All’s Well With ALSDEAD

Bill Mossman
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September 28, 2011
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ALSDEAD members are, from left, Maki, lead vocalist; Shin, guitarist; Yosuke, bassist; and Setsua, drummer.

The Japanese rock band known for its aggressive sound and flamboyance blows into this week’s anime, sci-fi expo

Japanese-style glam rock hits the islands with the force of a hurricane this weekend as alternative metalheads ALSDEAD takes center stage for a concert and music video shoot at the multi-genre convention Hawaii Entertainment Expo-Experience (HEXXP) at Blaisdell Center.

The concert is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Friday while the cameras start rolling for the music video the following evening. (Musical Notes has learned that extras are needed, so if you aren’t doing anything Saturday and enjoy the Goth, steampunk, heavy metal look, do yourself a favor and show up in costume at 8.) Both the live concert and video shoot mark the first time the band, featuring an aggressively deranged, yet highly melodic sound, will be making an appearance in Honolulu.

“Our image of Hawaii is very calm, slow and laid back,” lead singer Maki tells me, courtesy of an interpreter. “But we hope our show will be very exciting and loud.”

Which is exactly what fans are hoping for. While the volume figures to be cranked to 11 a la Spinal Tap, the customary visual kei appearance of first name-only band members Maki, guitarist Shin, bassist Yosuke and drummer Setsua is expected to be just as loud with flamboyant clothing, gobs of makeup and colorful hair a visual reminder of the androgynous,


Final Fantasy look that has become so popular in the Japanese fashion world.

Still, it’s the music complete with raging guitars and screaming vocals that forms the basis of the fans’ true attraction to the band, even when many don’t understand a lick of Japanese.

“We need to put our emotion into our music to make it stronger than usual since we are not able to explain it,” says Maki about the group’s lyrics, which are mostly sung in Japanese. “ALSDEAD is mainly singing about the dark, inside feelings of human beings. If you can ‘hear the feeling,’ then that’s all good.”

Just days before his performance at the sci-fi, fantasy, anime and gaming expo, Maki took time to answer additional questions from Musical Notes about the J-rock band from the land of the rising sun.

MN: So exactly who came up with the name ALSDEAD? And what’s its significance?

Maki: All four members of our former band, Dice N Joker, decided on the name ALSDEAD, or “All is dead.” We wanted to describe the greatness of the power of creation from a world where everything dies. Lives that are born in a hard situation are stronger than the ones that were created in an easy life.

30 Seconds to Mars

MN: Dice N Joker was a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll band with no fashionable frills. Why the switch to the visual kei movement?

Maki: When we were in Dice N Joker, we were trying to mix with a lot of different genres and tastes. We decided to move to the visual kei genre and build our own style.

MN: You guys released your selftitled debut album last year. Do you have a favorite song off of it?

Maki: I like F99. I was tangled with the idea for a song about the meaning of being crazy, creepy, psycho. I spent long time finding the answer to it, and suddenly the concept of the song came to my mind.

MN: Who were the band member’s earliest musical influences?

Maki: I was influenced a lot by toprated metal and hard rock bands like Megadeath and Skid Row. I still get my ideas for singing from Sebastian Bach. Shin was influenced by Extreme and Angla, Setsua’s influences are Brian Setzer and Poison, and Yosuke was influenced by J and Maximum The Hormone.

MN: Since you’ll be playing at a multi-genre convention, do you have a favorite anime or video game?

Maki: Yosuke and I like video games and anime. We play Final Fantasy and Call Of Duty.


All’s Well With ALSDEAD

SMALL-KINE notes:

Also Making An Appearance At Hexxp 2011 Will Be Japanese Guitar Legend Takashi O’hashi. The Convention Runs From 1 To 11 P.M. Friday And 10 A.M. To 11 P.M. Saturday ... The Countdown To 30 Seconds To Mars Is On! Beloved For Such Hits As The Kill And Closer To The Edge, The L.A. Rock Band May Be Even Better Known For Brothers And Actors Shannon And Jared Leto, The Latter Of Whom Has Appeared In Movies Such As The Thin Red Line, Girl, Interrupted, Fight Club And Panic Room. The Brothers And Their Band Mates Hit The Stage At 8 Thursday Evening At The Waterfront At Aloha Tower ... Check Out Taylor Hoopii And The Group A Touch Of Gold This Sunday, When They’ll Perform The Song Honor Our Children At The 18Th Annual Children & Youth Day At The State Capitol, Scheduled For 10 A.M.-3 P.M. The Brainchild Of Event Volunteer Sunny-Aloha Miller, The Song Honors Hawaii’s Keiki And Will Be Dedicated To Hpd Officer Eric Fontes, Who Was Killed During A Routine Traffic Stop In Kapolei Earlier This Month.


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