Japanese ticketing company Ticket Pia interviews pop-rock band SCANDAL about their new album STANDARD and how they feel about being called a “representative of girl bands.”
SCANDAL, who have achieved their dream from their indie days of playing a one-man live at Osaka-Jo Hall in less than 5 years since their debut, declare the beginning of a new chapter on the other side of their dream with their new album 『STANDARD』!
We must take pride and responsibility in being called a “representative of girl bands”
――Lately, you have been introduced as a “representative of girl bands.” Is being called that honestly troublesome, or does it put any pressure on you?
RINA: Actually, I’m glad! Because I think being humble about it might disappoint our fans. We have confidence in that, and we want to properly show our results.
MAMI: It’s not that we’re calling ourselves a “representative of girl bands,” so when people call us that, we must take pride and responsibility in it and must continue to be as such. Right now there are many young people who have copy bands of us, and we have a SCANDAL copy band competition. Each year the number of applicants grows, and about 500~600 groups have applied this year. They copy our outfits and hair as well, which is simply amazing! It really makes us happy. We feel that we must remain a cool band for these young people.
――Why do you think attention is being paid to girl bands right now?
RINA: I think it’s simply a fad that’s going on. Fads go around and around, and it’s come by chance this time. I think many people know about us only because we debuted a little before the fad started. There are many young people who want to do something but don’t know what to do if they did it, and the 4 of us are easy to copy.
――SCANDAL seems like a band that you might be able to get close to if you do your best, and makes you think, 「Shall I try playing an instrument too?」
RINA: That’s right. Because it’s like that now, you feel like you don’t want this fad to end.
HARUNA: It’s become a 「from here」feeling for us too. Because we’ve finally solidified our style, and there’s a feeling of “I wonder if we could do something new from scratch again?” We want you to watch SCANDAL from here on; we want to show you.
We didn’t just continue to sing about our dreams; we wanted to create songs that blend into anyone’s regular days.
――The album 『STANDARD』 was just released. This work is tightly packed with things only SCANDAL could do. I think it’s a work that couldn’t have been done without the 4 of you, and this might sound a little weird, but I had thought, 「SCANDAL has turned into SCANDAL!」
HARUNA: A-ha-ha. But, that really makes me happy. That’s just it!
RINA: I don’t think it’s a standard for ourselves at all, but we’re this kind of band after 5 years, and I think the courage to put out a work titled 『STANDARD』 is an appeal that other bands don’t have. Many things have been said, but I feel that by being able to do this work we’ve had absolute confidence in our activities and style, and we’ve been able to affirm everything ourselves. We’ve been doing what we want to do, and when we hear someone say something like, 「I was saved by this song」, we strongly feel that we want to do music for people like that.
TOMOMI: With our dream of 「We want to play a live at Osaka-Jo Hall」 from our indie days until now, we wrote songs with “dreams” as our theme. After finishing Osaka-Jo Hall, we didn’t just continue to sing about our dreams; we wanted to create songs that blend into anyone’s regular days.
MAMI: Including the lyrics, I feel that we were able to make this album naturally. Even though this is the first album jacket where we were photographed wearing pants, I’m getting tired of it (laughs). Those playfully taken pictures became the album jackets. Making our fifth album with an atmosphere like that was very big for us.
HARUNA: We had a lot of songs until now that clearly depicted our will, but this time most of the songs are about anyone’s state of mind, and there are many of them about things that appear in anyone’s daily life. Even when we listen to it ourselves, it feels like it could be a different artist’s work that we’re listening to, and there’s a strange feeling that’s like it’s becoming our background music too.
We thought that if we did a song together with Nakata-san, we could do a song that no one has heard before
――You have been performing 「DOLL」, your first single, at festivals lately. I was surprised at the impression difference between back then and now, and it had me thinking, “This song is really important after all!”
HARUNA: We’ve always been performing 「DOLL」. Our color comes out most here, and since it’s a song that been brought up at lives, it shines at lives. I think our debut song really is great.
MAMI: When we debuted, we thought 「DOLL」 needed to be sharp. It’s become a fun song where you clap along naturally and spin towels, and our enjoyment too comes out naturally on our facial expressions. It’s one song where I’m glad that lives are treasured.
――Your latest single 「OVER DRIVE」 was produced by Yasutaka Nakata (CAPSULE). It’s a dance-rock song that shines at lives and naturally moves your body.
RINA: We hoped that if we did a song together with Nakata-san, we could do a song that no one has heard before. We said, 「An intense and cool song that we could put in the middle of lives would be good」, and he came up with a very pop-like demo. We thought, 「This is completely different!」, but we came to understand the greatness of this song while we were recording it. Moreover, Nakata-san told us, 「I wanted to create a song that stood out from the rock tracks when you put it on the album」, and it was very convincing. We really understood that meaning when we put it on the album.
TOMOMI: The robotic, sentimental melody and the band sound fusion feels bad in a good way and really remains in your ears. It was really dramatic, fun, and moving from the way we recorded it until it was completed.
