biography - 05.16.2013 10:02


Starting under the name VOLAJU, after its birth in 1986, SOFT BALLET's founding three members were joined by second keyboardist and support guitarist Fuji Maki. With this addition, the band changed its name to SOFT BALLET. The new name was a mix of Endo's and Morioka's favorite bands' names - Soft Cell and Spandau Ballet. Since the three founding members worked as models for JUNE magazine, in the beginning the majority of their audience were JUNE readers. As a result of their modeling career, their appearances were quite distinct.

In the beginning the band was under indies company Taiyou Records which in 1989 released their first single BODY TO BODY. In the same year they switched to Alpha Records, a major record company. Their first major release was a new version of their first single, and their first album EARTH BORN. The same year they went on their first tour called TOUR JACK IN '89.

1990 was marked by a large number of different releases. In January their first video was out, which consisted of tour material. Between March and August they released a full album and a single, with the fall bringing more new material, a concert video and a mini album. In mid October they embarked on their second tour. 1991 was a busy year for them as they went on two new concert tours releasing their third album, new singles and a VHS. In the same year Fuji Maki took part in a project called SCHAFT, joining Hisashi Imai from BUCK-TICK. SCHAFT was included on an omnibus album, Dance 2 Noise.

In 1992 the band went on tour again, releasing their fourth album MILLION MIRRORS which featured a guest appearance of Hisahi Imai on the track MEDDLER. In the same year, they changed their record company from Alpha Records to Victor Enterprise. In 1993, SOFT BALLET released their fifth album and a handful of singles, including remixed albums previously released on other labels. They were busy in 1993 and enjoyed a small success abroad with their song THRESHOLD, released on LP, which hit number two in the Belgian Top 10 club list.

At the end of the year they started their new tour which ended in March 1994 and on New Year's Eve they performed live on TVK LIVE GAGA with BUCK-TICK. Endo was very anxious during the performance, his singing was a bit off and he even dropped his microphone so Atsushi cheered him up, embracing and hugging Endo.

In August 1994 they appeared as a guest on BUCK-TICK's tour and later joined BUCK-TICK and LUNA SEA on an L.S.B. tour. In September Fuji Maki and Imai revived SCHAFT, this time with the guest appearance of Raymond Watts from PIG. Together they released a remix album and video. In December Morioka released his first solo album Questions. By the end of 1994, it was becoming apparent that the band members were slowly parting ways. Besides the change of the band's sound, it was obvious that Endo was drifting from SOFT BALLET's style. He changed his singing and clothing style, becoming western, more in the style of Jim Morrison.

In 1995, they had several final releases, including a single, two albums including remixed tracks, as well as a best of and a video of their final live. SOFT BALLET ended activities on July 23, 1995. Each of its members pursued his own solo career - Ryoichi founded ENDS, Fuji Maki joined a band called She-Shell and Morioka continued his solo career and started producing other artists.

In 2002 SOFT BALLET came back after a 7-years-long break when they took part in the Summer Sonic 2002 festival. Their comeback wasn't officially announced; they appeared without a word as one of the performers at the festival. In October they released both a new single and album. By November, their fan base was still strong enough to enable them to play a one-man at Shibuya AX.

2003 brought new singles as well as the album MENOPAUSE, which came out in 2 different presses. They resumed touring and also took part in RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL 2003 before holding their final performance on the 17th of December 2003.

Today, they remain engaged in their own solo careers - Endo still sings in ENDS, Morioka performs solo and Fuji Maki plays for Suilen.
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