Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview
Posted Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:35 am



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The band message set forth by SCANDAL: 「We want to make an era where "Girls Rock" is lined up next to "Rock"」

Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview 8q3ip1f

SCANDAL held a world tour last year, held their arena tour 『PERFECT WORLD』 during the year-end and New Year holidays, and showed confidence as a band of heroic proportions. Their new album 『YELLOW』 is a first-time ambitious work with all lyrics and music written by the members, and the newness felt at the time of the release of their singles 『Stamp!』 and 『Sisters』 further expanded their width. It's an album where you can feel their maturity as a band with its center being a sound that's been lowered with a jerk. They'll be welcoming their tenth anniversary this August. We asked the four of them who are headed to a new road as a band.

「We chewed influences from abroad and have been able to perfectly make Japanese music by ourselves right now」 (RINA)

ーー『YELLOW』 is your first album where all of the tracks are comprised of member-made ones. Was it made originating from that concept?

MAMI: We originally had the conversation, 「We want to make an album where all of the lyrics and music are done by us」, but we specifically didn't think about that at that time. However, our motivation for making music has gone up within these past 2~3 years. Since the things that we're able to do and can do have grown, we naturally accumulated songs. There are also songs that we made for the album, but we also included songs that were finished two years ago. The periods are all over the place.

ーーAt the time of your previous album 『HELLO WORLD』, a change that you were heading towards a Western sound was felt. I felt that tendency even more strongly with this album. Was there an awareness or attempts during production?

Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview G1Xz498

HARUNA: There have been influences taken from Western music during these past 1~2 years, and having our world tour was a huge thing. Regarding sound, we wanted to adopt the music from various countries. For the lyrics, on the other hand, we respect the beauty in the Japanese language; we made a mix of the merits of both sides. When we were recording, we listened to international artists and were aware of things like, 「How would you record this sound?」 while creating sounds. Secretly, we also had feelings like, 「I want to record overseas」 (laughs). We've come to be able to send out sounds clearly from us.

RINA: That awareness got stronger after doing 『HELLO WORLD』. The four of us making this album means that we chewed influences from abroad and were able to make Japanese music perfectly by ourselves right now. In relation to recording, there are specifically a few things that we did that were different than anything we did before. We turned down the temperature in the studio in the middle of winter and recorded with no moisture in the air. The drums for 「LOVE ME DO」 were all recorded in single tones. How I did it was that I recorded the full chorus with just the snare, and the full chorus with just the kick drum. I turn the other microphones off and dynamically record each sound at a time. I've come to be able to record more clearly by doing that. We included things recorded fully using the latest technology, as well as things that were done in an analog way like the four of us recording in one shot, into one album; it's also a feature of this album's sound.

ーーStarting from award-winning engineers such as Tom Lord-Alge and Jeff Boulding, and also Mark Gardner (Ride's vocalist and guitarist), prominent engineers and producers have worked on your mixes.

RINA: If we were put that kind of essence into it, we thought, 「We should do it with the real deal!」 We were particular about that.

ーーI think breaks and textures, and an ensemble-like fun is also one of SCANDAL's appeals. There are many songs that show those variations of rhythm.

TOMOMI: We did various rhythmic challenges like reggae, Motown, ska punk......

ーーThe song 「LOVE」 that has an impressive rhythm features lyrics and music by TOMOMI.

TOMOMI: Our love songs so far comparatively have a bitter feeling to them and many are like "break-up" ones. I thought I'd try writing a harmonious one and began making it. It's kind of like, you've gone through many experiences and you've finally found the person that makes you say 「This person is the one」...... That said, I was able to write a natural, every day love song that's not too passionate. It's also a song where I challenged myself to do a rhythm closer to reggae or rocksteady, so I think it's become a song that we can play for a long time.

ーー「SUKI-SUKI」, the song you debuted on your arena tour, has a characteristic rhythm and expansion. Performing with a different arrangement live than on the album was impressive.

RINA: Although it was our first time playing it live, we suddenly played it in a live arrangement (laughs). It starts with the bass.

TOMOMI: Nobody notices it's a live arrangement (laughs).

ーー「The recorded track and the live one are different things」 is a very live band-like attitude.

MAMI: We've come to be able to decide on those kinds of things ourselves. We've come to be able to choose what we want to do based on our current mood, do it, and determine that it was the correct choice.

