Hello all! Zrn/Roe here. As the title states, this essay will be about the band known as Foreground Eclipse. Specifically, it focuses on the circumstances of their formation in 2008 and dissolution in 2013. This is intended perhaps more for new fans of Foreground Eclipse that are interested to find out more about this band which existed in the past, but older fans may also find this useful. Finally, do note that what follows is strictly my personal opinion, and I have tried to cite as many sources as possible in the bibliography at the bottom. For the sake of brevity, I have put in hyperlinks where ordinary citations would be, although the formatting is in the Chicago Style.
Important People within Foreground Eclipse
Merami is an active singer and continues to sing after the dissolution of Foreground Eclipse. While Foreground Eclipse existed, she gave clean, soaring vocals that cut through the instrumental mix, providing a nice contrast to the guttural screams of Teto.
(As I am more familiar regarding Teto compared to the other three members, I am able to provide slightly more information in this section.)
Teto became popular on Nico Nico Douga and Youtube as a result of his skills in drumming. In particular, his drum cover of the song ‘God Knows’ from the trending anime Haruhi Suzumiya was widely viewed on Youtube at 1.5 million views, and collaborations with two other individuals later led to the formation of the band ‘Royal Straight Flush’, also known as ‘Ouzouku Band (王族BAND)’. In keeping with the ‘royal’ theme that the band was going for, Teto adopted the moniker of ‘Prince Intel’ (インテル王子), and many of his older drum covers can be found on Nico Nico Douga under this name.
At the peak of their popularity, Royal Straight Flush played mostly anime pop songs, ranging from ‘Butterfly’ from Digimon to ‘Only My Railgun’ from the Raildex series as well as ‘God Knows’ and ‘Lost My Music’ from Haruhi Suzumiya. It is notable that during this period while Teto was in Royal Straight Flush, the band had been on many live performances and went on television as well on a few occasions, which may have affected Teto’s attitude towards live performances while in Foreground Eclipse later.
Teto was active in Foreground Eclipse since 2009 and left Royal Straight Flush in 2010. While Foreground Eclipse existed, he provided screams, and wrote the lyrics for many songs. His drumming style could have been said to shift towards a harder and heavier manner consistent with metal, compared to his past style of drumming to Japanese pop songs that were fluffier and lighter.
Suzuori & Siym
Suzuori was one of the band’s founding members and left the band on the 3rd of March, 2011. Siym took over as the provider of the guitar and bass segments for future songs which were recorded. As I am not familiar with both of these members in the same level that I have been for Teto, fans of these two musicians should check out Veto’s primer regarding their musical impact on Foreground Eclipse. His primer excels in its focus on the technicality of how Foreground Eclipse’s music changed after Suzuori left the band, while this article/essay is intended to provide more information regarding the social background of the band.
Important Fans of Foreground Eclipse
Kafka Fuura is a name some may know of in the world of J-Pop and J-Metal. As an avid listener and translator of many bands and circles within the scene, he would be one of the first to transcribe and translate most Foreground Eclipse songs, many of which can still be found in his archived posts.
Finally, it appears that he is quite close to, and knowledgeable of, the movements within these independent circles to the extent that it was a possibility for him to meet up with the band members before Foreground Eclipse disbanded.
For the purposes of this article, Jaefine and Kafka Fuura were largely similar in the sense that they both translated songs from Foreground Eclipse. Where they differed, though, is in how the lyrics were disseminated to the public. In the case of Kafka Fuura, he mostly uploaded the translated lyrics on his WordPress and left them there, while Jaefine was known to be related to 02PC for a period of time and sent or gave her permission to use her translations within his videos. This will be covered in greater detail in the following section of 02PC.
As mentioned in the short section on Jaefine, 02PC was associated with Jaefine for a period of time. Working off the translations of Jaefine, 02PC subtitled quite a few Foreground Eclipse lyrical videos and likely introduced more fans to the band as a result of their popularity.
