You might recognize ice from “Black Gene For the Next Scene”, a rather well known ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) band lead by the former bassist of ヴィドール (Vidoll), Rame. Black Gene For the Next Scene, often shortened to “BFN” due to the length of the project’s name, combined electronica with pop, rock and a twist of metal here and there, giving the project an unique sound even within the realm of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei).
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so did BFN. ice is still active in the music scene however, as a solo vocalist. When I first started my own project in 2009 I was given a CD by a band called “XodiacK”, and you can probably guess who the vocalist of this band was… Yes, that’s right, it was none other than ice himself. Which actually makes him one of the artists who’s career I’ve followed for the longest time! Because of this I admittedly never dared to ask him for an interview to talk about his work, but… All I had to do was ask, it seemed!
My timing was also pretty good, because ice celebrates his birthday on January 1st, which means this interview is right on time to celebrate with him this year! So…
I’ve already given the readers a little bit of a speed-history lesson about your work, but can you introduce yourself to them one more time?
ice: I am ice. I’m a playboy.
You’ve been in the music industry for quite some time now. But what made you choose music over a more “regular” job?
ice: I chose to be a musician because I want to live freely. I can’t work a regular job. I’m socially incompatible…
I know you like ice cream, but is that the reason why you’ve picked the name “ice” for yourself as an artist? And speaking of ice cream… What flavors do you recommend?
ice: I don’t feel gender. There’s no other reason to the name than that. As for flavors I like caramel, praline, milk and strawberry. The sweetness is strong, isn’t it?
When I first heard of you, you were the singer of XodiacK, a band with a completely different theme and sound than BFN had later. There was more metal influence with XodiacK than with BFN, but it was still in both bands. Are you a fan of metal yourself? What brought you to the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre?
ice: Of course I liked metal. To express the lyrics and the world view of XodiacK at that time the screams and heavy genre were absolutely necessary. I was attracted to the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre because of the visual expression that the genre allows, and of course ROCK.
XodiacK was actually a project that worked with elements, each member of the band represented an element like fire, water, wind and earth, while ice – who was known as Eros during the lifespan of the band- was “the absolute”, being the overruling or guiding element to all the other members with his position of vocalist.
After the disbanding of XodiacK you returned to the music scene as the vocalist of Black Gene For the Next Scene. A band with quite a different theme than the previous one. Did this huge difference mean you had to change your own style to fit with the style of BFN, or did the other members have to make adjustments for you as well?
ice: I don’t necessarily think that the music of BFN matched my singing voice. I do however think that the entire project was a good collaboration between all members and allowed us all to explore new possibilities. There is no such thing like “I won’t do this because it doesn’t fit me or my style”-type of attitude for me.
From XodiacK to BFN to ice
After BFN announced that their activities would stop for the time being you returned to the scene once again, but this time as a solo singer. Your first single, “雨は次第に弱まる (Ame ha shidai ni yowamaru)” showed a completely different side of you than I’ve heard all those years. Can you tell me a little bit about the single?
ice: In order to convey the song purely, I put an emphasis on the ease of understanding the melody and the composition. I’m constantly improving my songs too.
You were also invited to “Tokyo in Tulsa” as a solo singer in 2019. I believe this was your very first time playing overseas, what was this experience like?
ice: It was the best. I want to do it again. It was such a fresh, gentle and enjoyable environment! I want to do more, and I want to go to more countries. It doesn’t matter where it is, wherever I can sing would be great. No matter if it’s a big or a small stage, show or event.
At the moment of writing this interview fans can mostly see you doing live performances with other musicians in Japan. Sometimes as part of a session, sometimes by yourself. But would you like to be part of a band again, or are you aiming to pursue a solo career now?
ice: I’m inspired every single day. I think that if the opportunity to join a band again presents itself I will do it. I don’t have anyone in particular in mind who I’d like to work with or anything, but I would like to work with someone who plays an unfamiliar instrument for example.
In Japan people can support your work by visiting your live shows, but what about the people from overseas? Is there any way for them to support you as well?
ice: I like the people overseas because they don’t complain about anything other than music. They don’t complain about private things and whatnot. (laughs) I would be grateful if you can make a lot of voices and help me reach my dream of more overseas performances. Feel more than free to pitch my work to promoters and event organizers, too!
Sadly I only have one more question on my list for today, and you’ve probably seen this one coming… Do you have a message for everyone who’s reading the interview today?
ice: I’m looking forward to the opportunity of meeting all of you someday!
Like I said, ice has a bit of a history in the music scene already. He’s currently active as a solo artist primarily, which means we actually don’t see all that much of him unless he happens to appear somewhere outside of Japan, like at the “Tokyo in Tulsa” convention that was mentioned in the interview.
For now we can only enjoy his very first single 雨は次第弱まる (Ame ha shindai ni yowamaru), but I’m sure there will be more solo works from ice for us to enjoy in the future! In the meantime, you can view the music video for this song below already:
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin Magazine & Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.