UVERworld

UVERworld ( ウーバーワールド ) is a Japanese band signed under gr8! Records (Sony Music Records) in 2005 that can be categorised as J-mixture, pop, rock. They made use of elements such as R&B, rap, beatboxing etc. to increase the quality of their music. They set a new trend in the Japanese music industry with their undefined style of music.

UVERworld is made up of 5 members that come from Shiga, Kansai. TAKUYA∞ (Vocalist & Programming), Katsuya (Guitarist & Band leader), Akira (Guitarist), Nobuto (Bassist), Shintarou (Drummer).

UVERworld ; history

UVERworld has got a long history, dating back to when they were still in kindergarden. Takuya was a transfer student from Osaka when his parents were posted to Shiga, hence the whole family moved there. Takuya first met Nobuto, calling him bald even though Nobuto wasn’t bald at all. After a brief fight due to the exchange of insult, Takuya and Nobuto surprisingly became good friends. For more information, click here.

Takuya later transferred to another kindergarden, and there was when he met Katsuya.

Takuya and Nobuto were once again reunited in Primary school where they maintained their friendship. In middle school, Takuya, Nobuto and Katsuya were in the same school. Takuya, Nobuto and another close friend formed a band upon inspired by their siblings who performed during the cultural festival. HOWEVER, all 3 of them assumed the position of the guitarist. And… none of them has a guitar, such that they were all playing air guitar. Takuya and Nobuto later on bought their instruments and Katsuya joined them. Nobuto self-proclaimed himself as the producer and named the band ‘Nobuto band’ (even though he wasn’t that dedicated to the band).

In 2000, Takuya scouted for a drummer and found Shintarou, forming the band ‘SOUNDgoku Road’. Katsuya too joined them, leaving only Nobuto behind while he was out of town. Takuya invited Nobuto to their live and Nobuto was upset by the fact that he was being left out. Later on, Nobuto asked Takuya whether he could join this band and he finally became a member of SOUNDgoku Road in June 2006. Lastly, in December of the same year, Akira, who was Takuya’s neighbour joined the band.

UVERworld ; members’ relationship

Unlike other bands, the members of UVERworld share a very strong bond. In fact, Takuya and Nobuto have known each other since they were 3 years old. Katsuya, Takuya and Akira were in the same childcare centre and Takuya and Akira were neighbours. As of what we understood, the UVERworld members lived together in the same house (4LDK). Previously (according to Heyx3 CHANCE! interview), Katsuya stays in the living room and Akira on the 2nd floor and Takuya, Nobuto and Shintarou on the 3rd. It seems that they use various methods to decide which room they get to stay in and they do so once/twice a year. The 2 unfortunate stuck in the living room were Nobuto and Katsuya. Previously, it is Shintarou’s turn to stay in the living room. According to a magazine interview, this time they threw darts in order to decide which rooms they get to stay in, and in the future, they will bowl with their left hands (all). Nobuto, who claimed he is left handed bowled with his right hand, which raise suspicion among the members because he was the only one not hitting the gutter (Takuya claims that he never knew Nobuto is left handed even though they had known each other since young. For more info, read this interview). So the final outcome still end up with Nobuto losing.

It is revealed that all the members seldom fight, though they often argue about music. This is surprising because more often than not, when band members stay together, they will quarrel often due to personality differences. In fact, UVERworld often pour out their feelings to one another. After everything for BUGRIGHT was finished, the members sat down in their living room and talked till 5 in the early morning, talking and crying. Nobuto said that Katsuya did most of the talking.

Towards the end of 2007, UVERworld decided to live separately. The reason they gave was that they want to try to live away from one another. As for how far from one another they are living currently, it was not disclosed. Takuya is the only one currently staying in their old 4LDK room. It is suspected that since they live separately now, each of the members are tempted to own a car each, that’s when Takuya decided he wants an eco car, but he can’t afford it due to its price. Thus, the song ‘energy’ (found in Ukiyo CROSSING single and album version, ENERGY in PROGLUTION album) is borned. Another reason suspected was that they had a huge quarrel. As to which is the true reason, we will probably never know.

(As to where they stay, if we had known, UVERworld would be ½ dead from fright due to their fangirls. Fan letters are sent to Sony Music where all letters will be checked by the staff members. The address to where the fan letter can be addressed to can be found in their official site.

