Congratulations to SCANDAL, who are celebrating the 5th year anniversary of their major debut today in Japan!
In commemoration, Japanese music site Excite Music interviewed the band regarding their anniversary. Here is part one of the interview.
The things that have accumulated in the 5 years they’ve run through
Five years have passed since SCANDAL made their debut with their single 『DOLL』, released on October 22, 2008. Some think it’s already 5 years, and some think it’s not yet 5 years. These girls have certainly run through these 5 years. They’ve released 17 singles and 5 albums, and they’ve also achieved their goal from when they intially formed: playing an independent performance at Osaka-Jo Hall. Becoming 20-somethings from teenagers, they’ve grown from girls to women. While looking at their past artist pictures and album jackets, what feelings do the girls embrace, and what do they see when they look back now? I got to talk leisurely with the 4.
「Our expressions were really about a level 1 (laughs)」 RINA
October 22, 2008. Do you remember if there was anything that made your debut day memorable?
I left the house as usual (laughs).
I think I went to campaign by myself.
That’s right, you did! 3 of us were still going to school, so HARU went by herself to campaign.
That’s why it was surprisingly ordinary for us (laughs).
But from there we suddenly appeared on 『MUSIC STATION』 (TV Asahi).
How were the reactions?
My high school friends were really supportive. But even if we looked like performers to everyone, it’s not like we were necessarily so. We appeared on TV, played lives, had fans. But I wasn’t treated any differently; I was very happy about that because I don’t like it when attitudes change strangely. That’s why I have a very peaceful memory.
I’d like to continue step-by step. The jacket of your debut single 『DOLL』 had an impact, didn’t it?
It’s not CG; it’s us wearing wigs, which were really heavy. They had wires in them and were sprayed stiff. At any rate, they were heavy. To make matters worse, I was suspended by wires. I really used my abs. My head heavy and my abs hurting; this is actually my painful face (laughs).
But our expressions were really about a level 1 (laughs). It was trial and error. Other than our expressions, to make it look flashy we used that kind of set, hairstyles, and uniforms. As we really didn’t show our faces during our indie days, we used that sort of makeup, and that really was our first shoot. That’s why we were a bit nervous… but we were told that you couldn’t see our faces anyway.
Not showing your faces, as girls you didn’t think 「Ehー!?」?
For our artist picture too, the 4 of us were lined up in our uniforms and you couldn’t see our faces. ‘But, being able to only see your profile, weren’t you really bothered!?’ Not being able to see our faces and wearing uniforms, I wonder if we can perform properly like that? It was kind of like that (laughs). So, I had simply thought, 「I wonder if we’ll be worried about this」. Not being able to see our faces and just our hair felt cool.
BECR (BEAT CRUSADERS) was playing at that time (laughs). Since we objectively knew not showing our faces＝us being worried, we thought it might have been good for a moment.
Where are those uniforms?
In a warehouse.
We wore them for the first time in a while last year when we announced 「We’re playing at Osaka-Ho Hall!」 at Shiroten.
But when I recall the year of our debut, I think it was the most hectic and most tiresome. We didn’t take it easy. I was in my second year of high school, so school was pretty big.
It was like, “First, what do I do about this test!?” because there are no credits. It was a level at which if you’re late one more time, you won’t get your diploma.
It’s not good to have work on weekdays and not rest, so the credits dwindle fast.
Of course there were tests where you got zero points (laughs).
And there are exams when you transfer schools. I died. Really (laughs). There was only a week to study, and what’s more, (the admission acceptance rate) was four times that. At any rate, all of it was tough.
The 3 of us couldn’t get away from school, and HARUNA went around the areas herself. 「DOLL」 had quite a power play, and we made the rounds nationwide.
We did (laughs).
But HARU changed due to that. MCs at lives, and speaking during interviews. Her shyness percentage fell fast.
She really became good at talking to people. That was a plus; she pulled us and we felt that we could follow along.
Were you conscious of that?
The activities simply became enjoyable. Until now they were things that came with the goal of our debut, and by debuting there was a changing moment where it was very real and we realized, 「We’re able to do this kind of work」. But looking back on it, it was (back then) awesome to have appeared on 『MUSIC STATION』 (laughs).
That was awesome (laughs).
Although we felt like we were there without knowing why (laughs).
But I really liked our 「DOLL」 performance. You could feel a lot of spirit in that 2 minute performance.
Because, without thinking, we thought of it as a live and did it like that instead of a TV recording. I thought it was obvious. We take a lot of things into consideration now, such as how the camera blocking is, which angles can be shot from, and where we’re told to look. I think there was a coolness simply because we didn’t do that well back then.
