X JAPAN, the most successful rock band in Japanese history, and EMI Music have signed an exclusive three-year manufacturing and distribution agreement that will have EMI Label Services handle the band's releases in North America. The first release will be the track "Jade" on March 15, followed by the band's as yet untitled American debut set for a late summer 2011 release.
"We are so honored to have X JAPAN as part of the EMI Label Services/Caroline family," commented Mike Harris, Executive Vice President/General Manager, EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution. "After the highly successful North American tour last fall, the timing is perfect for the upcoming X JAPAN release."
Added Dominic Pandiscia, Executive Vice President EMI Music Services North America, "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with X JAPAN. They have cultivated a strong following in the U.S. and we look forward to working with them, helping to reach even more fans."
X JAPAN — Yoshiki (band leader/producer/songwriter/drums and piano), Toshi (vocals), Pata (guitar), Sugizo (guitar and violin), and Heath (bass) — is in the studio putting the finishing touches on the album, the band's first new studio release since 1996 and fifth overall. Half of the songs will be culled from some of the band's gold and platinum Japanese singles; the other half are brand-new songs, and an estimated 95% of the lyrics are being sung in English.
"Some of the songs on this new album were originally written with Japanese lyrics," Yoshiki explained, "so translating them into English has been challenging. For some reason, English needs more words, so I ended up re-writing many of the lyrics but kept the same message."
Most of the album has been recorded in Los Angeles at Yoshiki's own studio. It's the same studio where METALLICA recorded its classic "Black" album, and artists from VAN HALEN to MICHAEL JACKSON to KISS also recorded there before Yoshiki bought it and turned it into a private facility. Yoshiki, who lives in Los Angeles, traveled to Japan a handful of times to record with the rest of the band there. In addition, some of the album has been recorded live over the Internet, with Yoshiki in L.A. and the band's other members at their studio in Japan.
Added Yoshiki, "X JAPAN's music is everything from fast, super-heavy rock to ballads with classical piano — all of those elements are what makes X JAPAN's music. We don't play just one kind of music — we want to take people on a journey."
The X JAPAN/EMI agreement comes on the heels of X JAPAN's U.S. concert debut last August at Lollapalooza, and the band's first-ever North American tour that wrapped up on October 10 with a sold out show at New York's Roseland Ballroom. Many of the new album's tracks were introduced to western fans when they were performed on the tour, including "Rusty Nail", "Kurenai", "I.V.", "Born To Be Free", "Endless Rain", and the album's first single, "Jade".
Over the course of the tour's seven dates, all played in theatre-sized venues, X JAPAN easily demonstrated why they've sold more than 30-million units and filled the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record-setting 18 times. X JAPAN hadn't played venues that small in more than 15 years, so they tailored their "stadium-mindset" production to the theaters, making every effort to bring their take-no-prisoners theatrics and spectacular visuals to America. As the SF Weekly put it, "All it took was one show to make it very clear why X JAPAN is such a phenomenon in its homeland."
Distribution agreements outside of North America, including Japan, will be announced shortly.
To support the new album, X JAPAN plans to tour extensively in 2011.
Check out some song teasers from the new album at www.xjapanmusic.com.