106-0044 港区東麻布3-4-18 ルート東麻布ビル9F
UVERworld宛)

Romaji (romanised by Eve’s mom’s friend who is living in Japan):
Minato Ku, Azabu3 -4-18 Ruto
Higashi Azabu Biru 9 F
Tokyo 106 -0044
Japan

Even though the reason given by UVERworld that made them want to live separately was given as written above, it is suspected that fans might be the real reason behind the shift. UVERworld has once revealed that they had been receiving many letters asking them if they were gays and also letters that ask them to live separately while there are also letters that requested they continue living together. It might sound ridiculous to some of you, but such a situation is reasonably foreseeable.

UVERtv

From BUGRIGHT period – Ukiyo CROSSING period, UVERworld has been doing live broadcast supported by Sony Music as part of their promotional activity for each single/album releases which can be viewed from any part of the world as long as you have a good internet connection (or else it will buffer forever). This live broadcast is usually done near to the album release date where they will talk about the single/album with the songs playing in the background. In the middle of the programme, the making of each PV is usually shown. Additionally, there will be questionnaires from fans that UVERworld will answer. Katsuya will also read out some of the messages written on their BBS.

The highlight of this show is usually Akira’s drawings that are so popular with fans that they are often given away as prizes to the viewers who caught the keyword mentioned in the middle of the programme. Other prizes include UVERworld’s tour goods.

Takeshi, their manager often made appearances in UVERtv, usually the one who read out the questionnaires for UVERworld to answer. From endscape to Ukiyo CROSSING UVERtv, he wears an afro every time he appeared, and it was said that the afro gets bigger and bigger everytime.

The special guest for UVERtv #3 was Daisuke, UVER’s hair stylist.

As UVERworld stopped living together under one roof, it has been hinted that they will no longer film UVERtv.

UVERworld ; the name
UVER is a combination of ‘Über’ and ‘over’, and hence UVERworld was meant as ‘Crossing over their world’. Using this name as a motivation, UVERworld plans to make sure that their music and popularity is known to every corner of the world. The name is created by Akira, who was browsing a magazine and came across the word ‘Über’.

UVERworld ; their releases
On 6th July 2005, they released their first single D-tecnoLife, followed by CHANCE! that was released on 26th October 2005. They started 2006 with their 3rd single, just Melody and their 1st album not long after. Later, they released their 4th single Colors of the Heart followed by 5th single Shamrock and 6th single Kimi no suki na uta. They ended the year with the release of their first DVD, the partial footage of their live performance at Shibuya-AX. Their 2nd album BUGRIGHT is due to be released on 21st February 2007 together with their first photo book CLASSWORD. It is notable that UVERworld has had a stable release dates, of releasing 3 singles and 1 album each year, with bizzarely almost equal intervals.

UVERworld, as of 16/1/2008, have released 9 singles, 3 albums, 2 photo books, 1 band score and 1 official calendar. Additionally, they have made appearances in many popular music magazines such as PatiPati (almost every month), R&R NEWSMAKER (almost every month), WHAT’S IN, ARENA 37C + ARENA SPECIAL + ARENA ACT (often include UVERworld’s posters. Approximately 6 posters in the year 2007 alone) and BPASS. This is highly remarkable for being a mainstream band for only 2 years and a half. In Oricon weekly magazine, UVERworld made a 70 weeks continuous appearance in this small part of the magazine where UVERworld disclosed their personal information, such as their family members, their daily habits and their pets. This is done as UVERworld lived together in 2006 till early 2007. This article is dubbed as UVERfamily.

For further information on each their releases, visit the discography section.

UVERworld ; CD jackets

UVERworld’s CD jackets can be very eye catching.

In Timeless era, the famous Ugly Doll creator, David Horvath illustrated UVERworld’s mascot – UVERchan that made an appearance in all their singles and album jackets. It is pretty surprising that a J-rock band actually have a cute mascot used as their mascot. In one interview with Horvath, he mentioned that he listens to UVERworld’s music too.

In BUGRIGHT era, wake up Inc was the one who illustrated the covers, with characters designed based on UVERworld themselves. Due to the huge similarities of these characters with English band, Gorillaz, UVERworld was once criticised by non-fans, but had never raised any court issues.

