HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR have often been referred to as the “sister band” of popular Japanese band ORANGE RANGE. This is because both come from the Okinawa area of Japan and both bands were discovered at the same music festival. The band started with members MEG and SASSY, who were continuously performing in a Metallica cover band. They soon sought to make music beyond covers and decided to form a new band. They recruited fellow classmates Kazuto, mACKAz and Yuusuke who all used to be in their own bands. Together they formed the band ANTI-NOBUNAGA and started to impress the Okinawan rock scene with their impressive musical talents.
In the summer of 2003, ANTI-NOBUNAGA eventually got the audience’s notice with a outstanding performance in a rock festival hosted by Spice Records (The label who had formerly introduced ORANGE RANGE to the Okinawan audience) and earned themselves a spot in the “Okinawa 2003 Compilation”. At another festival known as the “Music Picnic Festival” vocalist Maki also grabbed the attention of record labels. Eventually Maki met the band through their respective labels and joined them. With the addition of Maakii into the band, the members felt that the band’s formation has changed too much to continue as ANTI-NOBUNAGA. So with that, a new name for the band was sought. SASSY suggested the name “High Color” or “HAIKARA”, which in Japanese also means to be “stylish” or “fashionable”. However Yuusuke thought it was missing something and came up with “High and Mighty”, which felt close to the kind of music they were going to be making. They combined the two suggestions to make HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR, and thus the first incarnation of the band was born: Maki (lead vocals), Yūsuke (vocals), Kazuto (guitar), Meg (guitar), Mackaz (bass), and Sassy (drums).
Being newly formed, the band spent the best part of 2004 tuning-up and perfecting their music style with pre-recordings and studio rehearsals. Spice Records kept the doors tightly shut to protect their newly-found secret weapon. In September of that year, Spice Records hosted the “Music Picnic” rock festival. HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR was unleashed in this festival and took the music industry by storm. The new combination certainly proved to create an extravagant and electrifying performance.
In that way, HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR started their career as J-Rock Indie artists. In November 2004, Spice Records brought Haikara to their debut CD single OVER. Although the single was sold only at Tower Records’ main branches and major CD stores in Okinawa, all 1,500 copies were sold out in just about a month. This was huge success for an indie artist and proved that Haikara wasn’t there to play games. As a result of this momentum, H&MC soon found themselves enjoying massive media exposure. The single, only existing in those 1,500 sold out copies, is now dubbed The Phantom Record among fans because of its rarity.
Seeing the huge success of Haikara’s debut, Sony Music Entertainment took action and licensed HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR in December 2004 as their label’s newest rock group. With their Indie days flying past them just like that, HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR were on their way to becoming professional artists. While planning the release of their 1st official single, PRIDE, samples of the song found its way to the animation studio behind Gundam SEED Destiny and the song was chosen to become the anime’s second Opening Theme because the lyrics fit with the storyline of the series perfectly. On January 26 2005, PRIDE was released and marked HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR’s major debut. The single reached #2 in the Oricon sales charts, making HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR one of the very few artists who have managed to reach the Top 3 of the charts within their first appearance in the industry. The success of PRIDE showed that HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR was rapidly gaining recognition all over Japan.
After their debut, the band was determined more than ever to show everyone what they are made of. 2005 saw a steady flow of releases from HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR: the hit indies single OVER was re-recorded in Sony’s studios and re-released in April as Haikara’s second single. Following that, H&MC wanted to show everyone that they have the potential to do a wide range of songs, not just the heavy-rock they’ve been known for. Their singles RUN RUN RUN and Days proved them to be versatile in all kinds of music, from rock to up-tempo to slow ballads. Less than a month after their fourth single release, the band unveiled their first album, G∞VER, which again emphasized the range of musicality within the band. The album was welcomed warmly by the fans, sailing up to the #5 position in the Oricon charts, but apart from the strong singles within the album, the full potential of HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR was yet to be seen.
A mere 2 weeks after the release of G∞VER, everyone was caught off-guard when Haikara opened the curtains announcing their fifth Single, STYLE~get glory in this hand~. With a brand-new music video airing as an MTV-exclusive; only a few days had passed when news came that Haikara’s sixth Single 一輪の花 was also about to air as BLEACH anime’s third Opening Theme. Piling releases on top of one another, HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR came to grab the attention of everyone in the music industry; fans grew ecstatic from the amount of new releases they were going to get.
Both STYLE and 一輪の花 brought H&MC back to their hard-edge roots, displaying powerhouse performances and expressive vocals. As HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR busied themselves promoting their newest singles, STYLE came into stores in November as the year 2005 came to a close. 一輪の花 saw huge success once again as the publicity and anticipation from the hit anime BLEACH led to a whole new wave of fans because of its large base of viewers. The single marked the #2 spot on the Oricon charts once again, just like its predecessor PRIDE, making this their second most successful single.
