Dir en grey are a Japanese rock group -- IMHO the coolest in the vein of what's known by many as Visual Rock. By far and above, they are definately one of the most unique visual rock groups, each of them having a certain flair that, when put together with the rest of the group, forms something stunning. From music to lyrics, from photo shoots to video clips, from interviews to live performances, they do everything with all the intensity and passion they can. And that passion is what drives them and makes them so loved.
Dir en grey originally formed in 1997 from the ashes of indies band La:Sadies, and released their first mini-album, MISSA, later that year. But it wasn't until 1998 with the release of several singles that their popularity began to grow. In August that year their single I'll broke the sales record of indie singles and reached #7 on the Oricon chart in Japan.
They soon came to the attention of one of their idols, Yoshiki from X-Japan, and in the beginning of 1999, three major singles were released that had been produced by him; these songs had a more slickly polished feel to them, but were nonetheless uniquely Dir en grey and well recieved by a hungry audience. Their first major release album, Gauze, came out in July, followed by an extensive tour, a video with clips for all the songs on Gauze, and an amazing performance at the end of the year in Osakajou Hall.
With the beginning of 2000, a live video of the Osakajou concert was released, along with a brand new single, the first since Gauze, called myaku. This single was more reminiscent of their indie days, in a way discarding the pop-glossiness of Yoshiki's production; and despite their success under Yoshiki's hand, this was definately the way for them to go. Further singles only proved they were maturing just fine on their own, and the September release of their second album, Macabre was truly an accomplishment; with it's hard, unique, dark feel excelling well and beyond Gauze's already auspicious beginning.
A long, sellout tour followed; partly postponed for a few months when Kyo became ill was forced to take time off, but they were soon back on the road. The tour ended in April 2001 with a fanastic live at the Budoukan, a venue that's quite an accomplishment to be able to fill. And since then, several new, amazingly cool singles have been released, and the release of their new album kisou is a fantastic start to 2002; with a trademark Dir en grey darkness and uniqueness, but with an even more experimental feel than before, it shows that the band is still pushing themselves to their limits and not looking back.
And through all of this, they have remained loyal to their fans, taking care of them as few other bands do; they have an official fan club they pay a lot of attention to, and even do special concerts that are only open to fan club members. (Now if only we could figure out a way for us overseas fans to join!)
If you would like to send Dir en grey fanmail, gifts, etc, then this is the address to do so:
Pacific Capital Plaza Building 6F
Make sure you put the name of the member you wish to send it to, for example: "a knot", Dir en grey, Kaoru.