Interview by Marc Bowie
August 20, 2018
SCANDAL seem to get better with every passing year, and 2018 saw the release of their sweetly-satisfying yet hard-hitting eighth album, HONEY, which they supported with an extensive tour of Japan and stops in new territories like China and the Philippines. The band are set to bring their always energetic and SCANDALicious live show to the U.S. and Mexico in September for a six-concert tour next month.
What’s the reason you decided to call this tour “Special Thanks”?
Rina (drums/vocal): October 22nd, 2018, will mark our 10-year anniversary since our debut. Up until this point, we hadn’t consciously done any specific activities surrounding our debut day but “10 years” is definitely a number that holds a special weight… we named this tour “Special Thanks” with the feeling of “thank you” for having the opportunity to continue in music and also for the support from our fans! We will be sure to make this the best tour!
It seems like many of the love songs on HONEY are about figuring out your true feelings. Why was that an important topic on this album?
Haruna (vocal/guitar): I’m happy to hear that you got that impression from the theme of HONEY. I think rather than consciously inserting that specific theme into the album specifically, the overall theme of “understanding your honest feelings” has always been at the core of our identity as a band. We take in what’s reality for us at a special moment and turn it into a song… I also think “understanding your honest feelings” is something that’s really important in our daily lives as well.
What topics are your favorite to write about? Do you prefer to write about personal things, or things you see happening in the world with other people?
Rina: We usually write about what we want to say or what we are thinking about at in those moments when we’re putting the songs together. With HONEY, I feel like we were able to express our hobbies and personal interests. We usually write songs that surround a certain emotional theme, our experiences, and our feelings, but I like that we were able to take the chance to focus on things you wouldn’t expect. There are a lot of surprises.
Rina and Mami, which part of a song do you usually write first when you partner together, the lyrics or the music?
Rina: Majority of our songs start with the lyrics first. Lately, it’s been more of Mami adding the melodies to the lyrics that I’ve written.
Mami, there’s a lot of passion in your performance of “OVER”. How often do you prepare your guitar fills and solos in advance, or how often do you improvise during recording?
Mami (guitar/vocal): When we’re in the process of making music, everything down to the arrangement is made as a demo, so with “OVER”, I was already thinking about my guitar fills and solos from the demo stages. There are times when those guitar fills and solos change in the actual recording studio, but this particular solo was already thought out by the time we got there. I was one hundred percent ready to go for it.
Tomomi, what’s your process for creating your bass parts to a new song? Do you start right away as soon as you hear the demo?
Tomomi (bass/vocal): I usually think, “What type of groove would sound really cool here?” and from there I play around with both aggressive and gentle styles while developing the song until I find just the right approach.
Haruna, you perform a variety of vocal styles on HONEY on songs like “Platform Syndrome” and “Short Short.” Did you set a challenge for yourself to make changes for these songs? How do you pick the right vocal style for a new song?
Haruna: Singing in the same style all the time is boring, in my opinion, so lately I’ve been challenging myself to sing in different vocal styles for different songs. We don’t box ourselves into one genre… we make different types of songs, so I challenge myself to sing in different ways so that I can really convey the true essence of each song.
Since HONEY was released in February, you’ve had the chance to perform these songs live. What song has changed the most in live performance?
Mami: All of our songs look and sound differently when performed live, but “ELECTRIC GIRL” has created this scene of fans who swing their towels around their heads! So, many of our songs are growing and expanding at our live shows!
How does touring inspire your songwriting? What type of new material are you working on right now?
Haruna: We’re songwriting all the time while touring! Every day while on tour we discuss things like “This song would be nice to add to our setlist,” or “This song would sound great after this song,” or “This is the type of melody we want,” and we make use of these discussions in our actual production.
SCANDAL members are active in other artistic fields like fashion and photography. How do those activities help inspire you musically?
Tomomi: There are many people who know us from social media, but I feel like in comparison with the past, we’ve had different types of people line up for our shows. It makes us excited to play for new listeners any time we can.
SCANDAL begins their USA tour on September 5 in New York City. Check out their message to fans on their official Facebook page.
September 5, New York, NY – The PlayStation Theater
September 7, San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
September 9, Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
September 12, Monterrey, Mexico – Escena
September 14, Mexico City, Mexico – El Plaza Condesa
September 16, Dallas, TX – The Bomb Factory
SCANDAL Website: http://www.scandal-4.com
SCANDAL Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scandalofficial
SCANDAL Twitter: https://twitter.com/scandal_band
SCANDAL Instagram: https://instagram.com/scandal_band_official
SCANDAL YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/scandalSMEJ