I’ve been holding fire on this blog post for a while, as I knew it would be a lengthy one. I have mentioned SCANDAL a handful of times on this blog, and countless times on my personal Facebook and Twitter feed (much to the pleasure/distain of my friends and followers). I first discovered SCANDAL accidentally back in 2009 while searching for videos of Korean girl group “Girl’s Generation” via a YouTube suggestion, but didn’t really take notice. It was only when my friend Bob showed me one of their live performances in 2011, that my interest was really captured.
First of all, check out this short video (made in 2011) as it’s a good introduction to the band (although a little tongue in cheek to actual events…
SCANDAL – Scandal’s Theme
SCANDAL formed in late 2006 when four girls from an Osaka dance and performance school decided to put together a rock band. They would practice in downtown Osaka in a high rise building which was next to an adult entertainment store. It was from this store which the band took their name from as the neon sign read “Scandal” (スキャンダル/Sukyandaru). The girls would go on to play live street performances in park areas in Osaka and Kyoto to random passers by, at weekends the girls would also play in small clubs.
They were soon snapped up by an indie record label “Kitty Records” and went on to be a part of a “Japan Nite” tour of America in 2008. While the girls played to a combined total of approximately 10,000 people that year, it was still regarded as a failed tour, much to the upset of the girls who felt incredibly disheartened. This would explain as to why since then, the girls have not ventured outside of Asia (except for one performance at the AM2 anime convention in America in 2011).
SCANDAL were really brought into the limelight when their tracks were used on various popular Japanese anime shows, including Bleach (Shoujo S, 2009), and Full Metal Alchemist (Shunkan Sentimental, 2010)
SCANDAL – Shunkan Sentimental
From there, SCANDAL have gone from strength to strength, with a chain of 17 singles, and 5 studio albums (to date) spanning 2008-2013. Not to mention the intense touring schedule around Japan, as well as the band visiting neighbouring Asian countries, such as China and Singapore.
There have been countless backstage videos which show how hard the girls have worked over the past seven years, including a very emotional video from the drummer, Rina, in which she explains how hard it was at one point that she considered leaving the band. With such a hard working schedule, and not seeing family or friends for a long time, the pressure was obviously heavy. However in true SCANDAL fashion, Rina tells us in the video below that the girls clubbed together and said “Without Rina, there is no SCANDAL”, which empowered her to continue to try her hardest…
Check out the two videos below. It shows one of the debut performances in 2007 of “Space Ranger” (one of their first singles to be released) in comparison with their performance at Osaka Jo Hall this year. After originally playing down the road from the huge stadium with their live street performances, this performance at Osaka Jo Hall was a monumental accomplishment. If you get your hands on a copy of the performance, you’ll notice the bass player Tomomi become overwhelmed with emotion during the opening track and starts to cry with happiness.
The largest difference between these videos is obviously the crowd participation. Being in a band myself, I know how awkward it can be when writing material which involves crowd participation, especially when you perform and the crowd don’t join in (as the girls discover in the video below). However, compare the part at 0:05, with the point around the 0:49. I can’t imagine how they felt at that moment when over 14,000 people in Osaka Jo Hall shouted “HEY!”. So this video truly shows how far the band have progressed…
This is why I love SCANDAL, not just for their amazing music, but for their drive (not to mention all of the girls are easy on the eyes, heh). You can hear the progress in the music from the simple riffs in tracks like “Doll” up to their latest single “Kagen no Tsuki” which has a much more mature sound to it. Not just musically, but also lyrically. While my Japanese is not up to conversational level (yet) I am still able to pick out key words, and themes from each song. It also helps my learning process by translating parts of the songs or even interviews on YouTube.
I wish SCANDAL all the best in their future career and look forward to watching how the band progress from the heights they’ve already attained. I will wrap this blog post up with the latest music video for their single “Kagen no Tsuki” in anticipation of their next single “OVERDRIVE” which is released later this month.
SCANDAL – Kagen no Tsuki
You can purchase music and DVDs by SCANDAL here, or from any Asian import specialist.