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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some more news from France

Comments on the last post regarding their Paris gig have been enlightening (and please if you've stumbled across this blog from Google or wherever and you went to the gig, please give us your impressions!) and I just wanted to get a few thoughts out (negative ones first).

The event seemed to be poorly promoted. ybart, for example, mentions that the gig was only mentioned in the Japan Expo newsletter the day before the event. I'm frankly stunned that such an obvious avenue of promotion was ignored. Naturally, perhaps, the gig was not a sell out. Presumably one of the roots of this problem was a lack of communication between Japan and France, but considering the amount of money it must have cost to get Halcali and crew over to France and set the gig up it's incredible that such obvious things as solid promotion weren't worked out into finer details.

Then there's this mysterious French version of Cyborg Oretachi, which still doesn't exist despite their official sites claim that it was coming out on January 24th. I don't work in PR, but it strikes me that getting the CD out before the gig, then have it on sale at the gig itself, would have been extremely beneficial. It's possible that the real purpose of the trip was to have them play at the MIDEM event and get them distributed worldwide of course- and let's not forget the importance of this for their future, especially considering how lacklustre their Japanese sales have been of late.

Regardless, despite it not being a sell out, I consider this gig to be a success for a few reasons. Halcali were the main event here, and I can't remember the last time that was true for them at a gig they played in Japan, where they are usually tacked onto the back end of a few other bigger names and given a lukewarm reception and a very short set. Which certainly wasn't the case in Paris. When I saw the rough set-list (can anyone confirm?) in the comments one thing surprised me- how many songs they played! Both those who attended, and their DJ, Non, talked about the really enthusiastic reception Halcali got from the crowd. Which, compared to the rather non-plussed reaction they seem to get at gigs in Japan, must have put a smile on their face.

Then there were the t-shirts! Despite some confusion (it wasn't everyone who could get a signature, only those who bought a t-shirt- which seems a little conniving) I'm sure they sold a lot of these. Click the names to see a couple of pictures of the signed t-shirts from ybart (showing both front and back) and hasuko.

Finally, and much better in terms of promotion, Halcali will be appearing on the French DSL channel Nolife

While you would have to be in France to see this (I guess) ybart has offered to sub the videos and upload them to Youtube. Which is something I know we would all be hugely grateful for!

Thanks to Patrick for the TV info, and again thanks to everyone for leaving their impressions of the gig.

UPDATE: Here's the first video from Nolife's 'Halcali week', subtitled and uploaded by the wonderful ybart, who promises more of these to come as they are broadcast. As it's the first one, Halcali don't make an appearance until around the 7:50 mark, but if you're anything like me you'll like the video game related stuff that proceeds it too.

Again, a million thanks to ybart for doing this! Looking forward to seeing more.

(UPDATE 1.5: Sadly, the video has been removed, although it was for some very sound reasons (see comments))

UPDATE 2: Pictures from the JaME blog here. Can anyone translate?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Did you see them in Paris? (Bonus question included!)

For anyone lucky enough to have caught them live in Paris last night, we'd love a few words about the gig for those of us who missed out.

About that French release of the album- according to Halcali's official web site, it was supposed to have been released on the 24th of January. According to JaMe, JVStore will be releasing it, but I can't find any information on it. Worse, you might have noticed that JaME contradicts the official word with a "exact date not available".

I originally assumed that a French release would mean it being distributed and sold throughout France/Europe via regular record shop channels as well as on-line, but so far there has been absolutely no sign of it, including over at France's biggest CD retailer FNAC.

Halcali's effort to flog themselves to overseas buyers takes place tomorrow (28th) at the Cannes MIDEM event.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A couple more things

1. The French version of Cyborg Oretachi will have a bonus track. No word on what it will be, but fingers crossed for something brand new.

2. Those buying a ticket for Saturday's Qin Elysees gig will apparantly be able to get Halcali's autograph after the show.


Thanks to ica ross!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cosmic Dance

Here's a live clip of Halcali joining Kuchiroro on stage doing their Cosmic Dance collaboration from the last Kuchiroro album Golden Love. I'm still not really sure what to make of this song, it seems to be crying out for something- a better hook in the chorus maybe?

