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SCANDAL|A positive dance tune filled with hope, along with what's beyond their 15th anniversary

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Pc_header

SCANDAL has released one more time, their third single released this year.

August 21st was the band's 15th anniversary, as well as the day their solo concert was held at Osaka-Jo Hall. During that concert they unveiled the song "one more time" for the first time. This dance number with positive and happy lyrics rides on a light sound with impressive guitar cutting, and fills the listener's heart with light while vividly conveying the band's current mood.

In this interview with all of the band members, we asked them to talk about their current feelings after celebrating their 15th anniversary, what they felt during their performance at Osaka-Jo Hall, stories about the production of "one more time," and their joint band tour that will be held in October.

Celebrating their 15th anniversary at Osaka-Jo Hall

──SCANDAL, you celebrated your 15th anniversary on August 21st of this year. Congratulations!

HARUNA: Thank you very much. What I'm most happy about is that the four of us have spent this not-so-short time of 15 years together, and that we've been able to keep up our activities.

RINA: We formed with these members who met at the dance school, went out into the world without knowing what being a band was about, and gradually created our own style. I feel that we're once again on top of that story.

MAMI: Yeah. 15 years of experience has greatly influenced who we now, and we're also very happy that we're able to properly affirm that. After accepting everything that's happened so far, we're able to say that we're in top form right now. That's what our 15th anniversary turned out to be.

TOMOMI: The band members, of course, as well as our staff are all in top form right now. Also, getting to meet all of our passionate fans who support us is one of the biggest treasures we've gotten in the past 15 years.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo01

──Your anniversary concert, "SCANDAL 15th ANNIVERSARY LIVE『INVITATION』," was held at Osaka-Jo Hall and live streamed to 53 countries worldwide.

HARUNA: It truly is reassuring to have people around the world who support us. The four of us have progressed as a band, but for this concert it felt like our power was bigger than the four of us.

MAMI: At any rate, it was such a fun concert.

RINA: Yeah. It was so much funー!

HARUNA: Although we've played concerts at Osaka-Jo Hall twice before (#1 - 2013.03; #2 - 2014.06), this is the one we've been most satisfied with. We didn't feel any pressure in playing a concert at such an important place for us—we enjoyed performing naturally with the desire to give back to our fans and staff who have been with us these past 15 years. We were really happy to have a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at this precious place to us.

TOMOMI: Since this was held during the pandemic, I'm sure that those who came out to the venue felt all kinds of emotions. But they thanked us for holding the concert. We're like, "No, no, we're the ones who should be doing the thanking" (laughs). We felt nothing but gratitude during this concert.

──There was one more thing to celebrate since it was RINA's birthday on that same day.

RINA: My birthday being on the same day really is a coincidence. Looking back, me being invited to join the band in the summer of when I was 14 and thinking, "All right, I'll try being in a band with these three" was just because it was my 15th birthday. I still think 15 years later that the choice I made then was correct. It made me very happy getting to celebrate together with everyone the milestone of turning 30.

The selection of songs showed the future rather than looking back

──During the concert you announced the final results of your "VOTE YOUR BEST SONG" song popularity poll that started in the spring.

MAMI: We understand the rankings from 1st to 3rd place, but from 4th place onwards the results were rather surprising. We showed the poll's progress during our tour in April, and there were a lot of songs that made us go, "This song went from that rank to this rank!?" I don't think anyone could have predicted this ranking. It was a very interesting project.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo04

──While reflecting the voting results and drawing the path of your 15 years, your setlist on that day gave off the impression that it was making you clearly feel the current SCANDAL and the SCANDAL that is to come from here on out.

HARUNA: That's right. Rather than looking back on our 15 years, we thought of it as showing who we will be from here on out to those who became fans during these 15 years. Since we were able to reminisce when we hit our 10th anniversary, on this day we chose songs that were suitable for what we want to show going forward.

──The setlist also included two new songs. One song is "one more time," the song that you'll be releasing. The other song is one called "Ao no Naru Yoru no Sukima de" (In the Gaps of the Ringing Blue Night).

RINA: HARU touched on this briefly during the MC before "Ao no Naru Yoru no Sukima de" that all kinds of thoughts were mixed together and many things were lost during the lockdowns last year. We've also lost friends. In that sense it wasn't all good things, but there were also many things that we realized due to it all. I wanted to leave behind those feelings I will never forget in the form of a song, I wrote the lyrics and music impulsively.

──When you hear that song, the faces of your loved ones come to mind. That's the sort of power this song holds.

