biography - 04.08.2013 21:37

MALICE MIZER's Pierrot Goes Solo

Born in Niigata, Közi was brought up in a world of music even though he had no interest in mastering the piano which he learned for six years under the influence of his parents during primary school. Közi loves to paint and it is no surprise that as a child, his ambition was to pursue the career of a cartoonist. However, it was in high school that Közi became a fan of the electric guitar thanks to a friend of his, so much in fact, that he decided right then and there to play in a band.

Initially he chose to learn bass as his friend knew how to play guitar and he felt it in their best interest for both to at least have two instruments under their belt in order to succeed. These plans were unfortunately thwarted as Közi rapidly discovered that he was not enjoying learning how to play the instrument and his desire to play in a band was distracting him from school.

It was at the age of sixteen that Közi and an older friend moved to Tokyo in an attempt to find a band to play with. Due to the lack of money that the pair had bought with them on their journey, they were forced to sleep in a car and applied for band work under the guise of 'support members'. It was in this period that Közi played with two bands: GIRL and Beyond the Reinsight.

As a fan of punk and noise style music, it was while working in a karaoke bar that Közi was first introduced to Mana who he rapidly became friends with due to the man's unique style and personality. It was from roughly 1990 to 1992 that the pair joined Matenrou and Közi composed songs that would become influential to the period following Malice Mizer's formation. Following Matenrou's disbandment in the April of 1992, both Mana and Közi came to a mutual agreement to create a new band together featuring double guitar and focusing around classical and horror elements.

Officially forming in 1992, Malice Mizer held their first live performance on October 31st of the same year. Over the nine years that Malice Mizer existed, they rose from an unheard of band, to a major label status and then shifted to their own independent label. It should be noted that Közi was the secondary songwriter of the group and presented himself as the 'wild card' with compositions that often featured accordion, circus calliope and synthesizers.

Following the band's split in 2001, Közi contributed to author Minako Honda's Izayoi no tsuki album. Following the general style of traditional gothic horror, this album was somewhat reminiscent of Malice Mizer's works. On the opposite end of the spectrum however, was Közi's joining the gothic/industrial band Eve of Destiny, who toured Europe and other parts of the world, but only rarely performed in Japan and apparently went on hiatus in 2005.

It was in 2002 that Közi released his first solo singles Kinema and Khaos, both of which sold out relatively quickly. They were followed by an album, Katharsis, and then re-released as double single KHAOS/KINEMA.

In late 2004 Közi recorded the single Memento in memory of Kami, Malice Mizers late drummer. The lyrics for the song were written by Yu~ki, Malice Mizers bassist who had retired from the stage following the band’s hiatus.

Things went quiet until May 2006, when he released the album Loki n' Roll which, as the title suggested, was stylistically very different to his previous electronically oriented releases. In May 2007 he released the DVD < i>LIVE COLLAGE 2004~2006, which contained footage from past concerts, and in May 2008 he contributed guitar and bass to Mako's (ex- Deadman) song Buried with the Light, which was released together with his book buried alive by words.

In September of that year, Közi started a new project called DALLE together with vocalist Satoshi (SITHA), bassist Atsushi (lloy) and drummer fuchi (Royal Cabaret). The band, which played cover versions of gothic classics, had its first performance at the Halloween special of the goth event Tokyo Dark Castle. In addition to this, he also played in several session bands.

His next performance as solo artist was in December 2008 as special guest at Moi dix Mois' Dis Inferno VI party, where he and his former band mate Mana revived some Malice Mizer classics and also played solo sets. According to him, this collaboration boosted his confidence in his solo project and in July 2009 he and Moi dix Mois ebarked on a two stop national tour called Deep Sanctuary. Meanwhile the well known guitar manufacturer ESP hosted an exhibition with Közi's and Mana's guitars. This was followed by more solo concerts in October and November, before things trailed off again.

In July 2010 he embarked on a second coupling tour with Moi dix Mois called Deep Sanctuary II, which took them to six different cities and where he introduced a new solo song. Special guest at their sold-out show at Akasaka Blitz was Yu~ki, Malice Mizer's bassist, who had been retired since 2001. Malice Mizer fans who had seized the opportunity to witness the reunion of the former band mates were treated to moving performances of Saikai no chi to bara, their comeback single following the death of drummer Kami, as well as Beast of Blood featuring Közi on vocals.

During this tour his solo project underwent a member change. While guitarist Jiro and drummer Chargeeeee had become regular guests, bassist Masashi was supporting Versailles on their world tour. At some shows he was therefore replaced by Moi dix Mois' bassist Sugiya. When Masashi became an official member of Versailles later that year, Sugiya took over his position in Közi's project in addition to his job with Moi dix Mois.

In August 2010 DALLE folded and Közi founded the band XA-VAT together with Ishii Shuuji (cali≠gari), Sadie (SPEECIES) and Takao Koma (Goatbed). In December they released the single XA-VAT, followed in March 2011 by the album Tsuyado. However, after a two gig national tour in May 2011 this project came to a standstill and no further activities were announced.

Közi continued to pursue his solo activities. In April 2011 European fans finally had the opportunity to sample his music when he performed together with guest vocalist Miyu (Royal Cabaret) and Gabriels Stiletto in Berlin as well as at the Manga Party Festival in Paris and on a charity concert for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake, which had hit japan in March. During the summer he participated in various sponsored events and in October he was going to perform together with The Candy Spooky Theater, VELVET EDEN, GPK and DJ Chihiro at Tokyo Dark Castle in Moscow, Russia, but due to problems with the organisation the event was postponed. Tokyo Dark Castle was instead held with the same lineup on 19th November at Shinjuku Marz. In the same month, Közi performed together with Chargeeeee's band Omega Dripp and special guest Marty Friedman (Megadeth) at Chargeeeee's birthday event at Shibuya WWW and in December he and Kaya were special guests at Art Cube's fourth anniversary event at Meguro Rockmaykan.

At the end of 2011, Közi decided to pause his solo project and start a new project called ZIZ with his long-term support members Jiro, Chargeeeee and Sugiya, as well as keyboardist Yugami (YUGAMIHAKASE). The new band had its first gig on 29th May 2012 and has been keeping busy ever since.

However, Közi appears to want to also continue his solo career as on 22nd December he performed at Tokyo Dark Castle~Daylight Nightmare Vol.4 together with VELVET EDEN, The Candy Spooky Theater, AUTO-MOD and Omega Dripp.
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