July 10, 2008
News for Otakon 2008:
Otakon announces Sunday acts: The Underneath and MarBell
Baltimore, USA (10 July 2008) – Veterans of Taste of Chaos tour, Hide Memorial will be closing acts at 15th Otakon
With a high level of musicianship and a mysterious charisma, the Underneath is rapidly shaking up live houses throughout Japan with and aesthetic explosion of sound. Fresh from their recent stint on the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour and the Hide Memorial Summit (alongside former Otakon guests MUCC, TMR, and Yoshiki), the Underneath will bring their unique sound to Otakon 2008 as Sunday's headline performance.
As the moral support and backbone of the band, drummer MASAKI provides a rhythm that is at once heavy and danceable, working together with a strong electro beat. The partner to the rhythm section is bassist RYO, a man of great wisdom in everything from programming to recording engineering. The most aggressively provocative on stage is guitarist TAL. More the technical type, guitarist MASATO is a talented individual with skills from web design to graphic art. And with a vocal range exceeding three octaves and a beguiling, androgynous performance, frontman vocalist TAKA's character molds the image of this band.
They are a band that can be called the Visual Band of the New Era, with every member involved in composing the music, and the ability to freely command two sides to their act – the creative group of the digital age, with each member's ability to manipulate ProTools to their will, and the physical rock band that rampages through their live performances. Thrilling and sexy with electro style and raw group fusion, and possessing two opposing shades with their blend of heaviness and romanticism, the Underneath are the new and powerful rock band that represents the next generation of Japan.
Visual band MarBell has been steadily accumulating fans and critical goodwill since they formed in 2006. They've been described as "gothic shoegaze," earnest, dark, edgy, and melodic. Their musical style recalls punk sensibilities and heartfelt ballads – more or less in equal measures. MarBell's many attractions lie in their eye-catching gothic fashion and surprising range and charisma.
Guitarist TSUNODA and vocalist MAR met while Tsunoda was a DJ during the summer of 2006; she was the only girl there, she had a sad expression, and was dressed in black. She told him that she wanted to sing, and he crafted lyrics that expressed her feelings.
When Mar was young, she'd invented a big sister who was her constant companion. She had two older brothers who'd left, and the one who aimed to be a racer was the person who understood her the most. Recording progressed bit by bit and her brother looked forward to its completion more than anyone. Before she knew it, that relationship with her brother had made the existence of a big sister unnecessary. But in the midst of recording the first album, her brother left and did not return. Her desire to sing, the loneliness that made her need a big sister, the loss of her brother. She still hasn't found suitable words to explain all of these things.
Mar carved her brother's name into her body, and sang out everything in the songs on her first album. Watching her sing while thinking of the brother whose short lifetime had ended, the DJ Tsunoda pictured again his own musical roots. Removing the needle from the turntables, he picked up his guitar and formed MarBell with her.
Though MarBell formed originally with Mar and Tsunoda who is also the producer and arranger, they've now been joined by bassist AZUSA and drummer YU-YA. Their first full album, Sister, was released in May this year. Four of the songs from the album were performed by the band at the hide Memorial Summit in early May, which was not only an amazing opportunity for MarBell to play for a huge audience, but also to commemorate Hide who has so greatly inspired Tsunoda.
The band has made a video for the song "Miss All Birthday," which aired on the television shows Girls Wave and Music Fighter. Mar also appeared in the visual kei magazine Cure during April and May. More than willing to pay their dues, the band has been performing at live events all over Tokyo this summer.
ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its fifteenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 22,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 60,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.