It would be absolutely inappropriate to start my Halloween themed Visual Kei mentions, without starting with the most important of them all. The legendary, the group and event that started it all the, Halloween Junky Orchestra (HJO).
Now, the Halloween Junky Orchestra is the brain child of the legendary musician HYDE, know as a soloist as well as the lead singer of L’Arc-en-Ciel, as well as VAMPS. The HJO was created way back in 2012, as a limited time super group, pretty much on HYDE’s whim. The group was created after HYDE decided to host his event “Halloween Party 2012”, and all not every musician from every band played, at least one representative was featured in the below music video and later on the release of the single “Halloween Party 2011”.
The original lineup for the HJO was; HYDE, Aoki Ryuji, Aki of SID, Acid Black Cherry, K.A.Z. of VAMPS, kyo of D’ERLANGER, DAIGO of BREAKERZ, Tatsuro of MUCC, Anna Tsuchiya, Tommy february, Tommy heavenly, Hitsugi of NIGHTMARE, Rina of SCANDAL, and finally Wakashima Kanon. I should also say these musicians all contributed to the actual music for the song, not just MV cameo’s. For 2011-2012 that was quite the stacked line-up! It was also among the first super group that crossed genre lines, having Visual Kei artists, JRockers, soloists, as well as even a few arguably Jpop artists in the midst.
I remember this line-up, and this concept first being announced. I so desperately wished I could have gone to the very first of it’s kind event. It would have been amazing to see it all live. Luckily, somewhat, I can re-live that glory through this fan upload featured below.
The music video is a bit dated, as well as a bit troupe-y with the themes; it’s a Halloween classic for Visual Kei and JRock fans. It plays into the beloved nature of classic Halloween films like “Nightmare Before Christmas”, without outright ripping these films off. HYDE being a vampire and or bat in the music video is and will always remain to be iconic.
In terms of the song; admittedly it did not age as well as I thought. The theme is obvious from title to execution, yet… the song beats you over the head with it being a Halloween song. Although at times in the right mood, the chorus is pretty darn catchy. Given the potential overlap between how Halloween-like Visual Kei can perceived by non-fans, it’s understandable that they made such a distinction.
Aside from this song though, there’s never been a sequel track or a reunion of the original HJO members. Every year, based on the “Halloween Party” festival line-up a new HJO is constructed just for the night. Some past acts who have joined the festival and a few members have joined the stage are My First Story, Shinya of Dir en Grey/Seraph, Golden Bomber, DAIGO, Dempagumi.inc, Radio Fish and more! It’s a pretty unique festival, and to be invited is a pretty big deal to many musicians.
As of writing the 2019, line-up hasn’t been announced yet but I am looking forward to see who makes the cut. With that, you get a bit of Halloween + Visual Kei history, and a pretty interesting little song for the day. Drop me a comment below of whose cameo you liked best, or who you’d pick to make your own Halloween themed Orchestra!