asianbeat - Interview Now ~ SCANDAL MAMI ~
Posted on Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:09 pm

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Interview Now ~ SCANDAL MAMI ~

On 15th February 2017, the globally famous girl band "SCANDAL" released a jam-packed compilation album called "SCANDAL" to celebrate 10 years since their formation. From March until July they will be on a nationwide tour that will take them to every corner of Japan! Guitarist and vocalist MAMI was in Fukuoka for promo work, so we caught up with her to find-out about their album release, recording new tracks, touring abroad and what she likes to get up to on her days off! We also have signed cards to give away! Keep on reading to be in with a chance of winning one of these great prizes!


We all got very excited when when we were putting it together!


asianbeat (ab): It's been 10 years since the band formed, congratulations and happy anniversary! You released your compilation album "SCANDAL" on 15th February 2017, so how are you feeling?

Thanks a lot! There were some people who queued up outside the record stores from early in the morning to get a copy and others who had pre-ordered online. It was great! I think this is our strongest album yet, so I hope that everyone will listen to it straight away.

ab: The album contains 34 songs chosen by fans and 2 new tracks, making 36 in total. What did you think when you saw the results of the voting?

I think it was the same for all 4 of us. We were in agreement when we saw the results. It was kind of like "I thought this would happen," and "yeah, that makes sense." I guess maybe it's because we perform live a lot, many tracks that ranked well were songs that are popular in our live shows. That was really awesome! Seeing those rankings made me think back and reflect on the scenes I've come across when playing live and the reactions we've got from our fans.

ab: How did it feel when you were producing the album? It's been 10 years since you started, so did it bring back a lot of memories?

This is a two disk album and we all spoke about what kind of tracks we wanted to go on each disk. We tried to divide the songs out equally and get a good balance so that people would want to listen to both equally. That was super fun to do (lol)!
It was so much fun discussing it! We laid down the 34 tracks out to see how they would work with the new tracks. And until then we hadn't really had a chance to listen back to our music from the last 10 years. There are a lot of songs that have evolved as we've performed them live, so it was a bit like "oh, we used to play the intro like that" and "yeah, it was like that back then." We all got very excited when when we were putting it together.

ab: If you could pick just one song from the album, what would it be and why?

Well, from the perspective of the band, it would have to be "Shojo S (少女S)." It was a theme tune for the anime "BLEACH," and after it was released we got lots of chances to perform at events, such as anime festivals overseas. We went to Asia quite a few times and I think a lot of people found out who we were through that song.

And then the director Hiroshi Shinagawa shot a video for that track with us performing in a downpour. After that a lot of people were saying "I know SCANDAL, they're the group wearing school uniforms in the rain in that music video, right?" That video really had a big impact. So it was that song and video that really got people to sit up and pay attention.


ab: Yeah, that video with you in uniforms had such a big impact! MAMI, you composed the new tracks "FREEDOM FIGHTERS" and "HELLO," what kind of emotion went into them?

"HELLO" was actually a track that we produced about a year and a half ago. During that winter we made about 5 or 6 songs. They were all kind of bright, positive tracks, but "HELLO" was one which had a slightly different vibe. At that time, we said "may be this song should be released at a different time, let's put it aside for now." And in the end we decided to put it on this compilation album.

The album arrived in stores on Valentine's Day and so we felt like we wanted to try to incorporate a kind of warm, loving vibe. We also wanted to add a new track. In contrast to "HELLO," we wanted to include a real rock tune that a crowd could go wild for, and that's we why kept saying to ourselves lets make sure that "FREEDOM FIGHTERS" has a "rock band" kind of sound!


ab: All the members of the band were involved in composing and writing your album "YELLOW," which was released last year. Did you have any difficulties or challenges creating the tracks?

I didn't get the impression there were any real issues making "YELLOW." I think the production ran very smoothly. Up until then we wouldn't usually do much in terms of pre-production work in the studio prior to recording when weren't actually composing tracks. But for that album we would go into the studio to work on arrangements, think about what we'd put together and then record what we had in the booth. The recording process ended up working something like that. For that album, there was a definite increase in terms of the amount that we exchanged ideas and opinions. And we recorded in real-time, on the spot. It was a weight off our shoulders and there was a happy atmosphere amongst all of us when made the album.

ab: There are so many bands and people starting out on musical instruments who look up to "SCANDAL." What's the knack for improving on an instrument? Do you have tips for beginners looking to getting better?