In PROGLUTION era, a designer called Takuya (not the same takuya) took over the job. UVERworld’s usual sans serif font was changed to serif. This time, there is no illustrations at all, mostly UVERworld themselves on the cover with (sometimes) messy photoshop effects. Shaka Beach and PROGLUTION LE covers are criticised by us English fans but it seems that they are well received by the Japanese fans. They deem it as something ‘fresh’. It’s either we have different taste or the Japanese fans are just UVERloyal they take in everything as long as they are UVERworld :D

In AwakEVE era, Takuya continued doing his job as the designer for UVERworld’s jackets. This time however, there were minor criticisms coming from the fans about the covers, instead there were a lot of praises.

UVERworld ; their lives
UVERworld’s first live in Tokyo only had an audience of 5 (cries). Their last day of the first tour, however, had an audience of 1500–a remarkable improvement though that is still a small number. UVERworld themselves were surprised at the improvement.

Till date, UVERworld’s lives are not as popular as other popular bands. At least, it hasn’t been revealed that UVERworld has sold out all their concert tickets before. However, their lives are still considered as popular. By year, their number of lives increased greatly in numbers. In BUGRIGHT tour, due to high demand, Sony Music added extra lives for them, named as BUGRIGHT tour ~towards endscape~, whereas for PROGLUTION tour, it has been announced in Neo Sound Wave that there are already demands for additional lives, which they have already arranged. Generally, UVERworld fans are teenagers to young adults, and has been spectaculated as one of the reasons why they are pretty popular during the Gakuen Sai (August-November events where bands perform in schools).

One of UVERworld’s memorable lives include the February 2007 lives where it compensated the Christmas Event in 2006 which was cancelled due to UVERworld being put on ban from band activities. This live report appeared in a few newspaper. In this live, their limited CD – Rinku was given out, the apology song written by Takuya to express his feelings to his fans during his self-reflection period. This CD is occassionally being auctioned in Yahoo Japan. Due to its rarity, it went up to 20,000 yen (roughly 200AUD). As this CD is important, it is very highly unlikely that Rinku is going to get a re-release. Another important live is Do Summer ~voices we need~ that happened in September 2007, where 3000 winners of the lucky draw group prize A (from Shaka Beach First Press CDs) got a chance for their voices to be recorded for UVERworld’s Ukiyo CROSSING single – track 2 – Discord ~your voices mix~.

UVERworld’s, like many other artists’ ultimate goal is to perform in Japan’s most prestigious concert hall – Nippon Budokan. Due to the prestige of this hall, only artists with a high profile can perform there. If UVERworld can perform in Budokan, it means that they are acknowledged as one of the popular bands in Japan. Before UVERworld can do an overseas tour, they will have to first overcome this barrier.

UVERworld ; their mascot
UVERworld’s mascot is a fictional bear like character that has a pair of black bat wings attached to its back. It’s name is UVERchan but has also been dubbed as UVERbear.

UVERworld • Pop or rock?

This is probably the burning question that most people would like to ask. The closest answer we can give you is on the chart below. This chart is a survey conducted among a couple of people that I know.

UVERworld can be included in the Pop/Rock genre, but they are definitely more towards the rock side. Let’s say their Aside is slightly more Pop compared to their Bside (generally).

Another issue I would like to address is that many people argued that they are going for more Pop. According to the majority, this general assumption given by people who start to lose interest in UVERworld. However, this is not necessarily true. There is no clear distinction between Pop or Rock. Pop is the abbreviation for the term ‘Popular’, meaning that you might not listen to them a few years later (that’s why those who grew to dislike UVER kept repeating the fact that they have gone Pop). Pop usually focuses more on the singer’s vocals, that’s why most solo artists are Pop while bands are Rock. On the other hand, Rock focuses more on the beat, and the instruments, usually accompanied by 2 guitars, basically instruments heavy. Coming back to UVERworld, they focus more on the instruments, with great guitars accompaniment (which is usually overlooked) and clear bass (especially from Shintarou’s drums).

Pop, is usually has simple and catchy melody with repetitive structure and lyrics ie. verse -> chorus -> verse 2 -> same chorus -> bridge -> chorus (could be the same or a little bit different). The melody in every verses and choruses are not necessarily different, or just a mild difference. UVERworld’s songs do not necessarily sound like this. They have variations of melody line in different verses and choruses. In Timeless era, UVERworld’s songs are less melodious, that’s why listeners were directed to listen to their instruments instead. However in BUGRIGHT era onwards, Takuya and Akira have been writing songs that are more melodious in nature, making Takuya’s vocal more obvious (If you don’t believe, get a piano and play their newer songs melody, their melody line has become more complex). However, this does not necessarily mean that UVERworld has gone Pop, their instruments are still heavy, or even heavier than the Timeless era, different to closer-to-pop-bands such as Aqua Timez.

