Blended together with the fairly common sites Jrock searches are known for, there are numerous advertisements that bubble to the surface from MySpace, LiveJournal and other low-key blogs and forums. After weeding out the junk links, you can find several bands from countries around the globe that were influenced by a combination of Japanese rock and, more specifically, illustrious visual kei. This phenomenon of international influence isn’t exactly new and it seems to be getting stronger. From one end of the Earth to the other, in countries such as Portugal, Germany, Singapore and Australia, new band members are sought with one thing in mind — fresh faces for bands that have been influenced by Japanese rock musicians. With such an explosion of diversity in people becoming inspired to create their own bands influenced by Jrock, this seems to be a prelude to a musical storm that is brewing across the world.
While artists such as X JAPAN, LUNA SEA and GLAY were initially influenced by Western and British rock at their launch, Europe and the United States — in a twenty-first century turnaround — have begun to twist down another road as musicians who have been inspired by these Jrock bands pop up on the map.
Spontaneous, unpredictable and impulsive are all terms that can easily be applied to an array of different Japanese artists in both their music and their fashion. It’s no wonder that bands in the making seem to be taking to the ideas like flies drawn to honey.
"I especially like the immediacy, the impulsiveness of most of their songs, which endows their live performances with a lot of primal energy. I think we try to give to some of our own songs this kind of direct energy, hence this comparison which we can just be very honored by," said Etienne of French band CLOSER when questioned about the influences of D’espairsRay and a variety of other Japanese rock artists.
Birthed out of the European country of Sweden in 2007, the band SAI has spoken of an assortment of Japanese influences from Yoshiki’s powerful drumming that encouraged Andie to pick up the drums and eventually become the drummer for SAI, to budding goosebumps on guitarist Arian’s arms as he listened to SUGIZO’s intense guitar solos.
Germany based band Cinema Bizarre fell in place when they discovered each other on an internet forum. They now sport their own theatrical style derived from visual kei. Under the sizzling California sun exists Phoenix Ash, a band claimed to be heavily influenced by the music of X JAPAN, Dir en grey, Siam Shade, and LUNA SEA.
Through the vast world of the internet lays an entire forum in which fellow bands inspired by Jrock from Singapore can promote themselves and their events. All of these artists have banded together after meeting through one major common interest: Japanese rock music.
With the fan base of Jrock overflowing out of Japan and leaking into countries across the world in the past decade and beyond, it’s not surprising after possibly a million listeners later, some fans have begun to go above and beyond and started to evolve their starry-eyed devotion into something more. Gathering together at coffee shops, fast food restaurants, over the internet and anywhere in between, Japanese rock fans from one end of the planet to the other meet and converse, talking about their favored artists. As conversations progress, enthusiasm surges and suddenly bands are sprouting up across nations, all seemingly arrived straight out of the inspirational and influential impressions made by visual kei and Japanese rock.
It’s almost reminiscent of times when members of bands like BUCK-TICK, GLAY and X JAPAN met through high school grapevines and local hotspots to discuss beginnings for bands born from the sway of the rock music industry in Europe and America. The only difference is that they spoke of our countries’ musical influence, and now, years later, we speak of theirs.
A seed that has grown and bloomed out of Japan is now stretching its influential tendrils into corners of the world previously untouched. Bursting through language barriers, Japanese rock artists have begun to explore every available space across the globe. The past few years has seen a momentous escalation in overseas touring by multiple Jrock artists and as bands consistently reach their hands out to touch the hearts of overseas fans, in return fans respond with a unanimous song — one of love, devotion, and inspiration.
On nearly every continent, someone is picking up a guitar, a pair of drumsticks, or a microphone because of a video, song or concert that sent chills down their spine or caused the hairs on the back of their neck to stand up. These are the fans of Japanese music coming together out of their love for the music, the musicians and then creating their own bands at the peak of the influence these artists have had on them. These are the children of Japanese rock, being nurtured and grown into a new generation of musicians.
Introduction by: Molly