Extasy Records

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Extasy Records
Extasy Records logo.svg
Founded1986 (1986)
Founder Yoshiki Hayashi
Distributor(s) Media Factory (music division)/QQS Distribution
Warner Music Group (2000-)
Independent (2007-)
Genre Rock, heavy metal, punk, pop
Country of originJapan
LocationTokyo, Los Angeles
Official website www.extasyrecords.co.jp

Extasy Records is a Japanese record label founded in April 1986 by Yoshiki Hayashi, co-founder of the heavy metal band X Japan. The label's first release was X's 1986 single "Orgasm". [1]

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Yoshiki (musician) Japanese musician

Yoshiki Hayashi, known by the mononym Yoshiki, is a Japanese musician, songwriter, composer and record producer. He is best known as co-founder of the visual kei rock band X Japan, for which he is the drummer, pianist and main songwriter. Yoshiki's solo career includes two classical studio albums—Eternal Melody (1993), produced by George Martin, and Eternal Melody II (2005)—and the classical compilation Yoshiki Classical (2013). He has also collaborated and played with artists such as Tetsuya Komuro, Roger Taylor, and Sarah Brightman.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.


Over the next few years, the label signed several then-little-known bands, among them future million-selling Glay and Luna Sea. Extasy along with Free-Will are credited with helping to spread the visual kei movement. [2] The label also hosted a series of events to promote the groups, called Extasy Summits, which would also feature formerly signed bands that had already moved on to a major label. [1]

Glay rock band from Japan

GLAY is a Japanese rock band, formed in Hakodate in 1988. Glay primarily composes songs in the rock and pop genres, but they have also arranged songs using elements from a wide variety of genres, including progressive rock, punk, electronic, R&B, folk, reggae, and ska. Originally a visual kei band, the group slowly shifted to less dramatic attire through the years. As of 2008, Glay had sold an estimated 51 million records; 28 million singles and 23 million albums, making them one of the top ten best-selling artists of all time in Japan.

Luna Sea Japanese rock band

Luna Sea is a Japanese rock band formed in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1989. Due to the use of make-up and costumes early in their career and their widespread popularity, they are considered one of the most successful and influential bands in the visual kei movement. Throughout the mid-1990s they used significantly less make-up, and after a one-year break in 1998, came back with a more mainstream alternative rock style and toned down their on-stage attire. When they disbanded in 2000, they left a big mark on the Japanese rock scene. In 2003, HMV Japan ranked Luna Sea at number 90 on their list of the 100 most important Japanese pop acts.

Free-Will (フリーウィル) is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986 by Color vocalist Hiroshi "Dynamite Tommy" Tomioka, with branches predominantly in Japan and the United States, as well as previously in Europe. It also continues to co-manage many of its artists after they have signed recording contracts with a major record label. Free-Will along with Extasy Records are credited with helping to spread the visual kei movement. Free-Will also produced the 2001 anime adaptation of the long running manga series Grappler Baki.


Yoshiki Hayashi founded Extasy Records in Japan in 1986, using money he received from his mother when she sold her business. [3] His band X Japan (then still named X) released their second single, "Orgasm", as the label's first release. In 1988, their debut album Vanishing Vision came out and was a huge success for an independent band. [3] Over the next couple of years Extasy signed many bands that would go on to have varying degrees of success and produced their early records, including Glay, Zi:Kill, Tokyo Yankees and Ladies Room.

Orgasm (song) single by X Japan

"Orgasm" is the second single by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then named X, released on April 10, 1986.

<i>Vanishing Vision</i> 1988 studio album by X

Vanishing Vision is the debut studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then known as simply X. It was released on April 14, 1988 by Extasy Records, topped the Oricon indies chart and reached number 19 on the main chart.

Zi:Kill was a Japanese visual kei rock band active from 1987 to 1994. The core members were vocalist Tusk, bassist Seiichi and guitarist Ken. Zi:Kill achieved moderate success, with their three major label studio albums reaching the top ten on the Oricon chart. They were featured in a chapter of Karl Taro Greenfeld's novel Speed Tribes that documents the writer's time spent with the band and the events that nearly caused their break up.

In February 1991, Yoshiki's X Japan band mate hide saw a band called Lunacy perform, and introduced him to them. [4] Yoshiki signed them to Extasy, they changed their name to Luna Sea and took part in the label's Nuclear Fusion Tour in March with Gilles de Rais and Sighs of Love Potion. [4] On the tour, a 3-track sample CD including a song from each band was released. [5] The following year Luna Sea's debut album was released and they held a successful 45-date tour, enabling them to sign with major label MCA Victor in May 1992. [4]

Hide (musician) Japanese musician

Hideto Matsumoto, better known by his stage name hide, was a Japanese musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He is primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan. He was also a successful solo artist and co-founder of the United States-based band Zilch.

