Versailles

| ヴェルサイユ | Versailles-Philharmonic Quintet-

  • 2006 - 2012
  • |
  • Hiatus / Major [Label - Warner Japan]

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Versailles

Versailles formed in the autumn of 2006 by both Kamijo and Hizaki. Under the concept of “absolute beauty and extreme aestheticism,” Versailles created a world of decedance and crafted their own vampiric world through their dualing guitar melodies and bombastic aestetics. Almost immediately after their first release, Versailles went on to be one of the most successful visual-kei acts in the scene's history.


Bands / Versailles

Biography

Versailles formed in the autumn of 2006 by both Kamijo and Hizaki. Under the concept of “absolute beauty and extreme aestheticism,” Versailles created a world of decadence and crafted their own vampiric world through their dueling guitar melodies and bombastic aesthetics. Almost immediately after their first release, Versailles went on to be one of the most successful visual-kei acts in the scene's history. What helped their broad success was their openness to work with foreign record labels and promoters, reaching beyond the low hanging fruit of just Japanese audiences and developing a strong following in Europe and in North and South America. Because of this strategy, the band was able to tour internationally before their first album was even released.

Musically, Versailles style typical stays within the realms of power metal, neoclassical metal, and symphonic metal with the occasional progressive metal composition. They are renown for their dueling guitar melodies and elaborate solos, as well as for typically having some sort of orchestration in their music. Each of their albums has one epic length song, usually lasting for longer than 8 and a half minutes. Since their formation, Versailles has been a concept band: all of their songs are part of an overarching story and fit together in one way or another. Although the whole story has not been fully revealed, it has been speculated that the story both starts and ends with the song 'Sympathia' off of their first mini-album and last album. Their concept revolves around aristocratic vampires who have been granted eternal life. Each of the band members plays a certain role in this story as well: Kamijo is the prince, Hizaki is the princess, Yuki is the hunter, Teru is a lost boy, and Jasmine You was the witch. Masashi, the bassist who joined in 2010, has assumed the role as the of the dark knight. Since their debut as a major band, it appears that the band's story takes place in two different time periods based on the settings and content in their music videos: their early works taking place in the past as the start of their story, and from their single Ascendead Master and onwards the story is to take place in modern times. The concepts of devotion, darkness, and eternal life have always remained central to their theme. One thing to note is that the band also likes to keep their story cyclic. For example, their second album ends with an instrumental track that sounds like it should belong at the start of the album. That, coupled with the imagery of clocks and time pieces throughout the album booklet imply that even if their story moves on in time, the core struggles repeat again and again until their can find a way to break their spell of eternal life. 
 
For the most part, Versailles has 3 main composers: Kamijo, Hizaki, and Teru. All three of them have a fairly distinctive style and it is fairly easy to know which of the three wrote which song based on its style. This remained true until the addition of Masashi who has wrote two songs for the band: ‘Thanatos’ and ‘妖 -ayakashi-.‘

Although the band was conceptualized in 2006, the official reveal of the line-up was not made until 2007. After all of the members were announced, the band began promoting themselves internationally through creating an English language profile on MySpace, interviewing with foreign media outlets, and creating promotional material online. Their first performance and showcase was on June 23rd, 2012, and their first single, The Revenant Choir, was released on June 24th. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Kamijo (ex-Lareine, now solo), Hizaki (ex-Hizaki Grace Project, Sulfuric Acid, Crack Brain, etc), Teru (ex-藍華柳 (Aikaryu)), Jasmine You (ex-雀羅(Jakura), f.k.a. 'Yuu'), and Yuki (ex-SugarTrip). For their first few releases, the band was self produced and released their material through Kamijo's label Sherow Artist's Society in Japan, while simultaneously releasing them in Europe under CLJ records. 

On October 31th, 2007, Versailles released their first mini-album Lyrical Sympathy. This release also contained a promotional video for the song 'Shout and Bites,' and was released in both Japan and Europe. By this time, the band has already acquired a significant international following and was able to perform in two cities in the United States. The band released their first live-distributed CD entitled A Noble Was Born in Chaos on March 19th, 2008. This CD contained what are often considered the band's most recognizable repertoire: 'Zombie,' 'Suzerain,' and 'Aristocrat's Symphony.' All three of their songs, as well as a rerecorded version of 'The Revenant Choir,' would be featured on their first full-length album. On May 3rd, 2008, the band was able to perform in front of a huge audience for the hide Memorial Summit, further increasing their exposure. Not long after that, the band released their first full album on July 9, 2008 entitled Noble. This was originally only sold on iTunes until July 16th in which physical copies of the CD were sold in Japan and Europe. Over a year later, the album was also released in the US through Maru Music, and it contained the bonus track 'Prince.' To promote this album, a music video was created for the song 'Aristocrat's Symphony.'

After the release of their first album, Versailles faced their first major conflict. In the US music industry, there is another artist that used the stage name 'Versailles' before they formed. After the release of Noble in Europe, the band's management was contacted say that they would not be allowed to sell their album in the United States under that name without facing a lawsuit, similar to how X was forced to change their name to X Japan. The band created a site to take suggestions from fans until August 31st of that same year, but they ultimately decided on their name by taking elements of popular suggestions and creating their own. From then onwards, the band would be marketed in the United States as Versailles-Philharmonic Quintet- . To thank their fans for their support, and as a gesture of good will to their American fans, their song 'Prince' was distributed for free on Maru Music's website. As previously stated, this song was later featured on the US release of Noble. This song was again featured on their first maxi and double-A-sided single Prince / Princess, which was released on December 10th, 2008. This single did not have any promotional footage associated with it, but it did come in special editions with jackets that featured an individual member of the band on them. This single would be their last release on the label Sherow Artist Society, and consequently an end to their relations with US promoters Tainted Reality and record label Maru Music. 

