Kaya - Queen of Decadence

biography - 30.06.2013 19:11

A Japanese proverb says that a nail that sticks out will get hammered in. Kaya is not afraid to stick out; on the contrary. He wants to open the door for other nonconformists and his success is proving him right.

Kaya began his career in 1999 as vocalist for the Shikoku based band Meties under the name Hime. They released a two song demo tape, Recur to Mind, and their song Gekitsuu no Sora was included on an omnibus CD. After Meties disbanded, Hime joined indies rock band ISOLA as vocalist and lyricist. They released a demo tape called Over... and a two track single called Egoiste Butterfly.

In 2001, he met keyboardist Hora at a concert of his band VELVET EDEN, and together they formed Rudolf Steiner, once again with Hime as vocalist and lyricist. Unlike most visual kei bands, their music didn't feature any acoustic instruments, but was completely electronic. The band released two demo tapes, Perfect Garden and Queen of Decadence before, in 2002, their unique style attracted the attention of Mana (Moi dix Mois, ex Malice Mizer), who signed them to his independent label, Midi:Nette, and changed their name to Schwarz Stein. Around the same time, Hime changed his name to Kaya.

Now thrust into the limelight, they quickly gained popularity both in the visual kei and the Japanese goth scene and released two singles, Queen of Decadence and Current, as well as two albums, New Vogue Children and Artificial Halluciation, but in 2004 split up due to artistic differences.

Despite the break-up, Kaya and Hora remained on friendly terms. In April 2006, they once again collaborated on a one-off project called ANOTHER CELL and released a self-titled album, for which Hora wrote the music and Kaya most of the lyrics. Apart from brand new compositions, it also featured re-arranged versions of songs by Rudolf Steiner as well as Hora's solo project. In June 2006, ANOTHER CELL was performed live as part of Kaya's first concert as a solo artist, albeit without Hora, who has retired from the stage.

The following month saw the release of his first solo single, Kaleidoscope, followed in September by a second single, the jazzy Masquerade. In December, he released his debut album, Glitter, and appeared at KAMIJO's ( Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-) and Hitomi's (Moran) three day Winter Romantic festival.

2007 was a busy year for Kaya. In February he had his first one man concert at Shibuya O-West, in April he released his single Ouka Ryouran and performed at Shock Wave Vol.1, in July he released the mini album Hyakkiyakou, which had a traditional Japanese theme, and a fourth single, Carmilla, whose title track was written by HIZAKI(Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-), at Halloween. He also accompanied Sugar on their summer tour and starred alongside KAMIJO and HIZAKI (Versailles) as well as Shaura (ex Moi dix Mois) in the rock musical Node of Scherzo.

In February 2008, Kaya surprised his fans with the announcement that he had signed a recording deal with Next Music, a sub-label of Universal, in order to have a larger platform to promote his political ideas. In April his first major single, Chocolat, was released, followed by a re-recorded version of his sold-out album Glitter, and a live DVD, Salon de Chocolat, which commemorated his first concert as a major artist at Tokyo Cinema Club. In November, he gave his international debut at the Pacific Media Expo in Los Angeles, California, and in December he released the single Last Snow.

In early 2009, Kaya changed musical directions again when he participated in a three city tour called the Shinshun Chanson Show and released a mini-album, Bonjour! Chanson, which contained cover versions of well-known French songs. However, he didn’t abandon his gothic trance image for long. In July he released the single Ophelia, which was penned by Hora and Kalm (VELVET EDEN) and was promoted with a nation-wide event tour in the shops of the lolita fashion brand Baby the Stars Shine Bright, which had produced the costume for the single. In late November, Kaya returned to the US to perform at the Anime USA convention in Arlington, Virginia. He also had several live performances both in Tokyo and Osaka, which culminated on December 27th with an event at Tokyo’s Yakult Hall with KAMIJO and HIZAKI (Versailles) as guests. On this occasion he also released the three track CD Kaya Remix Vol.1 K, which was only available that evening.

His stream of activities continued in 2010. In January, he played at the farewell concert of Kouichi's (ex Laputa and Everlasting-K) and Shaura's project XOVER. The following day he participated in the Jasmine You - Memorial Ceremony -, which was hosted by the members of Versailles in memory of their bassist, who had died the previous summer. In February, he sponsored an event called Diva's Banquet with Z (Art Cube) and Loki (ex Sugar) as special guests, where apart from their own compositions they also sang songs from Takarazuka shows and the musical Phantom of the Opera. It was the first of several such events, but at the same time he continued to hold regular concerts where he performed his gothic trance music. In April, he began to publish a series of short stories called "Hyakki Yagyou Kitan", which was based on his songs as well as real life experiences, via the music website Barks. In May he delighted European fans with a performance at Tokyo Decadance in Moscow, Russia. Back home in Japan he resumed his busy live schedule, including another chanson event. He released a new single Sugar Rose, which was only available at his birthday one-man on 17 July. Later that month, he also released a regular single, Awilda, which was based on the legend of a Scandinavian princess who became captain of a pirate ship. This was followed by a nationwide tour called ~Voyage Rose~, which was released on the DVD Barairo Daikokai Nisshi that was only sold at concerts. In October, Kaya travelled to Paris, France, where he performed at a Tokyo Decadance event to commemorate the re-opening of the shop Harajuku, which specialized in Japanese gothic and lolita fashion. December saw the release of the single Madame Rosa no Shoukan, which was inspired by Elizabeth Bathory, the 16th century Blood Countess who was said to have bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth. It was released in two versions, one containing a short novel of the same title. The same day also saw the re-release of the mini-album Kaya Remix vol.1 "K".

