Note: The writer of this article wrote this article in this very odd and confusing way, which made it fairly difficult to translate. I know there are sentences that sound weird, and that’s due to what the writer originally wrote.
SCANDAL’s road movie, starkly depicting the light and darkness of girl bands
Realizing the band’s “sense of responsibility” on their world tour
The music scene is currently blooming perfectly with a profusion of girl bands. Chatmonchy, Negoto, FLiP, tricot, SHISHAMO, Akai Koen, LoVendoЯ, SilentSiren, Kinoko Hotel, Tankobuchin, Wakusei Gokku, Ganbare! Victory…among the too-many-to-count girl bands of various styles making many fans happy, SCANDAL, who in June of 2014 successfully performed 2 days in a row at Yokohama Arena for the first time in 23 years since PRINCESS PRINCESS, presently has the most momentum. On the girls’ world tour 『SCANDAL WORLD TOUR 2015 HELLO WORLD』, they started off from 4/25 (Sat.) with a performance in Paris, France, and went to England・Germany・Singapore・Taiwan・USA・Mexico・China (Hong Kong), totaling 10 performances in 8 countries. No matter what country, the venues would be filled with enthusiastic fans. The road movie that was completely covered by cameras on that overseas tour and pursued after the girls’ true faces is 『SCANDAL “Documentary film「HELLO WORLD」”』. However, this work is not only a film that’s about simply following a girl band’s overseas tour; it has been completed as a work that questions what it means to be a band and how to “execute” it, invisibly inks each of the members’ human sides, and beautifully depicts the two sides of the band in light and darkness.
The girls have been going overseas to play lives since their indie days, and were a school uniform-wearing girl band at the time of their debut. They’ve appeared at a number of events overseas as a part of “Japanese culture.” They started being well-known in Asia, and are also well-known in the USA and Europe as well. But, for each of the members, this tour was different than any other overseas tour before. It seems to have been a high-impact experience in which “something” was left behind, and it was full of awareness and discovery.
HARUNA: 「We were able to re-recognize that the 4 of us want to continue being a band. It was a tour on which we were able to rediscover why the 4 of us are in a girl band. In the beginning it was nothing but fun, but in the middle of it while we were in Mexico, an unrest among the members was in the air……that happened and we thought more about ourselves.」
TOMOMI: 「Although we’ve experienced lives overseas many times, I’m very happy that on this tour we brought along our album 『HELLO WORLD』 (released on 2014.12.03), and that we were able to head out with a completely different meaning than before. This album is a life-sized work that we were able to make with a truly natural feeling; to have that be listened to by people overseas and for them accept it, as well as to have them be able to watch us as a “band” gave us confidence. There are scenes of us being interviewed by the people who line up in front of the venues and wait for us. You’ll cry when you hear those words.」
RINA: 「We were able to find our reasons for touring abroad. We wanted to be allowed to continue to play lives overseas every year; because it’s conveyed on social networking sites that many overseas fans are waiting for us, it seemed like it would be fun and decided to do it. Our activities in Japan have weight to them (laughs). We played lives overseas with frankness such as “It’d be great to great good feedback.” We were often asked, 「Why are you girls in a band?」 during interviews overseas. With a strong image of 「Girl bands don’t really last long; it’s pretty rare」, we again felt that [girl bands] really are sought-after overseas. Feelings that this is fate, and feelings of how we must send out cool Japanese music and merits of girl bands to the world suddenly appeared to us for the first time. This is the reason that we’re touring overseas. We were led to realize that. It feels like we’re starting from here.」
MAMI: 「It gave me confidence as a songwriter. Our album 『HELLO WORLD』 has a strong sense of it being self-produced; it simply made me happy that the music we made crossed Japan’s borders and reached overseas, and the people who found it created and expanded a community. Japanese-style songs are especially popular, and Japanese melodies and words that sing about the 4 seasons of Japan are regarded as catchy. We must again beautify the Japanese we use, and I want to cherish the beauty and politeness that Japanese originally carries.」
Overwhelming fans with discerning ears in the place they admired・London, confidently
The 4 members of SCANDAL will celebrate their 10th anniversary next year. Before such a milestone, they were able to unexpectedly reexamine the existence and meaning of their band amidst the atmosphere of foreign lands, which turned out to be an irreplaceable time for the girls. There were many performances that had sold out of the 10. Not fans from Japan, but local fans filled up each venue.
RINA: 「Mexico’s pace was especially crazy.」
HARUNA: 「We were overwhelmed.」
TOMOMI: 「The passion and the power that people had was crazy. They had smiles on their faces the entire time, and their energy’s tremendous when they gather together. The atmosphere we were in turned into such a positive one and we accepted those feelings of thoroughness.」
HARUNA: 「Positive energy had accumulated. Everyone was so cheerful; I thought it was a fun, nice country.」
MAMI: 「The 2500-person audience, just like they were putting on a live, celebrated my birthday by singing the Mexican Happy Birthday song in a loud chorus. It really made me happy.」
RINA: 「We got to play a live at a well-established live house in London. If there were frequent patrons there who wondered, “What are Japanese girl bands all about?”, were interested, and came out to see us, I think there were also people who were watching us while drinking alcohol at the bar counter; we were perceived severely in a good way. Right now, we don’t play lives in Japan under those circumstances. It felt fresh and pumped us up.」
TOMOMI: 「When we went shopping the day after the London performances, there were people who called out to us, 「We saw your live yesterday」. It seems like those people didn’t know us and just happened to watch our show. They said, 「I want a CD because yesterday’s live was really great, but where are they sold?」 It made me really happy that there are people who watch lives like that and then buy CDs. The culture of buying tickets the day of is wonderful (laughs).」
An unrest in the air for the first time since their formation. Only the members know the film’s true conclusion!?
