Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lareine Profile

Also known as : Laliene

KAMIJO - Vocals (1994.11 - 2001.06; 2002.08 - 2007.02.18), Guitar (2000.08 - 2001.06)
→ 美辞麗句 → LAREINE → NEW SODMY → LAREINE → Versailles, Node of Scherzo → Versailles

Emiru - Bass (1995.03 - 2000.08; 2003.03.26 - 2007.02.18), Guest Bass (2002 - 2003)

Former members
MAYU - Guitar & Backing Vocals (1994.11 - 1995.03; 1995.05 - 2000.08; 2003.05.17 - 2006.07), Guest Guitar (2002 - 2003)

KAZUMI - Drums (2003.03.26 - 2002.03.01)
→ Alicia → orivia → RIBBON → LAREINE

MACHI - Drums (1995.11.19 - 2000.08), Guest Drums (2002)
→ LAREINE → Chanton L'amour

AKIRA - Guitar (1996.06 - 1997.04.28)
→ LAREINE → D+L → Bijou

Hirono - Guitar (1994.12 - 1995.10)

鏡花 - Drums (1994.12 - 1995.10)
→ LALIENE → Eliphas Levi → HERESY → Cupid

SAKUREU - Guitar (1994.12 - 1995.05)

NAOMI - Support Keyboards (1999 - 2000; 2003 - 2006)


LAREINE is a disbanded visual kei band that was around for more then a decade, led by the charismatic vocalist KAMIJO.

They are mostly known for their romantic approach to music: most of their songs are connected to each other by a dramatic story-line and sometimes the songs are close to being too grotesque with their many flourishes but LAREINE still manages to find a suitable musical balance.

If you look at LAREINE when they started in 1994 and compare it with the way you know them now, you will fail to find many similarities.

When you go back about a decade, you will find a lot of interesting information, but unfortunately a lot of this information is incomplete or unconfirmed. However, the following is a summary of how the band started.

LAREINE was one of the key bands of the visual kei scene of the late '90s. Their early sound was very reminiscent of MALICE MIZER's style, with complex guitar melodies, influenced by classical music, and an elegant and gothic atmosphere, though LAREINE always had a "lighter" image. LAREINE are know for their references to French and Renaissance culture, highly influenced by the historical manga Versailles no Bara (by Ryoko Ikeda, who also designed covers and costumes for LAREINE). KAMIJO admitted to have been influenced mainly by film score music in his compositions.

In 1994, a band by the name of LALIENE was created by the vocalist Shoki, who had been a roadie of Malice Mizer, together with the guitarist Mayu. Don't let the name trick you: Shoki was simply KAMIJO with a different name and it seems that Mayu went by the name Kaito then as well. They found some other members to complete the band: guitarist Hirono, bassist Sakureu and drummer Kyoka.

This new band started to write songs, played some gigs and recorded a few demo-tapes. The line-up continued to change in the first year, but in 1995 it seems they had settled down on the line-up that would stay the same for a long time: KAMIJO, Mayu, Emiru and Machi. They also changed their name from LALIENE into LAREINE, somewhat signalizing that they were now ready to start for sure!

And indeed, in 1996 they proved themselves by releasing their first single and the mini-album Blue Romance, which is still a popular item amongst old and new LAREINE fans.

In the following years, the band released single after single, becoming more and more successful. In 2000 they released their first full album Fierte no Umi to Tomo ni Kyu but a few months after it's release the band made a sad announcement. Emiru, Mayu and Machi had decided to leave the band. Emiru left because of musical differences, and because Machi and Mayu felt like the band was incomplete without him, they quit, too.

KAMIJO however did not want to give his precious band up, and continued by himself. Although he was alone now, in the same year he released a single, and the album Scream (with a limited edition called Vampire Scream). One could notice the difference between their former work and KAMIJO on his own easily. It simply sounded less optimistic, less grotesque and more like straight rock songs without any of the flourishes it used to have before.

In 2001, KAMIJO also stopped working on LAREINE, too, putting the band on hiatus. The ex-members worked on their own projects and bands now such as New Sodmy and Ribbon.

A lot of fans feared that this was the end of LAREINE for sure now. After all, 'an activity break' is often used as an euphemism for 'disbanding'. Fortunately for the fans, LAREINE is a band that likes to amaze and surprise people and unexpectedly, two years later in late 2002, they returned!

They had the same line-up except for the drummer, Machi, who had decided not to come back and instead Kazumi joined the band. He had also been working together with Emiru in the band Ribbon.

They continued to release various singles and albums and were even more active then they had been before. Though, it seemed that even though they kept releasing item after item, they never got as successful as they used to be and didn't even reach the charts anymore.

In March 2005, the band turned ten years of age, which was of course a reason to celebrate. They held a special memorial performance and later they released a number of memorial and best-of CDs.

About a year later new problems started to arise and snowballed quickly into bigger ones. At first, the band announced that Kazumi would leave the band and would stop making music in general. In March 2006, they performed as a quartet for the last time. A number of new releases were put out, mostly more compilation albums and re-releases, but then in October it was announced that LAREINE was putting all their activities on an indefinite hold seeing as Mayu seemed to have disappeared and KAMIJO and Emiru did not think they could continue the band without the guitarist.

