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Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview
Posted Wed Feb 09, 2022 9:31 am

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SCANDAL|MIRROR vividly reflects who we are right now, more freely and flexibly

Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Pc-header





SCANDAL has released their 10th album MIRROR.

Each member of SCANDAL, who celebrated their 15th anniversary last year, reflected deeply on themselves and the band, and sought music that that they ought to be expressing as who they are right now. Born during that process, MIRROR was compiled together while having the singles eternal, Ivory, and one more time acting as leads—it is an innovative work that realistically reflects the current mood of the soft, flexible quartet. Some of the best parts of it are that all of the members are involved in writing lyrics and music, and that there are songs in which each member sings lead vocals on for the first time in a while.

We talked to the four members about this work, which vividly presents the diversity of SCANDAL and which they personally say is "the strangest album we've ever done, in a good way."






After finishing their 10th "BEST Xmas" concert overall



──You held your Christmas concert "BEST★Xmas 2021" on December 24th at Toyosu PIT. What was your first "BesuKuri" in two years, and 10th one overall, like?

HARUNA: It was so much fun. The flow from the very start to the middle was crazy (laughs).

TOMOMI: The fans couldn't vocalize, but it was as if we tried to get them to—that's how intense the setlist was (laughs). "BesuKuri" is a concert that makes of the most of SCANDAL's variety of weapons, so we also had a lot of fun performing it.

RINA: That's right. This concert was jam-packed with everything we can do: singing, dancing, performing, chatting a bunch. This was the 10th one overall, and it made us feel again that this kind of concert style is one that we'd like to continue to hold dear to us. Closing out the year amidst a happy atmosphere made us feel happy.

MAMI: The fans also feel that you can't close out the year without having "BesuKuri" (laughs). We sensed that they came to let out all the things that happened over the past year, so we were really glad to be able to hold it.

HARUNA: This time, we felt a change in the way we show ourselves during fast-paced songs. Up until now we had used our voices to get the audience excited, but as this was held during the pandemic and we also didn't feel it was right [to get everyone riled up], we didn't dare to stir up the audience even during the intense songs. Nevertheless, we did realize that we did have to hold a proper concert. Although the atmosphere was different than in the past, this is how we're performing our intense songs as SCANDAL right now. I'm glad we were able to realize that as we were moving forward while making various changes.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo01



Their "weirdest album so far," made up of the four members' art


──You reported at that concert that you made "a fresh and unique album," and now SCANDAL's 10th album MIRROR has finally been released. It has a different vibe that your previous 9 albums, but I think it definitely is a masterpiece. Do you feel that the response to it has been pretty big?

HARUNA: We do. We're very happy that everyone will get to experience our new form at the beginning of the year. It has a slightly different atmosphere than what we've done before, because this was made during the pandemic. We're now all in our thirties and it's filled with who we are right now, so we would be happy if you could feel that.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo03


MAMI: During these past two years of the pandemic we've been searching for all sorts of things, even when we didn't know for what and for whom to write songs for. It was also a time when each of us reflected quite a lot on ourselves and the band. Meanwhile, we thought it might be good to write a song for ourselves, and we made a lot of new discoveries because of that. As a result, it feels like we've made our oddest album so far, in a good way (laughs). I personally felt overwhelmed many times and had moments when I felt like giving up, but I was able to muster up my strength and get it done. That's why I feel a sense of accomplishment and relief like never before. At the same time, I felt energized and refreshed.


──In that case, you're probably more worried about the fans' reactions than ever before.

MAMI: That's true. How will it reach them, how will it make them feel... I think this might be the most indeterminate it's ever been (laughs).



──But the flow of eternal, Ivory, and one more time released last year clearly showed the style that SCANDAL's currently taking, so it feels like you can comfortably immerse yourself in the mood of the entire album.

RINA: Yes, that's true. I'm really drawn to works that are ephemeral, vague, and unanswered. I like it when things can be perceived freely without pushing for something or making a decision. This time, I really wanted to complete that kind of art as SCANDAL's music. It's kind of difficult to do something like that based on the image SCANDAL's had thus far, and of course we thought that it might be too pop-like, but it felt like we couldn't move forward unless we do that now. So, we don't know how the fans will take it in, but we were able to make something that we really like. As MAMI said, I think this is the most accomplished we've ever felt.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo07


TOMOMI: As a result of wondering what we should be singing about and expressing right now, it's like we've put together "songs with no conclusion" overall. We haven't yet seen the correct answer as to what music should be like during this maelstrom of a pandemic, and there are also many things we still don't know, including how we will carry out our musical activities. That's why this time we were able to lay bare the parts of us we had hidden until now, and we feel like we were able to affirm that it was okay for us to do so. In that sense, I think this is a mirror-like album that clearly reflects who we are now as adults. That's why we titled it "MIRROR."