A newcomer to the scene (relative to Kafka Fuura, Jaefine and 02PC), Shion has nevertheless contributed significantly to the literature on Foreground Eclipse through a series of album reviews on Foreground Eclipse tracks along with his own translations for some songs. I would heartily recommend checking out his WordPress for fans interested in his comparison of how Foreground Eclipse takes certain musical influences from Western genres.
Similar to Shion, Veto has also translated songs from Foreground Eclipse and written substantially on the band (as evidenced in his primer linked above). Of greater interest would perhaps be the candid reactions and thoughts of Foreground Eclipse in their early days after they had released their first couple of albums. These musings found within the ‘Self Liner Notes’ of a disc have been translated by Veto and can be found both here (for the Missing, Loving…and Suffering EP) and here (for Wishes Hidden In The Foreground Noises).
The Origins of Foreground Eclipse (2009-2010)
Foreground Eclipse was founded by three members, namely Teto, Merami and Suzuori. What is notable would be that Teto had not formally left Royal Straight Flush while Foreground Eclipse had started, which strengthens the notion that Foreground Eclipse perhaps started off as a band that focused on different arrangements of Touhou tracks, as well as an outlet for their creative pursuits. This continued to be their trademark after Suzuori’s departure in 2011 and Siym took over his musical role until the band’s dissolution in December 2013.
As Foreground Eclipse started releasing demos, one of their early albums (Wishes Hidden In The Foreground Noises released on 14th Marc 2010) contained a track that early Foreground Eclipse became popular for: The Distant Journey To You. This track has generally been covered by most cover bands even after Foreground Eclipse disbanded as it is what one might term the signature song of Foreground Eclipse.
The Golden Age of Foreground Eclipse (2010-2013)
Foreground Eclipse continued to release albums and demos that demonstrated continuous improvement in their style of arrangement. Of notable mention are the following tracks, some of which became fairly popular:
- Flames Within These Black Feathers – Tears Will Become Melodies Tonight (December 30th 2010)
- Calm Eyes Fixed On Me, Screaming (notably, this track was used in the creation of a Miku Miku Dance Promotional Video (MMD-PV) for a competition in 2012. The original video can be viewed on Nico Nico Douga here and the high quality video can be viewed on Youtube here – Tears Will Become Melodies Tonight (December 30th 2010)
- Escapes – Each And Every Word Leaves Me Here Alone (December 30th 2011)
More experimentation was done, with the track ‘If You Feel Like Sinking Down – Each And Every Word Leaves Me Here Alone (December 30th 2011)’ being a mix of multiple music genres and increasing synthesizer influences within their tracks. A collaborative effort was also done with another band called Draw The Emotional, which cumulated in their 2012 release, Seated With Liquor. Iakrus writes in his blog ‘Apparently the idea came when Teto and Yuyoyuppe were out drinking and one of them suggested making something together.’ As noted by Veto, this is confirmed in Japanese at the bottom of the collaboration page:
The underlined portion could be roughly translated as ‘It happened to come together over sake with Teto, and the groove seemed to work. It there had not been enough time, this 8-track album would surely not have been born. So to the servants of the place at that time, I’m grateful. Hence, ‘Seated With Liquor’.’
This description is likely written from the viewpoint of Yuyoyuppe, who is probably acquainted with Teto within the doujin music circle such that a collaboration could work. In any case, this is probably an interesting trivia for both Foreground Eclipse and Yuyoyuppe fans.
It is during this period of time that Foreground Eclipse performed their first, second and third lives. These were recorded, and one could notice from their successive videos that they were scheduled to play at larger and larger events over time. The unmistakable, infectious energy which each of them had on stage was picked up by the roaring crowd, which reciprocated by being considerably enthusiastic as could be seen within the videos.
Amusingly, a person can be spotted being thrown within the energetic crowd in the last recorded live at 1:08 to 1:09 with their legs in the air.
