Causing a stir in uniform

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 August, 2009, 12:00am

Calling themselves 'the most powerful Japanese girlie pop rock group', Scandal returned to Hong Kong to the delight of their fans.

The group consists of four Japanese high school girls from Osaka: Haruna Ono and Mami Sasazaki on guitar, Tomomi Ogawa on bass and Rina Suzuki on drums.

Like many bands, the girls met by answering an advert looking for band members. They got together in 2006 and started writing and playing their own songs. The girls started off listening to contemporary J-pop, but were soon drawn to bands like Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The band draws influences from a diverse range of artists. Sasazaki says 'I was inspired by Judy and Mary,' referring to a popular 1990s Japanese rock group. 'The band's guitarist has awesome guitar skills. When he performs it looks like he's playing with a toy,' she says.

Ogawa admires bass player Michael Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and says her goal is to be as good a musician as he. Ono is influenced by Avril Lavigne: 'her style, music and look all have power, so I really admire and like her.' Finally, Suzuki admires fellow female drummer Nao Kawakita from the Japanese nu-metal band Maximum the Hormone, saying 'she's just as strong a musician as the rest of her band mates and stands out as a singer as well as a drummer.'

Despite their mixed musical inspiration, the four are huge fans of Japanese pop culture. Last year, Scandal told SYP that their favourite manga was Detroit Metal City. When asked if they were still reading it, Sasazaki replies: 'Oh yes! We still like reading DMC - it's amazing. This year we also got into K-On! because its about a high school girl band like us and its really good. We strongly recommend it to everyone.'

And Scandal has found a way to mix their work and play. The band's recent single Shojo S is the newest opening theme song for popular anime Bleach.

'I read the manga when it first came out and really liked it,' says Sasazaki. 'I told the others to read it and now we're all fans.'

Scandal performed twice last week: they played three songs at the Ani-Con, then gave a free performance for delighted fans at a lounge in Tsim Sha Tsui. The girls also announced that they would be returning to Hong Kong soon to give a full concert - keep an eye on for details.

It seems that these youngsters are living the dream and hope to be around for a while. Ono, the eldest, graduated from high school this year, an event usually seen as something of a rite of passage. But the guitarist hasn't thought much about it, saying: 'my plans right now are to concentrate on the band and our music. I really haven't thought about anything else.'