The lives of visual kei bands see-saw up and down more than any music genre. Bands can last less than a year before their disbandment, while others can last for decades. While some of these bands don’t last long, their members often move onto other projects, creating a long history and deep family within the scene. Every Sunday, I’ll dive into the history of one band in a feature called Nichiyobi no Nostalgia (Nostalgia Sunday).
This week, we’ll be looking at a short-lived band from the early 2000’s with deep roots still in the visual kei scene called CHELSEA.
In the summer of 2003, Vocalist Hina (ex-AZALEA, Sally/SCHELEN) and guitarist erina (ex-Sally/SCHELLEN) decided to put their collective talents together and form a band with drummer REI (ex-CRADLE, Gill’e cadith). Shortly, they recruited another guitarist, Yuu and bassist LEONA to join their ranks. They played their first live in October at Meguro Rockmaykan, a small live house in Tokyo. A day later, they released their first demo-tape, “TRASH”, that featured two songs and had cover artwork made to parody the packaging of a popular candy in Japan, also called CHELSEA. Their sound could be described as melancholic with deep, heavy guitar, dark atmosphere and incredibly unique swooning vocals.
They continued to play lives around the Tokyo area, sharing the stage with bands such as Rentrer en Soi, Panic Channel/PANIC*CH, emmuree, and The Piass until the spring of 2004 when both Yuu and Leona departed from the band. In June of the same year, they recruited Haruka (ex-Allegory Pill) to take over as the second guitarist and entered hiatus in July. The band became a five-member group again with bassist Jin joining in October and resumed activities in February of 2005.
April came as did their announcement of their first mini-album entitled “EROTIC CORE” featuring five new tracks and a re-recorded version of BLOOD from their demo-tape. They performed an 11-stop tour to commemorate the release, however, shortly after, the band disbanded after their live at Meguro Rockmanykan on September 29th, 2005. But after their disillusion, some members continued making music. So where are they now?
Well, some of you might have instantly recognized the name Hina since he has been involved in several other projects since CHELSEA. He was the vocalist of UNDER-CODE gothic punk band hurts with fellow ex-AZALEA bassist Maki. The band lasted three years before disbanding in early 2008. He then began to perform in a session band called Uninstall, which formed into a permanent band under the name Schwein. Two years later, he withdrew from the band and seemed to disappear from the music scene.
He later reemerged with talks of a solo project, which eventually took shape in the form of a band called Lucifer’s underground. He would be supported some well-known bandsmen in the VK scene such as ex-Vidoll guitarist Shun, ex-VII-Sense bassist Masato, and fellow ex-hurts drummer Kaede and bassist Maki on guitars. He would even be supported by his fellow ex-CHELSEA guitarist erina. You can follow his activities via his blog or his twitter.
Speaking of erina, his name is another name that might sound familiar to visual kei fans. The guitarist for CHELSEA would go on to play guitar for the immensely popular Dio from their formation until he left in 2009 following their hiatus, He would then form VII-Sense and performed with them for three years until their dissolution in 2012. He was an occasional support member for Lucifer’s underground and went on to be a support member for TRIGGAH, ultimately become an official member after the mass exodus of all their members save their vocalist hajime and guitarist TOMOZO. You can follow his activities via his blog or his twitter.
After CHELSA, Haruka changed his name to Cecir and performed as support on guitar for the solo project of ex-Moi dix Mois vocalist Juka. He would also go on to form E’m～grief～ and play guitar with them for their short life until their disbandment in 2010. As of right now, it’s unclear as to what he’s up to musically, but during the summer of 2014, he participated in an event for Tritt fur Tritt, a well-known salon. He was asked to model his hair along with over 40 other Visual Kei band members. You can follow him on his twitter here.
After leaving CHELSEA, LEONA kept himself busy playing bass as a support member in several bands. He joined a non-VK band in 2007 called Tribal Piece until their dissolution a year later. Then was involved in a band called alchemist that only lasted five months. He played as support member for gizmo under the name L until their disbandment in early 10 and then joined dolore whom were called D’LORE, yet changed names after their vocalist and bassist departed. The band has since disbanded and his whereabouts are uncertain as of right now as he doesn’t have an active blog.
I’ll be honest with you, the history surrounding former guitarist Yuu is a bit confusing. He shortly performed in a band called SixNine, which there is no information on and then in 2010, Yuu was supposedly performing under the name Ren in the band God Rabbits. The band was formerly known as baletta, but then disbanded and formed as baletta again. Yuu is now actively playing guitar in the band and you can follow his activities via his blog or twitter.
Former bassist Jin has since retired from the Visual Kei scene, but after CHELSEA disbanded, he performed in several session bands and was among a crew of people “performing” in an air band called Dokipon with air What Chara under the name Conrelius Kato. REI has also since retired from playing music.
Do you remember CHELSEA or do you recognize any of their faces now? Some of the former members sure have remained active and I don’t think that erina or hina will be retiring any time soon. Tell me what you think of their music careers and do you approve of where they’ve gone?
Until next Sunday, always remember: never forget!