As Foreground Eclipse continued to gain traction and more within the community appreciated their music, Foreground Eclipse branched out into the sale of merchandise over a few years. Key holders, wristbands, stickers and badges were sold during Comiket events along with T-shirts, towels and older discs of their past albums.
The Dissolution of Foreground Eclipse (2013)
Initial Announcement and Reactions
Foreground Eclipse first announced their dissolution on August 26th, 2013 with it being scheduled after the live performance, which was greeted with much dismay by many within the community. Coming after how Foreground Eclipse had become increasingly popular, to disband at the peak of their popularity was understandably shocking for most.
However, an interview which Teto gave shortly after their announcement was made proved to be illuminating regarding the reasons behind the decision to disband the band. The full interview conducted by a magazine available here was kindly translated by 7, a close friend of mine, and has been edited for ease of reading below (the original, unedited translation can be found here)
Teto from Foreground Eclipse announced the group’s breakup on twitter on August 26, 2013, which greatly saddened fans of Touhou Arrange.
The initial popularity of the band’s founding members coupled with the high musical quality of their songs made the group extremely popular within a short span of time.
Their style of music was recognized as Touhou Arrange, but it became popular regardless of the category their music was classified in. It’s possible to say that the circle of emo scream listeners has greatly increased because of their music.
In this article, we look back their history with an interview with Teto, present the messages from their friends, and introduce how great Foreground Eclipse was. (The following is the interview via Skype in November, 2013. Because of the recording/filming schedule, Merami couldn’t be there, which made it an interview with only Teto.)
Interviewer: First, let’s talk about your last live (DJF 2013 at Shinjuku BLAZE, October 5). I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to be there, but I’ve read your blog saying that you said everything you were thinking and everything wanted to say at the very last chance on stage after the show. What did you talk about?
Teto: To be honest, I don’t remember much because I was kind of frantic. But I guess I said something like “This is the last live as FE, but this is not our breakup live. We still have a new CD to come, and we are still going. So I don’t want you to be sad, I want you to enjoy.” This is something I could say just because we were on live. It’s hard to express this feeling because it sounds cheesy when it’s printed.
Interviewer: It was your last live. What were you thinking before it started? And what do you think when you look back the live?
Teto: We did 4 lives as FE so far. I’m not sure if other bands nowadays think in the same way, but I guess bands usually consider their lives as their main activity, thinking that lives are the most important and that they want the audience to listen to them at live, rather than through CDs.
But we’re just a music coterie, thinking that making CDs is more important than doing lives. We don’t cut corners at lives though. We strongly think that “You don’t have to be so sad just because you can’t come to our live. You can just listen to our CDs.” We might consider lives less important than you guys think. We can’t do live performances at Tokyo almost more than once. There are limits for us and for the audience. So when we announced our last live, we did want them to listen to our very last CD, but we were also like “you don’t have to manage to come to our live, just because it’s going to be the last one.”
Notably, Teto stressed the importance that he (and others within the band) placed on releasing high quality music instead of consistently performing live. It’s possible that, having performed multiple times while he was still within Royal Straight Flush, Teto saw music production as being relatively more critical to a band’s success compared to music performance and brought this mindset to Foreground Eclipse. Limitations on concert venues were also mentioned within the interview above. Coupled with the desire to go out while they were at their best, it is perhaps understandable that Foreground Eclipse chose to disband while at the peak of their popularity.
Final Live and Album
Foreground Eclipse’s final live performance took place on October 5th 2013, and sadly no uploaded copies of it can be found on the Net. Their final album ‘Stories That Last Through These Sleepless Nights’ was released on December 24th 2013, before the band officially disbanded on 31st December 2013.
Tributes and Homages to Foreground Eclipse
Many fan-made tributes have been made to Foreground Eclipse after their disbandment, some of which can be found on Nico Nico Douga. Shion, as mentioned above, has written considerably on this topic and both Jaefine as well as Kafka Fuura have referenced this slightly in translations on their sites. Various cover bands have also performed songs from Foreground Eclipse, such as Savaground Eclipse’s 2014 performance, Before The Breakfast’s 2015 set and Link&Create!!’s 2016 gig.