Lyrics wise, Pop usually addresses ‘popular’/common issue such as love. UVERworld, with the exception of Kimi no suki na uta, 51% and Monochrome ~kidukenakatta devotion~ seldom revolves around the concept of love. It is indeed true that Takuya’s lyrics recently has been telling a story, but that’s because he wants to bring meaning to UVER’s music, not because he has gone Pop. In Timeless era, Takuya’s lyrics were not as developed (they don’t tell a story) as during BUGRIGHT -> PROGLUTION era, because he was still inexperienced (+ their Timeless songs were actually mostly refined versions of their Sangoku Road era). So that’s probably the misconception on people assuming Timeless is more rock when compared to the other era.

UVERworld can be said as experimenting slowly and safely. Their Aside might sound more Popish so that it will catch the attention of the general public, disappointing some of us who love UVERworld for their Rockish side. However, their Bsides are usually the ones that they use for experimentals, and generally more Rock, to show that they are changing slowly.

Here’s another chart that roughly categorises UVERworld’s Aside, from the most Pop sounding to Rock sounding (I would in fact categorise endscape as more Rockish than Colors of the Heart):

Of course, I am not asking everyone to agree. But if you rougly agree to my chart, would you think they have actually gone Pop?

The safest conclusion we can get is that, UVERworld genre is unnecessarily defined, but they are indeed considered as a J-rock band. Every UVERsongs have their unique features (with the exception of CHANCE & live everyday as though it were the last day probably), it’s just up to you to listen to it carefully. Really, those that always say UVERworld’s (or any other artists actually) music is starting to sound the same, are usually those who have already started losing interest in UVERworld, with such mentality, it is undeniable that everything will sound the same.

Hey, if Kimi no suki na uta is desribed as a Rock ballad, what would that make the rest be?

UVERworld • pre-debut

The current members of UVERworld are originally from a band Sangoku Road (SOUND極ROAD). Sangoku Road (さんごくロード) is formed in June 2002 with 7 members. The other 2 being the saxophonist (Seika) and another vocalist (possibly Hiko). They actually have another member, Ryuhei who left the band after he got married.

The sudden turns of events left the remaining 5 in doubts. They were not sure how to continue and were on the verge of disbanding. In 2003, however they made a comeback with a new name ‘UVERworld’ and vocalist Ace∞Trigger renamed himself TAKUYA∞. They recorded a demo album which sold a total of 3000 copies with their own abilities. That was a remarkable sale for an indie band. The picture to the left is a demo album (picture from here) entitled PRIME’03 with the songs PRIME 2003, Lamp of Affection (known later as Lump of Affection), sad’it and SHINE. I am not sure if this is the demo album that sold a total of 3000 copies because as far as I know, there are also other songs such as Tovira (later known as Tobira) and Live alone (later known as Yasashisa no Shizuku) which they recorded when they were still indie. Currently, their demo CDs are occassionally being auctioned in Yahoo Japan. On some events, the price for 1 CD can go up to 30,000 yen (equivalent to roughly 300AUD). During this period, they often perform lives in their hometown’s livehouse – Huckleberry.

In 2004, due to the fact that their mini concert hall was taken up by some other bands, and the pressure from various recording companies, UVERworld decided to sign a contract with Gr8! records, the home for many popular bands such as Orange Range and Doping Panda.

They finally made an official debut in 2005 with their hit singles D-tecnolife.

Ex-members
Seika, Sangoku Road’s saxophonist made a brief return in the song Yasashisa no Shizuku, 5th track of Timeless, playing the saxophone part at 3:04 to 3:24.

More information about Seika can be read here.

