平澤君と櫻澤君 vol.6 at Rooster NorthSide
Pictured above is Sakurazawa Yasunori, the spirited drummer who helped bring Japanese rock supergroup L’Arc~en~Ciel to fame, in the early 1990s. His punchy style and expertly crafted beats served as the driving force behind the band’s early iconic sound. Since leaving L’Arc, he has gone on to do various projects with great success, both as an accomplished drummer and guitarist.
It had been a long-time goal of mine to meet and photograph this music Legend. My familiarity with his music and playing style granted me the foresight to know when and where to be, to get the best photos of this performance. The excitement of the event was not lost on me though; I kept my admiration for him carefully tucked away in my camera bag—after all, he was now a moving target to be captured with the Leica.
This performance was held in Ogikubo Tokyo, at the Rooster NorthSide venue. Not wanting to be late, I arrived early and was able to watch a soundcheck. Drummer Atsuto (篤人) of the bands eStrial and Angels, guitarist Yumeji (夢時) of eStrial, Angels, and HOLLOWGRAM, bassist Shingo Tanami (田浪真悟) of Z’s, and keyboardist Kazzmi Arai (荒井司海) of Angels, assembled to prepare for what would be an unforgettable show.
Here, Yumeji (夢時) soulfully plays King Crimson's "Frame by Frame," an incredibly difficult song to play, for even the most accomplished musician. Also pictured is Atsuto (篤人) on drums, while Sakura held down rhythm guitar and vocals.
On a humorous note, the bass drum reads "Canopus." Do not be fooled by the name, this is actually a Pearl kit. Sakura is a Pearl artist, so I mention this to "set the record straight" and appease the drum gods, in hopes of sparing Sakura the lightning. His sticks are a custom model that I have found to be very good for playing various styles. The tip and taper of the sticks allow for very light but powerful playing, unlike some sticks I used that feel like they're designed to either go through the drum head or through a cymbal.
Being able to see Sakura perform was a unique and exciting experience, I will always remember. Had I not been given the opportunity to photograph him, I would have sat with the massive female following, dolled up to see the band perform. This is the dream of most [hetero] male musicians and from what I could see, he is definitely living it!