Hey! I found your blog recently and I also just started listening to MFS and I really like their music. I'm a bit lost as to where to start to learn more about them and their motivation/thoughts behind their music since it's been a couple years since they've debuted. What would you suggest?
Hello (^^)v Welcome to the fandom.
I’m guessing you probably discovered them through their more popular songs like ALONE, 不可逆リプレイス or the more recent ones like Missing You. Firstly, too many people get caught up in singer Hiro’s family relations and ignore the other members. So, I would highly encourage a new fan to NOT follow that crowd XD
There are basically 4 aspects to MFS that all fans need to know OR you won’t understand the band and what diehard fans talk about:
1. Band members & the personnel changes.
2. Their musical roots especially the main songwriter Sho Tsuchiya + their twin band named fromus.
3. Hiro’s lyrics in relations to his life story.
4. The important people in their team especially their boss GEN, A&R exec KTR (Kentaro Suzuki) from Japan Music System (JMS) & circle of friends. Also, their earliest mentor K ( Kei Goto) the late singer of Pay Money To My Pain (PTP).
1. Sho Tsuchiya ~ leader, guitarist, main composer (currently only functions behind the scene & as a non-touring member)
2. Nob @ Nobuaki Katou ~ bassist
3. Teru @ Teruki Nishizawa ~ guitarist (many like to categorize him as rhythm guitarist when Sho was in but I personally disagree because he played both lead & rhythm guitars even from the 1st album)
4. Kid'z ~ drummer (officially joined on 3 Mar 2016)
5. Hiro @ Hiroki Moriuchi ~ vocalist, lyricist
6. Masack @ Masaki Kojima ~ drummer (officially left on 3 Mar 2016)
MFS current members “deactivated" from public social media in early 2016. So, don’t bother looking XD
Sho remains as a member. He announced his hiatus in October 2015. I won’t call it “inactive" like some people do because he’s still composing with them and most recently served as the Sound Producer for ANTITHESE. He’s just not a touring member for now. He didn’t give specific reason other than family matter.
Masaki didn’t state why he left but it looked like he didn’t want to be tied down to only one genre of music. He was active playing outside MFS before his departure. So, he probably wanted that musical freedom even though he loves MFS. But his decision was enough to badly crush the two youngest members at the time, Hiro and Teruki, from what I observed. Those two younger men were still emotionally dealing with Sho’s hiatus at that moment.
Kid'z is their friend / labelmate who had always got along well with Teru & Hiro. He had worked together with Sho & Nob before too. Co-incidentally, his band officially split up in Nov 2015. So, he was the natural choice to replace Masaki. But Kid'z was drumming as a sessionist musician for singer ナノ(nano) at the time MFS took him. He stopped using his real name and took on a stage name Kid'z* after that.
* I personally don’t use his real name in public anymore out of respect for his decision. Understandably, he was initially worried about MFS fans’ reaction. Also, it was and probably still is an awkward situation for him regarding his former bandmates when their band split up and he went to their biggest rival band just a few months later. So, I chose to respect his wish to start anew.
On my blog so far, the interview that tells their formation year story the most is this one from GEKIROCK.
The band did describe how they got together in this video interview around minutes 01:42 to 02:58.
My Japanese listening ability is not up to that point yet though, sorry. Hiro explained how he and Sho met at a PTP concert. Couldn’t catch what Sho said about Hiro & Masaki with the music playing in the background :-/ Hiro also said he and Teru knew each other when they were high school students. Well, the GEKIROCK interview is a pretty good picture of their history.
FOR OLD PHOTOS of MFS, check out these places:
My First Story Unofficial fanpage on FB
My First Story Thailand fanpage on FB
ex-drummer Masaki Kojima’s Twitter @kojimasa
THEIR TWIN BAND fromus
Ignore whatever musical comparison people made about them and OOR. The real band to compare MFS to is their real twin band fromus, a piano-rock unit. I made an entry about them here.
I personally feel that musically, MFS first two albums are the direct guitar edition fromus. Just take MFS, change the singer & then the guitars to piano. You’ll get fromus.
OTHER MUSICAL INFLUENCES
They do have influences from old school hard rock & metal. Sho and Nob are already in their 30s. Both men said they started on guitar with British rock legend Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water. Guitarist Teruki grew up with a heavy-metal-music-loving father and would often cite Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica as his early influences.
If you want to see their musical & lyrical evolution, try to listen to their songs chronologically from the 1st album to the current work.
Albums & Singles
1. MY FIRST STORY ~ MV Second Limit & Take It Back
2. THE STORY IS MY LIFE ~ MVs The Story Is My Life & The Reason
3. 最終回STORY (Saishukai STORY)
4. BONEDS (a joint 4-band project in which they contributed 2 songs)
5. BLACK RAIL ~ MVs Black Rail & FAKE
6. 不可逆リプレイス ( Fukagyaku Replace) ~ their breakthrough song IMO
7. 虚言NEUROSE ~ MVs 虚言NEUROSE, Child Error & Someday (lyrics MV available on Livehouse iOS App & STORYTELLER website)
8. ALONE ~ MVs ALONE & 失踪FLAME *
9. ANTITHESE ~ MVs The Puzzle (exclusive for STORYTELLER members only), Missing You (there’s another STORYTELLER-only version too) & Last Call
Update: 12 Jan 2017. Sorry I forgot the MVs from the ALONE single XD
They also have a special 2-track single dedicated to band leader Sho Tsuchiya, released to the public at the Budokan called:
We’re Just Waiting 4 You (available at MAGIC ROOM while stock lasts)
DVD Collection so far:
1. THE STORY IS MY LIFE Final at Shibuya Club Quattro (bundled with 最終回STORY) ~ the only official DVD released when Hiro still sported his natural black hair colour.
