By far one of the biggest names in the pop-punk / rock scene at the moment in Japan are OLDCODEX. The rock band created by seiyuu Tatsuhisa Suzuki and painter YORKE. has gained the attention of a lot of people not only in Japan but overseas.
2009 – Debut
Debutting in 2009 under GloryHeaven records, OLDCODEX consisting of Ta_2 (Tatsuhisa Suzuki) on vocals, R.O.N on guitar and synths and the unofficial member YORKE., painter and lyricist, tried to shake the rock panorama in Japan. After Black Velvet (with frontman and seiyuu legend Toshiyuki Morikawa) and GRANRODEO (seiyuu and frontman KISHOW)’s respective debuts seiyuu fans were sceptic wether this was going to work out or not.
With their homonim mini-album “OLDCODEX“, the band showcased their fast paced and rough pop punk sound but it wasn’t enough to grab attention even with the power tracks “cresc” and “mono frontier“. Being in a small label OLDCODEX lacked exposure to the masses and that reflected in their perfomance on the Oricon charts only reaching #51.
2010 – Lineup changes and first full album
2010 was a complicated year for OLDCODEX. The band suffered drastic lineup changes with the exits of guitarist YoHsKE and drummer sae in February, all of this while the band was getting ready for their comeback in March with “Blue“.
Their first single “Blue” showed us a more alternative rock that what was on the bands’ debut mini-album. Resorting to synths and voice manipulations, the single managed to get higher on the Oricon charts reaching #29. The same couldn’t be said of one of the most exciting singles OLDCODEX released so far. With influences of Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Nofx, “Flag on the hill” did poorly on the Oricon charts reaching #55.
In December the band released their first full album “hidemind“. With a heavier and darker sound heavily inspired by Nine Inch Nails, a mix of heavy riffs and powerful drumming alongside dirty synths were the greeting card. This is an album that features some of the band’s major hits “4“, “hidemind“, “kick out” and “flag on the hill“. The album did fairly reaching #44 and remaining there for three weeks.
The song “crossfate” from their album “hidemind” was featured as one of the opening songs from action anime “Togainu no Chi“. By the end of the year OLDCODEX had successfully sold out all shows of their “hidemind” tour.
2011 – Harsh wind and Flower
2011 was an interesting year for OLDCODEX. Back with a new maxi single the band released “Harsh Wind“, a fast paced punk rock song that was starting to sound like an anime opening. With polished vocals and instrumentals, the band was starting to show some consistency and identity in their sound. Still this single wasn’t enough to break the jinx and it ranked once again at #55 on Oricon.
In November the band made their comeback with their second mini-album “Flower“, going towards a more commercial pop/punk rock sound with the track “スクリプト“. It ranked at #48 on Oricon, remaining there for three weeks.
2012 – New label, R.O.N’s departure, achieving national success
In 2012, OLDCODEX switched labels and joined Lantis. Their first release under Lantis was “Cold Hands“, a single that broke away from OCD‘s trademark punk rock.
With synths taking now a major role in the bands’ sound, the band was marketed as an industrial rock / pop-punk act, attracting more people than ever before. The title track was featured as the opening theme for TV asahi’s “Break Out”.
It was a single full of firsts: “Cold Hands” is OLDCODEX‘s first ever full english song, it was also the first time the band released a fully instrumental track (not as an intro or ending piece but as a normal track), with a more dirty industrial sound “the perfect view” is a perfect intermission, connecting with the headbanger “raise your fist“.
The single underperformed on Oricon only reaching #56 but that was about to change for good with what followed.
In August OLDCODEX were invited to perform a song as the 2nd ending theme for basketball anime “Kuroko no basuke“, anime in which Tatsuhisa Suzuki was casted as Kuzunari Takao. The single we’re talking about is none other than “Catal Rhythm“, OLDCODEX‘s 5th single and first major hit on the charts part due to the anime’s massive popularity. Reaching #20 for the first time and remaining on the charts for 10 weeks, the band was finally achieving massive success nationally.
November arrived as so did the news of lead guitarist and composer R.O.N leaving the band. Once again OLDCODEX were working on their comeback with their second full album “Contrast Silver“.
Without R.O.N and with only two official members from the original lineup, Ta_2 and YORKE. decided to stay as it is outsourcing musicians for their recording sessions and live shows. The two would be in charge of writting the lyrics and music for the majority of OLDCODEX‘s songs starting from here. “Contrast Silver” was released in December with lot of work layed out by R.O.N. The album reached #28 on Oricon, staying there for five weeks straight.
The album lent two songs to tv shows: “reject” was featured as an image song for horror / psychological anime “Mirai Nikki” and “Heaven” was featured once again on “Break Out” and simultaneously as the ending theme for anime “Love Chu! Chu!” and Tv saitama’s show “AG Gakuen ani ☆ bun”.
2013 – The successful triad
The following year brought yet more success to the rising band. “The Misfit Go” was released in May and all tracks were featured in other projects. The songs “The misfit Go” and “美しい背骨” were featured as both ending themes in 2013’s fantasy anime “Arata Kangatari” in which Tatsuhisa was casted as one of the main characters.
“The misfit Go” performed well on Oricon reaching #31 and keeping that place for three weeks straight.
It wasn’t even two months later and the back was back in full force with yet another single up on their sleeves. “Rage On” was featured as the opening theme for swimming anime “Free“, anime that featured Tatsuhisa as part of the leading cast as the iconic Makoto. The single remained on the charts for 17 weeks straight setting a new record for OLDCODEX.
