Dragon Ash

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Dragon Ash
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Rap rock, alternative rock, reggae rock, nu metal, experimental rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Pop rock, Samba, Bossa nova, Fusion (music), Dance-rock, Punk rock, Pop punk
Years active 1996–present
Labels Victor Entertainment/Mob Squad
Associated acts Steady&Co.
Website dragonash.co.jp
Members KJ
Makoto Sakurai
Bots
Hiroki
Dri-V
Atsushi
Past members Iküzöne

Dragon Ash (ドラゴンアッシュ Doragon Asshu?) is a Japanese rap rock group founded in 1996 by Kenji "Kj" Furuya and Sakurai Makoto.[1] They were one of the first groups to popularize hip hop in Japan. They brought a western flavor to Japanese music and helped to turn rap music mainstream,[citation needed] with a mixture of reggae, hip hop, metal, punk, drum 'n' bass, rhythm 'n' blues and Spanish music influences. Some of their best known songs include "Shizuka na Hibi no Kaidan o", "Grateful Days", "Life Goes On", and "I Love Hip Hop".[citation needed] Kenji has stated in several interviews[citation needed] that the reason Dragon Ash started out as a pseudo-punk band was because, at the time, punk was popular in Japan, and his handlers felt that the hip hop image would not sell. He has also noted that hip hop has always been first in his book, but he did what was necessary to become successful in the industry. Dragon Ash is a member of Mob Squad, which is an affiliation with the bands Source and Endive.

History[edit]

Dragon Ash was formed by Kenji Furuya and Makoto Sakurai when the two were in junior high.[2] In 1996, they held an audition and eventually selected bassist Ikuzou Baba to join the band.[1] At the time, Furuya and Sakurai were still only teenagers, while Baba was 30 years old,[3] and was likely selected to act as a mentor for the group.[2] They debuted in February 1997 with the mini single "The Day Dragged On".[4] Later the same year, they released their first album, Mustang!. In 1999, Bots joined the group,[4] and that March the band made their first big break with their 4th single, "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go", which hit No. 7 on the Oricon Weekly Singles chart, and eventually climbed to No. 4, selling a total of 640,000 copies.[4][5] In May they simultaneously released their fifth and sixth singles, "Grateful Days" and "I Love Hip Hop", which debuted at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.[6] When these two singles debuted, "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go" had not yet dropped off the top 10 chart, giving Dragon Ash 3 top 10 singles at the same time. "Grateful Days" would eventually go on to No. 1, becoming both the first hip hop work and the first mixture band single to reach the No. 1 spot.[4] The band finally reached the peak of their success when they released their third album, Viva la Revolution, in July and it hit No. 1 on its debut week. The album has sold in excess of 2,000,000 copies.[7]

The band continued to be successful throughout the turn of the century, collaborating with the hip hop group Rappagariya on Deep Impact in 2000 and consistently pulling in No. 1 spots on both the singles and albums charts with their new releases. In 2003 the group expanded to include its full current roster of members, bringing in Hiroki, Atsushi, and Dri-V.[4] In 2007 they celebrated their 10th anniversary by simultaneously releasing two best-of albums, The Best of Dragon Ash with Changes Vol. 1 and The Best of Dragon Ash with Changes Vol. 2. Both albums hit No. 1 upon their debut.[8]

Influences[edit]

The group uses various samples, most notably from the famous American alternative rock group, The Smashing Pumpkins.[citation needed] These songs include "Cherub Rock", in which they sample the bass line from The Smashing Pumpkins song by the same name, and "Grateful Days" in which they sample the opening of "Today"; they also named the song "Siva" after the Pumpkins song. Kenji Furuya's influences include artists Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain, & Bob Marley.

Side projects[edit]

Dragon Ash has gained some popularity outside Japan after the song "Shizuka na Hibi no Kaidan o" was used as the ending theme for the popular Japanese film, Battle Royale.[citation needed] Kenji Furuya has also worked on several side projects in recent years, including being the frontman of Steady & Co., a Japanese hip hop and music production group consisting of himself, Bots, Ilmari of Rip Slyme, and Shigeo of SBK (Skebo King).[citation needed] In addition to Steady & Co., Furuya has also collaborated with other Japanese hip hop artists on the Mob Squad album and subsequent label.[citation needed]

Members[edit]

Former member
  • Ikuzo "Iküzöne" Baba – bass (1966–2012)
    • Iküzöne (馬場育三, Baba Ikuzou) died on April 21, 2012 due to acute heart failure, he was 46. He was found by family members in his home studio and rushed to a central Tokyo hospital, but was pronounced dead at 22:55. A private funeral service for family was held.