If up until Osaka-Jo Hall was SCANDAL’s first chapter, the second chapter is starting now
――Personalities really come out in the lyrics to each of these songs. I’d like to ask for commentaries from you 4 for the songs that I choose. First, 「Orange Juice」 for TOMOMI-san.
TOMOMI: Two girls appear in the lyrics of this song, and that’s expressed with the contrasting vocals between HARUNA and myself. It’s said that girls become cuter when they fall in love, but girls are always fighting against something. You can clearly understand that there are rivals in this song, and can become even cuter in times like that.
――I see. So while you’re battling with your rival, you’re also fighting against yourself.
TOMOMI: Yes. It’s a girly song that you can definitely understand even without experiencing this story.
――Continuing on, RINA-san, please explain 「Weather report」 with its mature atmosphere.
RINA: It’s a song about a love that you finally understand when you’re around our age. Love when you’re a student tends to be blind, and you really believe, 「I’m going to be with this person for the rest of my life!」, but when you grow up it seems more like, 「We’re not married, but I want to be with this person right now」. HARUNA is the sole one singing. I think it has a very mature atmosphere to it, and I think it’s become a song where a new appeal is introduced again. I don’t think this song would have been convincing if we had done it a while ago, nor could we have expressed it.
――HARUNA-san’s lyrics for 「Hachigatsu」 is also a song that you couldn’t have sung about until now.
HARUNA: I wrote this while looking back on the past and on our present of achieving our Osaka-Jo Hall dream, and expressing my gratitude for the members and our fans with the meaning of 「I’ll be counting on you」. If up until Osaka-Jo Hall was SCANDAL’s first chapter, the second chapter is starting now. I think that being able to have written this song at this point in time was really great.
――And MAMI-san, 「Namida yo Hikare」, the climax of the second half of the album.
MAMI: It has a melody that we avoided doing until now. We thought now was the time we could do it, and we challenged ourselves with this song. Although there are a lot of “tear songs,” I thought how there aren’t many songs that are positive about how「Shedding tears is okay; it’s wonderful」, and I wrote this as such. It’s filled with a lot of call and response and singing together. The solo is played in harmony by HARUNA and myself with just the band sound. It has a band feeling to it, and it’d be a good song for our copy bands; I’d like for them to copy it.
Food is pretty important. I want food to enrich me no matter what!
――Is there anything unique to girl bands that makes you say “Oh yeah, that’s a girl band”?
RINA: Eh～, what’s that? Maybe 「Bothered when you’re asked “What are girl bands bothered by?”」 (laughs). There aren’t any differences between men and women, and there aren’t any special rankings nor things you’re bothered by just because you’re a girl.
MAMI: I think because we look like sports-minded, strong-willed girls (laughs).
RINA: I feel that all girl bands are actually sports-minded.
――「Girl bands are more sports-minded than you think」 is possible as well (laughs).
RINA: Reserving and packing ready-made food into plastic cases, and it not being good when you want to eat miso soup but can’t (laughs). Carrying a takoyaki pan and making it with everyone when you’re recording.
TOMOMI: Everyone could ask for pizza, and it’d be a pizza party (laughs).
HARUNA: Food is pretty important. I want food to enrich me no matter what!
――A-ha-ha. Are there any girl bands or female artists that you look up to?
RINA: There aren’t any girl bands that we look up to! Because PRINCESS PRINCESS, JUDY AND MARY, etc. aren’t like artists on top of the world; they do a little something extra, and we too wouldn’t work without that. Also, PRINCESS PRINCESS and JUDY AND MARY sing songs that fans ask them to sing, and because they continue to do what they’re asked and meet in the middle, I think they’ll continue to make music that will always be around. We want to be a band like that.
――Sooner or later you must become a presence that is looked up to.
MAMI: When we look at the young people in our copy bands, we’re aware that we’re a presence that is looked up to, and we must become a band that lives up to that. It’s absolutely okay if the 4 of us stick to our guns, so we must keep our intentions firm and continue to create works.
I want you to envision various scenes through us on tour
――You will be soon be on your 「STANDARD」 hall tour, your biggest tour so far.
MAMI: I think there will be many people that who be seeing SCANDAL for the first time, as well as those who are going to a live itself for the first time. There’s space for everyone at the hall tour, so I’d be happy if everyone goes crazy, looks closer, and enjoys themselves in their own ways. Even we don’t yet know the set list with the new album songs added in, so we’re really looking forward to it too.
HARUNA: I think the scenes the audience can see through us will be completely different by us performing the new songs off of『STANDARD』. I’d be happy if they’d envision various scenes through us.
RINA: Right now we’re discussing the stage set and outfits unique to the tour. It’s turning out really well. What you’ll see on the hall tour will be a show that’s different from our live house tours, so we want you to look forward to this too.
TOMOMI: This time we’re going to many places for the first time, and we’re going to all of the members’ home towns! It’s our first time going to Nara, so we want locals there to come out! We’re able to do tours in Japan and overseas every year, because there are audiences. We want to keep doing this forever. We want to do lives that will meet the expectations of people coming, so please come out!!