InqPOP! Interview: Japanese rock band ‘SCANDAL’ excited to meet their Filipino fans

June 05th, 2018

After years of clamor from fans, all-female Japanese rock band SCANDAL is set to perform for the first time in the Philippines!

The band will be in the country as part of their Asia Tour and to promote their latest album Honey. They will have a Fan Meet at Luna and Hidalgo Function Rooms, World Trade Center on June 23 and will perform for a one-night concert at the SMX Convention Center on June 24.

Haruna Ono (vocals and rhythm guitar), Mami Sasazaki (lead guitar), Tomomi Ogawa (bass), and Rina Suzuki (drums) formed the band in 2006. They used to play live street performances until they were noticed and signed by an indie record label. Eventually, they were signed by Epic Records Japan in 2008 and then released their major debut single “Doll.”

From top to bottom: Mami (lead), Rina (drums), Tomomi (bass), and Haruna (vocals).

Their major debut album “Best Scandal” ranked #5 on the Oricon weekly chart, making them the first girl band since Zone to have a debut album in the Top 5. They’re also the first girl band in 23 years to perform a two-day stint at Yokohama Arena (aired on WOWOW) and the first Asians to do the Windows 8 commercial and were interviewed by ABC and CNN in America.

SCANDAL is one of the notable all-female rock bands in Japan who performed in sold out concerts across the world and built a solid international fanbase. They are also known for performing theme songs for several anime, including “Shōjo S” and “Harukaze” for Bleach and “Shunkan Sentimental” for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

12 years since the band’s formation, SCANDAL continues to fortify their career as an all-female rock band and InqPOP! got a chance to ask what keeps them going after all these years. They also shared a message to their Filipino fans for their upcoming concert. Check out the full transcript below:


How do you think you evolved as a band (in terms of your music, performing, songwriting) since your debut in 2006?

MAMI: 正直初めは、デビューしたりこんなに長く続けることになるとは思っていませんでした。もっと軽い気持ちで向き合っていた気がします。ですが今ではもう、バンドが青春であり人
MAMI: Honestly, in the beginning, after our debut I didn’t think that we would make it this far. This band is our life and I’m very positive about it.


What do you like most about being a musician? What do you think is the hardest part of it?

HARUNA: ライブでファンの方たちと一緒に盛り上がってるときが1番楽しい!大変なのは、曲作りや制作かな。
HARUNA: The excitement of our fans during live performances is the best. The hardest part would be the songwriting and the production.


There are only a few all-female rock bands out there, what is it like to be representing women in a male-dominated genre?

RINA: ガールズバンドであることで、困ったことはそんなにありません。とはいえ、バンドってまだまだ男社会だしなかなかばっちりハマる仲間が出来なかったり孤独なこともあるけど、全部を強みに変えて女性にしかできない音楽をやっていきたい。何より私は本当に” ガールズバンド”であることに誇りを持っています。もっとガールズバンドが世界中に広がれば嬉しいし、自分たちのことを色んなひとに知ってもらいたいですね。
RINA: There are other female rock bands out there so there’s really no problem. Even if bands are male-dominated, I still want to make music that shows the strength of women. More than anything, I am really proud to be in a female band. I am really happy that more female bands are expanding worldwide, and I want more people to know about us.


You’ve been together as a band for 12 years now. What keeps you going?

MAMI: 結成してから喧嘩という喧嘩はしたことがないと思います。
MAMI: We’ve never been in a fight since the band started. Of course, there are some heated discussions about production and that’s about it. In private, the four of us often go out to eat together. We also contact each other every day.

RINA: 2018年でバンド結成から12年、メジャーデビューから10年が経ちます。一緒に住んでいたこともあるし、ほとんど毎日のように顔を合わせているけれど、良い距離感を保って過ごす時期があるのも長くバンドを続けられてきた秘訣かなと思います。お互いの性格を理解し支え合うことができるので、恥ずかしくてなかなか直接は言えないけど、いつもありがとうって思っています。
RINA: 2018 is the 12th year since the band’s formation, 10th year since our major debut. We live together, we see each other every day, and I think that the secret why the band lasted this long is we are always connected.


You have been on tours not only in Japan but also around the world. What do you feel when you see international fans singing along to your songs and proudly supporting you despite the difference in language?

TOMOMI: 音楽が共通言語になる瞬間。自分たちの曲の意味を知るために日本語を勉強してくれている人たちもいて、その愛や情熱にいつも救われてます。すごく嬉しい。いつもありがとう!
TOMOMI: It feels like music makes us one. Some people are studying Japanese to understand the meaning of our song, we appreciate that kind of love and passion. I am really happy. Thank you!


What is the inspiration behind your recent album ‘HONEY’? How does it differ from your previous albums? Any favourite song from the whole album?

RINA: “ガールズバンドだからこそできる音楽”を意識しながら作れたアルバムです。女性が持つ色気や甘さ、毒っ気を音楽やアートワーク全てに散りばめて、満足いく最高の1枚が出来上がりました。
RINA: This album shows “the sound of an all-female band”. We incorporated a woman’s sex appeal, her sweetness and danger into the music and artwork. I gave my best and I’m really satisfied.

MAMI: プラットホームシンドローム
MAMI: Platform Syndrome. This song made the entire album complete.

TOMOMI: 窓を開けたら
TOMOMI: Mado wo aketara. I was going through a rough time when I wrote this song. When the album was released, I felt like those negative feelings were lifted. I also like its romantic sound.


For many years, there has been a clamor from your Filipino fans for you to perform here in the Philippines. What message can you give your Filipino fans who are eager to see you on your upcoming show?

RINA: 長い間おまたせしました!やっと会える!私たちも凄く嬉しいです。最高のライブを届けに行くので、一緒に楽しみましょう!
RINA: Finally, we’ll meet at last. We know that you have been waiting for a long time that is why we will give our best during our live performance. Let’s all enjoy!

HARUNA: いつもツイッターなどでたくさんメッセージを貰っているので、初めて行けることになってすごく嬉しいです!楽しみに待っていてください!
HARUNA: Since we always receive a lot of messages from you in Twitter, I am very happy to go there for the first time! Please look forward to it!


Animax is the Official TV Partner of SCANDAL Asia Tour ‘Honey’ in Manila. Tickets can be bought online at SM Tickets.

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