It’s taken ten years for the rest of the world to catch up with the musical vision of the band Art-School, but then, even the band itself has meandered from that vision from time to time. Art-School’s melodies and indie-rock sound takes on the minimal feel of pop today, while seasoning it with just enough raw-rock rhythm to make it interesting.
In 1998, solo artist Riki Kinoshita moved from Osaka to Tokyo, Japan, and soon after the release of his first mini-album Kinoshita decided to start a band. In March 2000, with his support musicians at that time; bass player Hidekazu Hinata and drummer Sakurai Yuichi, along with guitarist Oyama Jun Art-School was born.
In September, the band released their first EP Sonic Dead Kids on the indie label 123 Records, followed six months later by the mini-album Mean Street. In 2002, the group released a split tape with fellow Japanese rockers Straightener, the 2 track tape was an underground success for both bands. On the heels of that success and the band’s first appearance at Fuji Rock Festival 2002 – Art-School caught the attention of Toshiba EMI, who signed the band soon after.
On November 27, 2002, they released their debut Requiem for Innocence and a nationwide tour followed. The tour placed a huge strain on the members of the band and in 2003; half the original lineup left Art-School – Hinata to play with Straightener and Zazen Boys, and Oyama because he was exhausted though he would go on to play for Straightner in 2008.
Quickly replaced by Masafumi Todaka on guitar and Uno Takeshi on bass, Art-School rocked on managing to close the year with the release of their 2nd album Love/Hate. In 2005, Art-School recorded their 3rd and final studio album with Toshiba EMI, Paradise Lost. A year later the band signed with Pony Canyon/Rocker Room, recording the albums Missing (2006) and Flora (2007) under that label.
In April of 2009, drummer Sakurai Yuichi announced that he was leaving to form his own band, and was replaced by Suzuki Hiroyuki. Art-School then released their 5th album 14SOULS’ on August 5, 2009, and in July of the following year Art-School’s sixth album Anesthesia hit store shelves.
Starting in 2012, Art-School will become a band with two members, Riki Kinoshita and Masafumi Todaka. On September 30, 2011, it was announced that Uno Takeshi and Suzuki Hiroyuki, sighting creative differences, decided to leave the band. Their last performance as apart of Art-School was at Shinkiba Studio Coast on December 9th. Kinoshita remarked about the two leaving: that at the end of this year, the future of Art-School will be unclear.
Whatever the decision – Riki Kinoshita is Art-School.