Clear your calendars for next year as rock outfit SCANDAL will be making their UK debut in 2015…
The 4-piece band have chalked up an impressive resume since their formation back in 2006 by Haruna Ono (vocalist, guitars), Mami Sasazaki (lead guitar), Tomomi Ogawa (bass) and Rina Suzuki (drums). The four members were high school girls at the time and this concept was later carried over for live shows with the girls adopting stylised school outfits. If that sounds like a nod to K-On!, it’s notable that SCANDAL have been known to slip in cover versions of songs such as ‘Don’t Say “Lazy” into their live shows in the past!
Originally starting out as an indie outfit, the foursome switched up to major label Epic in 2008. Their first single on Epic, ‘Doll’ reached No. 26 in the Oricon charts and it wasn’t until 2009 with the release of the guitar-fuelled melodies of ‘Shojo S’ that the band’s popularity really took off, due in part to the single’s use as the opening theme for the anime series Bleach. The single reached No. 6 in the charts. Meanwhile, their debut studio album BEST★SCANDAL managed an impressive No. 5 and charted for 21 weeks.
Since then, the rock outfit have established themselves as one of the most popular rock acts in Japan. Keeping their hand in anime soundtrack work, they’ve contributed songs to the anime Loups=Garous (as well as appearing in the anime itself) and in 2012, returned to Bleach with their twelfth single, ‘Harukaze’, which was used as the opening theme for the anime.
2012 was also notable as SCANDAL managed to make a respectable impression at JpopAsia’s Music Awards, picking up wins in 6 of the main categories, including Favourite Band, Best Girl Band and Best Single (for ‘Harukaze’).
SCANDAL also collaborated with Nakata Yasutaka in 2013 when he took time off from his Perfume/Kyary duties to produce SCANDAL’s 17th single ‘OVER DRIVE’.
So what’s the appeal of SCANDAL as a band? For a start, they’re unusual in being a 4-piece female outfit, but they’ve built up an impressive catalogue of songs along the way, straddling the border between energetic guitar-fuelled anthems and straight-up pop appeal. Tomomi Ogawa’s prowess with the bass is one of the band’s strongest weapons and much of SCANDAL’s catalogue benefits from this bass-heavy foundation (‘SCANDAL BABY’ being a good example). Having a strong front vocalist in the form of Haruna Ono doesn’t hurt either, although the 4-piece show their strengths on harmonics on songs such as ‘OVER DRIVE’.
The band have also been very keen to make an impression outside of Japan from their early days, with concerts in the US in 2008 and the introduction of their global shop in 2012.
SCANDAL have a new album titled HELLO WORLD scheduled for release in December (preceded by new single ‘Image’ in November) which will be issued in 4 different flavours: Complete Production Edition (which features a T-Shirt), Limited Edition (including an additional DVD), Regular Edition and what’s been titled the Analog Edition.
This lays the groundwork for their 2015 concerts titled ‘SCANDAL WORLD TOUR 2015『HELLO WORLD』which will see SCANDAL embark on a series of gigs in Japan from January through to April. Following the domestic tour, the band go overseas for concerts in the US, France, UK, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The dates for the global tour have yet to be announced.
Text by Paul Browne
30th September 2014