Thanks to cobs!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Details on Halcali's Cannes gig

The Houchi Shinbun article (scroll down a bit) stated Halcali would be playing in Cannes and Paris; their official site only mentioned Paris.

The reason for this is their Cannes gig is at the music industry-only event Midem which is closed to the public. It's a kind of showcase for acts looking to get distribution in Europe or worldwide. Or, to put it another, official site way:

The thriving live music sector is the industry’s lifeblood. MIDEM’s exclusive concerts give hundreds of new and confirmed artists from the world over the chance to find the right partners to further their careers; and promoters, concert organisers and A&R executives the opportunity to make new discoveries.

Halcali's 'opportunity' ('gig' seems the wrong word in this context) will come on January 28th in the MPA Japan segement at 7:10pm.

Here's the information from Halcali's page:

Record company: Epic Records
Country: JAPAN
Country of record company: JAPAN
Distribution: No
Publishing: No
Legal representation: No
Licensing: No
Management: No
Booking: Looking for worldwide
Time artist: 19h10

I like that they're "looking for worldwide", but I'm surprised by the amount of "no"'s on that list. No distribution or publishing? I had just assumed that Sony International etc. would be handling that. Who will be releasing Cyborg in Europe and America?

At any rate, I'm sure they can't be looking forward to this gig- playing infront of a bunch of industry execs while thinking that their artistic future outside of Japan (perhaps inside to, judging by their poor record sales recently) depends at least in part on this going well doesn't sound like a recipe for fun. Worse, someone chose one of those unflattering early
Epic promo pictures to put on their page, and the mp3 promo is, yes, Tip Taps Tip.

Here's a PDF of the artists that will be performing at the show.

Thanks to

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Halcali confirmed for Chicago!

Halcali's global conquest continues apace!

Thanks to novaforever for the news!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Official site on Paris gig

The official site has finally caught up with the rest of the internet (in the press release they also acknowledge the Houchi Shinbun article that broke the story which I translated below) in announcing Halcali’s Paris plans. They also add some more concrete details about the gig. We know a lot of this already, but let’s put it up for confirmation purposes.

Cyborg Oretachi (French Version) release date: January 24th

Date- January 26th
Venue- Qin Elysees
Doors- 6:30pm Stage- 8:00pm
Price- 22 Euros
Tickets- Fnac website, alternatively tickets will be sold on the door

Its worth noting that this official announcement, while acknowledging the Houchi article, doesn’t address two other things it brought up: namely Cyborg’s U.S release and Chicago gig, and the second gig they said Halcali would be playing in Cannes.

22 Euros is about 16 pound 50, (which seems just above average for a moderately famous band in the U.K), and about 3,500 yen (which seems slightly cheaper than the average extortionate price people are expected to pay for gigs in Japan).

There’s also no word on if ‘French version’ means it’ll come with extras (other tracks, DVD etc.) or not, but lets hope so!

Is anyone thinking of picking this French version up, or, even better, going to the gig? Something else you might like to think about is something Hasuko mentioned- apparently there will be some kind of transport strike around the time the gig is going to be held. Could spell trouble?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Halcali to play gig in Chicago!


[Halcali] have been confirmed to perform at a Japan Culture event in May, and on top of that they will be getting a CD [Cyborg Oretachi] release too.


This is incredible news, and along with this report confirming that the Paris gigs and European releases are going ahead (which I was concerned about below), it looks like Halcali are getting that international push I think they have deserved for years. The article is quite a bit longer and clearly quite sceptical of Halcali in general. Anyway, I'm working on getting the rest of it up now, but you might also like to note that they also say Halcali will be playing in Cannes. I just wanted to get this news up as soon as possible.

Bear in mind that this is just one report, from the entertainment section of a sports newspaper of all things, so those in the Chicago area might want to wait for confirmation from the official site before getting too excited. The event mentioned is probably Anime Central. For now though, let's just tentatively assume this is all going ahead.

I'll get the rest of the article up as soon as I can.

Here we go...