2. The Ending of the Beginning at Ebisu Liquidroom.
3. BONEDS Tour Movie (with AIR SWELL, BLUE ENCOUNT, SWANKY DANK).
4. ITSUWARI NEUROSE Tour Final at Shinkiba Studio Coast.
5. MFS at A.V.E.S.T. Vol.9 (released as a free bonus for ANTITHESE Pre-order)
TIDBITS Info (^_-)
Hiro called 虚言NEUROSE creation process as “creating a human-like superhero" & the sound as “listening to the radio in the city“. Does that make any sense to you? LOL. Read what he said in this interview:
Sho let Hiro be in charge of lyrics writing from the start (from an interview for Yamaha Music).
Hiro comes from a famous family thanks to his parents and his successful brother. As a result, he was heavily thrashed on the internet by people who disliked his “easy entry” into the music industry. Hiro used to be very active on Twitter but the criticism against him soon turned into cyber-bullying. I personally had seen the cruel things people wrote about him on Japanese 2ch forum.
I can only guess what happened that drove Hiro to leave social media. Other than abusive online comments, some people probably took advantage of his Twitter presence by sending inappropriate messages or even being intrusive about his brother Taka’s personal life. He tweeted an angry response about 2ch on 14 Feb 2013. Then he wrote on his blog on Ameblo (now deleted / deactivated(?)) that “people’s words can hurt". A few months later, he tweeted “I started blocking fucked up people" in English. Not long after, he tweeted his final tweet “Goodbye forever" and abandoned Twitter in Sept 2013.
He then channeled his anger through the song BLACK RAIL in 2014. He explained it in this interview.
From then on, a lot of his lyrics reflected what he was going through while writing them.
It must be noted that the special project singles ALONE & 不可逆リプレイス (Fukagyaku Replace) were written for the themes of those projects. Hiro talked at length about ALONE around its release and there are a bunch of them that I posted on this blog.
For details on ALONE Project with HAL College, read these posts:
不可逆リプレイス / Fukagyaku Replace was made for the historical anime Nobunaga Concerto. Interesting to note that Hiro wrote the lyrics not from the main character Saburo’s point of view but the other guy Michi. The lines, “I don’t know why but you saved me ………… “ all the way to “I will follow you ….. keep you close to me,” were directly inspired by what Michi said to Saburo in the finale or Episode 10.
The lyrics of Someday are for the late K.
Hiro said in Kaohsiung, Taiwan that “This is a very important song to me,“.
His blog entry translation on K’s death
ANTITHESE Lyrics & Hiro’s personal stories
The Puzzle & Tomorrowland are about his heartbreak over Masaki’s departure.
Home is about his family who split up after his parents divorced.
IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MFS TEAM
1. GEN ~ boss, owner of INTACT Records, owner of Zephyren, organizer of AVEST Project, formerly of Subciety clothing brand.
Twitter : @Zephyren_gen
Instagram : Zephyren Gen
2. KTR (Kentaro Suzuki) ~ A&R + marketing exec of JMS, marketing exec of Deviluse clothing, regularly seen at MFS video shoots and concerts.
Twitter : @kkktttrrr,
Instagram: Kentaro Suzuki
3. The late K @ Kei Goto ~ vocalist of Pay Money To My Pain (PTP), mentor in MFS early days.
4. Nori (producer), Makiko (merchandising) but she’s better known now as the lady who covered Rassungorerai with Hiro XD
5. Japan Music System (JMS) ~ the music distribution company specializing in indie music and the one that markets/promotes MFS music
YouTube Channel: JMSTV
Online shop for bands’ merchandise: MAGIC ROOM ONLINE STORE
5. Circle of friends among many:
Shirakawa-san (SAKAEYA clothing shop manager) ~ the members regularly visit his shop.
nano, SWANKY DANK, AIR SWELL ~ artists they had musically collaborated with.
The funny interview with Hiro & KOJI about the Sink Like A Stone collaboration in which Hiro admitted the song’s high notes were difficult to sing is here.
STORYTELLER Fan Club
All MFS members let go of their individual public social media after the club was launched in 2016. If you’re interested to join, feel free to ask questions on how to do that.
In case you have an iOS mobile device ……..
JMS created a Japan-only iOS App called LIVEHOUSE where they feature videos from JMS artists. The videos vary from live performances, interviews, behind the scenes etc. However, if you create a different Apple ID specifically for Japan iTunes account, you can still download the App and watch those videos even if you don’t live in Japan.
*Update (12 Jan 2016): You will then get to watch videos like this one!
**Update (15 June 2017): JMS decided to stop the App by 31 May 2017.
Lastly yet very important, don’t believe any ridiculous claim about Hiro and his brother Taka hating each other because they don’t. You’ll find such comments at some point, I’m sure. These two brothers love and support each other away from the public eye and rightfully keep their family relationship private.
I hope that will give you a good start (^_-)