Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Return of LONDON BLUE - An Interview with LONDON BLUE (Part II)

*The interview was conducted via e-mail on October 24th as a look back at LONDON BLUE's Hyper Japan debut and their thoughts on the event, as well as a look at how their current events are going to celebrate their major debut release. A big thank you to LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hayashi for allowing Selective Hearing to have this opportunity once again.

**Unfortunately, due to RINA's hiatus taking effect during the time this interview was conducted, she could not take part in answering the questions alongside the other members.

This post has been cross-posted from Selective Hearing. Please be sure to check out the official post on the website!

Made up of five members with a passion for the UK in both its sound and fashion sense, LONDON BLUE are a group known for their towel-waving moves and guitar-riff fuelled instrumentals in more than a few of their tracks. Though the group has been around since 2013, LONDON BLUE have only recently begun to make a name for themselves within the idol fandom thanks to their recent major debut with the King Records label, a company that distributes music for the likes of AKB48Uesaka Sumire, TeddyLoid, Ogura Yui and more.

Since the groups major debut on September 5th 2018, LONDON BLUE have been actively performing and promoting their single through in-store events and live performances whilst also taking on outside activities to further promote themselves individually. Unfortunately, member RINA announced her hiatus from the group on October 12th, 2018 in order to focus on her current acting projects. Furthermore, the youngest member RINKA announced her own period of rest on November 7th, 2018 in order to focus on her exam period and other side projects. Due to both RINA and RINKA's respective breaks, LONDON BLUE is now operating as a three-member unit and actively promoting their new single to get their name out there.

Now, just months after their UK debut at Hyper Japan Festival 2018 and a major release, LONDON BLUE return to Selective Hearing for a second round of questions to discuss their major debut single, fashion and their plans for the future as a group. What will we learn about the London-loving group today?

Monday, 26 November 2018

Welcome to London, LONDON BLUE! A HYPER JAPAN Festival 2018 Interview with LONDON BLUE (via Selective Hearing)

*The following Interview took place on July 15th, 2018 at HYPER JAPAN FESTIVAL at the Kensington Olympia in London, England. Four members of LONDON BLUE - KANA, KAYANO, KYOKA and RINKA - were in attendance for their London stage debut. The following write-up of the interview was published on September 4th, 2018, just a day before the groups major debut event with KING RECORDS.

You can find the original write-up on the Selective Hearing website! Thank you for visiting, reading and supporting this blog and any other website I might be affiliated with.

With a cool & cute image, as well as soundtracks inspired by UK Rock, bubblegum pop and R&R, LONDON BLUE is an all-female idol unit inspired by the UK! With five years to their name, as well as their up-coming major debut, the group has seen hardships and highlights since their beginnings in 2013, with the most recent highlight being their major debut with KING RECORDS on September 5th.

Made up of five members - KANA, KAYANO, KYOKA, RINA and RINKA - LONDON BLUE are known for their catchy songs mixed with 'cool and cute' visuals, as well as their entertaining stage presence. With three singles (two indies, one major) and an indies album to their name, there is no denying that LONDON BLUE are a little under the radar, but the group have found mild success in the past with their album track MIDNIGHT LOVER, which reached the #5 spot on the Japan weekly Usen hits back in 2016.

Yet it is this year alone that has been one of LONDON BLUE's busiest. From the recent lineup change that introduced KYOKA, RINA and RINKA, LONDON BLUE also announced that they would make their UK stage debut at HYPER JAPAN in London, finally realising the groups dream of performing in the city that they are named after. With so much going on, from a UK stage debut to a major record deal for their up-coming single, LONDON CALLING, it seems like LONDON BLUE are heading towards a new stage, one that might have seemed impossible to reach five years ago.