To promote their bands, the label organized concerts called Extasy Summits, which besides current contracted bands, also included former acts who had left for major record labels. [3] The first was held at Osaka Bourbon House in September 1988, with several more held, including one at Shibuya Public Hall in September 1989. [3] Footage from two of the concerts was recorded and released on VHS (the second also on Laserdisc); Unrivaled is Extasy!!(無敵と書いてEXTASYと読む!!) recorded at the Nippon Budokan in October 1991 and Extasy Summit 1992 ~ Minna ga Mumei-Datta, Dakedo... Muteki-Datta(EXTASY SUMMIT1992~みんな無名だった、だけど…無敵だった) recorded at Osaka-jō Hall in October 1992. The October 1992 Summit was actually X Japan's first public performance with their new bassist Heath. [6]

Shibuya Public Hall music venue

Shibuya Public Hall was a theatre located in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. It was completed in 1964. In the 1964 Summer Olympics, the weightlifting events took place at Shibuya Public Hall.

Nippon Budokan Sporting arena in Tokyo

Nippon Budokan, often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. Budokan was originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, hence its name, which translates in English as Martial Arts Hall. Its primary purpose is to host martial arts contests and for a time was a popular venue for Japanese professional wrestling. It has hosted numerous other sporting events such as the 1967 Women's Volleyball World Championship and other events such as musical concerts.

Osaka-jō Hall Multi-purpose hall

Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena located in the Kyōbashi area of Osaka, Japan. The hall opened in 1983 and can seat up to 16,000 people. Built on a site area of 36,351 square meters, part of its form uses stone walls, modeled after those of the Castle and it won the Osaka Urban Scenery Architects Prize Special Award in 1984.

The compilation album Lighting & Thunder was released in October 1998. On June 21, 2000, the compilation album History of Extasy 15th Anniversary was released. [7] It includes 19 songs released by 14 different bands while on the label in celebration of its 15th anniversary. The album reached number 14 on the Oricon music chart. [7]

Oricon Inc., established in 1999, is the holding company at the head of a Japanese corporate group that supplies statistics and information on music and the music industry in Japan. It started as Original Confidence Inc., which was founded by Sōkō Koike in November 1967 and became known for its music charts. Oricon Inc. was originally set up as a subsidiary of Original Confidence and took over the latter’s Oricon record charts in April 2002.

In 2000, Yoshiki signed a deal with Warner Music Group to distribute the record labels Extasy Japan and Extasy Records International. Records on Extasy Japan were distributed in Japan by Warner Music Japan and records on Extasy Records International were distributed in America by Warner Bros. Records, marking the first time the two companies worked together in this way. The first release on Extasy Japan was the July 2000 single "Pearl" by singer Shiro, while the first release on Extasy Records International was by singer Aja in 2001. [8]

In September 2007, Yoshiki announced that the soundtrack for the American movie Catacombs would be released on Extasy Records International. The soundtrack includes songs by Violet UK and Zilch. [9]

Yoshiki has referred to the first day, October 14, 2016, of the three-day Visual Japan Summit at Makuhari Messe as "Extasy Summit" as it saw X Japan, Luna Sea and Glay perform. [10]


All artists were at one point on the label.

Extasy Records

Extasy Japan

The sub-label logo used for Extasy Japan and Extasy International. Extasy logo.svg
The sub-label logo used for Extasy Japan and Extasy International.

Extasy International

Extasy Recording Studios

Extasy Recording Studios was a recording studio complex owned by Yoshiki Hayashi at 5253 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood, California, United States. Formerly known as One on One Recording Studios, Yoshiki bought it, from the previous owner Jim David, in 1992 and renamed the studio, after his record label, in 1999. Discussing the purchase in 2010, Yoshiki explained that in Los Angeles people told him that One on One had the "best drum-sounding room" and so he attempted to book recording time there. However, Metallica had it booked for "almost a year straight" for their self-titled album with numerous bands scheduled after that, and he was told sarcastically that the only way to get in was to buy it, so he did. [11]

Previously, well-known albums were recorded there, including ...And Justice for All and Metallica (better known as The Black Album) by Metallica, [12] When the Pawn... by Fiona Apple, [13] Crazy Nights and Psycho Circus by Kiss, [14] and Dirt by Alice in Chains.

