Ryotaro Aoki

For Ryotaro Aoki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Pirokalpin gets a taste of the majors and opts for indie

May 29, 2015

Pirokalpin gets a taste of the majors and opts for indie

Getting signed to a major label is a goal many bands aspire to, but what happens when your contract ends halfway through the making of your sophomore LP? You start your own label and put it out yourself. That is what guitar pop band ...

Awesome City joins a major club

Apr 24, 2015

Awesome City joins a major club

Bassist Takumi Matsuzaka had a clear plan in mind when he launched his band, Awesome City Club, in early 2013. “From the start I knew I wanted it to be two girls and three guys, and we’d play the songs at slower, danceable tempos,” ...

CQ will take you to the world's end

Apr 3, 2015

CQ will take you to the world's end

Music genres can sometimes be helpful guidelines for a band, but they can also end up being an albatross around a musician’s neck, especially if they’re part of your group’s moniker. Just ask Hiroshi Sasabuchi, drummer for rock band CQ and formerly of Tokyo ...

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

Mar 17, 2015

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

It’s an origin story that sounds like something out of a coming-of-age film: On a whim, four friends decide to enter a battle of the bands-style competition; not necessarily to get signed or to “make it,” but to have something fun to do together ...

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Jan 20, 2015

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Kimonos and heavy metal. It’s a combination that few groups have pulled off convincingly. While the aesthetic may have been used last year to turn (or bang) more than a few heads in the West by heavy metal idol unit Babymetal, the tiny trio ...

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...

Mono's dual album release shows dark and light sides to the band

Nov 4, 2014

Mono's dual album release shows dark and light sides to the band

On the 2012 album “For My Parents,” instrumental rock band Mono went big. Recorded with the 25-piece Wordless Music Orchestra, the album reflected a band that had finally completed a musical journey that it started more than 15 years ago performing grandiose, symphonic instrumental ...

Review: X Japan at Yokohama Arena

Oct 9, 2014

Review: X Japan at Yokohama Arena

X Japan performed its first show in Japan in over three years on Sept. 30 at Yokohama Arena. One of the biggest Japanese rock bands ever, X Japan are responsible for spearheading the visual-kei movement in the early 1990s. The band is known for ...