On 25 March, the multifaceted musician RYU announced that he has renamed his solo project SOMEI YOSHINO with immediate effect. He will resume his musical activities under his own name and has already released two new songs to celebrate this fact.
From OROCHI to SOMEI YOSHINO to RYU
The solo project SOMEI YOSHINO was a renewed form of the Visual Kei samurai rock band OROCHI, which had been active since the first half of the 2000s and created an extensive discography with releases of several albums, mini-albums and singles and a large-scale history of activities. With the origins of the project in Australia, where the vocalist lived at the time, the band started with performances at events and joining band competitions. After activities moved to Japan, the band shifted focus to Europe and has found many fans there thanks to various tours, in addition to the strong fanbase in Japan.
In recent years, the band had been plagued by many line-up changes. At the end of 2018, RYU bit the bullet to transform the rock band into a solo project with a new name. In May 2019, he presented his first music video under the new name, which was well-received. RYU still uses various Japanese instruments for his music, such as the Koto, Shinobue, and Satsuma Biwa.
RYU had a number of gigs scheduled as SOMEI YOSHINO in Europe in October 2019, presenting his renewed project to a diverse audience. Some were already familiar with the work he had done with OROCHI, others were getting to know rock music with traditional Japanese elements for the first time. He still managed to incorporate his sword dance into his performances to the delight of the audience and the songs that were released under the name OROCHI were still part of the setlist.
In 2020, it became more difficult to perform in front of a physical audience and RYU decided to switch his birthday performance to a livestream. He also regularly appeared live on his YouTube channel, performing music for his loyal fans. Furthermore, RYU produced special videos where he shared the adventures of his European tour, covers, but also informed about instruments and locations in Japan. “The Internet makes it possible,” RYU said in an interview in May 2020 with AVO Magazine, which also described how the musician has dealt with the situation of the pandemic and his activities as a musician.
The next step
In September of the same year, he streamed for the last time on his channel and it became quiet around the musician. Suspicions were that he was concentrating on new music for his solo project, but it took a while before it became clear what the next step was for RYU. In a post he shared on social media on the 25th of March of this year, he revealed that the situation around COVID-19 made it difficult for the music project to perform and made the musician think about the future.
The conclusion was that RYU still wants to stay active in the music world, as a composer, but no longer under de name SOMEI YOSHINO. This means that the musical project has undergone another metamorphosis as the musician decided on a name change. It will be interesting to see the future activities of the solo project of RYU which will now be under his own name.
March 30 was RYU’s birthday, normally it is a day when he celebrates his birthday by performing for his fans. This is not possible at the moment and the live performance for this year was cancelled. Instead, he shared two new music videos on his YouTube channel for the new step in the music project. The videos were filmed before COVID-19 with the support band members of SOMEI YOSHINO and will be released under the name RYU.
The first video is titled 天神～通りゃんせ～ (Tenjin -Toryanse-) and the second video is titled 天神～ゆびきり～ (Tenjin -Yubikiri-, pinky swear). It looks like we will still enjoy the musical input of RYU for a long time yet as he has no plans to stop, thankfully. Guitarist MASA, who has supported RYU during the European tour in 2019, revealed that 天神～通りゃんせ～ (Tenjin -Toryanse-) was one of the difficult songs he has ever played.
In an earlier article about this topic, the renaming of the solo project was described as a disbandment, which was incorrect. Apologies are sent to the musician and it has been decided to rewrite the article to put out the correct information without confusion but also add extra information to give more background to this music project. Currently the historical description of the music project can be seen as a transformation from OROCHI to SOMEI YOSHINO to the latest change of the solo project: RYU. I also want to share my apologies to the readers for the confusion that has been caused.