Members: Hosomi Takeshi (Vocals), Ubukata Shinichi (Guitar), Takada Yuichi (Bass), Takahashi Hirotaka (Drums)
"ELEVEN FIRECRACKERS" IN STORES JULY 31ST!!
Click here to get the album from iTunes now!!
In March 2007, four Chiba, Japan natives found themselves in front of 30,000 people in the Makuhari Messe. No, this wasn't one of those massive, sweaty three-day festivals. It was a headlining show where all 30,000 ticket holders came to see one band and one band only: ELLEGARDEN.
Usually we play two nights at a 2000-3000 person venue, lead singer Takeshi Hosomi says modestly. It is very hard to get a ticket. Maybe one in 50 people can buy one. So we decided to have one big show so that every one of our fans could have the chance to see us.
Hosomi, Shinichi Ubukata, Yuichi Takada, and Hirotaka Takahashi formed ELLEGARDEN nearly eight years ago. I was a computer engineer at the time, says Hosomi. I had been in a band before, but gave it up. I kept writing songs without any intention for them, and then a few years later my guitarist called me and asked if I could sing in his band. It was just for fun in the beginning. We'd play maybe two shows a month, but eventually I got excited about it and quit my job.
ELLEGARDEN signed to Dynamord Records where they released five hugely successful albums in Japan. Now, Ellegarden is coming to North America with their album, Eleven Fire Crackers, to be released on Nettwerk, July 31st.
Their pop-punk sound is familiar in the states, but there is something compelling about this Japanese foursome. It may be how flawlessly Hosomi is able to convey his sentiments in English or how the listener somehow still knows what he is saying, even when he sings a few stanzas in Japanese. As we all know, honest emotion never gets lost in translation.
Eleven Fire Crackers hits you instantaneously.. Songs like Fire Cracker and Winter conjure thoughts of Blink-182 and New Found Glory, but Hosomi cites bands like Weezer, The Police, and the Cranberries as his greatest influences. In the past couple of years, Hosomi says he's been writing from a place of depression, yet none of the charged songs on this album come close to being downers.
Although Hosomi is self conscious of his English, you would never know from his bilingual songs. I grew up listening to songs in English so it was pretty natural for me to sing in English, regardless if my pronunciation is perfect or not, he explains. I love to sing in English and Japanese. Singing in English is not a problem, but writing lyrics in English is so hard.
ELLEGARDEN adopts the indie rock mentality in their approach to their career. The idea of major label homogenization makes them more inclined to get in a van and tour to reach fans and spread the word about their band. Usually a Japanese band, especially when they get bigger, cannot say no to being on TV, but we stick our middle fingers to those kinds of promotional things and keep to live shows and touring. I think that's one of the aspects our fans really love about us.
Selling out a show to 30,000 people is something that every band dreams of. In the U.S., ELLEGARDEN has played to a sold out crowd at New York's Knitting Factory, and were so well-received at SXSW last year that they were allowed to play three songs over their 5-song set. For now, ELLEGARDEN is excited to share their music with America and tour these unchartered waters. Our biggest goal in life is to have fun, Hosomi says. I'm not aiming for anything, but I'm so excited to get out of Tokyo and play for people who don't really know about us. It's like starting from scratch. Not everybody can do it. We've been in this band for more than 8 years and have been successful, but at the same time I miss the beginning part of being in a band. We just want to have fun doing what we love.