In January 2011, Kaya held the first of a series of chanson events titled Café Noir, which since then have been taking place regulary and feature various guest vocalists. He also continued to play concerts featuring his regular gothic trance style, among them a valentine event at Takadanobaba Area. In late March he performed at a Tokyo Decadance special event called White & Yellow, which was dedicated to the victims of the Tohoku earthquake that had hit Japan earlier that month. In April, he released the album QUEEN, which was named after French Queen Marie Antoinette and was released in two versions, one with an additional track and the other with a DVD containing the PV for the song Transmigration, which showed Kaya in a dramatic rococo dress and wig. In June, he embarked on his KAYA WORLD TOUR 2011 -QUEEN'S PARADE-, which started in Japan and then took him to South America.

In July, he and Hora took to the stage at Takadanobaba Area for a one-night revival of their former band Schwarz Stein. In the same month the duo also released a new mini album called Recurrence of Hallucination, which contained a new song as well as remixes from Hora's solo project with Kaya on vocals.

Of course he also continued his solo career. In August he held another chanson event and at the end of October he joined HIZAKI and KAMIJO at Tokyo Decadance in Tokyo. In December, he appeared as special guest at Art Cube's fourth anniversary concert at Meguro Rockmaykan.

The year 2012 began as busy for Kaya as the old year had ended. In January, he released a new single, Vampire Requiem, which was based on two short stories written by him. The title track was composed by HIZAKI and featured Selia (Seileen) as guest vocalist. For the first time, this single was also available as digital download in Europe. Following a New Year 2012 Chanson Show at the end of January, he embarked on a national tour to promote his new single. At the end of February, he and Satsuki (ex-RENTRER EN SOI) travelled to Europe, in March he appeared at stylish wave CIRCUIT '12 and Tokyo Decadance and on 30 April he played the final concert of his Vampire Requiem tour. In June, he released the single SALOME, which was based on the play of the same name by Oscar Wilde, and performed at a two day event at LIQUID ROOM Ebisu, which was hosted by Versailles to celebrate their five year anniversary. He also contributed a cover version of the Laputa song Yurenagara... to the compilation CD CRUSH!3-90’s V-Rock best hit cover LOVE songs-, which was released later that month. In early July, he traveled to South America for concerts in Brazil at the Anime Friends 2012 convention and in Mexico, and at the end of the month he played a one man in Nagoya. In October he released a new live DVD, Bara no Soretsu -Vampire Requiem-, which featured footage from his performance at Tokyo Decadance with HIZAKI and Selia as special guests, as well as the PV for SALOME.

The same month saw a surprise reunion with his former band Meties. On 27th October, they played a concert at Tokushima club GRINDHOUSE and on the same day released the single Recur to Mind, which featured re-recordings of Meties classics as well as a new song, Necrophilia. This was followed on 24th November by a second Schwarz Stein reunion at Takadanobaba AREA.

For December, Kaya has announced the release of a remastered version of his 2006 album Glitter with additional tracks from his major debut Chocolat, as well as a new single, Nocturne. As the song titles Marionette and Coppelia suggest, it is based on a doll theme. Finally, on 24th December he will see the year out with a session event called White Darkness -Holy Night- 2012 at Ruido K4.

He didn't have much time to rest, however, as January 2013 saw him embark on a nationwide tour called Quartet Opera, which took him to six major cities before concluding on 9th March at Shibuya WWW. Nevertheless, he still found time for a chanson event on 22 January and in February 2013, he and Hora revived Schwarz Stein once more to play a two man with their former label mates Moi dix Mois as part of the band's ten year anniversary celebrations. In early July, Kaya will return to the US for a performance at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California, and later that same month he will host the BANCO DE DISCO -Kaya Birthday Special- event at Ruido K4. On July 31st, he will release a new single called TABOO, which was produced in collaboration with KEN MORIOKA (ex-SOFT BALLET) and KALM (VELVET EDEN), and the live DVD Nocturne -ugomeku hohoemi-, which will feature footage from his tour final in March and the PV for the song Nocturne.

More live performances are scheduled for this summer, among them the omious sounding Sodom no bansan -Decadence Infection- and Sodom no bansan -Decadence TABOO- events in Osaka and Tokyo, as well as another oversaes performance, this time at Abunai! 2013 in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.
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