Belle is a four member Visual Kei band with a concept different to any other Visual Kei band you may know. Wrapping themselves in mysteries, they spread a lot of different hints, distributed two demo CDs for free and did surprise performances at various Visual Kei lives even before officially announcing the members and their band name. Today it’s pretty normal for us that we can look up everything in the internet with ease, so Belle thought to bring the joy of deducing hints like detectives back to their fans to be.
Soon after they started distributing their demo CDs in the autumn of 2014, the mysterious URL “belle-web.info” appeared in the World Wide Web having the words “Kane no ne/oto ga yoku kikoeru to ame ni naru/ When you can hear the sound of the bell, it will start to rain” written all over it. Time passed and passed, hints connected together as one line from their point of view and finally the members of this mysterious band were announced step by step on the website:
Yumehito– the former guitarist of the famous Visual Kei band Ayabie. His love for Kamen Raider and Pokémon now even took over his other band members. Nevertheless, even though he seems to sit unimposingly in the back of the latest band photo, his experience in the music business and his skills as a composer and guitarist seem to pay off in his new band as well.
Masato– the former drummer of the Visual Kei band Catfist. With a height of 184 cm, warm brown hair, a good looking face –as it is said by the other members- and his cooking skills, Masato manages to capture the heart of his fans. Last but not least, it is his talented drum play which gives the songs their finishing touch.
Haro– the former vocalist of the Visual Kei band Plunklock, well known in Europe for their two European tours 2012 and 2013. Haro always captured the European audience through his outstanding strong voice and charismatic performance. With his never changing silver hair and his new trademark, exposed thighs, the vocalist, who had been a cook before he started his music career, is now finally back and continues to show the wide range of his vocal skills, now even falsetto parts.
Akiya– the former bassist of the Visual Kei band Aube, that just disbanded the month before. With black hair, the history loving Akiya gives off the typical cool bassist attitude at first sight, but behind this image there is an amicable character, as Akiya is called the mood maker of the band with his funny imitation skills.
An ensemble of four talented and experienced Visual Kei musicians got together as one band and made the fans, who had been waiting for their comeback since the disbanding of their previous bands, happy in an instant. It seems as if the band members almost got together by fate as they themselves reveal in various interviews.
Yumehito, worrying if he should continue to be active as a vocalist or guitarist, got Haro introduced by an acquaintance and was convinced by his voice from the very first time he heard it. He also saw the potential of drummer Masato for his new band, as Masato had been a support member for his old band and surprisingly Masato also always had Haro in his mind because of his strong vocals. The three of them got together and created the session band KAKASHI, through which they played together with various other Visual Kei musicians over more than half a year preparing for their upcoming band- only a bassist was missing. Haro always wanted to play together with Akiya from Aube, but at that time Aube was still active. Nevertheless, Haro talked to Akiya, who has been a friend of him and Akiya realized that the concept and the intentions of the hidden new band exactly fit his ideal of a band. Soon after that, Akiya’s band also made the unfortunate decision to announce their disbanding and even though it was a hard time for Akiya, having lost his place to belong, he decided to move forward in an instant and joined Yumehito, Haro and Masato’s project. It seems like fate brought those four musicians together right in time as they eagerly wanted a new band in order to make their fans happy. Still, something was missing: The band name.
The news “A new band called ‘Kane no ne/oto ga yoku kikoeru to ame ni naru’ was born!” spread all over the internet, but everyone was wondering about this long, unusual band name. Finally, at their first sponsored live on October, 18 in the live hall Ikebukuro Edge they cleared up all the misleading hints and announced they will be active with the band name “Belle” from now on. Even though their URL contained the name “Belle” many people were captured by a wrong guess about the band name. Ever since this day Belle gained more and more fans all over Japan and more and more attention of the Visual Kei media- no wonder with their unique concept called “KAYOU SUSPENSE”.
Kayou literally means “hit song” and refers to the popular songs in Japan during the Shōwa era (1926-1989). Belle grasp the heart of their fans through bringing back a melancholic feeling, creating retro songs that remind their fans of the good old times. In less than 3 months, all of their performances, single or with other bands, were entirely sold out.
With Yumehito and Akiya in charge of the composing and Haro in charge of the lyrics, they released a live distributed mini album called “Kane ga nattara jiken ga okiru/ As soon as the bell rings, an incident will occur” with 7 songs presenting the first impulse of each member and their first single “Nonfiction” with 4 new songs so far. Their mini album was sold out in only a month and also their first single sold very quickly all over Japan- from north to south as Belle also did various lives and in-store events all over Japan already.
That is evidence enough to say that Belle is doing a great job in fulfilling their own words “We want to thrill out the Visual Kei scene itself!”, “We want to surpass former Kayou-bands!” and “We will create music that hasn’t been in this scene before!”.
Belle doesn’t only convince through playing hide and seek with mysterious phrases like “When the bell rings, it will rain” or “As soon as the bell rings an incident will occur”, but they are also doing a good job in creating a retro feeling with their band design. Posing in Visual Kei clothes in front of a typical Japanese small time candy store featuring retro products like an old TV they seem to connect the past and the present. Their CD covers also give off a strong retro feeling with an old telephone or a film reel in the background, which is also featured in the design of their towel. Last but not least, the thing that characterizes the band the most is of course the old fashioned bell hanging down on their website or their flyers, kept in either orange or red shades and other dull colors that boost the image of a Shōwa era like retro feeling.
Characteristic for Belle’s music is the use of a variety of typical smooth Kayou- chords and melodies, a wide range of different instruments in their songs and the mix with a rock sound that always puts a unique branding on their songs.
Moreover, each of Belle’s songs tells an own little story that the listener can sympathize with through the lyrics and the instrumental company creating a soundtrack to the story. Vocalist Haro, who has always been writing deep and heart catching lyrics in his previous bands as well, wants to create lyrics of which even one phrase can make the listener imagine the scenery. In the development from the mini-album to the first single we can clearly see that he did his best to fulfill this concept. Indeed the lyrics, especially from the latest release, their first single not only contain a lot of metaphorical and figurative words to describe the changing scenery of the story from the beginning to the end of the song, but also catching phrases that perfectly describe the feelings of the protagonist.
For this reason, Belle took the risk and didn’t release any promotional or music video yet- they bet it all on the combination of their sound, Haro’s gentle voice and the lyrics to take the listeners on a trip with each song visualizing its content without the need for a video.
Moreover, they swore to never use any playback or synthesizer, since they want to present the real qualities of each member creating a pure sensation at their lives, said to be like 3D theaters stimulating the eyesight, the sense of hearing and even the sense of smell.
Belle has only been praised by musical critics so far, them stating Belle do give off a strong Shōwa-feeling and that it is only a matter of time until their unique tone color will resound all over Japan. Club ZY magazine even already called them “the band who carries the next generation of Visual Kei on its shoulders”. All review writers or Visual Kei CD shops are praising the very first work of this young band and look forward to the upcoming releases of the multifarious and talented band that Belle is.
Their wish is to create a band that can be loved by everybody and that will last for a long time. Promising this to their fans, Belle aim to create songs that won’t fade away no matter how much time passes and a sound that is different from everyone else’s.
Sounds like big words, but as mentioned before, their success after only 5 months of activity show that there really is a strong will behind their words to make them reality. Even though it seems like they only want to focus on their incidents in Japan right now, Vocalist Haro and also Guitarist Yumehito already stated on their Facebook that they also want to cause incidents abroad Japan someday– so let’s keep our eyes open for this promising new band in the world of Visual Kei!