The first dedicated Visual Kei
created in 1986 by Yoshiki Hayashi
. Unable to get the X Japan
(then called "X") single "Orgasm" released by existing labels, Yoshiki founded his own label for his band, with a gift of money from his mother.
The label would go on to sign other bands, with Yoshiki
working as A&R and talent scouts by signing other bands they liked or enjoyed. Glay
was signed by Yoshiki, and Luna Sea
by hide. Other Visual Kei
bands would soon be added to the roster, many
of the other founding bands of Visual Kei
, as Visual rock came to be known.
One of the first bands signed was Dynamite Tommy
, which would soon break from the label along with its founder to create a rival label, itself very important to the foundation and development of Visual Kei
: Free Will Records
Extasy Records also held a series of multi-band Visual Kei
concerts called the Extasy Summits: these featured bands on the label and bands that had been signed to the label but had moved on to major labels or elsewhere, as a means of promoting the bands and giving them a bigger stage on which to become noticed.
The label was closed to bands other than X Japan
starting around 1993, around which most of the bands signed had disbanded, gone on hiatus, otherwise failed, or found other labels or went indies once more. It would be reopened around 1996-97, with an attempt at internationalizing and signing non Visual rock bands - during this time, it signed Kidney Thieves
and Abandoned Pools
among others, while de facto signing one major Visual Kei
band out of Japan - Dir En Grey
, and one Korean rock band, Trax
(which had a drummer, No Min Woo, who, at the time, looked like a younger version of Yoshiki even enough to spawn -false- rumors about his being Yoshiki's son).
Around 2004, the label folded, with all international projects either failing or signing elsewhere, and Dir En Grey
having moved to Free Will Records
. The label would be reopened in 2007 for a Violet UK
project, and now appears to exist only (now as X Project) for X Japan
and non Warner Media releases, Yoshiki's classical works, and Violet UK
Bands signed to Extasy Records or which performed at one or more of the Extasy Summit shows:
Tropes that apply to Extasy Records as a label in general (specific band tropes go on the bands' pages)
- Aggressive Negotiations: It's arguable that Yoshiki and hide and some of the rougher existing members engaged in this at points, although not to the point of actually killing anyone, in trying to force some artists to sign with them rather than elsewhere or remain independent. One of the more shameful incidents of these was the attempt to force Kiyoharu of Kuroyume to sign with the label.
- Bittersweet Ending: The label's closing to outside acts and being (temporarily) absorbed as a unit of Warner Records in the middle of The Nineties led to this:
- X Japan itself continued on the label alongside being signed to Sony/Columbia Records and Atlantic Records, before breaking up in 1997 and only reuniting many years later in 2008.
- Two of the other bands (Luna Sea and Glay) signed to major labels or went on as indies once more, staying together, and finally achieving massive success within Japan and even a small amount of global success for Luna Sea. D'erlanger became indies once more as well, and continues to tour within Japan even into The New Tens.
- Tokyo Yankees and Grand Slam went on as indies acts within Japan, both maintaining a somewhat lesser degree of success and going on hiatus at points, but both survived as such until 1997 when Grand Slam disbanded and 2007, when the original vocalist of Tokyo Yankees died. Tokyo Yankees would reunite sharing vocal duty among the surviving members and the occasional guest, and Grand Slam occasionally reunites to some degree for one-off events.
- All of the other bands pretty much faded into obscurity outside of Japan and even there, their fandoms specifically. Keep Circulating the Tapes is in full effect for almost any band that was a part of the first round from 86-93, as much of the material related to them is disappearing at a fairly fast rate.
- Japanese Delinquents / Outlaw: The first round of bands signed was pretty much a roster of ex- or current bosozoku and yankii. Most had at least one member who was, X itself had three (hide and Pata were the two that didn't have that background but easily enough fell into it), Tokyo Yankees' name was a shoutout to yankii and all its members were yankii, and its bassist also played with Grand Slam, which itself heavily focused on the bosozoku/hashiriya theme in stage dress and PV and lyrics meant to appeal to the subcultures.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: If you like or support ANY band from the early era (or the early eras of X, Luna Sea, and the like themselves), sharing really IS caring. Due to everything from entirely unrelated news media outlets demanding removal of interviews and the like from YouTube to simple loss of fans via attrition and boredom, MUCH material related to the 86-93 era (the first round of bands, the Extasy Summits, etc...) is quickly disappearing from the internet. In a total aversion of Digital Piracy Is Evil, pirating here is literally preserving history, especially when it involves materials that will likely never be released for money (interviews, TV lives, and the like)
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Shiro is the only band signed from the beginning of the label that is a female mainstream pop act (amidst a roster of generally all-male Hard Rock and Heavy Metal and almost always Visual Kei bands - the only other female-led act was the hard rock band Kidney Thieves) - and the only act that's stayed on the label for all of its existence.
- Start My Own: The reason Yoshiki began the label - no label would sign X or publish the single Orgasm.
- Visual Kei: Almost every band except for Shiro, Abandoned Pools, and Kidney Thieves, to the degree of being Enforced Trope to some extent during the first round of bands.