Meanwhile, the release of HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR’s 1st DVD titled Video G∞VER was drawing near. It featured all the music videos from the singles of G∞VER and extras such as a DIRECTOR’S CUT version of Days as well as a never-before-seen music video of OVER (Indies Version) showcasing H&MC’s indie days and performances.
February 2006 came as the wave of new-releases finally came to an end, and the fans were thinking that H&MC would take a short break before releasing their next single. Despite how hard the band worked in 2005, H&MC came out to surprise everyone again with a 2-week countdown on their site to the announcement of their second full-length album. On April 2006, the second Album, Gou On PROGRESSIVE was released, along with a music video for the song “Here I am” to help promote the album.
In late July, the band released its newest single entitled “DIVE into YOURSELF”. It shows a more poppish side of the band, but at the same time provided the same rock sound the band is known for. That October, the band release their 8th single ‘Enrai~Toku ni Aru Akari~’, which was used for the ending of ‘Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny SPECIAL EDITION’. The B-side Kaerimichi no Orenji was used in the commercial for the Bleach WII game. After another single (Tadoritsuku Basho and Okizarisu), the band announced the release of their third studio album ‘San’. Despite initially promising sales in earlier times, San did not prove to be as popular with the fanbase as the previous two albums were and at the time became their lowest selling album.
Undeterred, the band continued their steady stream of releases. In March, it was announced that Yuusuke would work with former Porno Graffitti bassist, Masami Shiratama. Yūsuke provided vocals for the joint single entitled “Honnō”; the single was released on May 23 featured Yūsuke using what the band describes as his machine gun vocals. The 10th single from the band was released on August 1, 2007. The title track of the single, titled “Dreams”, was used as the second ending theme to the anime Darker Than Black. During its first week, the single entered the Oricon charts at the 24th spot. Curiously, this single was never included on any of the band’s subsequent studio albums.
On November 4, 2007, it was announced that the band would be releasing a single collection album entitled 10 Colored Singles featuring the first 10 singles and a bonus track titled “Ichirin no Hana (Live Studio Version)”. It also includes a DVD with music videos that never made it to DVD like “Style”, “Dreams”, “Here I Am”, and the new music video for “Mushroom”. The band also contributed to a Luna Sea memorial album, performing the song “Rosier”, which was released in December of 2007 alongside their eleventh single, Amazing.
The 12th single, and the second double A-side “Flashback” was released on February 27, 2008 and was used in promotion with the anime Hero Tales. Following this was the release of their 4th album Rock Pit, which was released on March 19 and became their lowest selling album to date. The band began the fourth volume of their Live Bee Loud tour on March 17, 2008 at the famous Club Quattro in Japan. They then went on to perform at 13 other venues across the country, with the final venue being in their hometown of Okinawa.
The 13th single of the band is a cover of one of T.M. Revolution’s early singles, “Hot Limit”. The visual style of both the music video and the promotional images is meant to mimic that of the original. This was also the first time since “Dive into Yourself” that Sony Music Entertainment had produced a commercial for advertisement of a single from the band. The single went on to garner the best sales for the band in nearly two years and ranked at number 20 on the Oricon charts in the weekly rankings for its first week.
On July 1, 2008, it was announced that Mākii had married Dreams Come True singer Masato Nakamura on June 22, 2008 and would be leaving the band by the end of 2008. In her parting message, Mākii thanked her fellow band members and all of their fans for supporting her and the group for such a long time. A special event was planned for Mākii’s graduation from the band and the 14th single from the band, “Remember”, was released on October 15, 2008 and is the final single featuring Mākii as a band member.
A new member, Halca (vocals), was added to the HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR line-up after multiple auditions were held in 2009. This birthed the second incarnation of High and Mighty Color. With this incarnation, the band sought to create a unified image: that is, no one member of the band stood out. The band released their fifth and last studio album, Swamp Man, on September 2, 2009 and took the #25 spot on the Oricon charts on its release date. Their new ideaology was reflected in the music video for ‘good bye’ - in it not one member can be seen clearly but the whole band can be seen performing as a unit, showing a sharp contrast to the Maki-focused videos of the first era. Following the release of their fifth album, High and Mighty Color released a tribute song for two popular manga named Red. The song was released digitally in Japan on December 9, 2009 and re-released December 23, 2009 on iTunes Japan and Japan Files.
Sadly, the new incarnation of High and Mighty Color was not to last. It was announced on May 19 2010 that on August 11 High and Mighty Color will release a new single, “Re:ache”, which will be the band’s final single. Speaking of the reason for the break up, band members cited “musical differences” and “future opportunities”.
Edited by peffy on 24 Oct 2010, 14:32
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