For our second edition of SEIYUU DIGEST we have anisong giants – GRANRODEO. Led by the charismatic, multi-talented KISHOW and presented with flawless guitar work provided by guitar genius e-ZUKA, this rock is on a league of its own.
A band with a vast repertoire full of edgy, full throttle hardrock tracks, iconic hits and lots of stunningly beautiful ballads. GRANRODEO have really established themselves as one of the best rock bands in Japan, with KISHOW‘s impressive skills as a vocalist and lyricist alongside the powerful arrangements and guitar playing provided by e-Zuka and this is the core of GRANRODEO, a band that on a live setting is a four piece but in its creative process is made by this powerful duo.
With this small intro we finally take our time to talk a bit about the members. To kick off we have Kisho Taniyama.
|Kisho Taniyama (KISHOW)|
|BORN||August 11, 1975|
|OCCUPATION||seiyuu (voice actor), singer|
Kisho Taniyama is firstly and foremost a seiyuu, having debuted in the voice acting business back in 1995. With almost 20 years of experience in the business Kisho has been more of a quality presence in several anime in the past 5 years.
With big roles in La corda d’oro 〜primo passo〜, Overdrive, Bleach and Uta no Prince-Sama, Attack on Titan and most recently in Bakumatsu Rock, Kisho has more than established himself as one of the most versatile voice actors that Japan has to offer.
Interesting enough, Kisho thinks the role of a vocalist is more suitable for him than the role of a voice actor. And this is Kisho Taniyama, the seiyuu, in a nutshell. But there’s more to Kisho than what meets the eye.
Back in 2005 Kisho decided to take the plunge into the music business and debuted solo under japanese music label Lantis. With two singles released, “Daybreamin’” and “Warrior“, Kisho managed to show how vocally talented he is, but soon after that debut he decided to take things to another level and formed what we today know as GRANRODEO, with composer and guitarist Masaaki Iizuka.
Kisho Taniyama stylized his name to KISHOW and with this we have the two faces behind this amazing talent. Kisho Taniyama, the voice actor and KISHOW, the rockstar and GRANRODEO‘s frontman.
KISHOW is known for his velvety voice, sometimes a bit rougher when needed, but usually an incredibly sweet voice to our ears. His powerful vibrato is one of his weapons alongside his impressive ability regarding falsettos. He’s a singer that pretty much nails almost any genre of music: be it with country rock, hard rock, pop or electronic pop.
He’s also the lyricist for GRANRODEO and has proven, time and time again, that he really is of top tier status with some of his best lyrics being the ones from 背徳の鼓動 . A track where both the lyrics and the emotions beneath it simply give you goosebumps.
Most people thought about it when he debuted but it’s not a fluke that he’s sang incredibly well in his solo debut singles, what KISHOW has in here is true talent and a passion for music that surpasses many people in the music business. Some people have already said that when KISHOW is on stage with GRANRODEO, his eyes are so full of joy, like a child when he’s doing what he really loves – that just shows how much it means for him to be on stage performing GRANRODEO‘s songs for his fans.
He’s GRANRODEO‘s soul.
On the side of the stage we find genius guitarist Masaaki Iizuka.
|Masaaki Iizuka (e-ZUKA)|
|BORN||February 22, 1967|
|OCCUPATION||Guitarist, arranger, composer|
|Genres||J-Pop, Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal|
Having worked with several bands such as: 「雷蔵」「esq」「ウクレレカフェカルテット」や、バンド「F.E.N.」「BASXI」「六三四Musashi」「BLOODY RUBY」, Masaaki Iizuka is a jack of all trades with an impressive array of guitar techniques under his belt and a lot of experience to boot.
Iizuka is a professional musician formed in ミューズ音楽院 (Muse Music Conservatory), he’s often regarded as a top guitarist but besides that he’s also has done a lot of work as composer, arranger, guitarist, occasionally playing drums, bass and piano in some projects.
He’s the heart to GRANRODEO‘s sound with his powerful guitar riffs and mesmerizing solos inspired by some of the world’s top guitarists like Ace Frehley, Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, John Sykes and Yngwie Malmsteen.
Having incorporated a bit of each of these guitarists’ techniques to make his own, Iizuka shows us a captivating, coherent, emotional, sometimes aggressive guitar playing that always keeps us entertained and on our feet.
It’s this that makes GRANRODEO tick, be it for the melodic guitar parts or the amped up solos, Iizuka‘s guitar never fails to immerse us in GRANRODEO‘s music.
In 2005 Iizuka formed GRANRODEO with Kisho Taniyama and at the time both decided to stylize their names: Iizuka‘s stage name with GRANRODEO is e-ZUKA.
With all the introductions made it’s time to take a quick look at GRANRODEO‘s journey so far.
Having debuted in 2005 and already with an impressive repertoire that counts with 6 albums and 21 singles, GRANRODEO have grown incredibly fast.
Since their major debut in 2005, starting off with the debut single Go For it!, the band has, since then, faced a lot of challenges, delivered A+ performances, released powerful singles and has archived the respect and recognition in Japan that they deserve. But not everything are roses and the band has also screwed up a couple of times but got up quickly after it.
For a band that started off with the simple objective of making anime songs, GRANRODEO have certainly made that point clear with more than 15 electrifying tracks featured either as opening or ending themes for several well-known anime such as: Togainu no Chi, Karneval, Kuroko no Basuke, Blassreiter and Code:Breaker.
The band has made 3 top album releases with Supernova, Crack Star Flash and the most recent album Karma to Labyrinth, three powerful albums with some of the best singles GRANRODEO has released so far: Henai no Rondo, DARK SHAME, RIMFIRE, Can do have already turned to some of the most requested tracks by GR‘s fans and were instant hits with anime fans in general.
The genre that defines the band is obviously hardrock but the band has experimented with almost every genre available: rock, heavy metal, pop, alternative rock, punk, funk, folk rock are just some of the genres the band has tried before and that just shows how there’s no boundaries when it comes to making great music.
In the end there’s no limits for GRANRODEO‘s versatility with both their sound or their lyrics and, as some people like to say, “the sky is the limit”. A band that, so far, has offered so much but still has much more to give to us. Without a doubt a pearl in Japan’s rock scene.
And that’s two SEIYUU DIGESTs already done! Please look forward for the next SEIYUU DIGEST.