Japanese rock is coming to the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour.
Representing the music we love along with MUCC and D’espairsRay is newly created the Underneath.
This band of seasoned veterans powerfully affected by their experiences abroad is ready to bring a fresh new sound to North American audiences and win your hearts and minds.
JRR presents to you an exclusive first interview with RTOC Jrock cultural ambassador the Underneath.
the Underneath – Official Bio
With a high level of musicianship and a mysterious charisma, the Underneath is rapidly shaking up live houses throughout Japan with an aesthetic explosion of sound.
As the moral support and backbone of the band, drummer MASAKI provides a rhythm that is at once heavy and danceable, working together with a strong electro beat. The partner to the rhythm section is bassist RYO, a man of great wisdom in everything from programming to recording engineering. The most aggressively provocative on stage is guitarist TAL. More the technical type, guitarist MASATO is a talented individual with skills from web design to graphic art. And with a vocal range exceeding three octaves and a beguiling, androgynous performance, frontman vocalist TAKA‘s character molds the image of this band.
They are a band that can be called the Visual Band of the New Era, with every member involved in composing the music, and the ability to freely command two sides to their act—the creative group of the digital age, with each member’s ability to manipulate ProTools to their will, and the physical rock band that rampages through their live performances. Thrilling and sexy with electro style and raw group fusion, and possessing two opposing shades with their blend of heaviness and romanticism, the Underneath are the new and powerful rock band that represents the next generation of Japan.
Our questions for the Underneath include questions we’ve asked of all the RTOC Jrock bands about the upcoming tour, and questions solely for the Underneath to start unveiling the mystery around them. A more in-depth interview with the Underneath will be up in the near future.
JRR: What inspired the formation of the Underneath?
the Underneath: We have been creating music and playing live under the name TRANSTIC NERVE, the kind of music that is based on electro and industrial rock. Not because we were fed up with the music or anything, we decided to start all over again when we had the chance to play at the Knitting Factory in L.A. in the summer of 2007, when we were exposed to the American environment and felt the need to change the way we create music from scratch and to approach the audience differently.
JRR: How would you describe the electro elements of your music?
the Underneath: Currently, we are pretty much transformed into physical rock. For us, it is only natural to feel the blood running within us as the electro pulse. That’s why it is naturally in our sound as one of the elements. The sound amplified through ProTools and plug-ins and the beat from a sequencer are not so much our bone structure (framework) but rather a pulse to maintain life and also an essential tool. The most important element is the delicate nuances created by the instruments and human voices, with feelings and surges. It is not intentional but symbiotic, rather than coexistent.
JRR: Have you been more influenced by Western rock music or Japanese rock music?
the Underneath: Each member has his favorite bands but one thing in common is NIN. However, we are eager to listen to anything, more so than most other musicians. We listen to J-pop, visual kei, idols and techno. We also enjoy anime and manga, which may or may not have influenced us somehow…
JRR: Tell us more about the individual talents of the band members.
the Underneath: Nothing really. Just ordinary guys, more so than most other musicians. However, we are different on stage. We want to be seen live.
JRR: What do you think you can bring to the Taste of Chaos tour?
the Underneath: It is a dream project for us, since some of the bands appearing are the ones we listen to. Therefore, we will put all our energy into it and will make everybody stand up!
JRR: What are your thoughts about bringing Jrock to Taste of Chaos?
the Underneath: It will be a critical moment for Jrock to see whether or not this music can be recognized internationally. We are not as aesthetic and "fresh out of comic books" as the other visual kei bands. If we could portray the delicacy and strength of the Japanese body and mind, with the aesthetics of moments conveyed, then we will be able to bring a different color of flowers to this event.
JRR: What are you most looking forward to in Taste of Chaos?
the Underneath: We’re looking forward to meeting other bands, but most of all, we’d like to meet fans.
JRR: Many Japanese artists have said that American fans are more expressive than their fans back home. What kind of reaction would you like to get from the Taste of Chaos audience?
the Underneath: No need to get down. Just feel and express the feeling. This time, mostly in Japanese, but we want them to appreciate the unexplainable as a personal message.
JRR: In planning for the tour, do you think about the big picture of all the different bands and cities you will travel to, or are you more focused on your own performances?
the Underneath: Naturally, we’re all excited because it is our first overseas tour, and we have no room but to concentrate on our performance. We intend to do our best performance on stage, with our best physical and mental condition.
JRR: Many Japanese rock bands have been forging the path into international recognition over the past few years. What do you think you can bring to the table?
the Underneath: We cannot say much as of yet. We just want to humbly accept how our music will be received. Just as all the great international acts came out of Scandinavia or Germany, it would be great if we could from Japan, with the identity and originality to reach out to our fans.
JRR: You’re making a huge debut as the Underneath with the Taste of Chaos tour. Why did you choose to launch the band with this direction?
the Underneath: We just wanted to start over, by cutting off from the previous stream and all the lingering affection, by going into the world where no one knows anything about us. To make us strong—this became the ideal stage for all that.
JRR: What else do you want Jrock fans to know about you? How do you want to be perceived by them? You’re described as being a visual band for a new era… what new era are you bringing in?
the Underneath: To all the Jrock fans: Although we must be still pretty much an unknown entity to you, we will do our best to be called one of the coolest Jrock bands. All the bands are doing their best in their own ways, and we have respect for them too. But friends will be our enemies at the venue. With all respect due, we will beat them all!
Official Bio courtesy of the Underneath Management
Interview by JRR Staff