When we started out, there were lots of songs that we played. We copied songs that were popular at that time, tracks that we knew and music that we heard on TV. We would basically try playing any songs. That really made a difference. Just go to a studio and try to make some sounds! That's such a great feeling! If you have a band, get into a studio and really rock out! Then you'll really start seeing how much fun it can be!


There are comments coming from people in all kinds of locations, which has been a lovely surprise!


ab: Last year's headlining European tour "SCANDAL TOUR 2016 'YELLOW' IN EUROPE" is still fresh in the memory, but since then you have had lots of gigs overseas. What do you most look forward to when you travel abroad?


Trying the local food. That’s a topic that we have to speak about! Just before we went to Taiwan, everyone was talking about the shaved ice at "Ice Monster," so we all wanted to go and try one. Basically, we are all really into food.

Sometimes when we have spare time, we like to go out and find a music store. I've been to Turkey before, but seeing rows of music stores in the cities selling traditional instruments and the role they play in people's lives was something that surprised me. Here we have the shakuhachi (flute) and shamisen (lute), but in Japan we don't have many opportunities to actually come into contact with those kinds of instruments. So I was really impressed by that. Even young people could sing old nursery rhymes and folk songs off the top of their heads.

ab: People overseas seem to enjoy music with their entire bodies! You've performed in lots of places throughout Asia, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Are there any places you are interested in or would like to visit?

Yeah, I love Thailand! And I love Thai food. Last time we were in Thailand while we were receiving media coverage, all the staff was out riding elephants! I thought to "I want to ride an elephant!" (lol)!.


ab: Maybe the next time you perform in Thailand, we'll get to see you riding an elephant on social media or on your blog (lol)!

Haha! Yeah, maybe!

ab: It seems that you get a lot of comments from overseas on your official YouTube channel and on your twitter page!

Yeah, there are loads! And on Instagram, too! There are comments from Asia, Europe, America and South America, so it seems like they are coming from people in all kinds of locations, which is a lovely surprise! When I see the locations, it make me so happy to think that people are listening to the tracks in those parts of the world!

ab: Do you have any unforgettable experiences or interesting stories from your performances overseas?

Oh, there's been lots of stuff (lol)! I think that when it comes to the experiences abroad, people tend to place importance on taking time to rest. During their lunch break, they make sure to rest properly or some might even return home to see their family. It was at one of those times that we got to a venue and the stage wasn't quite ready. Of course everyone works hard and does their job, it's just that there is a slightly different approach (compared to Japan).

ab: You must have been a little worried! Did they manage to get it set up in time?

It was all done in time. You know the saying "When in Rome…," so we went along with it and I think that kind of culture is so lovely. In Japan, we often get a bit agitated and fidgety, so I think it would be wonderful if we could take some time to ourselves, place more value on resting, and really cherish our families more.

ab: Yeah, definitely! If it's alright, we'd like to shift the topic from overseas travel to Fukuoka. Is there anything you look forward to when you visit?

I like the Fukuoka night life and the atmosphere around Nakasu. In Tokyo, or Nagoya, which is where I'm originally from, it's hard to find yatai (food stalls) where you can eat stuff like ramen or gyoza dumplings on the spot. That's why I'm really into "yatai culture" and street food. Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya have quite a different feeling to Fukuoka. I like Fukuoka's urban vibe, I find it very exciting.


ab: If that's the kind of food you're into, take a look at asianbeat's "Fukuoka Ramen MAP (>> Click HERE!)," where we introduce lots of yatai and great places to find ramen! Your nationwide tour "SCANDAL no 47 Todofuken Tour" will include 53 performances and is about to get under way in Kumamoto on March 11th! How are you feeling about it?

I am looking forward to it so so much! We all wanted to do something huge, so we can't wait for this "SCANDAL no 47 Todofuken Tour" to get going. We've done events and promos in Gifu, Kochi, Miyazaki, and Saga, but haven't headlined a show in any of those prefectures yet so I can't wait to do it! The tour will last from March to July and the seasons change during that time. So we'll adapt our set list so that it suits both Spring and Summer. We have 36 songs to choose from, I wonder how we will put the running order together! It's going to be super fun!


