A9 (band)

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A9
A9 main.jpg
From left to right: Tora, Nao, Shou, Hiroto, Saga
Background information
Also known as Alice Nine
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Alternative rock, pop rock
Years active 2004–present
Labels PS Company, King, Tokuma Japan, Nayutawave, EMI Records Japan, CLJ (EU)
Website www.a9-project.com
Members Shou
Hiroto
Tora
Saga
Nao

A9, previously known as Alice Nine (アリス九號.?, originally stylized as alicenine.),[1] is a Japanese visual kei rock band formed in Tokyo in 2004.[2] Originally signed to PS Company, they signed to King Records until 2010 when the joined Tokuma Japan, the band then joined Universal Music Group's Nayutawave Records for 2013.

The group has released six full-length records, some of which were distributed in Europe by CLJ Records,[3] along with several EPs, singles and DVDs. In 2015 they shortened their name to A9.

History[edit]

2004–2006: Conception and early work[edit]

In August 2004,[4] Alice Nine formed after the disbandment of the band Givuss, and the band's vocalist, Shou, and guitarist Tora continued on to search for members to form a new band. Saga, the bassist for the band Delta Ark, and Nao, drummer for the bands Fatima and RusH, were also seeking bandmates as well, and the four members eventually joined together. Hiroto was the last member to join after Shou, Tora, Saga, and Nao spotted him at a performance with his band at the time, Baquepia. Shou explains that the "Alice" in the band's name was something that they believed sounded "very visual kei" to them, while the "Nine" is written in kanji and represents their origins as a Japanese band.[5]

Their first concert was held at the Ikebukuro Cyber on May 11, 2004 and soon after they released their first single, Namae wa, Mada Nai in July, and they soon toured with fellow PS Company band BIS. In November, their first EP, Gion Shouja no Kane ga Naru, was released, and later that month, they did a nation-wide tour with the band Karen from Under Code Productions.[4]

In 2005, the pace of CD releases increased; the band released the singles "Gin no Tsuki Kuroi Hoshi," "Yami ni Chiru Sakura," and "Yuri wa Aoku Saite" consecutively for three months. These singles were eventually compiled onto their first major EP, Kasou Musou Shi, through a joint deal with PS Company and King Records. Alice Nine also went on tour with several bands throughout the year, including Ayabie, Kra, and Kagrra. Following these events, the band had its first solo tour, Alice in Wonder Tour, in August that year.[2][6] They released their first album Zekkeishoku in April 2006.[7]

A9 performing at the Wiltern Theatre 2007.

2007: Alpha and mainstream success[edit]

A turning point for the band came when the single "Jewels" was released in March 2007. The single allowed the band to land their first magazine cover and feature article with volume 171 of Shoxx Magazine.[8] Later that month on April 28, the band released Dive into the Sun, a photobook that included an exclusive CD containing the song "Gekkou Yoku." Another landmark was Alice Nine's first performance outside of Japan at the JRock Revolution festival in Los Angeles, California on May 25, 2007. They joined with several other Japanese bands and became the closing performance of the Friday that weekend.[1][9]

The release of the "White Prayer" single in June marked another milestone for the band's development; vocalist Shou explained in an interview with Shoxx Magazine that the song defined the style that the band was aiming for and hoped to maintain in the future. The process of the song's creation also came about more naturally than usual, as many songs until then were made through trial and error.[10] Later that year, on October 24, the group's single "Tsubasa" was released and peaked at number six on the Oricon charts,[11] making it one of their successful singles to date and landing the band a guest appearance on the Fuji Television variety show Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ for the first time.

On November 28, 2007, their second full-length album, Alpha, was released. The title for the album originated as a means to describe the band's return to their roots and beginning anew. The uppercase first letter of the Greek alphabet, Α, was chosen to symbolize this idea. Aside from the singles to be compiled onto the album, recording for songs began in September and lasted for approximately one month.[10] The album reached the ninth position on the Oricon weekly chart, selling over 17,000 copies in its first week.[12]

2008: Vandalize[edit]

Alice Nine started off the year with another tour, alice nine. 2008 standing tour "A to U". However, complications arose when guitarist Tora was diagnosed with a spinal disc hernia, which had worsened over time to the point of numbness throughout the left side of his body. Finally seeking medical help, the tour had to be postponed until Tora recovered enough for the band to resume activities in Tokyo.[13]

The band released a new single, titled "Mirror Ball" on March 26, 2008. The title song of the single was used in the live-action movie adaptation of the manga Aquarian Age.[14]

Two compilations of the band's music videos, "Alice in Pictures I" and "Alice in Pictures II", were released on July 2, 2008. The DVDs contain approximately 8 music videos in chronological order of their original release, with "Alice in Pictures I" including the videos from "Gin no Tsuki Kuroi Hoshi" to "Number Six". "Alice in Pictures II" contains videos from "Jewels" to "Eraser -Memoire d'une fleur-", and also includes a new music video for "Gekkou Yoku", a song which was exclusively included with the "Dive into the Sun" photobook.[15][16]