On October 31st, KAMIJO and Emiru, together with the help of a support guitarist played their last live as LAREINE. Currently, KAMIJO is the vocalist of the band VERSAILLES and Emiru has started a band called ANUBIS.

LALIENE days (1994 - 1996)

LAREINE's history began in August 1994, when KAMIJO and MAYU (both MALICE MIZER roadies back then) met for the first time. Sharing the same musical vision, they decided to play in a band toghether that they called LALIENE in November. The first lineup had KAMIJO (using the stage name SHOKI) on vocals, MAYU, SAKUREU and Hirono on guitar and 鏡花 (Kyouka) on drums[1]. They later recruited bassist Emiru by putting an advertisement in a magazine called Rockin'f and were ready to debut as of March 1995.

LALIENE demo, 1995
However, some days before LALIENE's debut concert at Shikawa CLUB GIO on March 25th, MAYU left the band due to musical differences with SAKUREU, whose playing was similar to more gothic bands like 黒夢.

The second concert of LALIENE took place at Meguro Rockmaykan on March 29th. The first demo tape Lucheri (limited to only 100 copies) was distributed at that event.

After a short event tour April SAKUREU left LALIENE for unknown reasons, causing MAYU's comeback to the band in May 1995. In the following months LALIENE played at several live events where they distributed their second demo tape LALIENE DEMO (also sold in stores since August 22). The demo sales went pretty good and the 1000 copies printed for stores sold out in a short time.

However, Kyouka and Hirono both left the band in October 1995, leaving LALIENE without a drummer. Hirono seemed to have retired from the music scene since then while Kyouka joined Eliphas Levi a couple of year after leaving LALIENE.

A new drummer, MACHI (another roadie of MALICE MIZER) was introduced at a concert held at Meguro Rockmaykan on November 19 1995. Shortly after that LALIENE toured Japan with a live event tour titled "Pain of Love Story" until February and few other appearances in March 1996. The most important event of this era took place at Shinjuku LOFT on March 26th. It was LALIENE's first anniversary concert where they distributed the promotional single 再会の花 and officially changed their name to LAREINE (at the same time SHOKI changed his name to KAMIJO, which is also his real name).
Rise to fame (1996 - 1999)

月夜の歌劇 flyer, 1997
In 1996 LAREINE seemed to get more popularity and were joined by a second guitarist called AKIRA. The first release with him was the story demo tape 月夜の歌劇 (Tsukiyo no kageki), whose 1000 copies sold out so quickly that an additional press of 500 copies was released after a month. The release was promoted with the event tour QUEEN OF OPERA DANCE in August 1996. In December of the same year LAREINE released their first EP BLUE ROMANCE.

On January 11 1997 LAREINE held their first oneman live Meguro Rockmaykan and started the tour ROMANCIA, closed with a free oneman celebrating the band second anniversary. The tour success made LAREINE add two more tour finals where the promotional single ROMANCIA was distributed in two different colours. However, the last ROMANCIA REAL FINAL (August 28 at Meguro Rockmaykan) saw also the departure of AKIRA, leaving LAREINE for personal reasons. His withdrawal was commemorated by the special demo tape MIST, featuring a song composed by AKIRA himself.

LAREINE decided not to replace AKIRA and kept on touring for the rest of the year and even released their first full-lenght album BLUE ROMANCE~優しい花達の狂奏~.

On April 21st 1998 LAREINE announced the establishment of their official fan club Fleur, followed by a single by the same name in the following month. By October 1998 LAREINE's popularity increased so much that their single LILLIE CHARLOTTE was limited to 20,000 copies.

Major days (1999 - 2000)
In January 1999 LAREINE were asked to sign a contract with the major label SME Records (Sony Music Entertainment Japan).

LAREINE in 1999
The last indies concert was the Métamorphose tour final held at Shibuya Koukaidou (now C.C. Lemon Hall) on March 26th 1999, recorded for the video release Chantons l'amour~リリーからの手紙~. Earlier that day LAREINE clips were showed publicly at the Hachiko plaza in Shibuya. The rest of the year saw LAREINE having their first major live tour Le vent express and releasing the singles Fiançailles, Billet and 冬東京 (Fuyu Tokyo). Between August and September a special TV show about LAREINE was also aired by TVK in three parts, and in December their official website opened.

On February 16 2000 LAREINE released their second full-lenght フィエルテの海と共に消ゆ~The Last of Romance~ (Fierté no umi to tomo ni kiyu), their only album release to enter ORICON's top 20 chart. A PV collection was also released on the same day. However, LAREINE seemed to have disappeared from the scenes and didn't announce any concert date nor public appearances. After some months of silence Emiru announced his intention to leave LAREINE for musical differences, and was then followed by MACHI and MAYU, who didn't want to go on without him. Fleur members had their chance to see their favourite band one more time at the fanclub-limited concert tour Miss CARMILA, held in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo in early August 2000. Memorial box Miss CARMILA was sold to commemorate LAREINE's last tour.