──It must have been necessary for the future of the album to release an album with kind of mood as SCANDAL's 10th milestone album, and as you celebrated your 15th anniversary.

RINA: We really think so. The reason why we reflected on ourselves more than ever before and started production on this is because we wanted to continue playing music for as long as possible after our 16th year. We're now all in our thirties and seriously gave thought aboout how to continue being a band for a long time. As a result, we now have more songs with a slower BPM, and it's now possible for us to incorporate more softness and suppleness in terms of word selection. It was nice to be able to make music that's true to who we are right now, and I also think we completed our own kind of art.



Ephemerality, calmness, and softness formed the title track "MIRROR"



──The title track "MIRROR" opens the album. It features lyrics by RINA and music + arrangement by MAMI.

MAMI: This was actually the song that we had the most trouble with.

RINA: It was the last song we made.

MAMI: Yeah. When we had completed the other 9 songs, I felt that it had turned out to be a very cool album. From our point of view, we didn't include so-called intense songs that will get the audiences hyped up at concerts. But this is who we are right now, and this lineup of songs will definitely make our concerts fun. However, we also felt that we wanted a song that a bit more of a band-like sound and that can give inspiration to ourselves. So, we decided to make another song, but it took quite a while since I wasn't in the right mode to make such a heavy song. Consequently, I was able to condense the music I usually listen to and the feelings I feel every day into a satisfying song.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo05


RINA: First, MAMI sent me a demo that had a heavy-hitting rhythm to it, saying, "I want to make a song with this kind of rhythm." When I listened to it, I thought that with this rhythm we could make a fierce song with a sense of scale that would definitely match with ourselves now. I wrote the lyrics from the image that came to mind from words like "ephemerality," "calmness," "softness" that came up during the dozens of meetings we had to decide on the title of the album. It took us a long time to come up with the word "MIRROR" that puts the entire album together, but I'm glad that I was able to write the lyrics for this song because of the many meetings we had.



The wonder of chorus work born after trial and error



──The sound is fierce, but the vocals are definitely a different approach than what you've done before.

HARUNA: In the case of a song with a band-like sound like this, I think I would have sung it a little more powerfully in the past. However, after making almost the entire album and this song being the last one to record, I felt the strength to match the mood of the album while being right on the line of where you could feel a supplness, calmness, and kindness.



──As a result, it connects easily to track 2, "eternal."

HARUNA: Right, right. The melodies are completely different, but you have the same person singing in the same kind of atmosphere. I was very aware of that part for the other song as well.



──There's also the impression that there are many songs on the album where the choruses pay off well. That is suddenly visible in the first track "MIRROR."

TOMOMI: Since the chorus of "MIRROR" is the core of the song, we all tried singing it at first. But because the vibe changed a bit with the addition of my voice, so we wondered whose voice should be at the forefront, or perhaps edit it so that it doesn't sound like us. After a lot of discussions it turned out as you can hear on the recorded track.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo10


MAMI: We asked for filters to be applied to our voices so you can't tell who's singing. The result is a very mysterious chorus that's like one person, four people, or even more singing.

TOMOMI: The chorus was made by trial and error for each song.

RINA: Yeah. We tried changing the microphones and changing singing positions. We really did a lot of things, such as wondering how we should vocalize to make it sound fresh.



Things that you can see and touch but have no shape




──The album also contains songs that each member wrote and composed, and you made sure that they each have your own tastes. You pulled no punches there (laughs). RINA, for "Kanojo wa Wave," you also sang lead vocals on it.

RINA: This was the first song I made via computer music, as well as the first time I've done the arrangement myself. I'm really drawn to things like waves that you can see and touch but don't have a solid form. I've always wanted to make that kind of song. What finally took shape was "Kanojo wa Wave," a song about a girl who lives her life freely and as she likes. I sung it on the demo, and when MAMI heard it, she was like, "RINA, why don't you sing it [on the recorded track]?" For the first time in forever I'm drumming as well as singing.

HARUNA: When I first listened to the demo, it was so complete that I wondered if MAMI had arranged it. I never would have thought that RINA did it (laughs).

MAMI: Yeah. I was also surprised when I listened to the demo. I thought, "Wow, she's grown so much!" (laughs).



──Personally, I really like the vibe of the interlude.

