Gackt

Gackt

is a Japanese musician, songwriter and actor. Usually referred to by his stage name only, he is best known for his work with Malice Mizer and his subsequent career as a successful solo artist. Besides Japanese, he has performed in English, French, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Biography

Early life

Gackt Camui was born in Okinawa, Japan, on July 4 (precise year not publicly known), as the second of three children, with an older sister and a younger brother. His father was a music teacher primarily playing the trumpet and his mother was also a teacher. According to Gackt's autobiography, he was a mischievous child and enjoyed taking risks; at age seven he nearly drowned while swimming off the coast of Okinawa. After this near-death experience, he claimed to have the ability to see and speak with deceased family members, a notion which was dismissed by his parents. At the age of ten, Gackt was hospitalized with a gastrointestinal condition and had to remain at the hospital for a prolonged time. He made the acquaintance of several terminally ill children, some of whom died during his stay.

Gackt's musical education began at age three, when his parents initiated his classical piano education, which he grew tired of four years later. It would take another four years until his parents allowed him to quit. Gackt is known for being very competitive, and when he learned that a friend was also learning piano it led to Gackt taking up the piano again so he could be better. Having only listened to classical and enka while growing up, Gackt didn't become interested in rock music until he was a young adult. He cites Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" as being particularly inspiring, and went on to master modern percussion and guitar.

Malice Mizer

In 1995, Gackt joined Malice Mizer as the group's vocalist, lyricist and pianist. He first met Mana, one of the leaders of the band, for dinner, but according to Gackt, didn't have much of a conversation. The next day, they met again to allow Gackt to meet the other members where discussion of the band was had. Gackt was pleased with how all of the members were diverse, yet still worked well together. Eventually, he joined them as their new vocalist.

Fan base and record sales grew substantially over the following years and the band became known for its distinct Visual Kei theme with elaborate costumes, on-stage scenery, and theatrics. The members became very close friends with each other and were often seen joking around and laughing together. Gackt especially became very good friends with Kami, the drummer of the group. Their popularity grew and the band released several singles along with two albums with Gackt, entitled Voyage ~Sans Retour~ and Merveilles- the latter becoming the most popular. Gackt mostly wrote the lyrics for the songs and occasionally created the music. The only song in which he did both is "Le Ciel", the 5th song in the Merveilles album. At the end of 1998, they performed at Yokohama Arena with a spectacular live show wearing various costumes. The same year, they were also signed to their own radio show, which they used to discuss matters of the world, music, and other varied topics.

At the immediate start of 1999, Gackt left Malice Mizer, with the official statement from the band for his departure being 'musical differences'. A few years later, Gackt published an autobiography entitled Jihaku (Confessions) claiming that he was asked by the band to leave because the other members had become blinded by money and no longer cared about band activities. However, in an interview with the band shortly after Gackt left, the other members claimed that he had disappeared during their hiatus where no one could get in touch with him, later emerging as a solo artist unbeknownst to his band mates.

Five months after Gackt's departure, their drummer Kami died of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Gackt was unable to attend the funeral, but later dedicated two songs to his memory ("U+K" and "Emu ~For my dear~") and visits his grave each year, also visiting his parents.

Solo career

Gackt launched his solo career on May 12, 1999 with the release of the EP Mizerable. Several albums, singles and videos (on VHS and DVD) have since followed. Gackt's music has also been featured as theme songs for anime and video games multiple times, examples being New Fist of the North Star, Bujingai and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, amongst others. He has also provided voice acting, motion capturing and his likeness for such works on several occasions and co-wrote and co-starred in the 2003 movie Moon Child, which also features Hyde (vocalist of L'Arc~en~Ciel) and Taiwanese-American singer Wang Lee Hom. Also in 2003, Gackt published his autobiography, Jihaku and for Caparison Guitars, he has designed two guitars, named "Mercury" and "Venus".

Since January 7, 2007, Gackt has been playing the warlord Uesugi Kenshin in the NHK drama Fūrinkazan. Gackt's single "Returner ~Yami no Shuen~", was released on June 20, 2007, and was the first in his career (both solo and in a band) to reach the number one spot on the Japanese Oricon charts. Gackt has provided the voice for Malthazar in the Japanese release of the film Arthur and the Minimoys and in October 2007, his back catalog became available in the iTunes Store.