Awards and nominations[edit]

1998
  • Oricon Album Sales - Buzz Songs (500,000)
1999
  • Space Shower Music Video Awards - Best Artist Video - "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go" (Winner)
  • Oricon Album Sales - Viva La Revolution (2 Million)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Grateful Days" (featuring Zeebra & Aco) (1 Million)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go" (500,000)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "I Love Hip Hop" (500,000)
  • Oricon Single Sales - Sugar Soul - "Garden" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash) (1 Million)
  • Oricon Top 100 Best Selling Albums of the Year - Viva La Revolution (No. 13)
  • Oricon Top 100 Best Selling Singles of the Year - "Grateful Days" (No. 13)
2000
  • Japan Gold Disc Awards - Rock Album of the Year - Viva la Revolution (Winner)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Deep Impact" (featuring Rappagariya) (500,000)
2001
  • Oricon Album Sales - Lily of da Valley (1 Million)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Lily's E.P." (500,000)
2002
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Rock Artist (Winner)
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Group
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Live Performance
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Website
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Life Goes On" (1 Million)
  • Oricon Single Sales - "Fantasista" (500,000)
  • Oricon Album Sales - Steady&Co. (with KJ & DJ Bots of Dragon Ash) - Chambers (500,000)
  • Oricon Top 100 Best Selling Singles of the Year - "Life Goes On" (No. 4)
2003
2004
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Rock Video - "Morrow"
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Group Video - "Morrow"
  • MTV Video Music Awards Japan - Best Dance Video - Shinichi Osawa - "Shinin'" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2007
2011
  • Goo Ranking Top 15 Most Talented Second-Generation Japanese Artists of All Time - (KJ of Dragon Ash) (No. 3)
2012

Discography[edit]

EPs
Albums
Compilation albums
Singles/maxi singles

Digital download-limited singles

Gramophone records
Split albums
Remix albums
DVD
  • 2001: Buzz Clips
  • 2001: Lily da Video
  • 2003: Posse in Video
  • 2005: Video de Emoción
  • 2007: The Best of Dragon Ash with Changes
  • 2011: Mixture - Video Mix & Document
  • 2013: Live & Peace
Blu-ray
  • 2013: Live & Peace

Music videos[edit]

1997
  • "Tenshi no Rokku"
  • "Ability → Normal"
  • "Rainy Day and Day"
1998
  • "Hi wa Mata Noborikuri Kaesu"
  • "Under Age's Song"
1999
  • "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go"
  • "Grateful Days" (featuring Zeebra & Aco)
  • "I Love Hip Hop"
  • "Rock the Beat"
2000
  • "Deep Impact" (featuring Rappagariya)
  • "Summer Tribe"
  • "Amploud"
  • "Shizuka na Hibi no Kaidan o"
  • "Bring It"
2001
  • "Revolater"
  • "Sunset Beach"
2002
  • "Life Goes On"
  • "Fantasista"
2003
  • "Morrow"
  • "Revive"
  • "Episode 4" (featuring Shun & Shigeo)
2004
  • "Shade"
2005
  • "Crush the Window"
  • "Yuunagi Union"
  • "Los Lobos"
  • "Palmas Rock" (featuring Uzi-One)
  • "Scarlet Needle"
2006
  • "Ivory"
  • "Few Lights till Night"
  • "Yume de Aetara"
2007
  • "Fly"
  • "Wipe Your Eyes" (featuring Kaori Mochida)
2008
  • Velvet Touch"
  • Tsunagari Sunset"
2009
  • "La Bamba"
  • "Unmei Kyoudoutai"
  • "Callin'"
2010
  • "Ambitious"
  • "Rock Band" (featuring Satoshi & Ko-Ji Zero Three)
  • "Time of Your Life"
2011
  • "Economy Class"
  • "Fire Song"
2012
  • "Walk with Dreams"
  • "Run to the Sun"
2013
  • "Here I Am"
  • "Trigger"
  • "Lily"
2014
  • "Curtain Call"
  • "Blow Your Mind"
  • "The Show Must Go On"

Collaboration music videos[edit]

1999
  • Sugar Soul - "Garden" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
  • Wyolica - "Kaze o Atsumete" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2000
  • Miho - "Esperanza" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
  • SBK (Skateboard King) - "Episode 1" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
  • TMC Allstars - "TMC Graffiti" (with KJ of Dragon Ash)
2001
  • Air - "Right Riot" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
  • Steady&Co. - "Stay Gold (with KJ & DJ Bots of Dragon Ash)
  • Steady&Co. - "Four Seasons" (with KJ & DJ Bots of Dragon Ash)
  • Steady&Co. - "One Holy Story" (featuring Azumi from Wyolica) (with KJ & DJ Bots from Dragon Ash)
2003
  • Mondo Grosso - "Shinin'" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2004
  • m-flo - "Way You Move" (featuring Dragon Ash)
2006
  • Skapontas - "Amber Music" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2008
  • Ko-Ji Zero Three - "Esperanza" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
  • SBK (Skateboard King) - "Episode 5" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2009
  • Miss Monday - "The Light" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2010
  • Dabo - "AZS" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2011
  • Special Others - "Sailin'" (featuring KJ of Dragon Ash)
2012
  • Japan United with Music - "All You Need Is Love" (with KJ of Dragon Ash)
2013
  • Ally & Diaz - "After the Rain" (with KJ of Dragon Ash x Leyona)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Dragon Ash Official Website : BIOGRAPHY 1996". Dragon Ash Official Website (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  2. ^ a b Mills, Ted. "Dragon Ash biography at Allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Dragon Ash(ドラゴンアッシュ)- 原点回帰ではない今のDAの音 - インタビュー". Excite! Music (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Dragon Ashのプロフィール・ヒストリーならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  5. ^ "検索結果-ORICON STYLE アーティスト/CD検索". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  6. ^ "検索結果-ORICON STYLE アーティスト/CD検索". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  7. ^ "検索結果-ORICON STYLE アーティスト/CD検索". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  8. ^ "Dragon Ashのベスト2作が初日1、2位独占!". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 

External links[edit]