On August 6, the band released their latest single, "Rainbows." The single reached a peak mark of No. 3 on the Japanese Oricon daily charts which is currently the band's current top position on mainstream Japanese charts.[17] The band also started their tour called "Discotheque play like 'A' Rainbows" which coincided with the new single. The tour lasted the entire month, and the concert footage was released on their live DVD, Discotheque play like "A" Rainbows -enter&exit-, on October 29, 2008.[18]

The band's fourteenth maxi-single, "Cross Game," was released on December 10, 2008. The title song was used as the ending theme song for the second season of the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D'S and was released in two versions.[19] On December 19, 2008, the band's tour at the time culminated in the grand final, named "Crossing the Supernova", at NHK Hall.[20]

A blog entry by vocalist Shou announced that the band was in recording sessions for a third album named Vandalize, which was released on January 14, 2009.[21][22] "Cross Game" is the third single to be featured on the album, along with "Mirror Ball" and "Rainbows" for a total of 11 tracks. The album's title comes from the theme of "the destruction of culture."[23]

2009: Fifth anniversary[edit]

In the following weeks of the release of Vandalize, the band started their tour for the year, Untitled Vandal(ism). The first half of the tour ran from February to April, while its second half ran throughout the month of July. The tour's finale, "Graced the Beautiful Day," occurred on August 23, 2009 at the Tokyo International Forum Hall.[24] Footage from the finale, as well as live studio performance footage, is set to be released on the live DVD, "Untitled Vandal(ism) #Finale 'Graced the Beautiful Day,'" on November 11, 2009.[25]

On June 2, 2009, a blog entry by vocalist Shou announced the changing of their name from "アリス九號." or "alice nine." to "Alice Nine" for media reasons. He explained that the Japanese transcription was beginning to lose its purpose as a means to "represent aesthetics" and that the English transcription was closest to the band's original intention. The Japanese transcription could also not be read as the band's proper name without the use of furigana or other means of alternative text. The entry also announced new work for the band's fifth anniversary—a new single and a new book, which would use the new English transcription upon release. Alice Nine's fifteenth maxi-single, "Hana," was released on August 5, 2009. Shou describes the titular track as a "danceable song with a sweet and oriental feeling." "Piece of 5ive Elements 'The Book' ~Alice Nine 5th~" is a book containing interviews, reports on the band's concert activities during 2009, photography, and more, and was released on August 24, 2009.[26][27]

On December 16, Alice Nine held their last concert for 2009. During the three-hour-long event, they performed a variety of songs from their entire career. For the very first song of the night, the band also performed a cover of The Beatles' hit song, "All You Need Is Love."

2010–2012: Gemini and "9"[edit]

The band began its activities in 2010 with the announcement of a compilation album, Alice Nine Complete Collection 2006-2009, which contains the title songs from each of the band's maxi-singles released since 2006. The compilation album was released on March 24, 2010. The band also finished their first tour of the year, Kikagaku no Kotowari (幾何学ノ理), that same month.[28]

In 2009, the band would also begin broadcasting programs on their own channel, "Alice 9 Channel," on the popular Japanese video sharing website Nico Nico Douga. The monthly program, hosted by guitarist Tora, features live interviews and announcements with members of the band, as well as broadcasts of concert footage and music videos. The live structure of the broadcast also allows users to comment on the program and give real-time feedback on questions directed towards the audience. The first installment of the program aired on September 2009 and was viewed by over 16,000 users.[29]

On April 4, 2010, during the final live of the Kikagaku no Kotowari tour, the band announced the release of a new single on August 4, 2010. However, the official website stated a slight delay of the single's release, pushing the release date to August 25, 2010. In the same announcement, the single was officially titled "Senkou." Filming of the music video for "Senkou" began in May 2010.[30]

The band's official 2010 tour, Flash Light from the past, began on July 5, 2010. The tour spanned over the following four months with 30 performances in 27 live houses across Japan. The tour ended with a concert on January 6, 2011 at the Nippon Budokan.[31][32][33] The final performance was aired on January 31 on WOWOW, and a DVD containing footage of the concert is to be released on May 2, 2011.[34] The bass guitars and outfit that Saga used during the tour were displayed at ESP Ochanomizu Technical House in Tokyo, Japan until January 23.

In the November 2010 edition of "Alice 9 Channel," Saga accidentally revealed the title and tentative release date for the band's fourth studio album, Gemini, earlier than planned.[35] Details of the album followed soon after, and Gemini was released on February 9, 2011. The album ranked at number 3 on the Oricon Weekly Charts upon release, making the album their highest ranking release yet.[36] A tour coinciding with the release of the album, entitled "Spring Circuit -Prelude to 'Gemini'-," will run from April to May 2011.[37] On February 22, 2012, Alice Nine released their album "9". The majority of the year was spent with performing concert tours.

2012–present: Universal Music Japan and name change[edit]

In August 2012, Alice nine announced they were switching record labels to Universal Music's Nayutawave Records.[38] The band stated on their Niconico web talk show "Alice 9 Channel" that to make up for the single release in 2012 they would release 3 new singles in 2013 three months in a row. They later went on to release "Daybreak" on March 20, 2013, "Shadow Play" on April 17 and "Shooting Star" on May 29.

