Artist Profile: OBLIVION DUST

Left-to-Right: RIKIJI (Bass), KEN LLOYD (Vocals), and K.A.Z. (Guitar/Programming)

Note: This profile was requested by Kimiko, who is supporting us at our VKH Shot-Callers tier on Patreon. Thanks Kimiko! If you'd like to support the website and get access to bonus VKH content, check out our Patreon page by clicking here!

Today we are going to introduce a band that's been around for a long time but is criminally underrated outside of Japan according to some of our readers and friends in the industry: OBLIVION DUST! Fans will be most familiar with this band's guitarist K.A.Z. of VAMPS and hide with Spread Beaver fame, and if you like VAMPS there's a good chance you'll love OBLIVION DUST. The other two members also are quite well-known: KEN LLOYD is the British/Japanese vocalist of Fake?, and while RIKIJI is mainly known for his role in OBLIVION DUST, he was also briefly in a band in the 90s called Mega8Ball with ex-Malice Mizer vocalist Tetsu Takano.

OBLIVION DUST was formed in Tokyo in 1996, and released their debut album Looking for Elvis in 1997. The band gained substantial attention in 1998 by opening for the legendary UK electronic music group The Prodigy in front of a crowd of 10,000 in Tokyo—the show also happened to be bassist RIKIJI's audition for the band! The band's success continued until their disbandment in 2001. Fortunately, the group reformed in 2007 and have been together ever since! One notable performance since reforming was in 2008, when OBLIVION DUST shared the stage with X Japan, Luna Sea, and others at the second night of the hide memorial summit that year. The band has been through several member and support member changes (especially early-on), but the current lineup of official members has remained as K.A.Z., RIKIJI, and KEN LLOYD since reforming.

Musically, OBLIVION DUST started out with a more throwback hard-rock sound that was influenced by 90s American grunge bands. Since reuniting, however, the band has shifted to an alternative rock sound that has seen them experimenting with crisp production values and slick programming. Both of these styles are very radio-friendly and well-executed, and are bolstered by KEN LLOYD's perfectly fluent English lyrics (he is capable of writing and singing lyrics in both English and Japanese), which is still a rarity among Japanese bands. I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible and engaging OBLIVION DUST's entire catalog is, and I could see them doing very well internationally. Basically, if you've enjoyed any of K.A.Z.'s work in VAMPS—whether during their early years with their throwback rock sound, or in more recent years with their experimental alt-rock—there's an OBLIVION DUST song and/or album that you're bound to like.

Below are some links to OBLIVION DUST's music and online accounts. I've embedded a few of my personal picks from both their old and new sounds. If you'd like to hear more discussion about OBLIVION DUST, you can also check out the live stream which I will be doing about them today, which is also embedded below. Enjoy!

Older Sound Picks: Radio Songs: Best of OBLIVION DUST (2001) + "DESIGNER FETUS" PV

Newer Sound Picks: DIRT (2016) + "Death Surf" Live Edit PV

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