RINA: The interlude has an alternative rock-like vibe to it. I like it when things sound a little noisy and shoegazer-like, so I tried my best with this. It seems like a song that we can play around with at concerts, so I'm looking forward to it.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo08



A great kind of love they could sing about because they're in their thirties



──Next, we have TOMOMI's song "Ai no Shoutai" that she did lyrics, music, and lead vocals for. There are a lot of elements in it.

TOMOMI: A whole bunch of them (laughs). Its sound reflects my tastes, and I also took gospel lessons when I was attending dance and vocal training school. That's why I tried adding in a bit of those roots. I asked Satori Shiraishi to arrange it. Since I wanted it to have a big band-like sound, I told him that it'd be nice to have a horn section on it. He then introduced me to some acquaintances. Also, when I asked him if we could work with a choir, he introduced me to them as well. It feels like it was made via our link with Satori.

RINA: TOMOMI and I, the rhythm section, went to Satori's house to record it. At first we used electronic drum sounds, but we then thought it might be nice to use actual drums, so we re-recorded it using actual drums at the very end. I really like the lyrics of this song. The bridge makes me tear up every time (laughs). I think it's a song that makes you feel like you're hugging people of different personalities, different races, and different genders.



──It's a song with a great kind of love that's different than romantic love.

TOMOMI: That's right. After hitting my thirties, I started to think that there's an unconditional love—love that asks for nothing in return—inside of me. I wanted to write that in the lyrics. I'm so glad that we got a choir to sing in it. We gave them the melody and lyrics and asked to do it in a certain kind of vibe, and they gave us back a song that was five times more awesome. It was amazing, truly (laughs).



Music that cannot be explained well using words




──HARUNA, you wrote the lyrics and music for "Yuugure, Tokeru."

HARUNA: I started writing it after the title "Yuugure, Tokeru" (Dusk Is Melting) suddenly popped into my head first as a phrase. The words "Dusk is melting" mean exactly that, though in everyday life there are things that you can't really explain well in words, but it's okay to just trust your gut. You'll be asked to explain things, but I think it's okay if you can't really explain it. I wanted to make a song that could affirm that feeling. So, the lyrics don't really make sense, but I'd be happy if you could feel that it's a nice song.



──That feeling may be easy to convey because it's in the form of music.

HARUNA: That's true. It's hard to convey it even talking about it like this. One of the merits of music is that you can feel it.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo04



──Hibiki Nishikawa did the arrangement.

RINA: It's been a long time since we asked Hibiki to do an arrangement.

HARUNA: Yeah. I think the arrangement feels very "Hibiki"-like. The rhythm's interesting and it sounds J-Pop-like. I feel that I was able to draw out the part that I feel my own roots in.



"This song is quite the controversial work"


──And, "Ai ni Naranakatta no sa," which was released early, features lyrics and music by MAMI. This song depicts the end of love, and was performed at "BesuKuri."


MAMI: This is a song that we're able to write because we're the ages we are right now. The melody was done at the same time as "Ivory." Because "Ivory" was a song that exhaled my feelings, I wanted to write lyrics that were different and decided to make it about breaking off a relationship. Since the lyrics are from a woman's perspective, men and women react quite differently when they listen to it. By the way, (Kouhei) Munemoto, who arranged this song with us, was like, "The lyrics say 'We can stay together like this,' but you're breaking up?" and got mad (laughs).

RINA: Then I think it'd be good if you did stay together (laughs).

MAMI: But for a woman who feels the same way as these lyrics, her feelings won't change no matter what happens. Some people like Munemoto get angry when they hear something like that, while others learn and are like, "That's right." It's interesting that there are different ways to perceive it (laughs).



──It depends on the age of the listener. For people who are older to a certain extent, if they were told "It didn't turn out to be true love," they have no choice but to accept it (laughs).

RINA: That's too heart-breaking (laughs). This song is quite the controversial work.

TOMOMI: We were a little nervous to perform it at "BesuKuri." It was on Christmas Eve and there would be couples and spouses coming to the venue, so we wondered what kind of reaction it'd get. We wondered if there would be applause, or the atmosphere would get all despair-like (laughs).

HARUNA: In fact, it felt like the atmosphere of the venue changed with this song (laughs). I'm looking forward to those people hearing it on the album and hearing their thoughts on it again.



To the beloved musicians of the same generation



──There are two more new songs on the album left to talk about. Could you talk a little again about "Ao no Naru Yoru no Sukima de" that you debuted at your Osaka-Jo Hall concert last year?