「I’ll never forget that scenery」 MAMI
You released your 2nd single 『SAKURA Goodbye』 in March 2009. Was your production pretty packed?
It had already been recorded by the time 『DOLL』 came out.
Where did you shoot this cover jacket?
Showa Memorial Park in Tachigawa.
It was so cold!
This tree was a dried-up, dead tree with not a single sakura in bloom (laughs). The girls who were extras were waiting in the cold for a while.
We lined up in front of this dead tree and took this as a graduation-like photo. The things we talked about while shooting were 「There are no flowers」, and 「I wish this had been done at a studio」 (laughs).
It was so cold that everyone would have an about-to-die look on their face each time the wind blew (laughs).
But it was fun (laughs). I won’t forget that shoot.
In the end, the sakura were added as CG afterward.
Well, shooting in front of a dead tree was the concept to begin with. However, for 「SAKURA Goodbye」 it was cold and our faces died (laughs), so it turned out to be a slightly scary photo.
It was cloudy and the photo was dark overall.
But, although it was cloudy when we were shooting, I think it got sunny after finishing the shoot. Wasn’t it sunny when we were heading back?
I think the sun was setting (laughs).
Maybe we summoned the rain from then on (laughs)!
Because it was 『Shoujo S』 after that. It’s really raining in the music video (laughs).
Although it was sunny that day, we sent for the rain (laughs).
However, 「DOLL」 and 「Shoujo S」 are still songs that are indispensible at lives.
We play 「DOLL」 every time.
Compared to back then, I think 「DOLL」 has grown tremendously at lives. We didn’t have towels spin in the beginning, and there was no allowance for hand clapping either. Our songs have evolved at the same time we’ve been able to do many different things.
You can’t really feel an age in these songs. The lyrics were written at that time, and when you compare 「SAKURA Goodbye」 , 「Shoujo S」, and such, we can still sing them even now.
Going a bit faster, that year in October your first album 『BEST★SCANDAL』 was released.
Since TOMOMI and MAMI were graduating when 『SAKURA Goodbye』 came out, I felt that after that point we could be a real band.
Our range of activities also widened when the 4 of us moved to Tokyo.
As someone who has watched you since your debut, the release of this first album made me happy (laughs).
I’m happy (laughs)!
Because our first album is really great.
It’s really great! Since at that time we still didn’t know how to make an album, we thought, “I can’t believe it’s this hard!” while we were making it. We’d be happy each time we’d complete one song, but there were changes to the lyrics until the very last second, and it was difficult to bring the team’s opinions together. I had thought that while watching the adults arguing with each other. But, we learned a lot with this one piece.
This one year was the first time we had had so much work, so we didn’t know at all what would be a good efficiency for us. That’s why there were times when an adult would say 「good」, we would think it’d be okay. It was hard in that sense, but I think in a sense it was pure.
Nowadays, your live mobilization has perceptibly grown.
I feel that our first one-man tour was the best. Nagoya was the first day, and even now I haven’t forgotten the moment we left that.
We were so nervous (laughs)!
I’ll never forget that scenery. Although we’ve played at large places like the Nippon Budokan and Osaka-Jo Hall and saw a couple of thousands or tens of thousands of people, I think the most nervous I’ve been was seeing those couple hundred people at Nagoya’s Club Quattro.
Being in that venue that day, that moment, with people coming to see us was all a first time for us. Until then the opening bands and our audience was the smallest, and there were parts where we tried to appeal to the people who had come to see the other bands, so a one-man live felt like “home” to us. It became routine that there were people humming our songs and watching us with a smile; that was such a happy space.
Also, after that first day in Nagoya, our director that has been with us since before our debut really praised us. We were in tears.
That was the first time.
He was always angry, saying, 「No matter how many times I say it, it’s always the same thing!」, and always getting angry at us like a dad (laughs). I won’t forget him saying 「That was great」, crying while being moved. Well, he’s gotten mad after that (laughs).
(laughs). But the 4 of us were really pleased after that. It also turned into a DVD, and at the final show, our Christmas performance, we say 「We’ll take you along to Osaka-Jo Hall」.
We did, we did (laughs).
That was at Ebisu Liquid Room, wasn’t it?
That was scary.
That invincible feeling then was awesome (laughs).
Nowadays, your live mobilization has perceptibly grown.
No, no, we’re a little bit more grown up now, so we’ve reached the point where we can still consider it(laughs).
We really thought that, and said that (laughs).
There wasn’t anything we were afraid of.
There was only unsubstantiated confidence.
Being young is wonderful (laughs)!