ーー「SUKI-SUKI」 features lyrics and music from MAMI, doesn't it?

Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview RmUMTqa

MAMI: I had made a prototype of this song last summer, but I kind of put it away without finishing it. But, everyone said, 「This song is great; let's use it」, so we put it on the album. I love winter, but the other 3 like summer. That's why I wrote the lyrics, since I wanted them to know of the enjoyment that 「Winter is a liberating season」. I think winter is a season that resets everything that has piled up during the year. You absorb all kinds of things with your cleared heart and welcome springtime. It's a season where you tend to curl yourself up, but I want you to enjoy winter even more. I think it's just wonderful that there are people who know how to enjoy any season. I wrote it thinking of how it'd be great for people to find ways to enjoy the seasons, not just winter, on your own and enjoy each day.

ーー「Heaven na Kibun」 is frankly a 90's alternative rock song with impact.

RINA: It was one of songs completed during the album production's latter half. I had an impression of there being all pop songs present when I looked at the list of songs, so I thought about really wanting to make a cool song and then wrote it. At that time I was listening to prominent grunge bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney. It progressed from an easy-to-understand, distorted sound and the word 「heaven」. After our world tour we had an opportunity to appear in the Turkish music festival 『ABU TV Song Festival 2015』. We spent our time with a good sense of discomfort in Istanbul's mysterious atmosphere that mixes Asia and Europe; my image of it grew. This is a song where the sexy vocals and the very distorted guitar are its highlights.

ーーHARUNA, the way you sing songs has changed, hasn't it?

HARUNA: The falsetto used in the chorus of 「LOVE ME DO」 comes from my core. It was a song that challenged my vocal style. I thought it was very interesting that a girl band was doing a song that sounds like 80's American pop. The lyrics make it a cute and a bit of a sad love song. TOMOMI mentioned this previously, but since we haven't really sang love songs with a feeling of happiness, I think this is also another highlight on this album.

「We've begun to properly calm down and take breaths. It's a rough feeling in a good way.」 (HARUNA)

ーーWhat you gained from your world tour was big. 「Stamp!」 and 「Sisters」 released shortly after that were single songs that were unlike ones you had done before, and we were able to see the band's change on a visual level that had become very natural.

Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview SEIlm1D

TOMOMI: Being natural is our current mode. It was difficult for us to continue staying as we were when we debuted; it was vital for us to change to continue on. It feels like we're pushing out and expressing what we must do right now and what we want to do. But, we don't know what we'll do in the future (laughs). We might return to the same kind of style we had when we debuted, or we might go in a completely different direction. We don't know how we'll be like in the future, so I'm looking forward to that.

MAMI: Experiencing our world tour, we had an increase in the band's degree of freedom. It was able to turn into a 「Let's keep taking it easy; it's better like this」 feeling, and I think we were able to perfectly reflect that in our album. We also went on our arena tour in that mode. Our arena performances so far have been something to commemorate, we put a lot of energy into our outfits and the stage set-up. However, since this time we discussed 「We want to play with the feeling of playing at a live house in arenas too」, we made things very simple. We were able to make the core with our band's current mode.

RINA: From the time we debuted, we've never been a defensive band. We think that there isn't enough happy rock like this in the world right now. That's why our current aggressive stance is just this sunny side. We struggled, gave it our all, and debuted. There was a time when we were directly playing a lot of rock that was easy to understand with minor adjustments. After that, we began to change naturally into a relaxed style little by little...... Through many things, we were reminded of the things that we needed to do at that time. I think we've been able to put out our best no matter the era. Since we've never missed making an album every year once year, [the album] should be able to convey our mood of that year. That's why we also love our past songs; we've gotten all kinds of support from them, and we're very influenced by them--we're who we are now. It feels like everything is an extension of that.

ーーYou'll be celebrating your tenth anniversary in August of this year. Including what'll happen from here on, what is your state of mind like?

HARUNA: To be able to release an album made in this way with only ourselves in this precious year for us makes me very happy. For regular bands it might be seen as being slow to reach this point after ten years, but we've been steadily having all kinds of experiences and have been able to finally make it here, so we wanted to take this opportunity to challenge ourselves with many things. We still have a long way to go. We're really looking forward to what the future holds.

RINA: I think the key to continuing for a long time is looseness. After tightening the screws with all your might, loosen them in a good condition. Now, at this perfect time, a good looseness can come forward since you've tightened them once. Having flexibility like that, and not like that, makes the length of your future completely different. I want to continue on forever while truly having fun.