RINA: I hope it'll be a song that you can listen to while thinking of those who are important to you. When I wrote the song I didn't think we'd be performing it at Osaka-Jo Hall, but I think it was very meaningful getting to perform it on that day. I was very happy that HARUNA did an MC that captures the thoughts I put into the song.

A "bright, dancy song" that affirms happy feelings

──This song "one more time" that you'll be releasing, the moment I heard it live it made me feel ridiculously happy. In your "Ivory" interviews that were posted in June, MAMI said that you wanted to make bright and happy songs going forward—this song is exactly that.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo07

MAMI: That's right. With the creation of "Ivory," I felt that I was able to exhale all the feelings I had accumulated internally this past year—or rather, that I was able to reset my feelings. So, this time I wanted to express a positive and bright side. Also, I've been listening to K-Pop a lot lately, so I thought it would be nice to have a dancy song. Roughly speaking, I made it with the theme of a bright and dancy song. As a result, I feel that I have done what I want to do, and that I am quite satisfied with this song.

──The lyrics were written by RINA. I thought starting it with "Dawn has broken on the long night" was great. The pandemic's still ongoing, but I think it's also important for everyone to be positive and optimistic.

RINA: Although it's still a difficult situation for everyone, I don't think it's necessary to put a stopper on what you like and what you think is fun. It's okay to affirm feeling cheerful and happy. When I thought about it like that, I was able to decide to personally enjoy music once again to the fullest. I wrote the lyrics feeling like, "I'm going to enjoy being in a band to the fullest."

──That's why it's called "one more time."

RINA: Yes. Since the four of us originally wanted to write a song with the title "one more time," this time the title came first. In that sense, I think the lyrics also contain shared feelings between the four of us.

Remember it as "the song that goes 'Shake it up, baby'"

──There's a phrase in the lyrics that go, "Shake it up, baby." When I heard it live, I thought, "Wow, SCANDAL's saying 'Shake it up, baby'!" and got really excited (laughs).

HARUNA: Ahahaha.

MAMI: From the time I began writing the music, the only words that came to mind that could fit that melody was "Shake it up, baby" (laughs). The lines "one more time" and "Shake it up, baby" were already included in the song from the demo stage.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo11

RINA: So, I used that line in the lyrics, but when I cooled my thoughts, I was like, "Isn't this too corny?"...(laughs). The four of us discussed it during pre-production and found that since the hook felt super good, we thought that that feeling should be cherished in this song and decided to leave it as is.

MAMI: We wanted to make it a catchy part of the song. It'd make us happy if you remember it as "the song that goes 'Shake it up, baby'." Up until now we've been attaching huge significance to each and every word of our lyrics, so we hadn't ever decided on lyrics based solely on feeling or the mood of a song. But, we wanted to finish at least that much with this song. That's why I pushed hard for "Shake it up, baby" to make it in (laughs).

──The arrangement was done by SCANDAL as well as Yuta Hashimoto, formely of group Odoriba Soul.

TOMOMI: The vice president of our managing office (Fumihiko Tsuchiya) was the main vocalist for Odoriba Soul, so we asked for a favor via that connection.

MAMI: We decided to keep the performance of this song modest, with a focus on computer music. Hasshi (Hashimoto) also works with other artists who belong to our office, such as Rinne and asmi, so this was our first shot at working with him. Since we had been saying that we like him quite a lot, he might have thought we were annoying (laughs). However, he was willing to accept everything.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo09

TOMOMI: Specifically, it took a lot of time to decide on the sound in the intro. The phrases had been decided, but we took time to decide on a specific tone with Hasshi—we were like, "It's not this, it's not that."

RINA: Hasshi also came to the recording studio and we had fun recording.

TOMOMI: Yeah. I'm glad we got to thoroughly go over even the finest details together.

──The sound of the rhythm section is very effective this time, isn't it? That's why it's a song that you can dance to.

TOMOMI: That's right. Since the rhythm is important in this song, we took time to create the rhythm section's sound. As a result of focusing on making it dancy, we also tried to distort the sound a bit.

RINA: As for the drums, I was very particular about the hardness of the bass drum and snare, and how much they were tightened. During the part where the electronic drumming and actual drums overlap, I tried a lot of patterns for inserting and removing sounds, and it was a lot of fun getting to make it while experimenting all sorts of things at the recording studio.

Being aware of the lyrics, the delicate breathing techniques were borrowed from K-Pop

──Guitar cutting is also a big factor, isn't it? It feels great to listen to.

MAMI: I used the phrases as is from the demo stage. I wanted to create a kind of loop, so I'm basically playing the same thing the whole time (laughs).