On March 19, 2014 Alice Nine released their sixth studio album Supernova which contains the previously released singles "Daybreak", "Shadowplay", "Shooting Star", "Kaizen Zenya", "Exist" and "Shining" and six new songs. On August 25, 2014, they parted ways with PS Company after ten years. On October 29, 2014 the [Resolution -Alice in Asia-] DVD containing selected performances from concerts in 2014 and a documentary detailing their travel experiences, behind-the-stage footage and interviews with the band members. [39]

On March 1, 2015, the group announced that they will now be known as A9. They also announced the EP Ginga no wo to, which they hope to finance through a crowdfunding program.[40]

Members[edit]

  • Shou (?)lead vocals, leader
    • As of January 2012, the position of band leader has been moved from Nao to Shou.[41]
  • Hiroto (ヒロト?)guitar, backing vocals
  • Tora (?)guitar, piano, backing vocals
    • Also in the supergroup The Tokyo High Black as lead guitarist "Mon Marshy", with Saga as "Tomorrow Joe" and Musasaby (Nao from Kagrra,), Madao (Keiyu from Kra), Tako (Takuya from Administrator) and Gey (drums)
  • Saga (沙我?)bass, synthesizers, keyboards
    • Also in the supergroup The Tokyo High Black as rhythm guitarist "Tomorrow Joe", with Tora as "Mon Marshy".
  • Nao (ナオ?)drums, percussion

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Alice Nine Complete Collection 2006-2009 (March 24, 2010) 46[43]
  • Alice Nine Complete Collection II 2010-2012 (August 21, 2013)

Singles[edit]

DVDs[edit]

  • [2006.01.12] Alice in Wonderfilm
  • [2006] Peace & Smile Carnival tour 2005 (~皆そろって笑顔でファッキュー~)
  • [2006.10.04] Number Six
  • [2007.01.24] Hello, Dear Numbers
  • [2007.07.10] Kachoufuugetsu Vol.2 (花鳥風月 Vol.2)
  • [2007.07.11] Royal Straight Flash
  • [2007.09.03] Royal Straight Kingdom
  • [2008.07.02] Alice in Pictures I
  • [2008.07.02] Alice in Pictures II
  • [2008.10.29] Discotheque play like "A" Rainbows -enter&exit-
  • [2009.04.15] PSCompany 10th Anniversary Peace & Smile Carnival (PS Company 10周年記念公演)
  • [2009.11.11] Untitled Vandal(ism)#Finale [Graced The Beautiful Day]
  • [2011.05.02] Tokyo Galaxy Alice Nine Live Tour 10 "Flash Light from the Past" Final at Nippon Budokan
  • [2012.06.05] Alice in Pictures III
  • [2013.06.19] 2012 Court of "9"#4 Grand Finale Countdown Live
  • [2014.10.29] Resolution -ALICE IN ASIA-

Bibliography[edit]

  • [2007.04.28] "Dive into the Sun" (photo book)
  • [2007.12.25] "Shiny Summer X'mas 2007" (photo book)
  • [2008.02.29] "Alpha" (band score and tablature)
  • [2008.03.27] "Zekkeishoku" (band score and tablature)
  • [2008.09.13] "Alice Nine. First Piano Collection" (piano solo tablature)
  • [2009.] "[Untitled Vandal(ism)#1]"
  • [2009.] "[Untitled Vandal(ism)#2]"
  • [2009.07.07] "Vandalize" (band score and tablature)
  • [2009.08.24] "Piece of 5ive Elements 'The Book' ~Alice Nine 5th~"

References[edit]

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  27. ^ "'Hana' Release Information". pscompany.co.jp. Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-04. [dead link]
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  30. ^ "'PVPVPV' (Japanese)". ameblo.jp. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  31. ^ "Big News for Alice Nine". Dear Numbers. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  32. ^ "Alice Nine オフィシャルサイト". Pscompany.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  33. ^ "Alice Nine | official site". Web.pscompany.co.jp. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  34. ^ "'Live DVD information' (Japanese)". pscompany.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  35. ^ "Alice Nine Accidentally Reveal New Album Release". musicjapanplus.jp. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
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  37. ^ "Live Schedule". pscompany.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  38. ^ "Alice Nine Announce COUNT DOWN LIVE And signing With Universal Music Japan". musicjapanplus.jp. Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  39. ^ http://www.universal-music.co.jp/alice-nine/news/2014/10/31
  40. ^ "A9 / Alice Nine's Revival". jame-world.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  41. ^ Shou's Official Blog ameblo.jp Retrieved 2012-04-25
  42. ^ "KARASU is "free"". tokyohive.com. 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j www.oricon.co.jp Alice Nine Album Rankings Retrieved Nov 4, 2010
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v www.oricon.co.jp Alice Nine Single Rankings Retrieved Nov 4, 2010

External links[edit]