On December 19, Gackt released an album titled 0079-0088. It contains eight tracks, which had either previously been used on the soundtracks of the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam movies or were covers of earlier songs from the Gundam franchise. It was created as a tribute to the creator of Gundam, Yoshiyuki Tomino, for his birthday. Gackt recently performed on the 58th Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the annual New Year's Eve special by NHK. and is currently recording new material. He has stated in an interview that he may decide to retire in 2010 depending upon how he is feeling at the time and the state of his health.

On May 21, 2008, Gackt released the DVD, Amakakeru Ryu no Gotoku. This is a documentary/commentary on his time spent making the drama, Fūrinkazan.

Bunraku

It was recently announced that Gackt will co-star with Josh Harnett, and Demi Moore in an upcoming (2009) Hollywood film titled Bunraku. Guy Moshe, who both wrote and is directing the film, was so impressed by Gackt's acting in "Fuurin Kazan", that he flew to Japan to persuade Gackt in person. Gackt stated that he was deeply touched by the gesture, and the enthusiasm and passion of the director. This prompted him to accept the role of Yoshi, the main character "The Drifter"'s partner. 'Bunraku' was described by the director as "an action-fantasy circus ride into man's fascination with violence - a Spaghetti Western, samurai movie feel."

An excerpt from Gackt's comment on his official website:

I'm honored that my expression of a new Uesugi Kenshin in last year’s Taiga drama, “Fuurin Kazan”, has been recognized around the world. The movie's setting is a world without borders, and I was very interested in a role that could express Bushido spirit as the partner Josh Hartnett's character.

More than that, the director himself came over to Japan and showed great zeal for my appearance in the film. His sincere attitude impressed me a lot... I want to prove that even among the big stars representative of Hollywood, my performance, my expression, is world-class. Please look forward to it. I'm going to accomplish another dream.

S.K.I.N.

On May 25, 2007, the formation of the supergroup Skin was announced which, besides Gackt, consists of fellow pop/rock artist Miyavi, former Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo, composer Hyde and X Japan co-founder Yoshiki. The group gave its debut performance at the Anime Expo convention in Long Beach, California on June 29,2007 and plans to release an album.

Current projects

Gackpoid

Musician and actor Gackt lent his voice and stage name for the creation of the newest Vocaloid, Kamui Gakupo (神威がくぽ, Kamui Gakupo). Yamaha wanted to utilize the voice of a musician but felt it would be difficult to acquire cooperation. They consulted Dwango (new owner of Vocaloid publisher Internet Co. Ltd.), who suggested Gackt, as Gackt had previously provided his voice for Dwango's cell phone services.[13] Referred to alternately as Gakupoid or Gackpoid, the most recent release includes a new program, OPUS Express, for mixing vocal parts with accompaniment and phoneme data. The new software will be available for download for users with registered copies of previous Vocaloids. Besides the new program, Gackpoid will include two of Gackt's songs and three example songs.

The product was originally intended to be released in June 2008, but although Gackt existed as a model for the Vocaloid, it lacked an illustrated avatar to match the previous Vocaloids. Popular manga author Kentarō Miura, famous for his dark fantasy epic Berserk, was approached. Due to Miura's affection for Nico Nico Douga, he agreed to offer his services as character designer for free. As a fan of Berserk, Gackt was more than happy with this arrangement, and requested Miura's sketches be faxed to him as well as the developers, even though he was on location for the filming of Guy Moshe's Bunraku. Gackpoid is scheduled for release in late July 2008.

Appearances as Uesugi Kenshin
It has been recently announced that Gackt will reprise his Furin Kazan television role of Japanese warlord Uesugi Kenshin at Joetsu city's Great Kenshin Festival for the second year in a row on August 23, 2008.

GacktJob

GacktJob is Gackt's live support band. Its current lineup is as follows:

  • Yukihiro "Chachamaru" Fujimura – backing vocals, lead guitar
  • You – violin, guitar
  • Ju-ken – bass
  • Jun-ji - drums
  • Igao – keyboardSupport members when needed
  • Nell - bass
  • Minami - drums Former members
  • Masa – rhythm guitar
  • Ren – bass
  • Ryu – drums
  • Toshi – drums

Discography

See also

References

External links

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