The new music documentary on the Japanese rock group X JAPAN titled ‘WE ARE X’—from Passion Pictures—has been accepted to the SXSW Film Festival happening March 11-19 in Austin, TX. The documentary will be shown as part of SXSW Film Festival’s “24 Beats Per Second” which showcases the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians with an emphasis on documentary and is open to both music and film badgeholders. ‘WE ARE X’ is the only documentary accepted to both the SXSW and Sundance Film Festivals this year.
WE ARE X produced by two-time Academy Award winner John Battsek (Searching For Sugarman, Listen To Me Marlon) and directed by Stephen Kijak (Stones In Exile, Scott Walker: 30th Century Man) which won the Special Jury Award for “Best Editing”at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Awards (Jan. 20) in Park City, UT.The film, edited by Mako Kamitsuna and John Maringuoin and assisted by June Okada, earned rousing ovations during its six Sundance screenings throughout the week.
‘WE ARE X’ explores the evolution, groundbreaking history and hopeful future of the land of the rising sun’s most legendary rock group. From X JAPAN’s massive success (over 30 million albums, singles and videos sold) and sold-out tours worldwide, ‘WE ARE X’ chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of this legendary quintet who will never give up and continue to tour the world performing sold-out shows to massive arenas in 16 countries throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Following the world premiere screening Sundance, YOSHIKI–songwriter, drummer, classically-trained pianist and the creative leader of X JAPAN–stated, “The dark doors I had closed from my past became an entrance to the future. If there wasn’t music and the band members would not have been there, it’s clear I would not be here today.”
During Sundance week, YOSHIKI thrilled audiences performing at live venues including the official Sundance Festival Base Camp and the ASCAP Cafe playing classical versions of X JAPAN’s songs with a string quartet.Following the’WE ARE X‘ film premiere, Chef Dance hosted a dinner honoring the film prepared by Los Angeles-based chef Louis Tikaram (of EP & LP). The Chef Dance dinner and party featured guests including actors Octavia Spencer, Donovan Leitch and Julliette Lewis along with singers Josh Groban and Keb’ Mo alongside industry luminaries.DJ/Producer Balthazar Getty and EDM pioneer DJ Paul Oakenfold entertained guests for the official after party.
Japan’s most iconic rock band, X JAPAN initially split up in 1997 after playing their fifth New Year’s Eve show at the 55,000-capacity Tokyo Dome;theyhave now sold out the Tokyo Dome a record 18 times. The group reformed in 2007 and have released three singles: “I.V.” in 2008, “Jade” in 2011 and “Born To Be Free” in late 2015. They’ve been touring worldwide ever since and in October 2014, the group performed their debut Madison Square Garden show in New York before announcing the new album and ‘WE ARE X’ film releases slated for 2016.
X JAPAN—YOSHIKI (drums/piano/composer), TOSHI (vocals), PATA (guitar), HEATH (bass), SUGIZO (violin/guitar) alongside their fallen brothers HIDE (guitars, 1987-1997) and TAIJI (1986-1992)–are currently laying down tracks in a Los Angeles studio for their as-yet-untitled album, which is due for a worldwide release in late 2016.
Listen, watch and share the “Born To Be Free” video, streaming here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zggyy_qxbrY.
Watch X JAPAN in concert here: https://www.youtube.com/user/XJAPANpodcast.
About X JAPAN:
X Japan is the most successful rock band in Japanese history, and that is not a statement made lightly. The band has sold more than 30 million albums; singles and videos combined, sold out Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times – so far – and have played to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. In the band’s early days their look and sound sparked a global interest in entertainment, especially with the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, “Visual-Kei,” a movement X Japan pioneered that spread globally.
X Japan formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while they were still teenagers. Over the next 13 years, the band released five studio albums–Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989), Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996), as well as six live albums, ten best hits albums and 20 DVD releases. X Japan was the first Japanese band to achieve mainstream success while signed to an independent label. The band was so popular they became a cultural phenomenon.
In the fall of 1997, at the height of their success, the band broke up. Four months later, Hide, X Japan’s original lead guitarist, was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. At his funeral, more than 50,000 fans came to mourn his passing. In early 2007 Yoshiki and Toshi resumed communication and later that year X Japan officially reformed. The band launched its reunion in 2008 with 3 nights at the Tokyo Dome. 2 years later, X Japan filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre with a throng of some 8,000 U.S. fans taking part in the shoot on Hollywood Blvd. But it was on August 8, 2010 that X Japan performed in front of a mainstream American crowd for the first time at Lollapalooza. Immediately following the festival, X Japan played the biggest concert in its history, selling out two consecutive shows at Japan’s Nissan Stadium, filling 140,000 seats. The band’s first North American tour wrapped with a monumental New York date selling out The Roseland Ballroom on Oct. 11, 2010.
In June 2011, X Japan kicked off a European Tour at London’s Shepherd’s Bush (selling -out the venue in 30 minutes). The tour continued to Paris and Utrecht wrapping in Berlin before the band traveled back to Japan to play the famed Summer Sonic Festival. That same year the world tour took them to South America where they sold out shows playing to massive crowds in Santiago, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima and Mexico City. X Japan then returned to Asia playing arena shows in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Bangkok. In 2012 X Japan was the first Japanese band to take home the prize for “Best International Band” at the Golden Gods Awards held in the U.S.
In 2014 X Japan headlined a colossal show at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in the U.S. Now, in 2016, X Japan is gearing up for the biggest event in the band’s history. The current line-up of X Japan is Yoshiki/drums, piano; Toshi/vocals; Pata/guitars; Heath/bass; and Sugizo/guitars,violin. X Japan recently announced the release of the band’s 1st new studio album in 20 years, which will be available in worldwide release late 2016.