Boris is a Japanese musician who has gained widespread popularity as a singer-songwriter, record producer, and visual artist. Born Chiyohiko Tanaka in Saitama Prefecture, Japan on November 23, 1968, Boris grew up immersed in the music of jazz, fusion, and progressive rock. Self-taught as a musician, he began playing guitar and bass guitar in high school and soon formed a cover band that performed songs from British heavy metal bands. After graduating and leaving formal music studies, Boris played in various bands, most notably the rock group Boredoms.
Early on in his career, Boris challenged the traditional Japanese music industry. Much of his early work was released independently or through small labels. With productions ranging from punk- and hardcore-inspired material to instrumental/ambient-based works, he developed a fan base and interest in his unique blend of styles within music.
Boris' first official solo album came in 1993, "Vacuum Spirits". The approach, focusing primarily on his bass guitar playing presented a music culture-oriented path breaking at that time in Japan. His performance style was further developed with his second album, â€œSoft Worksâ€. It established him as a versatile artist, with a wide range of styles and instruments. His much-acclaimed third album, â€œSketchbookâ€ took him to a completely new level, as he fused hard rock guitars and drums with electronic influences from the rest of the world.
By the early 2000's Boris experienced a major wave of commercial success in Japan. His albums have routinely gone gold in Japan, charting in magazines like Oricon and receiving critical acclaim from important musical magazines like WFmu. His songs have been featured in various television commercials and soundtracks. Also grabbing visual media attention was his collaboration with American actresses Scarlett Johansson and Fanni Soprano at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
It wasn't until 2008 that Boris properly took an international approach to releasing his music. Indeed Records released his canon, â€œTouboâ€, the 10th anniversary piece of his last album as an album length LP, and this helped introduce Boris to wider international audiences. He released two albums with U.S. based label, Southern Record Ltd, before working with Interscope in 2010, which re-released â€œSketchbookâ€ as an 8-piece double album.
His music continues to evolve with succeeding releases such as â€œEnochian Theoryâ€ and â€œRepairsâ€, which showcased another evolution in his sonic landscape. This includes more folk and a country driven approach to his albums.In 2017, his 16th solo album, â€œLonely Hang-Upsâ€ saw him recycle old songs and place them in a new context, showcasing his most beloved musical elements from the past 20 years.
Now into his 50s and still going strong, Boris remains famously active on the visual art-music scene in Japan and internationally. He utilizes the mediums of art, dance, film, and music to stay at the forefront of Japanese cultural influence. He still creates his own unique solo work and participates in collaborations with the likes of Japanese experimental quartet world's end girlfriend, Math Rock and Post-Metal music schoolmates Mono, the avant-rock quartet Sumire, and Electronic artist Caramelo.
Through Boris' continued efforts, the presence of his music and artistic vision continues to resound far outside of Japanese music culture. His music stands the test of time, his worldwide fans continue to champion his catalog in awe, and his influence in art, music, and culture is well honored.