Since Yoshiki purchased the facility in 1992, X Japan and Yoshiki's related projects were the main recordings. Extasy Recording Studios was taken over by 17 Hertz, LLC in 2012 and is now known as 17 Hertz Studio. [15]

Yoshiki also bought Brooklyn Recording Studios, which housed the Los Angeles offices of Maverick Records, in April 1998 from owners Madonna and Freddy DeMann. He renamed it One on One South, [16] before using it as the headquarters of Extasy Records International. [17]

Related Research Articles

X Japan Japanese heavy metal band

X Japan is a Japanese rock band from Chiba, formed in 1982 by drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi. Starting as a predominantly power/speed metal band with heavy symphonic elements, they later gravitated towards a progressive sound with an emphasis on ballads. Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of visual kei, a movement among Japanese musicians comparable to Western glam.

Visual kei is a movement among Japanese musicians, that is characterized by the use of varying levels of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics, similar to Western glam rock.

Heath (musician) Japanese musician

Hiroshi Morie, known exclusively by his stage name Heath, is a Japanese musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the bass guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan. He joined the group in 1992, replacing Taiji Sawada on bass, and stayed with them until their dissolution in 1997 and reunited with the band from 2007 onward.

<i>Art of Life</i> 1993 studio album by X Japan

Art of Life is the fourth studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, released on August 25, 1993 by Atlantic Records. The album consists solely of the 29-minute-long orchestrated title track, which was written and composed by Yoshiki entirely in English and recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It topped the Oricon chart and has sold over 600,000 copies. The album is the band's first after changing their name from simply "X" and the first to feature bassist Heath.

<i>Blue Blood</i> (X Japan album) 1989 studio album by X

Blue Blood is the second studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then known as simply X. It was released on April 21, 1989 by CBS/Sony as the band's major label debut. Blue Blood sold more than 700,000 copies, reached number 6 on the Oricon chart and stayed on the chart for more than 100 weeks. The album's singles would also reach the top five on the chart. In 2007, Rolling Stone Japan ranked Blue Blood number 15 on their list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time".

<i>Jealousy</i> (X Japan album) 1991 studio album by X

Jealousy is the third studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then known as simply X. The album was released on July 1, 1991 by Sony, as the band's second major label release. Jealousy is the band's best-selling album, having sold more than one million copies, it topped the Oricon chart and stayed on the chart for 50 weeks. The album's singles would also reach the top three on the chart. It is their last album under the name "X", before changing to "X Japan", and the last to feature Taiji on bass, who would be replaced by Heath.

X Japan discography

The discography of the Japanese heavy metal band X Japan consists of 5 studio albums, 6 live albums, 1 remix album, 11 compilations, 1 soundtrack album, 23 singles, and around 22 live video recordings.

<i>Pure Soul</i> (album) 1998 studio album by Glay

Pure Soul is the fifth released album from the Japanese rock band Glay. The album was a slight departure from the rock and power ballad sound the band sported with their previous albums. Pure Soul brought forth a faster rock sound. The album contains such hits as "Yuuwaku", "Soul Love", the concert classic "I'm in Love", and the title track "Pure Soul". The album peaked at #1 on Oricon charts and sold about 2,430,000. It was certified "Triple million" by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ).

<i>Image</i> (album) 1992 studio album by Luna Sea

Image is the second album by Japanese rock band Luna Sea, released on May 21, 1992. It is their major label debut on MCA Victor and reached number nine on the Oricon chart.

<i>Luna Sea</i> (Luna Sea album) album

Luna Sea is the self-titled debut album by Japanese rock band Luna Sea, released on April 21, 1991 by Extasy Records. It sold over 30,000 copies by July 1992. The album was remastered and re-released by Universal Music Group on December 19, 2007. In 2011, after reuniting the previous year, Luna Sea re-recorded the whole album and released it on March 16, 2011 by their label at the time, HPQ.

Tokyo Yankees is a Japanese metal band that formed in 1988 Tokyo. Vocalist Soichiro "Ume" Umemura died in 2007 after nearly twenty years fronting the band. Tokyo Yankees however continue to perform with the other members sharing vocals.

<i>Hai to Diamond</i> 1994 studio album by Glay

Hai to Diamond is the debut album by Japanese rock band Glay. It was released on May 25, 1994 on the independent label Extasy Records and peaked at #26 on the Oricon chart, with more than 100,000 copies sold.

Luna Sea discography

The discography of the Japanese rock band Luna Sea, consists of 9 studio albums, 3 live albums, 11 compilations, 9 instrumental remix albums, 19 singles, and 27 home videos.

17 Hertz Studio

17 Hertz Studio is a 10,000 sq ft production and recording facility in Los Angeles, California. It is located at 5253 Lankershim BLVD, North Hollywood, CA, in the center of the NoHo Arts District.


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