Yes, as I mentioned briefly below, Valluna is disbanding. As readers of my blog know, Valluna was one of the indies bands I semi-followed in Tokyo. There were only a small handful of indies bands I went out of my way to see, and Valluna was undoubtedly one of them. They even got a "special thanks" mention on my blog when I left Japan, in large part because they put on some of the best performances I ever saw (especially the S&M-themed free live).
Rather than second-hand sourcing and interpreting what is going on, I'm going to translate SAKURA and yo-ka's blog posts about the disbandment so that you can all hear about the situation straight from the source. My apologies if my translation has any errors.
Here is vocalist yo-ka's blog explaining the current situation:
Via our one-man at Shinjuku HOLIDAY, we are going to break up.
Although I said it at the MC, I want you to understand that this dissolution is about facing forward to the bitter end.
Me and surely the other members all believed in Valluna. That we held the same goal, that we were gazing and walking towards the same future... we believed in this.
As is, the band is an assembly of strangers. Even if there's only a little gap, it becomes a fatal wound.
The place we were aiming for, the pace we were walking, little by little the gap became a reality.
As is, I think music should be more important than obedience. If it isn't, then I think the music's radiance will likely fade.
Because the members of Valluna and myself love Valluna's music, our music absolutely won't change. We have 100% self-confidence right now.
It is precisely for that reason that we reached our decision.
Because Valluna is not these five people anymore (note: as you will see below, KANADE and SAKURA are both too ill to continue with the band), it's no longer necessary for us to be Valluna.
Valluna is Valluna.
It's just that simple.
November 27th... until that day, I'm going to put my all into Valluna. It's because I want to adorn Valluna with the utmost love I still have for it.
It might be a bit unreasonable for me to ask that you all understand our decision 100%, but I want you to at least understand a little bit.
And I want you to trust and believe in us.
Believe in us and come to see us until the end.
Because I'm going to sing with confidence in myself.
If you can't believe in us, then it just can't be helped.
I think this is harsh.
But that is the extent of our seriousness.
I hope I can transmit that to you.
The blog post I was waiting for was SAKURA's. I didn't want to post about the disbandment until SAKURA, who is sort of like a leader to Valluna, said his piece. Here's SAKURA's post (special thanks to Ashley for sending the original copy to me):
Before desires and thoughts and dreams...
About our break-up.
Bands are a difficult thing and it's not uncommon for five people's visions to come to differ.
However, because this is often the case, the thing that I can't think simply about... the thing that is causing me great anguish, is that I thought the five of us respectively loved Valluna.
As members, our trust and reliance was what tied us together. I thought it was because we as these specific members were doing our best together.
This is something everyone knows well, isn't it?
That along with my worries...
Since birth, I've had a weak body and I've been repeatedly in and out of the hospital.
This year, the condition of my chronic illness has slowly gotten worse. As it remains, being at the battlefield forefront of activities became difficult.
Therefore, I've decided to temporarily separate myself from Valluna's break-up, my comrades, and musical activities.
Depending on whether or not I recover from my illness, I want to be able to return to all of you again.
Until our last one-man, I will be Valluna's SAKURA until the end. As Valluna's SAKURA, I think I want keep running with all my power.
The highest form of the Valluna that I love... until the end, I want to burn that image into everyone's eyes.
This is my wish.
Basically, to sum up what's going on here... Valluna was supposed to have their first live at Shibuya O-West, which is pretty much the first "big deal" for an indies band in Japan. Unfortunately, drummer KANADE was unable to play during the live due to illness. They're still waiting for test results on him, but he's quite sick. The band did the O-West live without him but announced their break-up soon afterward. As you can see above, the breakup appears to be caused by a combination of two ill band members and the fact that the band members are no longer agreeing on the band's direction. I have to admit, this comes as no surprise to me. I even mentioned it in previous posts, the way certain songs made Kirimaru go still and become disinterested... the discrepancy between which songs the band got excited over and which songs the audience got excited over... Something's been off for awhile.
It's unfortunate that illness had to play a factor in this breakup. I've never much cared for KANADE's style and I never thought he fit in with Valluna... but he's a human being and I feel sorry for him. I would never wish illness upon him and I hope it's nothing too severe. As for SAKURA... I always adored SAKURA, so the news of his illness makes me very sad. I've caught three of his picks, endured his mocking face whenever I tried to do furi, and thoroughly enjoyed being on his side of the stage 90% of the time. He never seemed sick to me, but I'd like to think that's because I only saw him when he was on stage, doing what he loves.
The dissolution of Valluna doesn't come easily to me. When Ashley and I were preparing to leave Japan, we had a discussion about how depressing it is to think that, by the time we return to Japan, more than half the bands we became familiar with will no longer exist. For us, Valluna is like the "first casualty." While I suspected they would break up some time in the next year or two, I honestly didn't expect them to be the first to go. All I can think now is, "who will go next?" Valluna was absolutely one of my favorite acts to go see. Ashley and I have so many fond memories of Valluna...
The way Kirimaru blindly walked headfirst into objects on stage...
Yo-ka rolling around on the stage making sex noises...
The S&M-themed free live...
The two-night concerts at Black Hole...
Ashley and I winding up as two of the only three people to catch yo-ka when he crowd-surfed... and I wound up catching him by his butt...
Kirimaru eating part of his costume during the MC and pissing off yo-ka...
Yo-ka scaring the hell out of one the fans and SAKURA attempting to console her afterwards...
Kirimaru sliding a giant mannequin over KANADE's drum set...
Jumping into a giant dog-pile of Japanese girls while yo-ka pulled our hair...
These are all some of my favorite memories, and I have Valluna to thank for them. It's sad to see bands go, but that's life, I suppose. My only concern is for the health of SAKURA and KANADE. I'll be sure to keep the blog updated if we find out anything about them.
To finish off this post, here's yo-ka's latest blog entry about the issue:
I hope I won't be discarded.
I read all your messages. Over and over again all your faces floated up within my mind.
Sad faces, smiling faces, faces provoked by me, all sorts of faces...
All of them, all of them are my property.
This isn't hypocrisy.
And I'm not a good person.
I am me.
Let's keep watch. I won't say you should feel relieved. Let's just keep watch.
Because I'm going prove this by singing.
Is yo-ka perhaps hinting that he is already planning to continue his singing career?
Here's to hoping.
So I'm just going to end by saying... thank you, Valluna, for all the great times you guys gave me. I'm sorry to see the band break up because I had a blast. I saw you guys close to ten times and you never failed to give me an awesome experience. Thank you so much, Valluna, and I wish you all the best on whatever path you take from here on out. Also, KANADE and SAKURA... I hope you feel better soon. Odaiji ni.