14:55 - 30th July 2015, by NEO Staff


In the space of a few years, SCANDAL managed to establish themselves as one of the biggest bands in Japan, and one of the country’s most popular artists overseas according to NHK World and various other online polls. They even managed to spark an increase in the sale of instruments to teenage girls. To top it all, soon after their debut, a hit new anime known as K-On! was about to hit screens in Japan, telling the tale of a group of schoolgirls trying to make a band. SCANDAL looked like a real life version of its cast, right down to the school uniforms and all!

Over here, iTunes labels the fabulous foursome as making “the most powerful Japanese girlie pop rock” in the industry, and we think they may be right. The group are also the latest artist to sign to London’s JPU Records, who released their sixth studio album HELLO WORLD at the start of the year. April also saw the release of UK only album GREATEST HITS, which ended up being so successful that it actually sold out ahead of release date!

We spent a day with the band in London, showing them around the sights in exchange for unprecedented access for our interview (a fair trade, say we!). In advance, we drafted a list of places to visit and awaited a reply to see which ones the band wanted to go to in their limited spare time.

If you’re ever wondered what it’s like to be on tour, remove the MTV image of endless champagne, parties and smashed up hotel rooms, and replace it with huffy van drivers struggling to find parking spaces, fuming tour managers trying to keep to strict time schedules, and plenty of rushing around.

The day of SCANDAL’s London gig saw them arrive straight from Paris, soundcheck, meet the fans with VIP tickets and then quickly nosh down a few backstage sarnies before hitting the stage. The following day, the one we spent with them, was even busier: Interviews (including the Huffington Post), photoshoots, food, sightseeing, food, photoshoots, food and planning the artwork for their upcoming single. Oh, and did we mention that this was their “day off”? We didn’t see a single moment when the women weren’t in work mode – even when shopping they were being followed by a swarm of cameras.

SCANDAL skimmed past all the famous tourist hot spots we had listed and instead insisted we hit two places in particular before the day is over. First, obviously, Abbey Road. The band and all their crew squealed with delight when the tour bus pulled up opposite the iconic recording studio. We think there may have even been the odd tear shed from a staff member or two.

After the ladies had captured a snap of them walking across the famous zebra crossing, and miraculously managing to not get hit by a white van man, TOMOMI turned to us and said “It was really great to visit, but… I never imagined it would be so dangerous! Tourists who can get a photo there must have nerves of steel!”

MAMI joined in, “So many cars were hitting their horns, I felt a little embarrassed actually… I could sense they were making fun of us! Sorry for getting in the way of your journey, London drivers!”

The second place on the list was Soho’s Berwick Street, otherwise known to music fans as the location for Oasis’ famous (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? album cover. This time, upon arriving the band and crew were much more quiet, until we reached the exact spot of the iconic CD artwork, then suddenly everyone was jumping around in excitement and queuing up to recreate their own personal version of the jacket design.

After lunch, the band had a whole 30 minutes to themselves to shop around Soho before returning to the bus. TOMOMI instantly homed in on a local art supply shop, and remained there for pretty much the rest of the time. RINA went shopping for vintage clothes and tried to justify parting with her pocket money for a pair of shiny neon pink Dr. Martens, while MAMI and HARUNA snooped around the Liberty department store. After the time was up and we had regrouped, we found an excited TOMOMI and RINA.

“I didn’t just go art shopping! Me and RINA found a cute record shop, so we went hunting to find our latest album HELLO WORLD inside. We asked staff if it was in stock, and they recognised us! They said they wanted to go to our gig, but it sold out too fast! I was really happy and surprised! Store staff in London know about us, I can die happy! Kya!”

“Some fans from the gig also found us, they were really sweet!” said MAMI. “I asked them what they thought about our new CD but their answer shocked me – they said they hadn’t listened to it yet! I thought that was funny!”

Funny indeed! You can now listen to SCANDAL’s latest album HELLO WORLD on CD (including a bonus booklet with lyrics translated into English and Romaji) and MP3 easily within the UK through JPU Records. SCANDAL’s GREATEST HITS is also available now, only on CD.

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