My routine has been to go to shops that sell cloth, go back home, make little pouches and do some embroidery.


ab: What are you hobbies? Is there anything you're really into at the moment?


I'm totally into making pouches and doing embroidery (lol)! I've made so many pouches without even realizing! I also sometimes make them when I'm listening to my favorite music. I go to stores that sell cloth to find the material for the pouches. And find myself saying, "oh, that's nice" and "oh, that's good, too" (lol)! As for nails and fashion, I like to add a little color. I used to have nothing on my nails and wear black and white outfits a lot. Now I like to add warm, bright colors that reflect the season, somewhere in my look.

ab: There's a lot of people who pay attention to your style and what you're wearing. But where do you get your inspiration from?

When we go abroad I try to pick-up on what the local kids are wearing. When we were on tour in Europe we went around secondhand clothes stores. I try to research what's popular and the incorporate it into what I'm wearing. That's how I usually do it.


ab: By the way, what do you usually get up to on your days off?

Recently my routine has been to go to shops that sell cloth, go back home, make little pouches and do some embroidery. I've kind of been on a bit of a loop (lol).

When we are off for 2 to 3 days straight, if it's cold I'll try to make a curry or a stew, food that will keep for a while. Sometimes, when I'm making a curry, I'll slightly re-arrange it and turn it into a doria. I cook what I feel like, so sometimes I change what I'm preparing.

ab: Are there any dishes that you’ve tried abroad that you've found delicious, or anything that you want to try and make?

There is! In local gift stores you can find kits to help you make dishes, like tom yum goong (Thai soup). They sell pastes so that you can create the taste yourself. I want to buy something like that and take it back home. I really do think that I want to try and make that kind of thing!
Whether you are watching or listening, I think it's always super important to have a good time.

ab: It's the bands 10 year anniversary, do you have any goals for the future? Is there anything you want to do?

Yeah! There are stages I want to perform on and many places that are waiting for us to visit. Whether it's domestic or overseas, performing live is such an important thing, I want to keep doing it. It might not be possible to go abroad so often. Last year's European tour was our first time touring around many European cities. If we have the chance to tour overseas again, we'd like to stop in even more places around Europe, Asia, etc. That would be so awesome!

ab: MAMI, this time you came to Fukuoka alone, do you have a message for the rest of the band?

Well, it's been 10 years, let's keep going! I just wanted to say that again (lol)! That's not really something I would say to their faces (lol)!

ab: Yeah, I get it (lol). Hopefully the other members will have a chance to see this interview! Finally, do you have a message or any thoughts you want to share with your fans?

I'm really conscious to perform "spellbinding live" shows. When you perform live at a big venue, though the mood can change depending on the stage, outfits and time of the performance, whether you are watching or listening, I think it's always super important to have a good time. I want the audience to have great time in all kinds of ways.



http://asianbeat.com/en/feature/interview/47.html


This was originally posted in English--oddly enough, it does sound a bit like a translation I would write, lol. Also, I hope MAMI doesn't actually go and ride elephants :(


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2011.07.03 SCANDAL @ AM2 -Anaheim, CA 2012.03.28 SCANDAL vs BUDOKAN @武道館 2012.11.03+04 SCANDAL HALL TOUR 2012 @愛知 2012.11.10 SCANDAL @ Happy MUSIC Live 2012 2013.03.03 SCANDAL OSAKA-JO HALL 2013 @大阪城ホール 2014.06.01 Honolulu Ekiden & Music 2014 2014.06.02 SCANDAL Fan Meeting 2015.04.25 SCANDAL WORLD TOUR 2015「HELLO WORLD」 -Paris, FR 2015.04.26「HW」-London, UK 2015.04.30「HW」-Essen, GER 2015.05.15「HW」-Chicago, IL 2015.05.20「HW」-Mexico City, MEX 2015.05.22「HW」-Los Angeles, CA 2015.05.23「HW」-Anaheim, CA 2016.01.12+13 SCANDAL ARENA TOUR『PERFECT WORLD』@武道館2016.05.21 Welcome Fan Meeting 2016.05.22 SCANDAL @ Honolulu Ekiden & Music 2016 2016.05.23 Farewell Fan Meeting 2016.08.21 SCANDAL 10th ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL @泉大津フェニックス 2017.07.14+15+17 SCANDAL's 47 Prefecture Tour
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