RIZE

biography - 01.01.2014 05:56

Often called rapcore or rap-rock, but a self-described “three-piece alternative band,” RIZE’s sound is difficult to pin down. A mix of rock, metal, rap and sometimes even genres such as reggae, their music is highly unpredictable.

As RIZE drummer Kaneko Nobuaki and vocalist/guitarist JESSE grew up together and are both sons of famous musicians—with JESSE being the son of guitarist Char and Nobuaki the son of singer Kaneko Mari and drummer Johnny Yoshinaga—many automatically assumed the two would follow in their parents’ footsteps. The duo resisted for a while, but eventually fate won and they started the band together in 1997. After recruiting bassist TOKIE, RIZE began performing in the Kitazawa area.

In 2000, after gaining a loyal fanbase, RIZE went on to perform at the 10th Kitazawa Music Festival. Not long after, they were signed to Epic Records and released their first single, Kaminari, which was soon followed by the single Why I'm Me. Less than a month after this, the band released their debut album, which reached number eight on the Oricon charts, an impressive achievement for such a young group.

Unfortunately, in March 2001, TOKIE announced that she would be leaving the band. New bassist U-ZO joined to fill her spot. RIZE also adopted second guitarist Nakao Yoshihiro that year, making them a four-piece band and greatly expanding the potential of their sound.

The following year saw JESSE and Nobuaki becoming radio personalities for the program All Night Nippon from April to September. The band also performed at prominent events such as the Kitazawa Music Festival, ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL and SUMMER SONIC'01.

Towards the end of the year, RIZE's second album FOREPLAY was released. Recorded in Los Angeles, the album displayed a strong influence from American nu-metal artists such as Limp Bizkit. The band's collaboration with rapper ZEEBRA, I can’t live without my radio, also became the theme for the FM FESTIVAL that year.

RIZE began 2002 with their FUCK'N ROCK tour which took them to forty-two cities across Japan. In the summer months the band performed at several festivals, including MTV Japan's THE SUPER DRY LIVE, SWEET LOVE SHOWER, the Rising Sun Rock Festival and the MAJI ROCK FESTIVAL. In October, RIZE performed at the South Korean 2002ETPFEST at the Olympic Stadium, arranged by Seo Taiji. The event is known for being the largest field festival of its time with 30,000 attendees.

With 2003 only just beginning, RIZE released the single VIBRATION, featuring the newly formed reggae-pop duo Def Tech. The band continued to tour throughout the spring and JESSE collaborated with the Beastie Boys for the Tibetan Freedom Concert. JESSE also featured on the American rapcore band Crazy Town's Hurt You So Bad under the pseudonym JROC. In July, the band traveled to Los Angeles to tour with American rapcore bands Kottonmouth Kings and Phunk Junkeez.

Following their tour in America, RIZE returned to Japan for a short timeout but performed at the charity event PEACE vol.3 only months later. After this, their lack of releases suddenly abated in March 2005 with the release of their first best of album. The band also held nightly concerts in Gangima during the months of March, May and August.

It was around this time that JESSE formed his own label, TENSAIBAKA RECORDS. RIZE also performed at Live 8 Japan in July. Sadly, U-ZO left the band in November 2005, but he was soon replaced by Kaneko Nobuaki's younger brother KenKen.

2006 saw the band perform at Gangima Night and in April, KenKen joined the band as an official member. Throughout the year, RIZE performed at several festivals and in the latter part, formed the label FAR EASTERN TRIBAL RECORDS under Universal Music Japan.

In May 2007, the band performed at the hide Memorial Day 2007 and in July, participated in the enormous Live Earth event. RIZE then held a two-man tour with Acidman and, towards the end of the year, released the single LADY LOVE. Its title track was used as both the tie-in song for music.jp advertisements in October 2007 and the theme for the anime “Shion no ou.”

RIZE released their sixth full-length album K.O. in April 2008. The following month saw the band take part in the hide Memorial Summit, where they performed their rendition of Pink Spider in tribute.

Unfortunately, on May 20th, the band announced on their official website that Nakao Yoshihiro would be leaving RIZE due to creative differences. However, rather than replacing him, the remaining members decided to continue their activities as a trio.

2010 brought the album EXPERIENCE and maxi-single ZERO, which was used in the ad campaign for Coke Zero.

Although RIZE did not release any new music after 2010, the members all kept busy with other projects. Motivated by his belief that eleven is his lucky number, JESSE launched his STAND UP! project in 2011, which seeks to encourage creative people to share ideas and influence one another. As part of the project, he released eleven solo demos online and invited people to edit and remix them, with his end goal being to work directly with the contributors to create finished tracks.

KenKen made his acting debut in the movie “Monsters Club,” which was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also served as the support bassist for Dragon Ash and performed several bass demonstrations at NAMM 2012 in Anaheim, California for TC Electronic.

Nobuaki has been active for many years as an actor in dramas and is also the drummer of Takeshi Ueda’s solo project AA= (“All Animals Are Equal”). After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, AA= collaborated with members of bands such as Pay money To my Pain, coldrain, Dragon Ash, Nothing’s Carved In Stone and BALZAC to release a charity song under the name AA= Aid.

JESSE’s clothing line Slip&Co made its American debut in February 2012 and, in an exciting treat for foreign fans, RIZE also announced three North American shows. They performed two dates in Toronto, Canada, representing Japan at the Canadian Music Fest. They then crossed the border to perform at Webster Hall in New York as a part of the East Meets West showcase.

RIZE released their first new single in two years, LOCAL DEFENSE ORGANIZATION on October 17, 2012.

However, 2013 saw the members of RIZE once again devoting much of their time to separate projects, as JESSE's STAND UP! campaign became an official band called The BONEZ and welcomed a familiar face on guitar: former RIZE member Nakao Yoshihiro. JESSE was also one of the guest musicians who contributed to Pay money To my Pain's album gene after the passing of their vocalist K.

Nobuaki starred in dramas, recorded two new albums with AA= and hosted the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards Japan with Atsuko Maeda. KenKen's activities were a bit more behind the scenes. He kept busy playing support bass for Dragon Ash and a number of other popular artists, creating his own bass lesson app, performing sessions, experimenting with and endorsing new music equipment and recording music for CMs, TV shows and many of his own bands.

So far 2014 has seen Nobuaki announce the release of a second solo album, and with JESSE promoting a new album from The BONEZ and KenKen occupied with Dragon Ash and his many side projects, only time will tell when RIZE will return with another exciting release.
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