The 4-girl group SCANDAL will be releasing their long-awaited 2nd album “TEMPTATION BOX!” SCANDAL, the band that was nominated for the Best New Artist award at the 51st Japan Record Awards and whose single release shortly afterward became a huge hit.
In the temptation box that you can’t help but peek into are the thoughts you want to see at any cost. With cute, poppy songs, hard rock, and ballads, this album is chock full of everything SCANDAL has to offer!
--It’s been 10 months since you released your last album, “BEST SCANDAL.” What do you see, looking back on those 10 months?
Haruna: Playing a live on our own for the first time was a big thing for us. We’ve been on tours three times, but we had more to tackle than we expected in terms of the music and how to set up the live the way we wanted it.
Mami: We think that “temptation box” gives you the image of “a box of surprises.” There are songs of all different genres, lyrics written by each of us, and songs not sung mainly by Haruna, so each song is very individual. We want it to be an album that people will want to take a peek at.
H: On “BEST SCANDAL,” there are songs from both when we were indies artists as well as new music, and we thought of it as a “business card” for SCANDAL. This time, though, it’s more like a business card for each of the members. Even the photos on the booklet are colorful, and we think it’s a fun album.
--Is the image on the jacket meant to reflect the title?
M: Yeah. It’s a photo of us in a 150 cm (59 inch) box.
Tomomi: We were really sore the next day. (laugh)
--“Namida no Regret” is your first ballad, from the single you just released on 7/28. Was there anything you were thinking about when you recorded it?
Rina: It was our first ballad, so the way we performed and sung was totally different [from our regular music], so at the very beginning we were just lost. But by doing it over and over, our individual ideas for the song began to come together, and for me personally, my thoughts about the instruments totally changed. I thought that this song needed a sound that would set off the singing, and I performed that way as well, so I felt that at some point the instruments just became background music for the singer.
--What impressions did you have when you first heard the demo?
H: That the melody and lyrics were really impressive. The theme is “tears,” so we thought that since even we have a reason to cry now and then, that kind of theme should garner some sympathy.
--And what about the timing of this release, after getting several requests for a ballad from your fans?
T: We’ve always wanted to do a ballad, but we were too immature both technically and emotionally, so we kept putting it off. But when we covered ZONE’s “secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~” and performed it live, everyone listened to it with rapt attention, and some people were even crying. We saw that, and we changed our minds. We thought “Maybe now we can do this,” and took the opportunity.
“Our little peculiarities were perfectly obvious and it was really embarrassing. (laugh)”
--“Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY” is a poppy summer song.
M: This song came into being when Tomomi and I went to the pool together. We started freaking out because it was coming to us so easily, and in interviews it’s described as “a song that should be played over the pool loudspeaker,” or “something to listen to at the beach,” so we were really happy.
T: We were screaming it! We were seriously singing it at the pool. (laugh)
--What did you think when you heard that “Shunkan Sentimental” would be used as the ending theme for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood?”
R: We were frankly very happy. With our song tied into an anime, people that don’t normally listen to SCANDAL would get to hear our music. I have siblings, and when my little brother told me he’d heard our song, I thought “This is our chance for even kids to hear us!”
--The “M” in “Shoujo M” stands for “Mami,” right?
M: It stands for “Mami,” but it also stands for “minority,” as well as for “give and take” [seme to uke mi]. Right now I’m addicted to Twitter, and Twitter’s essentially just give and take in the virtual world, right? I thought, “This virtual world is going to keep expanding, and that’s good.” And people who think deeply like that are in the minority, so I wrote what I thought and the response has been fun to see.
--“Houkago 1H” is a song where you can sense a new, different appeal to SCANDAL.
T: I think so. It features a piano, and it’s a type of song that we haven’t done before. When we listened to the demo, there were stand-in lyrics written by Ifu Sarasa, lyrics saying “Let’s do our best at music.” We put the song on “TEMPTATION BOX” and they have the same meaning, but we wanted the words to be more “temptation-eqsue,” so we collaborated on them.
--And in “GIRLism,” you sing about the contradictions in a woman’s heart.
H: I think the contradictions in a girl’s heart are the same ones everyone harbors somewhere in their own hearts. They’re sweet, even though they come from a girl’s selfishness.
--And there’s a phrase at the end of the song that goes “Onna to ha bi to uso to himitsu to avocado desu” [“A girl is beauty and lies and secrets and avocados”]. (laugh)
T: I wanted to have fun with the words. I don’t think there’s a girl alive that doesn’t like avocados. (laugh)
M: If you gave me avocados and shrimp, I’d be a happy girl. (laugh)
--Haruna wrote the lyrics for “Aitai,” right?
H: That’s right. When I wrote this song, I was going into a slump. Even when I wanted to write, I couldn’t – I couldn’t think of anything good. I was feeling down about my dreams, but there was an event that made me more positive. There are a lot of people who have stumbled, just like me, and I thought that I wanted to write a song that would help them, so these are the lyrics I wrote.
--“Sayonara My Friend” is the ending theme for “Loups=Garous,” in which SCANDAL appears as anime characters.
