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Hollywood Soapbox - Interview with HARUNA
Posted Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:17 pm



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INTERVIEW: Japan’s Scandal will offer fans a ‘Kiss From the Darkness’ in 2021
Sep 19, 2020

The music industry has been turned upside down because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there are no firm plans on when live gigging can happen like it used to. Rocking crowds, stomping feet and pumping devil horns almost seem like nostalgic visuals from a bygone era at this point.

Scandal, the all-female rock band from Japan, saw their entire North American tour postponed to fall 2021, but like the troopers they are, they are looking to make good on their promise to fans. They will be back to support their new album, Kiss From the Darkness, and when they do, they will be live and in person.

Scandal have been going strong ever since their early days in 2006 in Osaka, Japan. The band members — Haruna on vocals and guitar, Tomomi on bass and vocals, Mami on guitar and vocals, and Rina on drums and vocals — first met in high school, formed Scandal and then eventually were signed by Kitty Records. Over the years, their songs have gathered worldwide fans, and some of these selections have even been used as the theme for successful anime shows — for example, “Shōjo S” and “Harukaze” for Bleach, “Shunkan Sentimental” for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, “Pride” for Star Driver, and “A.M.D.K.J.” for GeGeGe no Kitarō.

Recently Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Scandal’s Haruna about their rescheduled tour and their more than 10 years of making rocking music. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.

How much has COVID-19 disrupted your plans for 2020 and 2021?

The biggest disruption has been with our tour and gigs. We’ve had to cancel all of them. It’s pretty amazing that we’re still able to release our music and artwork online, and connect with people from all over the world. But, live performances of any kind are still very restricted. We love performing live, in front of fans, so I sincerely hope that we can get back on stage sooner rather than later.

When you bring the Kiss From the Darkness tour to the United States in 2021, what can your fans expect?

Especially because we had to postpone the tour, I think it will be very emotional and powerful. Plus, we have more new songs, so the tour will be even better than what was originally planned for 2020.

What’s the rock scene like in Osaka, Japan?

Well, we have been living in Tokyo more than 10 years, so I really can’t tell you the current Osaka music scene. LOL. However, I do know that fans from Osaka are very powerful and very loyal to the bands they love. And the media, including the radio, support young bands a lot, which is often how great musicians from Osaka are found.

How did you first form as a band?

We met at a dance school in Osaka when we were teenagers. One of the instructors from the school suggested that we form a band even though we had never played instruments before. It’s definitely unique compared to how other bands are formed, but I think it’s a miracle that the four of us were connected and have continued to make music together. I love my band mates!

Do you feel that the rock world is too male-dominated? Was it difficult gaining an audience in the early years?

Yes, it’s definitely a male-dominated profession, but we are very proud to be a strong all-female band. And that’s what we want to focus on. I think we are very unique and original, so that’s what we want to showcase. When we first started the band, and we were performing at smaller venues where we shared green rooms with male bands, I remember there was some worries, like finding spaces to change, etc. But the bands that we encountered were very thoughtful and understanding, so we were able to focus on our music. As a band, we are more focused on what we can do, what we can bring to the world as an all-female band, instead of focusing on the difficulty that comes with the territory. I hope everyone can see how we’ve grown and how we’re challenging the rock world as an all-female band. 

Who are some of your rock influences?

We all love music, so I think it’s a very mixed pot. Our influences are artists like Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more recently K-pop artists. But it’s not only music, but their fashion, art, performances; it’s all of these things combined that inspire us.

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