 YUCALI(ユカリ=20)とHALCA(ハルカ=19)の2人組ユニット「HALCALI(ハルカリ)」が、今月24日にフランスでCDデ ビューすることが決まった。同26日にはパリで、28日にはカンヌでライブも開催する。日本では知る人ぞ知る存在の2人が、なぜかフランスでプチブレー ク。5月には米国でもCDリリースが予定され、ワールドワイドに活躍する。
おしゃれなサウンドに、脱力感あふれるラップを乗せる2人組が、日本より先に海外でチャンスをつかんだ。きっかけになったのはSFロボットアニメ 「交響詩篇エウレカセブン」。フランスでは日本アニメへの関心が高く、エウレカセブンも放送されるや人気番組の一つになっていた。
05年12月発売のシングル「Tip Taps Tip」が同作の主題歌だったことから、ハルカリの名前もフランスで浸透。昨年7月にパリで行わ れた日本のポップカルチャーを紹介するイベント「第8回ジャパンエキスポ」にも招待された。その際行った無料ライブは約5000人の観客で埋まる大盛況。 「日本の文化を等身大で表現している存在」として、20件近い海外メディアからの取材申し込みもあり、関係者を驚かせた。
今回、フランスでのリリースが決まったのは、昨年7月に発売された最新アルバム「サイボーグ俺達」。2人はリリースに合わせて渡仏し、26日にはパリのクラブ「QIN Elysees」で初の有料ライブを開催。さらに28日にはカンヌでもライブを行う。
エウレカ人気はアメリカでも高く、5月にシカゴで行われるジャパンカルチャーのイベントでもライブを行うことが決定、さらにCDリリースも決まっ た。もっとも「サイボーグ俺達」の日本でのセールスは2万枚で、まだまだ知る人ぞ知る存在のハルカリ。「初めてデビューして忙しくなりそうな年ですね」と 意気込みもユルユルだが、そんな2人が海外で一気にブレーク…するかもしれない。

Halcali's French debut! Two gigs planned for Paris and Cannes.

Yukari (20) and Haruka (19) of the two person unit Halcali , will make their debut CD release in France on the 24th of this month. January will also see them perform twice, on the 26th in France and the 28th in Cannes. Despite only having a small, cult audience in Japan, they have somehow been given a minor break in France. The CD is also scheduled to be released in America in May, increasing their activities worldwide.Having a fashionable sound overflowing with an exhausted rap style, they've now got that shot at success abroad that has eluded them in Japan. This chance was due to their involvement in the science fiction robot-anime Eureka Seven. There is a lot of interest in this Japanese animation in France where it became popular upon being broadcast.

The show featured the single Tip Taps Tip, released in December 2005, as it's theme song, which spread the name Halcali around France. Last year in July they were invited to play at an event designed to promote Japanese pop culture, the 8th Japanese Expo. The free gig they played there attracted 5000 people and was a massive success. As a 'larger than life' exhibition of Japanese culture, the event surprised many by attracting nearly 20 different media outlets who came to cover it.

The scheduled release for France is their most recent album, last years Cyborg Oretachi. To coincide with the release, Halcali will be travelling to France on the 26th of January to play at the Paris club QIN Elysees, which will be their first gig abroad with an entrance fee.

Eureka Seven also has great popularity in America, and so in May Halcali will play at a Japan Culture event in Chicaco, and their album has also been slated for release. That album, Cyborg Oretachi, barely sold 20,000 copies, making them a band still known only to a select few in Japan. They say "We're going to be very busy off the back of this début" full of casual enthusiasm, but will this be a chance for them to gain rapid popularity abroad? Perhaps.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Countdown Japan setlist

Happy 2008! That's another year gone by alarmingly fast.

How did you spend the holidays? If you were anything like Halcali, you would have spent it playing at the enormous Countdown Japan festival (which I wrote about here).

Here, courtesy of 2ch, is their set:

サイボーグ俺達 (Cyborg Oretachi)
It's Party Time
ギリギリ・サーフライダー (Giri Giri Surfrider)
二福星 (Nifukusei/2 Lucky Stars)
若草DANCE (Wakakusa Dance)
春狩道~19の夜~ (Halcali Michi)

The poster added that Halcali were more energetic, the crowd more into the gig, than they had seen in a long time. That really looks like a great set, a perfect mix between new and old. I'm so glad they're still doing 2 Lucky Stars (from the limited edition Strawberry Chips single). I love that song!

You can check out some pictures here.