What does the future hold?
As Shion notes, Merami has an active presence in many music circles. Teto too sees no point in saying goodbye, as he mentioned in his blog post on the first anniversary of their disbandment that there are plenty of methods that one can get in touch with others in this age of Twitter and SNS. Siym, being likely from the same background as Teto in junior high and possibly university, may have come into contact with Teto following the band’s disbandment.
Interestingly, his more recent musings on the second anniversary of the band’s disbandment (translated by Veto) indicate that he is continuing in an unknown music circle with some songs in the same style as ‘Escapes’ or ‘I Bet You’ll Forget That Even If You Noticed That.’ Translated by Veto, there is a clue to his current activities within the lyrics of songs in past albums, but he mentions that it could be quite difficult to find.
For me, Foreground Eclipse was the one band that made me interested in J-metal and scream in general. Having following Teto from the time he was in Royal Straight Flush up till the disbandment of Foreground Eclipse, it’s sad that I was not able to attend one of their live events or purchase their shirt while it was still being sold. But some of their greatest tracks remain a testament to future fans that stumble upon the music they made as they blazed trails from 2010 to 2013. In any case, though Foreground Eclipse may have disbanded, their legacy as one of the few bands which successfully melded scream and soaring vocals, metal and soft rock continue to be cemented by the memorable nature of their tracks.
02PC. 2013. Foreground Eclipse – Dear, Are You Getting Sober [Subbed]. January 26. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZbnoxUFbpQ.
Eclipse, Foreground. 2011. Foreground Eclipse – Escapes (Live Footage 2011). November 19. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edm1ENOhNEs.
—. 2012. Foreground Eclipse – I Bet You’ll Forget That Even If You Noticed That (Live Footage 2012). October 19. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-tNHqXVjSw.
—. 2010. Foreground Eclipse – THE DISTANT JOURNEY TO YOU (Live Footage 2010). August 22. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_sQ0WzIfoM.
Faults, Faiz. 2014. Foreground Eclipse – A Look Through Their Releases. January 8. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://afsafe.blogspot.sg/2014/01/foreground-eclipse-look-through-their.html.
Fuura, Kafka. 2014. Dear, Are You Getting Sober. April 16. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://kafkafuura.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/dear-are-you-getting-sober/.
—. 2013. Kafka Fuura (P.N.). September 14. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://twitter.com/zephyrrz/status/378857556375916544.
—. n.d. YuYuKo will EaT YoU. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://kafkafuura.wordpress.com/?s=foreground+eclipse&x=0&y=0.
iakrus. 2013. Seated With Liquor – Draw The Emotional x Foreground Eclipse. April 10. Accessed February 24, 2016. http://iakrus.livejournal.com/711.html.
Jaefine. 2013. Dear, Are You Getting Sober – Foreground Eclipse. January 26. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://mirrorofparanoia.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/dear-are-you-getting-sober-foreground-eclipse/.
—. 2014. Foreground Eclipse – Storytellers. January 3. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://mirrorofparanoia.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/storytellers-foreground-eclipse/.
—. 2014. From Under Cover Caught Up In A Love Song – Foreground Eclipse. January 2. Accessed Feburary 8, 2016. https://mirrorofparanoia.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/from-under-cover-caught-up-in-a-love-song-foreground-eclipse/.
—. 2014. Storytellers – Foreground Eclipse. January 4. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://mirrorofparanoia.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/storytellers-foreground-eclipse/.
kazuyan. 2009. 王族BAND LIVE 「Butter-fly」. August 10. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm7894140.
nao55akita. 2007. 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 God knows (Drum). August 9. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBNzfoK3-yU.
Nico Nico Douga. n.d. Search by Tag: インテル王子. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/search/%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%E3%83%86%E3%83%AB%E7%8E%8B%E5%AD%90?page=3&sort=n&order=d.
