Napster was still alive and well, so I downloaded a few of their songs... but being a Japanese band, it wasn't exactly a set of files that was easy to get. And being distracted by my original goal, I promptly forgot about them, and when searching through my music, I tended to skip over stuff I hadn't heard of before...
Fast-forward weeks later.
'Cage' was the first song I'd listened to. It was so different from anything I'd heard before, but the rock element was there, so I gave it a go. I didn't like Kyo's voice at first. Sometimes, I'm still not sure whether or not I like his style as a vocalist. But it was one of those songs that grew on me. 'Yurameki' might have been the next one. I don't remember now. All of this was over a decade ago.
At the time, there were all of three English websites mentioning Dir en grey. One of which was in-depth (for the time). Everything else was in Japanese. I was still on my coding kick. It only made sense to mine as much of the scattered information there was about them to create one site where you could get pages and pages of photos, information on each band member, what instruments they preferred, etc. For awhile, I had a Geocities site, but I ran out of hosting space, and found myself creating multiple usernames for the images alone. Ugh. My uncle is a hoopty frood though (Hitchhiker's lingo for a 'cool guy'), and hosted a domain for me for a couple of years. Of course, real life intervened eventually, and I moved on to other things.
But I won't forget this: to everyone who says that downloading music illegally hurts artists, without Napster, I would have never bothered with Dir en grey. And you know what? Before any of their stuff was available in the US, I spent $80 on their album, "Gauze". And after that, I bought the 'Yurameki' single, "Complete Singles II" (there was never a "Complete Singles I", but whatever.) and the "MACABRE" album. And then I moved on from them to half a dozen other artists, which I also begged to have imported for every Christmas for a couple of years. For a kid who had little access to stuff like money for books, or for better-quality food, or for medical stuff, my mom spent a hell of a lot on foreign music that I COULD have downloaded for free to make me happy. Dir en grey, and their recording people, made a hell of a lot of money off of me, thanks to an illegal file-sharing program.
I'm no longer a real fan of Diru. I loved the older stuff, but I don't care for the current style as much. I think I dropped off around the time "Vulgar" came out. I'm really glad that they've survived and evolved as a band, and from what I've heard about the band mates themselves, they're all pretty cool people. I think I'd really like Kaoru and Shinya if we ever met. Even so, I listen to their older work from time to time, and remember the thrall of discovering a new world of music.
|"Gauze"-era Dir en grey: Kyo, Toshiya, Kaoru, Shinya, Die|
A few of my favourite songs: Hotarubi, Akuro no Oka (and the KNY mix), JEALOUS, Cage, and Zakuro.