──The interlude is really cool, but was that also solidified during the demo stage?

MAMI: I was unsure of what to do for the interlude. Even though all of the other parts were done, I felt like I was thinking about the interlude until the end. Aside from the guitar, I made all of the other parts via computer music, which gave me a very quiet impression. However, since I wanted the interlude to be for just the band, it turned out really good when we all tried recording it live.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo05

──Also, HARUNA's vocals match the vibe of the song—it has higher saturation and brightness than usual.

HARUNA: At first, even though I was trying to make a fun song that people could dance to, I was thinking about making the vocals calm and suit my age. There was also a pattern in the demos that I sang a little more restrained than I do on the recorded track. But before I did actual recording, I asked RINA once more what feelings she put into the lyrics, and the line "You don't need any special pass" in the chorus really stuck out to me. It made me think of how age doesn't matter for enjoying music. So, I decided to purely express my feelings of having fun playing music.

──I'm sure that feeling would naturally come forth in your voice without you being aware of it.

HARUNA: Oh, yeah. My feelings for this song came out in it even without thinking too hard. Speaking of being aware of something, for me that was breathing. In K-Pop, breathing techniques are quite delicate. I used K-Pop songs as reference and sang while placing more importance on breathing.

──What was it like singing "Shake it up, baby"?

HARUNA: Ahahaha. From the demo stage, the one who was most concerned about using this phrase was me. As a singer (laughs). But when I actually sing it, it feels really good. The pleasant feeling you get when you suddenly get hooked on the rhythm is incredible.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo08

──I think it really is an awesome song. However, when I listen to it on my iPhone, I have a problem with the lyrics "Hey! Siri!" making Siri activate for real (laughs).

TOMOMI: That's right. It reacts really well to that (laughs).

HARUNA: It'd be great if it went viral as a song that activates Siri (laughs).

RINA: Ahahaha. That could totally happen (laughs).

Enjoying the vibe because it was directed by the members

──The B-side song is a "party version" of "one more time," performed as an acoustic set. The vibe on this is also very nice.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo06

MAMI: We had been wanting to make an acoustic arrangement of a dance tune. It's usually not easy to do hard cutting with an acoustic guitar. The recording of the song was pretty stoic despite it being called a "party version." Being like, "Is this actually a party?" is kind of like training in a dojo (laughs).

TOMOMI: Training's crazy (laughs). But it was fun.

RINA: Yeah. We had smiles on our faces that whole day. After the basics were recorded, we went to buy party poppers as well as recorded background noise to up the party feeling. It was so much fun getting loud and making it together.

HARUNA: I'm also glad that the direction of these two songs were entirely done by us. I think the songs have a nice atmosphere to them because we decided everything ourselves.

RINA: Yeah. If we do it ourselves, the direction will be very nuanced. We were able to properly share the vibe and mood together, so everything went very smoothly. It felt like we were moving towards the same spot more than usual. It may be because we've been together for 15 years that we were able to take on new challenges like this.

Wait a little longer for their 10th album

──In October you will be holding a joint band tour with the four artists CHAI, indigo la End, Chiaki Sato, and Vaundy.

HARUNA: We haven't interacted with them that much in the past, but we've selected people who we like and frequently listen to to be our joint band tourmates. I think they'll be exciting performances not only for us but also for those coming to watch.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo10

RINA: This will basically be the first time we're meeting Vaundy and indigo la End.

MAMI: I appeared on a TV program the other day with Enon Kawatani [from indigo la End] for the first time, but I was shy and could barely speak to him (laughs). So, I hope that we can become friends via our concert with them.

──Lastly, please tell us about the progress of your highly anticipated new album. I'm sure everyone is looking forward to it.

RINA: We're making progress bit by bit (laughs). We need to write about three more songs.

TOMOMI: We haven't seen the whole picture yet, but I'm sure it'll be good. As our next album will be our 10th one, we are doing our best with the intention of absolutely making it good. Please wait a little longer.

──I'm also looking forward to SCANDAL in your 16th year.

TOMOMI: Yes (laughs). We'll continue to do activities that we feel comfortable with, and the four of us will go as far as we can go.

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "one more time" Interview Photo02

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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 HELLO WORLD @ Paris - London - Essen - Chicago - MEX - LA - 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 Special Thanks @NY - SF - Anaheim - MTY - MEX - Dallas 2022 MIRROR @Toronto - NY - Boston - Atlanta - Chicago - Anaheim - Dallas - Berlin - London - Paris
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