London, the place that the 4 members longed after. In London they held a live at a historic O2 Academy venue, the most famous of the live houses in England, and received high praise from the discerning ears of local listeners. Confidence that overwhelmed the harsh eyes and ears of Londoners. In Mexico, they re-recognized that the power of seating is essential. In Asia, they received a more enthusiastic welcome than ever before. It’s possible to fulfill what the band wants to obtain and experience one after another. In the cheerful country of Mexico, dark clouds began to hang over the tour that seemed like it was going well. This incident was not shot solely for the film; it has a very important meaning to the girls.
RINA: 「The members fought in Mexico and the atmosphere was rough……The 4 of us properly talking it over and heading out again was, actually, close to the first time that happened. We’re essentially always a peaceful band, but something like that happening at the turning point of our world tour at that timing was just crazy timing. Being able to get it on film feels like it carries quite a significance……. We decided on it by including the meaning of introspect and discussing “each person” uniting the band and leaving behind proof of our world tour. We were worried about it until the very last second, but we did decide to include it. There are also opinions that it’s too stimulating. After returning back to Japan too, the 4 of us talked about it until right before the editing deadline, and at that time we each realized “This is the most unsophisticated we’ve ever looked.” You don’t see only the pretty parts but proof that we can properly reflect, or rather that it’s evidence, or rather that a conclusion called “leaving behind the true events” was reached.」
HARUNA: 「When you do something together for 9 years, it’s natural to avoid it even if you’ve thought about it before. Rather, we avoided it.」
RINA: 「But our documentary film is frightful (laughs). If we didn’t include all of it, it wouldn’t connect together correctly. If we didn’t, it wouldn’t differ from the bonus videos we’ve put on past CDs (laughs). This is of course a special case, but it would have felt like something’s missing if we didn’t include everything.」
TOMOMI: 「After the film was finishing being shot and was in the stages of being edited, the 4 of us discussed whether or not we should include that scene. There’s a conclusion for us personally. In the film, there’s actually no resolution. I feel that we were able to take a step forward again as a band by being able to resolve that. The more I think about how the destination that SCANDAL is headed to next whether or not we had shot this documentary film, the more I’m truly glad that we shot this film.」
What the band wants to convey with the film and the theme song 「Chiisana Honoo」
SCANDAL has drawn a beautiful growth curve. In order for them to further grow from here, they have obtained what is necessary, what they want to be aware of at this timing, and what they must know on this world tour. By leaving [what they obtained on the tour] behind in the form of a documentary film, they leave behind the “method” for which they ascertained those “feelings.” One of those “methods” is this film’s theme song. This work called 「Chiisana Honoo」 , what’s conveyed from the kanji for 「flame」 is quite different from a burning feeling; it conveys a strong, gentle warmness. The song was not written specifically for the film, but rather it was a song that already existed that was perfect for this film.
RINA: 「I wrote the lyrics. From the time I began writing I thought hiragana fit it nicely. I wrote it with the image of a small flame burning on a candle. It wasn’t created for the film, but the content surprisingly linked in with it……. At times when you’re in distress or stumbling along, if you think of how someday you will die–although it’s extreme–you’ll do your best and overcome obstacles. Think of how you must do the things you want to do, and how you must create the life you want by yourself. Since I’ve been operating like this, I want everyone to do the same. Lives and tours have become parts of our lives, and I think it’s like that for our listeners as well. Because that’s common ground, I hope that it’ll turn into a gentle, strong song that can support those in distress.」
Their arena tour after their world tour; simply life-sized
There’s a scene in the film where, while walking around London, RINA says, 「I wonder how many times we’ll be able to come here while we’re alive」, and MAMI replies, 「This might be the last time, but maybe we’ll be able to come here 10 or 20 more times.」 It’s a scene in which you can catch a glimpse of these girls’ honest feelings and see that they’re living each moment, each day the best that they can, and that they’re doing what they want to do. What the girls want to say is precisely within 「Chiisana Honoo」.
The girls will hold 『SCANDAL ARENA TOUR 2015-2016『PERFECT WORLD』』, their first Toumeihan (Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka areas) arena tour that will rally 40,000 people at the end of the year. Playing an arena tour after a world tour means that they will likely be filled with strength, but the girls right now know that, with their natural stances and without being filled with strength in a good way, they’ll conversely be able to give a wonderful performance. Although they’ve returned from their world tour, fighting spirit is not everything.
HARUNA: 「We merely want to make it simple and cool. Because they’ll be arena shows, we’re not going to prepare something very gaudy; RINA also said it in the film, but because our awareness of steadily whittling away the flab we have as a band is strong, we’ll continue carrying it in a life-sized way for our arena performances too.」
TOMOMI: 「We get greedy when we go overseas (laughs). We really think, “We want to get even stronger!”」
RINA: 「We think, “Right now we want to become the best we’ve ever been in the band’s life!” It’s necessary to “convey” that!」
The 4 members of SCANDAL grew a size larger as a band on their world tour that spanned 9 countries worldwide. With their documentary film that contains the atmosphere of that tour, the band called SCANDAL is starkly depicted. Fans as well as those who don’t yet know about themselves will learn more about themselves. There is also no doubt that you’ll want to learn more about the band called SCANDAL again.
The film 『SCANDAL “Documentary film「HELLO WORLD」”』 is a completed film that indeed has many miracles overlapping in it. At a timing at which mischief is produced, there are numerous miracles in which daily life of being beautifully tossed about are produced. The 4 of them also view it as a film that depicts their entire story. The theme song 「Chiisana Honoo」 is also a part of those miracles.
At the media preview that fans were also invited to the other day, held before the film’s public release, words that RINA said were very impressive. 「Everyday life is very dramatic」―――.