In the Spring of 2009, the band announced that they would be making their major debut with the single Ascendead Master. This single was officially released on June 26th, 2009, and was again sold in multiple versions. Each single came with a DVD that contained a movie telling a part of the band's story for this release, as well as featured an instrumental track used in the film. After this single's release, the band took a break from touring and began preparations for the release of their first major album. The album was due to come out in mid-August.

On August 10th, 2009, Jasmine You passed away. It was announced that Jasmine had been taking a break from live performances since mid-July, and on August 3rd the band performed as a 4-piece ensemble. The morning of the 10th, the band's official site stated that Jasmine had died and the band would be pausing all activities indefinitely. Messages from the band and other friend bands (D, Phantasmagoria, Matenrou Opera, etc) were released stating parting words to their friend and colleague. The promised album was also delayed, and for a few months the band remained completely silent. The cause of death was never revealed, and to respect the wishes of his family, Jasmine's funeral was kept low key. From this point onwards, Jasmine You has been created as an eternal member and artwork representing each member of the band, such as an arrangement of roses, for example, are shown in quantities of six.

Versailles returned to the stage in late 2009 at the V-Rock festival, with Yo, from Matenrou Opera, as their support bassist, sporting a new costume set. This was their first performance since Jasmine's passing, and at that performance the release date for their first major album was announced. Jubilee was finally released on January 20th, 2010. Jasmine was able to participate in some of the recordings, but Hizaki did all of the other baselines. This album came with the promotional video for the song 'Serenade,' which was often thought to be a song dedicated to Jasmine You as it was slow and mournful. It was later revealed that this song was going to be on the album regardless of his passing and was indeed not written for him. The then embarked on their 'Method of Inheritance' tour throughout Asia, Europe, and South America. Even though the band appeared to have lost connections in the United States, this vast world tour would become commonplace after the release of their albums since they had other international tours after the release of their 3rd and 4th albums, returning to cities in Mexico, Chili, Brazil, Germany, Poland, and China, for example. 


Towards the end of the ‘Method of Inheritance Apostles’ tour, it was announced that support bassist Masashi (ex-Ash and alpha) would officially be joining the group. Masashi was from the same prefecture as Jasmine You and was active in the early 2000s in the same parts of Nagoya, so he was considered to be like Jasmine’s apprentice. On September 20th, the band also released two live CDs: Noble-Live-  and Lyrical Sympathy-Live-. Some of the songs on the original Noble album were not included in the live version, and the new Lyrical Sympathy contained a bonus track ‘Sforzando-Original Bonus Track-‘ which was a song taken from a 2008 omnibus not featured on any of the band’s official albums.
 
Once Masashi had joined the band and the tour ended, work began for the release of their next two singles. The first was released on October 27, 2010 entitled Destiny-The Lovers-. Masashi created the concept behind this single; it contained a music video for the title track. The second single was called Philia and it was released on March 16th, 2011. This single was unique in that Versailles used two costume sets in their music video—one in the typical Rococo garb, the other was all black and more akin to 19th century clothing, designed by Alice and the Pirates (whom also did the costumes for Prince/Princess). Additionally, the band acted in a T.V. drama for the first time: ‘Philia’ became the theme song for ‘おねがいかなえてヴェルサイユ (Onegai Kanaete Versailles/ Fulfill my Wish Versailles),’ a show in which the band were summoned by actress Rina Koike to help with her chores. ‘Destiny-The Lovers-,’ ‘Philia,’ and Philia B-side ‘Judicial Noir’ were all eventually featured on their 3rd studio album Holy Grail. Holy Grail was released on June 15th, 2011 and featured a music video for the songs ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Vampire.’ At around the same time, Versailles produced the theme song for the movie VAMPIRE STORIES CHASERS and Kamijo produced the rest of the music for the movie.
 
After the release of Holy Grail, Versailles went on another world tour. Their next release came on April 25th, 2012 as a digital single on iTunes entitled Rhapsody of the Darkness. This contained two songs, both of which were performed live and were requested to be made into an actual recording by fans. Both songs on this single were placed in their 4th album. Their 4th major maxi-single release came on July 25th, 2012. This single was entitled Rose and contained four songs, two of which were also placed on their next album, and the other two were re-recordings: ‘Love with be born again [Japanese Version]‘ and ‘THE RED CARPET DAY.’
 
Before the release of their 4th album, Versailles announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. Although an official reason was never really released, it was implied through their farewell messages that they needed time to work apart and the band was conceptually at a standstill. Their fourth album, Versailles, was released on September 26th 2012. Although it was their ‘farewell’ album, many fans believed the effort to be rushed as six of the eleven tracks were re-released material. The band officially paused their activities on December 20th. On January 3rd, 2013, Warner Japan released a ‘Best of’ album for the band, containing tracks since their major debut, entitled Anthologie. This album only contained one new song, and it was a short instrumental closer.
 
Since their pause, all of the band members have been musically active. Hizaki, Teru, Masashi, and Yuki are now in a band called Jupiter. Their musical style is similar to Versailles, but with less of an emphasis on the symphonic elements. Since their debut, they have been signed to a major record label and have already released a single and a full album. Kamijo has also be busy with the start of his solo career. To date, he has only released on single through his own record label, Sherow Artist Society, and has collaborated with Mana (of Malice Mizer and Moi Dix Mois) on a music video to create an aesthetic he wants to revive. Recently, he announced his return to Warner Japan and plans to release a mini-album containing a symphony, There have also been plans to reactive Sherow Artist Society with new bands, but no much has come of that yet.

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