One of the most prolific bands in Japanese rock music, L'Arc~en~Ciel have released numerous albums and more than a dozen singles throughout its decade-long career.
Bass guitarist Tetsu formed the band in 1991, naming it after a French film. After a few personell changes, L'Arc~en~Ciel solidified its line-up in 1993 with Ken on guitar, Sakura on drums and Hyde on vocals.
The band released its debut album on independent label Danger Crue before signing to Sony Music's Ki/oon imprint in 1994. Since then, L'arc~en~Ciel has steadily recorded and toured.
In 1997, Sakura was involved with a drug scandal, and the band went on hiatus. Sakura was ousted from the group and was replaced by Yukihiro, who drummed for the defunct band, Dies en Cries.
L'Arc~en~Ciel quickly made up for lost time the year after, releasing Heart and eight singles. Following in the tradition of Guns N' Roses and Bruce Springsteen, L'Arc~en~Ciel released two albums in 1999: ray and ark.
With ray, L'Arc~en~Ciel transformed from a heavily 90s new wave band to a harder rocking outfit.
In the summer of 2000, "Laruku" released a remix album (ectomorphed works) and an album of new material (Real). At the start of 2001, the band conducted a poll on Yahoo!Japan to determine the track listing of its singles collection, titled Clicked Singles Best 13. The disc was released in the U.S. through Sony Music Imports.
After recording an ending theme to the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within ("Spirit dreams inside"), the members of L'Arc~en~Ciel embarked on a series of solo projects.
Singer Hyde released a hit solo album, Roentgen, in 2002. Tetsu billed himself as Tetsu69 and released an album and an EP. Drummer Yukihiro formed acid android, while guitarist Ken reunited with drummer Sakura to form Sons of All Pussies.
In 2003, the band reunited for a year-end tour. The performances started momentum on work for a new album, Smile, which was released in early 2004. The album was also issued in the US on Sony Music's Tofu Records.