lynch-pin in extreme industrial scene (Junk Children)
Selia/Seirenes – The sweetest voice, classical performances.
Destruct System – lethal rock sounds and incredible stage presence
Zeus Machina – creators of legendary Club Walpurgis in the 80s (relaunched as event in 2005).

Bands that I like are BAAL (industrial rock), Satanyanko (romantic punk sounds), Euthanasie (Gothika sexy elektro industrial), 2Bullet (tactical elektro industrial created by DeeLee from Agent Murder), Gadget (retro hard rock), Aural Vampire and Phantasmagoria.

The scene is full of gems hiding in different nooks, so don’t be afraid to explore and send me info!

Astan: In Germany we know a few things about the so called Visual Kei Scene. We think that VK and Goth have a lot of things in common. Are the J-Goth Scene and the VK Scene departed?

Igor: Their origins are very different with the Goth scene developing in a wholly underground environment and Visual Kei evolving more as an alternate pop for a young market. The looks can be similar with the make-up and costumes, but the origins, substance and direction are widely divergent. From afar they look similar, as the bands that make it outside Japan from the Visual Kei scene usually have more bite than the rank and file. If you spend time in the Visual Kei scene locally you soon see a lot of synth-pop bands and start understanding that they are quite different from the Gothic underground. Bands like Calmando Qual and Blood are great examples of bands who have styles that span both scenes (Calmando Qual even got a set at Tokyo Dark Castle which shows that the band is an exceptional sound).

The Goth scene has a much darker bent than the much of the Visual Kei scene and the imagery would be more consistently in line with Goth scenes overseas. They are generally underground bands so the commercial aspect is played down for the artistic expression.

Astan: The look of Gothic Bands makes a lot of them very special. Which of the J-Goth Bands look the best?

Igor: This depends what you are looking for. Japanese Goths invest heavily in their outfits and accessories. Agent Murder is probably the most glorious with black leather and make-up, looking like something out of the Matrix. Selia, for pure Victorian beauty. Despair for the rioting slave look – Ana is ultra cool in her corsetry and dreads. Baal for it’s look of the haunted industrial ghost style. Minimal make-up but great dress sense goes to Euthanasie. Mushi for looking like a soviet Marylin Manson and one member who looks like he just walked off Clockwork Orange. Pineal for being forest Satyr or devil spirit.

Astan: I know that not to many Japanese people speak English. In which language do the Bands sing and what do they sing about?

Igor: Most Japanese can speak some English, although not so many would be considered fully functional in day-to-day situations. Tokyo and Osaka have many people who can speak English well and a foreigner can usually scoot by without any Japanese in those cities. The language mix in the songs depends on the band – many have some English and some are very eloquent. For some bands almost all the lyrics are Japanese, but quite a few will have considerable amounts of English in songs. Some, like Agent Murder and Gadget will be almost exclusively in English (AM’s 2nd album was actually more Japanese, but all is cool).

The content of the material would not be terribly different from what you get in European Goth bands. Some will be painting a post-apocalyptic landscape (working as a cadaver thief for example), trials within the soul, a vampire preparing to die, sadomasochism, class and society, cultural colonialism, personal loss, discovering hope, Grimm Gothy fairy tales etc., etc.. The mix can take you anywhere depending on the band, the show or the CD.

Astan: How big is the Asian Goth and industrial scene and who or what influences the bands?

Igor: I’m too busy trying to keep up with the Japanese scene! I have seen mentions of Asian Goth or dark-metal bands ex-Japan, but have not had time to investigate them or the scenes. I suspect they would be smaller or with less variety than the Japanese scene. I’d be really interested in seeing what is happening in Korea as it seems to produce some really good stuff in the pop, punk and metal arena. Some places are getting into the cosplay and J-Pop so you would likely see some derivatives of light Visual Kei before you see the darker, more socially challenging artforms of darker Kei and Goth.

Astan: In the European goth scene things like cults, vampires and religion or old Gothic fairy tales and stories influence many of the bands. How is this in Japan?

Igor: European iconography does feature in bands who delve into the vampire/horror/fairy tale genres. You will also find that a lot of local legends/religious figures that are not too unfamiliar to European legends like kitsune (a fox spirit with Loki-like, trickster qualities), vampires or beings with vampiric traits, ghosts, demons, etc. The kabuki-styled face make-up is prevalent, but I do not know how deeply the bands delve into European or Japanese legends.

Some bands are overtly Japanese Gothic Theater (Strawberry Song Orchestra for example), but generally the iconography appears to be layered into the overall picture. Obviously I am still a novice  Eask me again next year! gets about a dozen totally off-topic mails each week from real people. Mostly I try to point people in the right direction or just ignore them, but there is the occasional gem… Sock puppets taking on Jehovah’s Witnesses and Satan himself – who am I to resist? Here’s the release.

The End is Near!
The final Chapter of the Jeff Saga to be released on 4/13/07!

This Friday the 13th, the long awaited and much anticipated final chapter to the Jeff Saga will be released on Jeff, the evil floating cardboard incarnation of Satan, has Sam and the Sock Puppets cornered and it’s going to take some extreme measures to save them. This will be the battle-royal of the year. If you thought the previous four chapters of the Jeff Saga were badass, you haven’t seen anything yet! Expect lots of hellfire, explosions, and insane, over-the-top humor.

The Sock Puppets from Hell are a group of four insane Sock Puppets who live with a guy named Sam. Constantly finding new ways to muck up and complicate his life, the Sock Puppets (who may or may not actually be from Hell!) never cease to amaze. In the past, they’ve taken on Pizza Delivery Guys, Jehovah’s Witnesses, crazy dogs, telemarketers, and even Satan himself. The Sock Puppets from Hell are the creation of Dan Cheek who, along with his elite Puppet Staff, have been running for almost a year. In that time, the site has exploded in popularity, logging hits from around the world.

In addition to Sock Puppet related things, the website also boasts an incredible selection of other various content. Rock music from some of the best up an coming artists from around the globe, drunken celebrity videos, links, a Drink of the Month section, Stupid Ninja Fight videos, comic and music news and reviews, and original photo essays. What’s more, Cheek and the Puppet Staff plan on unveiling even more original content, some Sock Puppet related and some not, over the next several weeks.

For more information, please visit .

Stigmatic[Hard LOUD Goth - DJ'd] The only regular Goth event in Nagoya takes place on the third Saturday of odd-numbered months this year. That means you better turn up to every event, or you are going to be piking for 60 days for the next industrial-EBM-alt outing in Toyota land!

Soundwise the event’s master, DoomSpider, is harsh EBM industrial Goth with flourishes of lighter sounds mixed in. He’ll be joined by VenoMoth (aka Sister Levi) doing femme-future and elektro-Goth, and riz-K with elektro-clash.

25 people pre-booking for the event will receive a special mix CD from riz-K.

As always, remember your ID for all-night events… Organizers will almost never bend this rule for these events because cops won’t cut them any slack!

Stigmatic (info) @ P.O.D. NAGOYA
DJ’s: Doom Spider, VenoMoth (aka Sister Levi) and riz-K

Full details here