Emiru's career would go on with a new band called RIBBON in Summer 2002, while MACHI announced the debut of his solo project Chanton l'amour some months after leaving LAREINE.

LAREINE as a solo project (2000 - 2003)

KAMIJO decided to pursue LAREINE's activity as a solo project and set up his own record label APPLAUSE RECORDS in late Summer 2000. He also established a free newsletter titled GRAMMAR to keep in contact with his fans. In late 2000 LAREINE released the single GRAND PAIN (whose PV was recorded in Vienna) and the full-lenght album SCREAM. On the same day of the release of this album KAMIJO joined the Halloween Party arranged by Shock Wave at Shibuya O-EAST.

On January 5th 2001 the first actual concert of LAREINE as a one-man band, titled Stranger in new days, took place at Ebisu LIQUIDROOM. Sadly this was also the last concert, since KAMIJO decided to freeze his solo activities to join NEW SODMY in June of the same year.

NEW SODMY was KAMIJO's first non-visual kei band and saw him collaborating with MAYU one more time. However, this band didn't last long and in late 2002 KAMIJO's solo activities with LAREINE were resumed once again.

In October 30 and 31 2002 APPLAUSE RECORDS held two Halloween Parties featuring among others RIBBON, NEW SODMY, Chanton l'amour and, of course, LAREINE with Emiru, MAYU and machi as special guests. In November 27 a new single titled 蝶の花/レッスン (Chou no hana/Lesson) was released to introduce the second solo album ETUDE. In this release MAYU, Emiru and machi played as secret guests but didn't join LAREINE officially. The release of ETUDE was promoted by an instore events tour in January 2003.

On March 26th LAREINE held a special revival live titled 再会の花 (Saikai no hana), at Shibuya-AX. In fact at this concert Emiru, who had just left RIBBON, announced his intention to join LAREINE. A new drummer called KAZUMI (also ex-member of RIBBON) was also introduced to the fans. To celebrate the addition of these two members a VHS titled 再会の花 (Saikai no hana) was distributed to the audience. On the very same day the two compilation albums Reine de fleur I and Reine de fleur II and a remake single of 再会の花 (Sakai no hana) were released.

On May 17th another revival live titled もう一つの約束 (Mou hitotsu no yakusoku, meaning Another Promise) took place at Shibuya-AX. At that concert MAYU rejoined and LAREINE officially resumed activities as a band.

[edit] Revival (2003 - 2007)

The reborn LAREINE toured Japan with the Scarlet Majesty tour in August 2003 (whose final date was recorded for a DVD release) and attended many live events. The band was also busy recording several singles that have been either sold in stores or distributed at concerts. The most prominent releases of this phase were the actual comeback single Scarley Majesty and a story series in three parts (MAJESTY, KNIGHT, PRINCESS). However, these releases were just a preview of a new full-lenght album titled Never Cage, released on September 5th 2004 after an intense studio and live activity. The album was pretty succesful for the indies scene and a deluxe edition was released after the first press sold out in November.

In 2005 LAREINE celebrated their 10th anniversary with two memorial concerts at HOLIDAY SHIBAURA (March 26) and Meguro Rockmaykan (March 28). UNDER CODE PRODUCTION also produced a tribute EP for LAREINE titled Anamorphosis and a memorial event at Nihon seinenkan.

Right after that LAREINE toured again with the tour Through a Deep Forest, closed with a performance at Shibuya O-WEST on October 16 2005 (recorded for the live album Deep Forest). Between 2005 and 2006 LAREINE had several releases seemed not to stop touring, but suddenly KAZUMI announced that he would leave LAREINE and retire from the music scene after the concert held on March 1 2006 at Kawasaki CLUB CITTA. The last release with KAZUMI was the EP Winter Romantic.

While looking for a new drummer LAREINE performed at few concerts with 風弥 (Kazami) as support member, but at the same time MAYU started not to show up at the band reharsals and concerts and literally vanished into thin air.

For this reason in early October LAREINE announced their intention to disband after their last instore event on February 17th. The last LAREINE concert had taken place at the Halloween Party produced by KAMIJO and KISAKI on October 31 2006, with HIZAKI as support guitarist.

EP (1996.12.24)

full-lenght (1997.09.07)

フィエルテの海と共に消ゆ~THE LAST OF ROMANCE~
full-lenght (2000.02.16)

full-lenght (2000.11.01)

EP (2002.12.25)

ETUDE -Platinum White-
EP (2003.12.25)

Never Cage
full-lenght (2004.09.05)

Winter Romantic
EP (2006.03.18)

Deep Forest
live album (2006.03.18)

1998.04.21 Fleur
1998.12.18 Métamorphose
1999.05.26 Fiançailles
1999.08.25 Billet~幼き夏の便箋~ (Osanaki Natsu no Binsen)
1999.12.15 冬東京 (Fuyu Tokyo)
2000.02.09 薔薇は美しく散る (Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru)
2000.10.12 GRAND PAIN
2002.11.27 蝶の花/レッスン (Chou no Hana/LESSON)
2003.03.26 再会の花 (Saikai no Hana)
2003.08.30 Scarlet Majesty

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