M: That’s right. It’s a weird feeling. (laugh) They got our movements via motion capture, so our little peculiarities were perfectly obvious and it was really embarrassing. (laugh)
--What peculiarities in do you mean?
M: We’re dancing, and it’s totally obvious what our hips are doing and how our heads are swaying. You can look at them and say, “That one’s Tomomi” or “That one’s Haruna.” (laugh)
--That was also a challenge for the voice actors, wasn’t it?
R: For me, we’ve always been part of the band, so I figured they’d use our voices. But instead the characters have totally different voices! (laugh) I was really nervous about it. But it was fun, and I’d like to do it again.
“We really tough it out…”
--You’ve all written different kinds of lyrics, so tell us what’s important to you when you write.
R: I’ve written a lot of lyrics, so I have to be careful not to get cocky. It’s my dream to write lyrics that are encouraging to the people that hear them.
H: I write about how regular things look from my perspective. I’m constantly writing about the things I see, or the things that are familiar to me.
M: For me, I start with a single word that comes to mind, then expand on it. I think that “insight” is the most important thing.
T: I’m a regular girl, so I just use regular words. Using words that I wouldn’t normally use is kind of like lying, and it keeps me from getting a good handle on what I’m trying to convey. I also focus on the rhythm you’ll hear in the song, and play with the words.
--How do you decide who’s in charge of the lyrics?
M: We just go by who we and the staff think should sing it. A lot of the time someone will say “Well, since I’m singing it, I want to write the lyrics.” And sometimes someone will just volunteer to write a particular song.
--And how do you divvy up the singing?
H: We decide while we’re recording. We’ll each give it a try, and finally we decide by voice quality, nuance, and other factors.
T: There are a lot of different types of voices in the band; we think it’s a strength.
--So where do you think the “essence” of SCANDAL lies?
R: It’s in being fearless. We formed when we had just started playing instruments; when we were in dance and vocal school together we just decided to form a band even though we didn’t know anything about that kind of thing, and even when we didn’t get the best reception, we never thought of saying “We can’t do this.” That we’re a band that does all kinds of songs has been a positive thing for us lately.
H: We really tough it out. We’re not “girly,” we’re “manly.”
M: It’s like when we perform live. All of us are moving, bobbing our heads, running around… It’s not something you really see girls do. We danced, and we put our own style into the performances, which only we can do.
T: For us, it’s normal. We’re not a band that has great technique, but as far as that goes we can really show the crowd a good time. People have come and told us that they’ve formed SCANDAL cover bands, and it makes us happy that they want to be similar to us.
“Precisely because it’s hard, I grow while I’m writing…”
--And what do you learn from the others in the group? Let’s start with Rina – what sort of person is she?
H: Rina’s like a little sister. (laugh) But she’s a real fighter, and she really keeps it together, and even I could learn from her example.
M: But sometimes she can get a little mixed up on her drums. When that happens, she can get pretty irritated with herself, but she keeps practicing, and each day she does her best. She’s got a lot of spirit.
T: I think she can be stoic. She’s tough and unshakeable. I also do my best to follow her example, but I still break down and eat too much candy sometimes, so I need some work. (laugh)
--And what’s Haruna like?
R: Haruna’s the big sister. When you talk to her privately she doesn’t think of herself, so she’s always there to help and be the peacemaker.
M: She does things at her own pace, in a good way. For example, when we’re eating lunch, she’ll eat by herself, or when we’ve put away our instruments she’ll instead take hers out. She works at her own pace. (laugh)
T: I’ve also spoken with her privately, and because she even listens at her own pace, it’s comfortable to talk to her and she puts your mind at ease. That, and when she eats she looks like a hamster! (laugh) The ways she chews is really cute, and she takes big mouthfuls. (laugh)
--And what’s Mami like?
R: When I first met her, she was an organized mess and I thought, “She’s just like a mom!” and I didn’t think much about that mysterious girl. She’s really individualistic, and has become the number one person in the band. She’s cool.
H: She’s a free spirit, in a good way. She lives by her own convictions, and she’s really cool, even from the perspective of a fellow girl.
T: We’re the same age, so we were able to talk on the way to school, and she’s fun to be around. She has a unique aura about her, and she’s really level-headed, so I believe in her.
R: She may look like there’s not much to her, but she can do anything so well that it just makes you jealous. And I like the lyrics she writes. (laugh)
H: She’s highly skilled, not shy at all, trusting when she should be trusting… You see all of this, and it makes you jealous.
M: It’s no exaggeration to say that she and I are always together, and our personalities are similar. We’re free spirits. We’re really compatible, and think a lot alike.
--Finally, what’s your message for those that see this interview?
R: We each wrote lyrics, and so four different personalities come through in the music. I want them to read the lyrics.
M: I became an Uta-Net member in middle school, and it makes me incredibly happy to think that kids that age are reading my lyrics, and it makes me want to write lyrics that appeal to an even wider age range.
T: I’m happy that there are people looking up our lyrics, sympathizing, and thinking about the ideas in them. I think there are things that we can only convey during lives, so please be sure to come to them!
H: It’s really hard to write lyrics, but precisely because it’s hard I grow while I’m writing, so we want to improve and do our best so that people will like our lyrics.