When one thinks of Nagoya kei, many bands and people come to mind. The web weaved within the bands and members that made up the Nagoya kei genre from the late 90’s through the millennium was a tight one and it was hard to think of one band without associating it with the others. However, even after his move to Tokyo in 2003, one guitarist has continued to capture attention of band members and fans alike around the world despite his modest nature: Dai Mase, also known as aie.
Born in Nagoya, aie’s beginning career as a musician is not well known. With influences from bands like Nirvana, X JAPAN, Kuroyume and Red Hot Chili Peppers, he learned to play the guitar, compose music and sing. aie has said that his influence from GRAPEVINE also assisted in writing music, including the deadman song, Degreeds centigrade. aie also felt that if he had only listened to punk music in his high school years, his compositions would be vastly different from how they turned out during his career.
Over the years, aie has been thoroughly questioned in interviews about his composition style and one theme remained consistent: the belief that his writing style frequently came through subconsciously. When writing a single, he always made one song that inevitably fit perfectly as the opening track; for an album, the framework and image for the album itself always came into play with his compositions and could cause an extra song to be bumped from the final product. He also explained that as he grew in his musical career, he began to write music that perhaps did not necessarily fit with the image of the band he represented but still worked for the sound that band produced.
Despite his jokes, aie has also admitted he has a perfectionist nature and has struggled through recording sessions or not played a song live due to under practice or worry that it will go wayward. Even with his newest session bands, aie has frequently updated online about how often he practices. However, he is quick to admit he makes mistakes regularly and modestly says he is not a precise or particularly skilled guitarist. In the past, aie told interviewers that he did not play solos in deadman because he did not want to be in the spotlight.
Steadily using the same guitar over a number of years, fans have buzzed over what type aie prefers; as a result, this information was recently revealed. While he was in the Nagoya scene in the latter part of the 90’s, aie primarily used two ESP Horizon guitars. He now owns two aie-custom ESP XJ-6, two acoustic guitars and a USA Fender Telecaster that he purchased impulsively.
aie’s career kick started in the heart of the Aichi Prefecture with the band LAPSE, under the name of Yui which was written as 悠依. While the lifespan of LAPSE was short lived and they did not release any recordings, it was here that aie met Kisui, the later singer of Phobia, and Hibiki. Both of these meetings would result in lifelong friendships, with the three working together in the future. Throughout aie and Hibiki’s career, the two worked together in four bands, including kein and the studs.
aie’s next break was Another You where he met hiderou, who would become a future partner in the band Lamiel. Like his previous endeavor, the band would come to only release one demo tape, Mad Mind, and never fully broke into the indies scene.
Before joining his next band, theia, aie stopped using the kanji, changing his name to YUI. The history on this band is equally sparse, but it was during this time that he met bassist Yukino, who would later join him through five other bands, including the studs and his solo project, The god and death stars.
His success would begin to develop in his next band, Lamiel, where he changed his name to aie. With visual kei growing in popularity during Nagoya in this time, the darkly dressed line-up hit the stage in early 1997, with their demo tape ao that November. Within one year, they released a two-press edition of their first album, Kaigan, which is where his first composition work began. Despite line-up changes, things were looking good for aie in this band and he shared the music writing duties with Akira, the band’s other guitarist. However, Lamiel would only release three more singles before it was announced that aie was leaving the band at the end of 1999 over musical differences.
By January 2000, aie had joined the line-up of kein, which would only have one release, Mourou no jitsu, before the band disbanded six months later. However, from the ashes of kein grew the band deadman, which became a senpai band for other visual kei artists nationwide, and captivated fans across the world with their deep lyrics and smooth alternative sound. aie became deadman’s primary composer during this time and due to his influence from western music, this was frequently heard in the band’s later albums. deadman held their first one-man live just two months after activities began in 2001, with their first one-man tour being six months later. Things were looking up for both aie and deadman and in 2002, they joined fellow Nagoya-kei band BLAST on the Hirusagari no Jekyll and Hyde tour and released a two-CD single set together. Over the next three years, with several albums and over one hundred shows under the belt, the band also toured with both D’espairs Ray and lynch.