ーーIncluding how you formed, there are parts where you've walked a slightly different path than regular bands. Your attitudes and ways of thinking towards bands and music are slightly different in a different and good way, and I thought that's really interesting. Flexible, steady, pure. Or rather, there have been many times where I've been taken aback. What RINA said several years ago is very impressive: 「I don't understand the feelings of a band breaking up or a member withdrawing」......

RINA: ......that was a very sharp thing of me to say.

All: (Loud laughter)

ーーIt's wonderful how those words came out without hesitation.

Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview CfasZih

RINA: It's said that girl bands have short lives. We understand those reasons. Continuing being a band for a long time while fulfilling your life as a woman really is something cool. Currently, the band ZELDA was active for 17 years (1979~1996) and is in the Guiness Book of World Records. We want to do our best to be able to update that record. I think it's impossible with half-hearted feelings, but I want us to continue on as a band whose ideas are uninterrupted and seems like it never wants to avert their eyes.

ーーThat's a great atmosphere to include in the band's motivation.

HARUNA: We're very liberal right now. We've stiffened up in the past, but we've begun to properly calm down and take breaths. It's a rough feeling in a good way. We want to always have these feelings from here on.

TOMOMI: We want to be like something that's not visible. We want to stay as a band that stands on the stage and never changes, whether it's playing at a live house or an arena. It'd be great if we could continue to leisurely do music that suits the era and mode we're in.

RINA: We really want to make the genre of girl bands more popular. We have sort of a sense of responsibility in regards to that. It's wasteful to have that image and consciousness that 「girl bands are inferior to guy bands」. We have pride in calling ourselves a girl band. You really understand when you go abroad that it's a culture specific to Japan and that there aren't any other countries that have this many girl bands in action. That's why we want to spread out this movement from Japan even more. It might take time, but we hope to make an era where "Girls Rock" is lined up next to "Rock."


Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview 39iLxaW

2011.7.3 AM2 2012.3.28 SCANDAL vs BUDOKAN 11.3+4 QAT Tour @名古屋 11.10 Happy MUSIC Live 2012 2013.3.3 SCANDAL OSAKA-JO HALL 2013 2014.6.1 HNL Ekiden & Music 2014 6.2 Fan Meeting 2015.4.25 HELLO WORLD @ Paris 4.26 London 4.30 Essen 5.15 Chicago 5.20 MEX 5.22 LA 5.23 Anaheim 2016.1.12+13 PERFECT WORLD 5.21 Welcome Fan Meeting 5.22 HNL Ekiden & Music 2016 5.23 Farewell Fan Meeting 8.21 SCAFes 2017.7.14 47 Prefecture Tour @茨城 7.15 水戸 7.17 東京 2018.9.5 Special Thanks @NY 9.7 SF 9.9 Anaheim 9.12 MTY 9.14 MEX 9.16 TX 2021 KFTD @Paris - London - Berlin 11.11 Toronto 11.13 NY 11.17 Anaheim 11.19 Dallas 11.21 Atlanta
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Re: Real Sound - SCANDAL's 『YELLOW』 Interview
Posted Thu Mar 03, 2016 12:40 pm



Mainstream Artist
Mainstream Artist
Thanks for the translation .wow. I enjoyed it.
So changing the temperature really effect the sound of the instruments?
I hope we get some girl bands here in the U. S,  everyone here is either pop stars or sololist.

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Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer
What a great and insightful interview, learned a lot of things!

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Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer
It's great to hear their mindset on making Yellow and as a band. Impressed with the maturity they've gained through their journey. Looking forward to their present & future!

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Indie Artist
Indie Artist
"RINA:  It's wasteful to have that image and consciousness that 「girl bands are inferior to guy bands」. We have pride in calling ourselves a girl band. You really understand when you go abroad that it's a culture specific to Japan and that there aren't any other countries that have this many girl bands in action. That's why we want to spread out this movement from Japan even more. It might take time, but we hope to make an era where "Girls Rock" is lined up next to "Rock."

This is my favorite part of the interview, you are so right Rina!♥

On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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Caless Student
Caless Student
Exactly the kind of interview I want from them - serious about their artistic vision and creative side.  No one can read this and doubt that they're happier and prouder than ever about the music they're doing. 

Thanks for translation

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