SHAZNA

major - disbanded (1993 - 2009)
SHAZNA is a unique asset to the music world. Starting off as a visual kei band with strong pop influences, the band created songs ranging from hard rock to sugary-sweet ballads to happy-go-lucky tunes. Not only that, but vocalist IZAM presented an androgynous visage that has not been attained by anyone else in the business.

Though the members of SHAZNA eventually parted ways, each of them venturing off to pursue individual projects, the band came back together and, with a new look and return to their original hard rock sound, are out to conquer the music world again.
author: J & Lacy (2009-03-01)
line up
  • Drums: Katsura [1993 / 1996 - gone]
SHAZNA was birthed from the mind of vocalist Izane, while he was in college. Along with some of his friends, he wanted to create a Culture Club tribute band and, after advertising in a magazine, found a suitable bassist though his brother, N.I.Y, ended up filling the position instead. Later, newcomers AOI and Katsura joined on guitar and drums, respectively. Thus, SHAZNA's first lineup was created.

Izane changed his name to Izamu with the release of the band's first demo, ENMITY, in early 1993, followed by two more demos, SHAZNA and Voice of..., the latter of which was distributed in January of 1994 at their Shinjuku LOFT live. The band's first single, Stillness for dear, was released in April. SHAZNA's fan base started small but grew immensely with each subsequent release, the final one of 1994 being a mini-album in November, before the band performed at a few small events to end the year.

After touring and performing at an event here and there in 1995, SHAZNA held their first one man at Shinjuku LOFT in December, and distributed a new single, Dizziness, to the audience. After this, nearly all of the band's tours sold out very quickly.

Their hard work started to really pay off in 1996 with the release of two mini-albums early in the year. Though the band was gaining multitudes of new fans, partially due to Izamu's girlish beauty and soft voice, which worked well with SHAZNA's overall image of love and all things sweet, Katsura decided to leave the band to join Baiser. Around the same time, Izamu changed his name to the current spelling of IZAM and the remaining members continued on, going major at the turn of 1997.

SHAZNA's first major release was a mini-album, Promise Eve, in January. Following that was a video, Lavender, which reached No.1 on the Oricon charts in July. On August 27th, they released another single, Melty Love, which had already been featured on a few previous releases, but had been rerecorded with a softer, pop sound rather than its former rock edge. Their second major single was a cover of the IPPU-DO song Sumire September Love, and the band ended the year with the release of a special, limited edition Christmas single, White Silent Night.

The band began 1998 with the release of a new single and their first album, Gold Sun and Silver Moon. Their popularity was at a peak; the band could be found everywhere: commercials, magazines, musicals, drama and everything in between. SHAZNA also held their first major live at Nippon Budokan, a sure sign that they had made it.

1999 was a year packed full of releases, all of which had a slightly different sound than what fans were used to. SHAZNA changed labels to Toshiba EMI when their contract with BMG expired and, in June, released their second album, Pure Hearts. The band's fan base dwindled a bit, due in part to the fans being dissatisfied with SHAZNA's new direction and the fact that IZAM was involved with young actress and singer Yoshikawa Hinano, who he married and divorced that year.

At the start of 2000, the band members, unsure of what to do at that point in their careers, unanimously decided to part ways. Rather than holding a final live, SHAZNA sadly drifted off into oblivion.

IZAM enjoyed a moderately successful solo career, but stuck mostly to modeling, mainly for Jean Paul Gaultier, and acting. AOI formed Rag Doll and N.I.Y formed Fanble, though both groups eventually fell silent.

In 2006, SHAZNA fans rejoiced when the band restarted activities, IZAM having shed his feminine guise, and held their first live in six years. SHAZNA -Shidou- took place on September 5th at Tokyo Shibuya duo MUSIC EXCHANGE and was sold out. They released their first new single in seven years, Kokoro, in April of 2007. Following this was the release of the band's 10th Melty Life album in August, just in time for the 10th anniversary of their Melty Love single. SHAZNA Single Best, a best-of album, came out just a month later.

2007 also saw the emergence of alcali-5, a side project created by IZAM and AOI

The band kept busy with performances consisting mainly of special lives, such as Summer Celebration☆10th Melty Life☆, in honor of the 10th anniversary since their debut, SHAZNA 2007' FINAL ~A O I & NIY's Special Birthday Live~ and Lilac☆Valentine 2008' ~Special Club Showcase Tour "Area code #3"~.

In August of 2008, SHAZNA officially celebrated their 15th anniversary with a fan club dinner party. They also announced the release of a book, Homeless Visual Kei, before holding another fan club event, which featured a sightseeing and hot spring trip, birthday event for AOI, and live on December 6th and 7th.

With a new look, SHAZNA stated that their music would go back in the direction of their early work, resuming a more rock sound. The band's return to the music scene was definitely a treat for fans, who hoped that SHAZNA would stick around for many more years to come.

However, with the end of 2008 came the announcement that SHAZNA would disband. IZAM stated that they were all satisfied with what they'd accomplished in their fifteen years in the business and that their final live would be held on March 22, 2009 at Shibuya O-EAST.

It is unclear what the members' plans are following SHAZNA's end, but with IZAM and AOI's side project, IZAM's continued involvement in theater, with N.I.Y following his lead, and AOI's solo work, fans have certainly not seen the last of these unique and talented entertainers.
author: J & Lacy (2009-03-01)
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