All posts filed under: Projects

HIZUMI at Naka Kon Convention 2015

In 2015, Ali has expanded into artist representation, securing an invitation for HIZUMI, ex-D’espairsRay, to the Naka Kon Convention. The convention is held in Kansas City, KS and marks the first time that HIZUMI appears in the U.S. since D’espairsRay’s last tour in 2010. The convention takes place March 13-15, 2015. This entry will be updated after the convention. ========================================= From The Japanese fashion and music industries will have some representation with the appearance of designer HIZUMI (ex-D’espairsRay), Jin (vocalist, Youtaite singer), and Ali Watson ( at this year’s Naka-Kon Convention in Overland Park, Kansas this March 13-15. With over 12 years of working as the vocalist, lyricist, art director, and designer for D’espairsRay, HIZUMI has visited various parts of the world, including the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, Jrock Revolution in Los Angeles, California, the Taste of Chaos tour in America and Canada, and the Human-Clad Monsters tour in Japan, North America, and Europe. Now a designer with his own company, UMBRELLA, HIZUMI works with numerous bands on design and development of …

Dir en grey in Rock Band

2012. Some time following the Jrock in Rock Band poll on in 2010, Harmonix asked if we could link them to any of the top ten bands as part of a special invitation to be included in the fairly new Rock Band Network. As the site was not set up as a broker for bands to opportunities, it was not possible. Working outside of, however, I approached a select number of established contacts to gauge interest in this epic opportunity. With many ups and downs, bands and artists interested yet unable to follow through due to a number of situations, time was running out. The limited invitation had a finite window and with some good luck, Dir en grey agreed to be in the video game. Dir en grey submitted Dozing Green (English) and Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami (Japanese) for conversion into the game. Once the process started, Harmonix underwent numerous changes and I was instrumental in maintaining open communication throughout those changes as well as following the tracks in …

Yoshiki Foundation

March 2011. A small, but significant opportunity for me. I was asked for a design following the Tohoku earthquake and submitted the design “LOVE FOR JAPAN” with the country behind it. It was on the Yoshiki Foundation ( website for some time. A t-shirt of the design was autographed by Johnny Depp and up for auction in one of the foundation’s first auctions. It was an honor to have made a small contribution to a great cause.

Bento Beat Box: Episode 6’s cable television program “Bento Beat Box” aired On Demand on Anime Network. It was available for many major cable companies across the country as well as through their website On Demand. While I’ve had the pleasure to work with the creators for press release and sharing the videos after broadcast through the Youtube channel and posting through social media, I did not have the opportunity to write for the series up to that point. In Episode 6, I had the chance to write the script for the Cure Media USA portion and was appreciative that it was adhered to almost in entirety. Please enjoy this episode of Bento Beat Box. Anime Network

X JAPAN – X Perience package at Lollapalooza

July 2010. One of the coolest experiences I’ve had being with is designing the bulk of the official X JAPAN X Perience fan package for their August 2010 debut performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL. There are 5 elements of the package – t-shirt, ‘thundersticks’, tote bag , bracelet and photo. While some very talented designers put in some great designs, ultimately we were informed simple was better. I submitted an idea and not only designed most of the package, but I also designed the print flyers and some of the web graphics. The images here are courtesy of our merchandise site at GoMerch, which you can find here.

Jrock and Rock Band

[Graphic by the graphics team] March 2010. Harmonix invited to submit opinion on what Japanese rock bands would be a good addition to the popular video game Rock Band. Rather than gather information from staff, we asked fans what bands they’d like to see. In a two part process, we polled fans to discover the top ten bands of who they wanted to see in the video game to generate this list: 1. the GazettE 2. Dir en grey 3. X JAPAN 4. MIYAVI 5. GACKT 6. An Café 7. D’espairsRay 8. Nightmare 9. L’Arc~en~Ciel 10. Versailles ~Philharmonic Quintent~ For article information, please check out the following links: Initial article and Final poll results After our results were submitted back to Harmonix, we, as well as other fans, were hopeful that one or more of our top ten selections would make it to the game. Ah, but that was just the beginning…

SXSW 2010

[Graphic by the Graphics team] March 2010 South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual entertainment industry convention. Considered to be the most influential and important convention for the music industry, I submitted a panel idea about Japanese rock music internationally for consideration. In 2010, there were over 2200 panels in for consideration with only 300 able to make the cut for the final lineup. Due to the uniqueness of our idea and the fact that, to my knowledge, no other panel had ever been presented on the Japanese music industry at SXSW, we were hopeful. To our delight, we were accepted. The original panel host was not able to attend and I presented the panel with Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple and Keith Cahoon of Hotwire K.K. in Tokyo, Japan. Our panel gave some history of the Japanese music industry in Japan as well as how the relatively underground movement of imported rock and other genres have fared around the world in recent years. Both Mr. Cahoon and Mr. Kawabata provided invaluable insights …

VAMPS 2009

In 2009, I’d only been working with for months. A partnership for promoting the VAMPS 2009 tour was in process and flier designs were needed. Among a number of other web and print designs requested and submitted, ultimately, no fliers were printed. These are among the designs for the original club flier. Page 1, however, is based on an existing flier already made. Some modifications were made for clarity and information.