RINA: I'm still wondering how to talk about this song without there being any misunderstandings... With much respect by saying her name, I wrote this song after Maisa Tsuno of Akai Koen passed away. At that time I was so shocked and sad, and I immediately contacted my other band members to talk about all sorts of things. We respect Maisa as a musician of the same generation, and as far as we know, she's a musical artist who publicly said that SCANDAL's music is cool. She was so talented and inspiring that I've felt like I've had a big hole in my heart since then. I'll never forget her and the music she made. I will continue to revere her, so I decided to leave those feelings as a song. This is one song that I will continue to lovingly play live.



──The last song is "Prism." The lyrics are by RINA and the music is by TOMOMI. This is the first time for this pairing, right?

TOMOMI: That's correct. We've done the opposite before, though ["Bitter Chocolate," which features lyrics by TOMOMI, music by RINA].

RINA: The lyrics were written first. The day before our 15th-anniversary concert at Osaka-Jo Hall last year, the four of us had a meeting about the album title at our hotel in Osaka, though we also did not end up making a decision then either. However, we were able to realize that we were extremely confident about the concert the following day. Osaka-Jo Hall is a very special place to us, which is why we had been pretty nervous during our past concerts there, but we didn't feel that at all this time. So, I thought it would be a waste to not make a song about our mood and feelings, and wrote the lyrics right away. I thought that a melody by TOMOMI would go well with the lyrics, so I left it up to her in a "make any kind of melody you'd like" way.

TOMOMI: The protagonist of the lyrics suddenly came to mind, so I imagined a melody that was being hummed by a child and wrote it freely. Since I wanted to add toy-like sounds, it contains toy piano and music box sounds. It became a song that had a small world view like a snow globe.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo09


Don't forget in 2022 the spirit you started with



──Your domestic tour in support of this wonderful album will start in March. Also, you'll be going on a world tour starting in July.

HARUNA: Seeing that we were able to announce this many concerts makes it feel that the light's gradually coming into view. I hope we can safely go overseas as well.

RINA: Our entire world tour had been postponed. Our overseas fans have been waiting for a long time.

HARUNA: I wonder if they're tired of waiting?

TOMOMI: After 2021, we felt once more that we really do love performing concerts in front of audiences, so we're just simply looking forward to this tour.

MAMI: I'm really looking forward to being able to visit different places, including rural areas.

RINA: Because we think that MIRROR is an album that suits halls, we will be delivering each and every live performance while valuing them more than ever before.



──Do you have a vision for the band in 2022?

MAMI: The other day we asked [comedian and fortune-teller] Shuhei Shimada to tell us about the band's fortune. He told us that SCANDAL hadn't debuted yet and to make our debut in 2023. That's why this year too we'll pretend we're an indie band (laughs) and not forget the spirit that we started with.


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview Photo06


HARUNA: I wonder what will happen in 2023 (laughs).

TOMOMI: He told us that seven years' worth of efforts will be rewarded in 2022, so won't that be the trigger for our debut in 2023?

RINA: (laughs). If we take care in writing songs and play satisfactory concerts, I wonder if somebody will discover us somewhere. We'll have hope for that and work hard.



──As a reminder, SCANDAL is a well-established artist on a major label (laughs). I'm sure that an even greater breakthrough is waiting in the future.

MAMI: That'd be great if there was. We'll do our best to write songs for that. Maybe those songs will be a hit next year.

TOMOMI: I mean, we have a theory that MIRROR will be a big hit.



──"Theory" (laughs).

TOMOMI: Right now, that fortune-telling is our only hope (laughs).

MAMI: We're very dependent on fortune-telling (laughs).

HARUNA: But I want to believe good things will happen.

TOMOMI: Yeah. Let's believe only good things will happen (laughs).


Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" 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
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Re: Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview
Posted Wed Feb 09, 2022 1:10 pm

hogradish

hogradish

Indie Artist
Indie Artist
I just takes one influential person in an audience to change a band's fortunes. Imagine someone in the crowd in New York or Los Angles recommending Scandal for Coachella 2023. Imagine a Lady Gaga or Selena Gomez tweeting "OMG this band is so cool!" Things could change overnight for the band.

"One person" example:



Friendship. Effort. Victory.
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Re: Music Natalie - SCANDAL's "MIRROR" Interview
Posted Wed Feb 09, 2022 7:01 pm

Andy666

Andy666

Mainstream Artist
Mainstream Artist
Sadly it not going to happen, they being around for 15 years. Tour around the world number of times and been on front of Rolling Stone magazine. 

It could be down to type of music they play or label management did not know what to do with them when they abroad. In the end it could be down to people in western world too lazy to listen to them because it sung in Japanese.

When you look at like of Babymetal or Band-Maid who got other metal bands raving about them or BlackPink and BTS working with other Pop Artists. It would have being nice if one Rock group done same with them.

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