indies - active (1998 - )
nil is an indie rock band formed by ex-MALICE MIZER and ZIGZO vocalist Tetsu Takano. Picking up right where he left off in ZIGZO, nil’s music is generally punk-influenced rock. However, because it was originally intended to be Tetsu’s solo project, nil grants him decidedly more room for exploration with other genres.

This creative freedom combines with Tetsu’s passionate — sometimes borderline hysterical — vocals and playfully dark lyrics to create a very unusual sound. Both depressing and humorous, frantic and mellow, nil’s music is a bizarre meshing of seemingly incompatible forces, making each of their releases undeniably exciting.
author: vulpix (2013-07-20)
line up
In 1994, vocalist Tetsu Takano left the visual kei band MALICE MIZER. He joined Mega8Ball shortly after, but they disbanded after only a few years together. Tetsu then formed a group called nil in 1998. The line up at this time included bassist Hiroyuki Kashimoto and drummer Kyoshii Moro, with Tetsu assuming both vocal and guitar duties.

Unfortunately, this group did not last for long either, as the stars aligned for Tetsu to join the supergroup ZIGZO that summer. Devoting himself completely to his new band, nil had to be put on hold.

ZIGZO had a variety of releases and became fairly popular, but they disbanded in 2002. Not letting that setback deter him for even a moment, Tetsu resumed work on nil before his former band had even finished touring. He and the other original members reunited and began working on their first mini-album, nil from hell, which was released in September 2002. The band then embarked on a sixteen-date nationwide tour entitled nihil on the hill.

That September, in order to maintain full control of the band’s work, Tetsu formed the indie label afro skull records. All of nil’s subsequent releases have been on this label. nil’s official fan club, the “DREAD SQUAD,” was also started around this time.

Not even waiting for their first year since reuniting to end, nil’s second mini-album Sayonara Davinci was released in December 2002. It was quickly followed by another nationwide tour.

In the summer of 2003, nil performed at the high-profile RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL. That September also brought the EP DOWN to DAWN and the band’s first one-man tour, Ame to muchi to otoko to onna.

2004 brought the band’s first full-length album, 12 IMPLOSION and a forty-date tour entitled 12 EXPLOSION. Their first concert video, STRONGER THAN PARANOID, was also released that year. Continuing their breakneck pace, nil embarked on yet another nationwide tour, 12.1 EXPLOSION, in September.

The firsts kept coming in 2004, as the band’s first cover album, THE COVERING INFERNO, was released in November. The majority of the songs the band chose were English pop hits from the 80s, such as Dexys Midnight Runners’s Come on Eileen. The only Japanese cover was of indie band REDRUM’s Sorrow Flows the Midnight, and it is worth noting that some of the members of REDRUM would go on to contribute backing vocals to nil’s next album, Excalibur.

2005 saw both Moro and Kashimoto leave the band, but also the release of nil’s first single, DROP. Tetsu recruited bassist Masaru Kobayashi (ex-Soy Sauce Sonix, ex-SADS, THE CRO-MAGNONS) and drummer Sota “Furuton” Ofuruton (ex-Oblivion Dust) and the band pressed on, continuing to maintain the incredible pace set by its first incarnation. Before the year had ended, nil had released both the aforementioned Excalibur album and two mini-albums and toured extensively.

Perhaps overwhelmed by this demanding schedule, Furuton quit that October, after only six months in the band. A support drummer named Hiroyuki Kazama (ex-Fantastic Designs) filled in for him on nil’s one-man Scherzo Tour.

In December 2005, after the tour’s final in Sapporo, the band decided to welcome Kazama as an official member. With its new line up solidified, nil was once again a force to be reckoned with.

2006 brought even more relentless touring and Tetsu’s first solo album, The Ball & Wall, which featured acoustic versions of nil songs such as Garden and Beautiful you. Kobayashi also kept busy during this time, touring and recording with THE CRO-MAGNONS.

The band ended 2006 with a four-month consecutive release campaign. It included three singles and finished with the release of their third album, the PAINKILLER, in January 2007.

nil continued to tour and release at a remarkable pace until Tetsu decided to shift his focus to his new band THE JUNEJULYAUGUST in October 2010. Furthermore, in November 2011, Tetsu reunited with his bandmates from ZIGZO for a surprise performance. The group then announced that they would resume activities with a concert entitled The 2nd SCENE ZIGZO on March 17, 2012. Despite all these activities, nil still performed sporadic shows that year.

While Tetsu is currently occupied with THE JUNEJULYAUGUST, the reunited ZIGZO, and occasional shows with an acoustic side project he formed with Taiji Sato of THEATRE BROOK and Youko Utsumi called Indies Denryoku, nil seems to be on the backburner once again. However, as it remains Tetsu’s main creative outlet and he has shown that his mind is almost constantly at work on new music, there’s no telling when nil will return with another exciting release.
author: vulpix (2013-07-20)

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