But it is the Hyper Stage where LONDON BLUE truly shined this year. With their towels in hand and energy boosted, four of the five members - RINA was absent due to a schedule conflict - took to their first London stage and dazzled the audience. With an updated God Save The Queenopening their act, cute and cool songs at their disposal and an enthusiastic audience, it's no surprise that LONDON BLUE found mild success during their two-day stint at HYPER JAPAN, particularly when it came to their meet and greet.
It was after their first performance and meet & greet on the Saturday that Selective Hearing had the chance to catch up with LONDON BLUE to talk about the groups 5th anniversary, their up-coming single and the plans they had for touring London.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Princesses Farewell: A Princess From Two Worlds - A Look at Houkago Princesses 'Kaguya ni Negai wo' Music Video (Review)

Despite being but a week month or so old, I feel that it is time to sit down and talk bout Houkago Princess and their music video for Kaguya ni Negai wo, the latest tale from the Idols who transform into storybook royalty at exactly 4pm. I am doing this to both discuss the videos themes and meanings, as well as to gain a better understanding of the video and its story overall.

My original intention was to write up the usual; a pic-spam overview. However, after watching the music video back a few times I feel that there is enough here in terms of visual representation to warrant an actual review. Plus, I really do want to stray from the pic-spam style posts for now and create something with a little more body to it, and a lot more theory. So, after a revelation regarding the video by a friend, a bit of scrutiny and a fair few views, it's time to talk about this PV and what it offers.

And before I get into this I do want to point out that this is not a song review, so there will be little to no focus on the music itself. I also want to point out that I am not a professional in analysing film or video, nor do I claim to be a professional of any form. These are just my thoughts, theories and views on what has been showcased in the video in question, and I am open to further discussion and would love to hear your own ideas and opinions based around Kaguya ni Negai wo, too.

With that said and done, let's talk about visuals and over-analyse this PV.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Self-Reflection: Graduating The Hello! Project Fandom

Goodbye does not have to mean this is the end...

I opened this blog in 2010 as an outlet for a deep-rooted love affair that I had begun with Hello! Project, a love that started in August of 2009. A majority of my posts were dedicated to opinionated reviews of PV's and singles, views on up-coming e-Hello DVD's and more. I named my blog Okay! Musume Time as a homage to the group I adored, whilst the Okay! in the title originally represented a play-on-word of 'Okai' for my then-favourite member, Okai Chisato, and it was here that I became comfortable in my love of Hello! Project, idols and Japanese music.

Eight years on and my love for idols is still strong. I still want to write about them and share everything I can regarding the songs, the groups and the videos I love, but I need to say this now:

Hello! Project is no longer a company that I love and adore. The affection I once held for Hello! Project has well and truly gone, and now that affection I once held will be ingrained in this blog forever by name and past posts only. From here on out I will move forward as both an idol fan and an idol writer.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Personal Thoughts: A Decision For Okay! Musume Time

Back in July this year I posted a quick update on my thoughts regarding the graduation of Okay! Musume Time as a blog and my conflicting feelings towards whether I should continue writing here or not. I said I would give myself until the blog's 8th anniversary to give you an answer. It has been 3 months since then, and I finally have an answer to what I wrote back then.

I will keep Okay! Musume Time going, but my content will lessen from here on out. Thankfully I have posted a little more since I wrote that post initially and after a lot of thought and consideration I qrealised that I couldn't leave Okay! Musume Time just yet. There's too much I want to try and do, plus it is my space. It's a space that only I know completely.

I came to the realisation that I could not close the blog or stop writing on it just yet maybe a month or so ago. It took a while, but I feel confident in my abilities to keep Okay! Musume Time open. Of course some content may now be cross-vers from Selective Hearing (with slight differences, as personal commentary on here won't appear on SH's more subdued posts) however I want to continue to try and create content for Okay! Musume Time as well.

This is a blog that I love and care for deeply, so I'm happy that came to the conclusion I would like to keep it open. I am also exceedingly grateful, thankful and blessed that I have readers like you who offered me words of encouragement and understanding during the time where I thought closing this blog was the only option. I am happy that you are here to help and support me when I need it most, so thank you for everything. I love you all and feel like the luckiest writer in the world. Without you I would be nothing.

Be happy and healthy everyone, and of course take care. You are all so amazing and precious to me, and I wish you so much happiness and luck.

Lots of love,

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Oyasumi Hologram WORLD 27 TOUR - An Alternative Music Journey Through The West and East Side of The US!

November is right around the corner, and for American fans of Japanese music and alternative idols this is the time to travel through the US.

9 dates.
8 venues.
3 cities.
3 leading acts.

Now is the time to act everyone, because Oyasumi Hologram and more are coming to a venue near you. Just make sure you're in the East or the West when the time comes...