—. n.d. Search by Tag: 王族BAND. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/search/%E7%8E%8B%E6%97%8FBAND?page=3&sort=n&order=d.
prettybarf. 2014. Foreground Eclipse. May 29. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.last.fm/music/Foreground+Eclipse/+wiki.
SAK117. 2007. God Knows…（夢の合演 Ver.）. December 5. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm1701979.
Shion. 2016. [REQUEST] 死際サテライト (SHINIGIWA SATELLITE) – 星屑デイドリーム. January 30. Accessed February 24, 2016. https://foregroundnoises.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/request-%E6%AD%BB%E9%9A%9B%E3%82%B5%E3%83%86%E3%83%A9%E3%82%A4%E3%83%88-shinigiwa-satellite-%E6%98%9F%E5%B1%91%E3%83%87%E3%82%A4%E3%83%89%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A0/.
—. 2015. Foreground Eclipse. Novermber 26. Accessed February 24, 2016. https://foregroundnoises.wordpress.com/tag/foreground-eclipse/.
Teto, interview by tomo1 and ぎどやん. 2013. Foreground EclipseEdited by Zrn, translated by 7. (November). Accessed December 10, 2015. Article picture: http://i.imgur.com/lfXpyL1.jpg?1 Edited Translation: http://pastebin.com/EbvA1FR2.
—. 2009. It was crazy to stand from opening. Febuary 7. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com.sg&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://d.hatena.ne.jp/teto-screamholic/20090207/1234034696&usg=ALkJrhjTCda9qe1epXRKfgbNfNII0yu60g.
—. 2013. It was DJF cheers for good work. October 6. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://translate.google.com.sg/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fd.hatena.ne.jp%2Fteto-screamholic%2F&edit-text=&act=url.
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—. 2010. Royalty BAND you want to leave. June 11. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&depth=1&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com.sg&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://d.hatena.ne.jp/teto-screamholic/20100611/1276270232&usg=ALkJrhjSMfUqsLjcbm1sFncRC4y2fTnt4w.
—. 2009. test. January 17. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com.sg&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://d.hatena.ne.jp/teto-screamholic/20090117/1232155421&usg=ALkJrhiou0Gr6k4KuWC0V5jBn7Vzt8DqwA.
—. 2015. Two years. December 31. Accessed February 24, 2016. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&depth=1&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com.sg&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://d.hatena.ne.jp/teto-screamholic/20151231/1451573969&usg=ALkJrhi8khOUWe8t0hTdwamafM8iHpxwsg.
—. 2013. xtxextxox. August 26. Accessed December 10, 2015. https://twitter.com/xtxextxox/status/371962282365829120.
Touhou Wiki. 2014. Foreground Eclipse. June 4. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Foreground_Eclipse.
Veto. 2014. 【東方】Foreground Eclipse. December 10. Accessed Feburary 1, 2016. http://vetobendover.com/foregroundeclipse/.
VGMdb. n.d. Foreground Eclipse. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://vgmdb.net/artist/8482.
—. n.d. Meramipop. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://vgmdb.net/artist/4383.
—. n.d. Suzuori. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://vgmdb.net/artist/8485.
—. 2015. Touhou Gensoukyou Revival 2 ~Mahou Shoujo vs Maou Yuusha~. May 10. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://vgmdb.net/album/54226.
だんでぃ～. 2010. 【王族BAND】God Knows【生放送】. Febuary 17. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm9739532.
—. 2010. 【王族BAND】only my railgun【生放送】. January 15. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm9389085.
冷酷無比のパラノイドアンドロイド. 2009. 【残飯のパラダイス】王族バンドライブ – 極楽鳥【修正＆コメ増量版】. June 23. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm7427873.
水菜. 2014. 【Foreground Eclipse】Storytellers 叩いてみた【あれから一年】. December 30. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm25239931.
選ばれし粕. 2009. 王族BAND feat.ひなぎく 「Lost my music」. August 09. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm7888154.