Tokyo’s Vamps recently released their fourth album, ‘Bloodsuckers’. Here’s 10 things you might not know about one of Japan’s biggest bands…
THEY STARTED TOURING THE WORLD WITHIN A YEAR OF FORMING
Hyde (L’Arc〜en〜Ciel) and K.A.Z. (Oblivion Dust) formed Vamps in late 2008, and within a year, they were heading out on their first international tour – something which is almost unheard of in the Japanese scene. They performed 10 dates across the US, including two shows on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour.
THEY RELEASE MORE LIVE DVDS THAN ANY OTHER BAND
While most bands will do a live album or concert film every decade or so (just to keep the wolf from the door, you know), Vamps have incredibly raked up nine live DVD releases in their career. That’s more than one a year.
THEY’VE PERFORMED WITH SLIPKNOT, IN A WAY
When Vamps performed two shows in the US in 2013, one at LA’s House Of Blues and one in New York at The Roseland Ballroom, their main support came in the form of a DJ set by Slipknot turntable man Sid Wilson. What the gas mask enthusiast thought of them we can only speculate.
VAMPS HAVE THEIR OWN FESTIVAL
They’ve followed in the footsteps of Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Slipknot by setting up their own festival. They hosted VampPark Fest at the Nippon Budokan in February of this year, headlining a bill that included Sixx AM, Buckcherry, Nothing More and Gerard Way.
THEY’VE BEEN RECOGNISED IN JAPAN FOR THEIR EFFORTS OVERSEAS
After the success of their world tour, Vamps were invited to the inaugural Billboard Japan Music Awards and were rewarded with the Billboard Japan Ranking International 2009 accolade.
THEY’VE COLLABORATED WITH APOCALYPTICA
To commemorate their tour together, Vamps and Apocalyptica have recorded a special single called Sin In Justice. And, rather than it be one band featuring the other, the bands have decided to release it under the moniker of Apocalyptica X Vamps, which reads like a bizarre maths equation. The answer, of course, is truly international rock.
THEY’D FLY ACROSS THE WORLD FOR A PARTY
Vamps were in Los Angeles working in the studio around the same time as the Japanese MTV Awards in 2013. Where most bands would stay put, the band accepted their invitation to perform at the ceremony. They flew over on the day and were taken straight to the venue to perform. It is unknown if Vamps suffer from jet-lag.
HYDE HAS DONE A BIT OF VOICEOVER WORK
When Vamps released a version of Get Up in Japanese as a b-side in 2010, it eventually featured in the anime film Bakuman. In the film, frontman Hyde lent his voice to portray a character of the same name. Probably not that much of a stretch, but still counts doesn’t it?
K.A.Z. HAS WORKED WITH HYDE… AND HIDE
Before working with Hyde in Vamps, K.A.Z. was a member of Spread Beaver, who were the backing band to former X-Japan guitarist Hideto Matsumoto… aka Hide. Which, to be fair, probably never gets confusing.
THEY’VE BEEN ON A COMPUTER GAME. SORT OF.
One of Hyde’s many solo efforts featured a 2005 single called Countdown. It was used in the Japanese version of the movie Stealth, starring Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel, which then was covered for use on the Nintendo DS game Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2. Those fluent in Japanese will know this means Let’s Go! Hot-Blooded Rhythm Spirit: Yeah! Fight! Cheer Squad 2.