UVERworld as an inspiration

UVERworld has recently inspired a new indie band – Discography Xero. Originating from the same hometown, Shiga, Discography Xero noted on their official site that UVERworld had attended some of their lives in Huckle Berry (the place where UVERworld used to perform in when they were still indie). That was in 2004. In October 2005, UVERworld invited Discography Xero to perform with them in one of their lives and Discography Xero gained reputation since then. Discography Xero was also invited to perform with UVERworld in 2006 on the Christmas live. However, the unfortunate Takuya incident caused the event to be cancelled. Even so, unlike UVERworld, Discography Xero is considered to be more successful as an indie band and as they had a mainstream band (UVERworld) behind them, they had a much smoother start than UVERworld.

Those who have listened to Discography Xero claimed that they are able to hear the influence of UVERworld in their music. This might be the first step of UVERworld into establishing themselves into the Japanese music history.

UVERworld in popular culture

UVERworld’s music is known to have many tie ups. This is the list of tie ups UVERworld has so far:

D-tecnoLife: BLEACH 2nd opening (anime)
CHANCE!: BLEACH heat the soul (PSP game) theme song
Colors of the Heart: BLOOD+ 3rd opening (anime)
SHAMROCK: Dandori ~Dance Drill~ theme song (drama) & music.jp theme song
Kimi no suki na uta: Koi suru Hanikami (variety show) theme song
Zero no Kotae: Musou Orochi (popular PS2 game) CM song
endscape: Terra e 1st opening (anime)
Ukiyo CROSSING: Hataraki Man theme song (drama)
Gekidou: D.gray-man 4th opening song (anime)
Just break the limit!: Pocari sweat bukatsu angel support song (CM)
Hakanaku mo towa no kanashi: Gundam 00 second season opening song (anime)
UVERworld has had experiences in writing anime, drama and variety shows theme songs. Fans are hoping that they will do a movie theme song in the near future.

UVERworld in other countries

Popular magazines stated earlier such as PatiPati, R&R NEWSMAKER etc. are often available in countries that have close ties with Japan. Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore often import them. They could be a little expensive though.

In Singapore and the US, certain shops carry UVERworld’s CDs. In Singapore, it would be HMV and in the US, Kinokuniya.

Singapore Airlines with the route from Singapore to Hong Kong has UVERworld music in their radio list (thanks Angie for telling me!)

Singapore radio stations will sometimes play UVERworld’s music due to #1, UVERworld being in the top 2 of the Oricon Chart and #2, them being popular for D-tecnoLife. Singapore is a country that a huge part of the population is a fan of anime. Therefore, many of them would have heard of D-tecnoLife before, even though they might not know UVERworld’s the one singing it.

UVERworld’s goal is to have a world wide tour. They would like to start with the US first. For this reason, Takuya has been learning English. if their music is to be well received in the US, they would definitely have a tour there some day. Therefore, US fans, please spread the love :D As well as spam their BBS as much as you can, be it in English or Japanese (even if you can’t speak Japanese, they do appreciate your effort trying to write it). They will definitely notice that they have many fans overseas! (That’s how YUI found out about her HK fans) Therefore, rather than asking us when UVERworld will be having a tour in your countries (we have received at least 10 emails about this), please do your best to let others know of UVER’s existence as well as YOUR existence as an UVERfan to them :D

In Indonesia, my guitar teacher (he is an accomplished guitarist) said that he had performed Colors of the Heart in one of his gigs before, even though he didn’t know who is UVERworld. He likes the song.

In China/Hong Kong, UVERworld often made an appearance in magazine COOL. The interviews contain UVERworld’s song reviews, PV checks and members’ information.

Please contribute if you know UVERworld’s in your country :D

UVERworld: ripped

Though we didn’t mention this in our news updates, in fear that we might agitate fans, F.I.R, a popular Taiwanese band’s PV < 第十行星> was bizzarely similar to UVERworld’s endscape with all the CGs. Chinese speaking UVERworld fans were angry by this but have resolved the matter peacefully as they do not blame the band, but the PV director.

This matter was then published in Hong Kong (picture) newspaper and Singapore newspaper, even though UVERworld wasn’t the main focus of the article. However, this might be the first step for UVERworld to enter the overseas market?

As to how F.I.R themselves handled the matter or whether UVERworld’s endscape PV director was informed about the rip, we are unsure at the moment. (picture credit to JUSTUVER)

Other facts

• Shintarou was the drummer from a band called Double Impact before joining Sangoku Road.
• Everyone from UVERworld has a pet dog, with the exception of Takuya.
• UVERworld was featured in one of the Volvic Time in early 2006, to promote Volvic.