With only five days until the event big, the Oyasumi Hologram WORLD 27 Tour will be taking the US by storm in a 9-day tour that sees the dynamic indie rock, alternative idol duo travel across the East and West Coast. With only five days before the tour begins, there's still enough time to grab your tickets and join the girls in their amazing music-driven adventure across the US!

From California to New York City, Oyasumi Hologram's latest US tour promises to be one of the biggest yet for an indies act that hails all the way from Japan. This will also be the duo's first overseas tour.

And they won't be coming alone. Joining them on their tour through America's most popular states is Toriena, a 25 year old chip tune artist from Kyoto, Japan who will join the duo for their WEST COAST lives. If that wasn't enough though, it was also revealed that NECRONOMIDOL, the group born from H.P. Lovecraft and all things dark, will also perform alongside Oyasumi Hologram for the tail-end of their EAST COAST side of the tour.

Cheki and buppan sessions will be included at the end of each show.

The tour runs from November 1st, 2018 until November 11th, 2018 and will see Oyasumi Hologram and their support acts in a variety of venues. Tickets are currently available from a variety of online vendors, so be sure to grab yours soon.

*Please note that November 4th's show is VIP exclusive, and includes a class held by Toriena on how she creates her music, as well as an exclusive acoustic solo act by Oyasumi Hologram. Limited to 30 attendees.

**Headlining acts will be different for some of the tour dates.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Who are You, LONDON BLUE? An Introduction to the Idols Inspired by the UK!

Cross-posted from Selective Hearing (Includes a spiffy photo gallery, a lot less commentary and a lack of two extra video links.)

An Introduction To is a series of articles on both Selective Hearing and Okay! Musume Time that aims to introduce readers to various groups and musicians, regardless of their time within the industry. Whether they are indies or major, unknown or even relatively well-known, this series is here to give readers an insight into who is who and what they do. For our first post, let's check out a group inspired by the UK.

Who are you? It's LONDON BLUE!

*(This is the first in a new series for Selective Hearing, but the continuation of what I hope will be a revival for Okay! Musume Time's past Introduction articles).

The Origin Story...

Way back when in 2017, back when I actually blogged, I learned about LONDON BLUE. I don't know how I heard of them or where, but I did, and my interest was piqued. One review of their album, We are LONDON BLUE later, I pretty much forgot about them. Of course I still knew of them, but I didn't follow their releases, themembers or anything else. And then 2018 happened.

Announced as one of the groups that would perform at Hyper Japan Festival 2018, I travelled to London to finally meet the group I had reviewed long ago. There I was able to meet the renewed lineup, watch their live performance and take some cheki's with the four members who had attended the event. It was here that I was able to fully appreciate the group I had almost forgotten, and now I am a changed person.

Now I love LONDON BLUE, and here I am, introducing them to you...

With their humble beginnings starting back in 2013, LONDON BLUE began with this audition notice: “We’re looking for girls who can express the world of “pop&rock”. In September of the same year, LONDON BLUE was formed with its four original members - AKANE, MISAKI, MIDORI and HIKARI - and their sound producer Hidemaro Aoki of Kabuki-Rocks fame, who has since been creating music that incorporates a mixture of genres ranging from UK Rock to Bubblegum Pop and more.

Now with a modest 5 years under their belt, LONDON BLUE proudly claim their love for the UK music and fashion scene in both their sound and style. Yet despite the groups significant lineup change over the past five years, the members still tote a 'cool & cute' style in their music, visuals and fashion choices, all of which they showcase frequently with various lives and release events they perform throughout the year.

From February 2018, LONDON BLUE has seen a significant change not only in its lineup but also its status. With their fifth anniversary the group finally held its first performance in London, England at HYPER JAPAN in July 2018 before returning to Japan to prepare for a September major debut under King Records. Since then members have been busy with performances, radio segments and release events. Furthermore, auditions are underway for new members to join the group.

Now made up of five members - KANA, KAYANO, RINA, KYOKA and RINKA - the towel-waving cool & cute group are doing their best to make themselves known both on and off the stage. With various activities to focus on outside of their performances, these five girls are slowly but surely carving out an image for themselves as idols and talents.

But who are the girls of LONDON BLUE? Let's take a moment to find out.