The song was an instant hit among the viewers and the single reached a place that had been impossible to reach. #6 on Oricon was OLDCODEX‘s first top 10 release, a release that catapulted the band to new heights.
To complete the triad, “WALK” was released in November. The band’s 8th single was featured as the ending theme for basketball anime “Kuroko no Basuke” 2nd season and TV show “Break Out“. It’s was an extremely consistent single but that lacked the power some of their previous releases had and that was felt when Oricon announced the single’s position on the chart. “WALK” dropped from the fantastic #6 that “Rage On” had achieved, and was now resting on a comfortable #18.
2014 – Back to their origins
2014 was an introspective year for OLDCODEX. The band put their focus in quality instead of quantity and released two incredibly solid pieces. First the band released their 3rd full album “A silent, within The Roar“, so far their best ever performance on the Oricon charts. With “A Silent, within The Roar” ranking at #5, the songs “Frame in Flame” and “Seek your turn” were chosen to be featured in several shows. The first one was featured as the opening theme for major hit anime “Bakuman 3” replacing UVERworld‘s “REVERSI” as the last episode’s ending theme. “Seek your turn” was featured as the ending theme for TV Asahi’s “musicるTV” show.
“A Silent, within The Roar” featured an old school industrial rock ballad with influences from Nine Inch Nails, HIM and Marilyn Manson, “How Affection” showed us OLDCODEX‘s emotional side. For the first time Ta_2 was able to showcase his melodic voice and talents besides his rough, sometimes guttural performances. Instrumentally it proved to be one of OCD‘s best songs – the guitars were melodic and full of emotion, the drums were slow paced and solemn, everything set in place to make the listener burst into tears.
Following this impressive album, OLDCODEX released “Dried Up Youthful Fame“, single featured as the opening theme for swimming anime “Free – eternal summer –“. The single reached #7 on Oricon and remained on the chart for 8 weeks. Oricon states that this is OCD‘s most successful release to date with a total of 21,607 units sold.
With this single OLDCODEX showcased their strong industrial rock roots and went back to their origins to bring back some of their speedy punk-rock for b-side track “Steal Mine“.
2015 – Budokan, OZZFEST and overseas performances
Ta_2 and YORKE. were back for a year filled with OLDCODEX music. Releasing 3 singles and a mini-album, the band showed that they could be prolific and consistent at the same time. The first release of the year was “pledge“, mini-album that reached #5 on Oricon and stayed on the chart for 5 weeks straight.
Industrial rock was once again at its core but it was noticeable that OCD were trying to stray a bit away from their comfort zone adding new elements and bringing once again a ballad to the table – we’re talking about “seequret” – the song responsible to showcase Ta_2‘s vocal abilities in a different light from what we’re used to.
The tracks “eyes in chase” and “physical” were featured in several tv shows. “physical” was featured as the opening track from children’s anime “Q Transformers: Kaette Kita Convoy no Nazo“, “eyes in chase” was featured as the ending theme for TV Asahi’s tv show “Onegai! ranking“.
The second release of the year was “Lantana“, song dedicated to R.O.N, OLDCODEX‘s former guitarist. The song was featured as the third ending theme for basketball anime “Kuroko no basuke“. The single reached #10 on Oricon, staying there for 5 weeks. Putting more emotion into their sound and toning down the speedy drums and rough guitar riffs, the band started to embrace more acoustic elements, enriching their sound.
Almost like a tradition, OLDCODEX were once again back with a new single set to be featured as an anime opening theme.
“Feed A” followed “Lantana” and was featured as the opening theme for action anime “GOD EATER“. The single reached #13 on Oricon, staying in the chart for 6 weeks.
The band’s heavy punk rock sound was back in full force but easily OLDCODEX lost their way with a not so consistent release, mainly due to the fact that “Stained me” was completely messy.
To make things right the band’s 12th single was released. With a new image and improved sound “Aching Horns” was an interesting single to end 2015 with.
“Aching Horns” was featured as the opening theme for swimming anime “High Speed Free – starting days“, in which Tatsuhisa plays young Makoto. The song was featured for eight weeks straight at #10.
With a more melodic approach, the title track makes good use of the synths and piano to add depth to the instrumental. This is a “back to basics” single where OLDCODEX‘s trademark heavy punk rock sound with mesmerizing atmospherically synths, blends with synths and pianos to deliver a matured, improved sound that impresses right from the bat. “Get up to go” winks to “hidemind” showing what would happen if the track wasn’t that quiet.
OLDCODEX held their first Budokan show on February 11, 2015 on their “Capture” tour. The band was also invited to participate on OZZFEST, rock and metal festival held every year in Japan and they played their first overseas shows on 〜Anisong World Tour〜 Lantis Festival 2015 in Singapore, Korea (Seoul) and Taipei.
OLDCODEX has reached a successful status in Japan and is starting to charm overseas. Tatsuhisa Suzuki defied everyone with this project, establishing OLDCODEX as a reference in pop/punk rock and achieving massive success in Japan. This is a band that rarely disappoints and is keeping strong as they reach their 7th year since debut. With a matured pop-punk / industrial sound, OLDCODEX still have a lot to do and impress in their following releases.
And that’s it for this month’s digest. There’s more next month so be on the lookout for it!