It has been 10 years since the breakup of his band, SINSEMILLA, which were popular mainly in his hometown of Nagoya. Josuke Sato restarted his music activities under the name JOSUKE.
During which time, he started up the company Artory Inc. and has been successfully continuing his career as company president. So why did go back to creating music?
You can't help but feel a sense of necessity, when asking him about his path up until now.
At 14, he was met with a crisis
He studied at an international school from the age of 2 as his parents wanted him to learn English. His first chance to get in touch with music was on the school bus on his way to school.
"Everyone was listening to music on the bus. As there were a lot of foreign students, I got to listen to a lot of western music like Marylin Manson, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Eminem, Nelly, and Britney Spears."
"There were some children who liked B'z, and SHAZNA was popular when I was at elementary school. Some of my classmates dressed up as IZAM. I remember going to karaoke with them and listening to SHAZNA and DIR EN GREY. At the time I preferred DA PUMP, though."
At international school, JOSUKE had the chance to learn about various different values, but at 14, he suddenly had to transfer schools. This was the catalyst for him starting music.
"Due to my family situation, I couldn't go to the school anymore. At international school, the fiscal year begins in September, so I was just at home for half a year and transferred to the local public school from the second semester of my third year at middle school. The people I encountered there would later be my fellow band members. I was influenced by them and got into X JAPAN and visual style music."
The band split up with "frustration and tears" despite going well
JOSUKE went to a different high school than his band members, but formed a unit with Tetsuro Gamo, who played the acoustic guitar, and began writing songs and lyrics right away.
Gradually, his music friends started gathering at his house and they went on to form a visual style band, charLtier.
"Writing songs and lyrics myself, singing them and having people listen was stimulating. After graduating high school, Gamo studied abroad so chaLtier split up, but we made a new band based around the members that were still there. The band we made in 2005 was SINSEMILLA.
"We had a member that didn't like visual music, so we didn't make SINSEMILLA into a visual band. I think the band is probably rock, but I like songs that have real rhythm to them, so we have a lot of melodious songs like "Yume no Naka de" that I released recently."
The words "fascination with the world" and "combination of romance and hard rock" were added afterwards, but with their sweet masks and expressive performances, SINSEMILLA gradually gained popularity.
JOSUKE initially played the guitar and sang, but after a year, Gamo came back from his study abroad and took on half of the twin guitar role, leaving JOSUKE to focus on the vocals. This allowed them to refine their performances even further.
Following this, they broadened their network by performing with SPYAIR, another band who began locally and have since become a major artist. They did this at independently organized events, with over 150 people coming to see them even when they performed alone.
They were closing in on their goal of a major debut, but dark clouds formed over their seemingly clear sky.
"Right after that solo concert, our other guitar player found a job and left the band. We had just gained more fans, but we stopped progressing for a while at that point. We found a new member almost right away, but it was still frustrating losing one of our original members. It left us with frustration and tears.
His feelings of "let's go for it with this band!" changed into a "let's go for it at this company!"
As a result, they disbanded in 2008.
They formed a new band after that, but found it hard to find the motivation to recreate something from scratch that they had already made once. It didn't go as they had hoped.
JOSUKE then met Masaki Furuichi again, the bassist from SINSEMILLA and his classmate in middle school.
"We felt like we wanted to do something together again. Furuichi was good at drawing, and while I was encouraging him to add artwork to the songs we wrote, make them into a video and upload them on YouTube, it hit me and I thought "IT is super interesting""
In truth, JOSUKE had created a games website as a hobby in his student days and became very knowledgeable about programming. At the time, he worked part-time at a website production company, but went independent with his friend, Furuichi, who could also design.
In 2011, they established started up the company Art Factory Inc. (now Artory Inc.), and the company has grown well with JOSUKE as president.
They have taken in several of the friends from their band days, and that attitude of "let's go for it with this band!" has changed to a "let's go for it at this company!".
Bands and companies aren't entirely different
In 2016, JOSUKE resumed music activities as a producer and singer-songwriter for his project, 50HEARTS.
Since summer 2018, he began a project to republish music from SINSEMILLA in a current arrangement. In December of the same year, he released SINSEMILLA's signature song, "Yume no Naka de" under his solo project name, JOSUKE.
"At the time we didn't have any audio that we had properly recorded, so I wondered what it would be like if I done it now. And I thought that by releasing the songs we made as SINSEMILLA again as JOSUKE, would also serve as evidence of the link from SINSEMILLA to Artory."
"In my recent activities, I was sure I wanted to make "Yume no Naka de" my first song as it has a lot of emotion in it. I'm simply glad I can start off with this song, and it really feels as though things have begun."
Bands and companies aren't entirely different.
This new "Yume no Naka de" has been almost been a necessary work.
This song, which has been re-released to the world from a slightly strange trajectory, should be listened to along with JOSUKE's story up until now.
To be continued in part 2.
(Written interview: Hiroshi Tanaka / Editing: Taiyo Tajima "BLOCKBUSTER")