Along with his activities with deadman, in 2003, aie joined eight other guest artists, including Hizumi from D’espairs Ray and Iori of siva to work on the Kisui Project release, Barabara. aie helped with the composition of the song I HAVE A GOOD HEAD. The CD was limited to 1000 copies.
In Feburary 2004, amidst deadman’s tour, aie performed in the session band bluck-tlick, with Tatsurou from MUCC, Yuu from MERRY, ex-Fatima member Lay and ex-Karimero member Tsuyoshi. He later explained in an interview that although he was doing work outside of deadman, he was still focused on their progress, having even written a song for them during a bluck-tick sound check.
By summer of the following year, aie joined as support guitarist for Aki on his first solo tour, COME INTO CONFLICT 2005 until November. Despite his outside activity, deadman still held a one-man tour and a series of FUZZ fan club-only shows during this time.
In January 2006, aie traveled with deadman and performed in both France and Germany. Although the band had done a photoshoot in California the year before, this was their first time performing overseas. However, this year was to bring deadman's success to a close, when they went on an indefinite hiatus in May that year after their final tour, Endroll. It was reported that during their final show at Shibuya O-East on May 23rd, band members Yuuki and Naoki from Jinkaku Radio, as well as Hazuki and Yukino from lynch., Tatsurou from MUCC and members of kagerou, Merry, and D’espairs Ray all came to the show to say goodbye to the influential group.
Despite the band’s hiatus, this did not stop aie from moving on musically. Formed in early 2007, the god and death stars, also known as GADS, became his solo session project that he has resurrected numerous times since its birth. Using support members during performances such as ex-gullet member yukino and Sasabushi Hiroshi from Plastic Tree, aie sings, plays guitar and composes the lyrics and music for all the songs the band performs. It was during this time that aie wrote and performed several songs that would later be redone and performed by his next band, the studs. The session group has also continued to play several deadman tunes over the years.
the studs, the short hand version of the name strange thee united dead person is stranger was created in April 2007 with Daisuke from kagerou and aie’s previous band members, Yukino and Hibiki. From the start the band had a healthy following and their first self-titled album was released just two months later. In June, the studs traveled abroad and played in Paris, France. Over the next year-and-a-half, the band released a handful of new material and had a busy live schedule.
On April 12, 2009, aie returned to the stage for his first solo event in two years during the Shinjuku LOFT 10th Anniversary master+mind Extra Volume ~acoustic mind~ event. One month later, Hibiki announced he would be leaving the band due to creative differences and was soon followed by Yukino in August, one month after the studs officially announced a formal hiatus. Being left with just two members, they did not resume activities.
aie continued his heavy schedule into 2010, frequently rehearsing and performing under the god and death stars, using various support members including hati from 9 GOATS BLACK OUT, ex-kagerou member Kazu, Takai Jun and Jun Ootaka from rowthe.
In June, aie joined ex-Merry Go Round member KAZUMA to form highfashionparalyze. Their first performance together was on June 26th at Shinjuku LOFT. That same month, he participated as guitarist for Seek’s group Ippon Michi and recorded a track for the various artists CD Loft Plus One Offical Soundtrack Volume 1.
By the fall, aie performed solo at various events and represented the god and death stars, as well as stepping in as a guitarist for temporary session units that include Frances Bean. He later held a birthday event for himself, entitled ALL TOMORROW’S PARTY 2010. He had a variety of performers who appeared to celebrate the event, including Toki from deadman, hitomi from Moran, ryo and hati from 9 GOATS BLACK OUT, seek from Mix Speaker’s Inc, along with High Fashion Paraylze.
aie's live activity is going strong and he has steadily announced plans for the new year, including Monstars★Party vol.47 and UnderGround Party Vol.7. Over the next two months, along with performing solo, aie will appear with the god and death stars and highfashionparalyze. He will also play support for Yowmay, ex-vocalist of the influential Nagoya-kei band Silver~Rose in February. They will perform under the name Tillver Rose.
While aie has made no formal announcements about future band endeavors, in the meantime, fans around the world can be rest assured that aie's time on the stage will not be ending any time soon.
Special thanks to Gishokitty for the use of her magazine translations.
Biography Special: aie
file - 07.01.2011 00:01
A look into the musical history of the Nagoya native guitarist, aie.
© Free Will