the ARROWS is a indie rock band that was signed to ROCKER ROOM/ PONY CANYON. The band members consist of (vocal) Ryuji Sakai (坂井竜二), (guitar) Takayuki Yamauchi (山内貴之), (bass) Sakai "Candy" Masahide (坂井“CANDY”昌英) and (drums) Koji Ukai (鵜飼孝治). The band's former member is (guitar) Iwahara Shunji (岩原俊司) who left in 2009.
Following in the footsteps of Fujifabric and the band apart, the ARROWS are the latest group to emerge from Japan's undeground armed with a fresh blend of styles. The quartet hails from Nagoya, having formed in 1999 during high school as a cover band. All members, born in 1977, were high school classmates from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music, in Nagakute, Aichi, Japan.
Even during the band's early days they were active, organizing a series of Nagoya live events in 2000 under the name "N2B GUITAR MUTATION" which lasted through 21 iterations into early 2005 and included appearances by GO!GO!7188 and GOING UNDER GROUND, among many others. Their continuous demo releases and local shows eventually culminated in 2003's Higashi Fountain Tetsudou, a solid debut of slightly dark power-pop that recalled Flipper's Guitar with significant underpinnings of minor-key Blankey Jet City.
2004 turned into the breakout year for the ARROWS' style, even though the band's original drummer left, to be replaced indefinitely by a string of session players. In July came the band's sophomore effort Star Circus, which revealed greatly expanded musical horizons. the ARROWS turned away from their debut to embrace a formula encroaching upon The Police's world music-influenced pop. Reggae, funk and latin music played considerably into the mix, and along with an impressive percussion section gave the ARROWS a distinctive style.
The band's efforts did not go unnnoticed, as the next year brought the opportunity to open for Cloudberry Jam's Japanese tour as well as a spot in Osaka's Minami Wheel 2005 festival. After successful releases of their third album and year-end single (#12 on Oricon's indie chart) the ARROWS closed out 2005 by kicking off the year-end Countdown Japan 05/06 festival's Moon Stage.
Unsurprisingly, the band's activities began to attract major labels to the table, and the ARROWS announced in April 2006 that they signed with Pony Canyon, their major debut single Night Call to follow in May. The band will also be marking their major label rite of passage with a solo tour and an appearance at the prestigious Rock In Japan Festival in August.
- James Route (published 2006.04.25, updated 2006.05.03)
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