Simon Ditcham - Scandal'us - Aug 2001

Simon Ditcham - Scandal'us - Aug 2001
By Annemarie Failla & Michelle Palmer

THEY began as five unknowns in a crowd, watched by millions of Australians as they embarked on their quest to become the next pop sensations. Following on from last month's interview with Jason Bird, Simon Ditcham from pop band Scandal'us recently dropped us a line as he gears up with fellow members for a massive upcoming UK tour with Britain group Hear'Say.

Scandal'us made Australian music history recently by entering the music charts at Number One with their debut single - Me, Myself & I, which held the spot for three weeks. These five popstars are back to do it all over again with their current single and cool video - Make Me Crazy - a Latino inspired pop track.

GIRL joined Simon to discuss life on the pop stage and his aspirations for the future.


Nickname(s): Tosser
Star Sign: Pisces

Fave Food: Armenian Stew
Fave Film: Fight Club
Fave Artist: Jeff Buckley

Describe yourself in 3 words: Crazy, Focused and Relaxed
Best Feature: When the lights are off!
Worst Feature: I'm sarcastic
Height: 178 cm
Your Ideal Woman: Someone who is very confident, intelligent and laughs at my jokes.
Hobbies/Interests: Drawing, Sport and Playing Guitar
First Job: Packing shelves in a Supermarket
A talent you wish you had: To be able to speak other languages
The best advice given to you: Have you got your clean underwear on?
What cartoon character best describes you? Freakazoid

GIRL: Congratulations on your debut album Startin' Somethin', which recently went Platinum. Are you happy with the final product?

Simon: Yeah I am extremely happy. The production team and everyone involved did such an amazing job in the amount of time we had.

GIRL: How long did it take to record?

Simon: Recording time was eight weeks and mixing time took two weeks.

GIRL: Who decided on the title for the album?

Simon: We were going to go with "Think Again", but then Les Gock (our manager) suggested we call the album "Startin' Somethin'" and it made much more sense.

GIRL: Now a question you probably get asked all the time, what is life like as a popstar?

Simon: Life is amazing at the moment, it is such a wonderful experience and something to definitely tell my grandchildren one day perhaps. I have learnt so much already and have met some great people and I'm in an environment that I'd never thought I'd be in - it's been such a shock to the system. It's pretty full on and we work really hard.

GIRL: Have you learnt to cope with all the attention from fans and the public?

Simon: Yeah it's pretty comical. People come up and ask us for an autograph, which is kinda cool. Actually I'm pretty lucky in the group, I get recognised the least - I don't have funky hair which is going to make me easily recognisable, which is good (laughs).

GIRL: What is the strangest experience you have had to date, concerning a fan?

Simon: Well when we're performing in Sydney, there is this one guy who keeps on coming to all our concerts which I just find amazing! But no strange experiences to report of.

GIRL: What is the most rewarding aspect about being a popstar?

Simon: The most rewarding aspect for me is what I can eventually do with it - I'd like to create some awareness out there for the environment and so on by using the position I'm in as a platform for that. I want to hopefully get on board with Planet Ark and tackle those sorts of issues.

GIRL: What is a downside to the industry?

Simon: There is a lot of paperwork to the industry like contractual agreements for example. And radio stations can also dictate what music bands release, as opposed to the record companies just wanting to get your music out there. There is a lot of politics in the industry, which can be very confronting and when I first stepped into the industry, perhaps I was a little naïve not to think this was the case.

GIRL: How do you deal with people labelling Scandal'us as just another manufactured pop act?

Simon: I get the boys onto them! (laughs) No I don't really mind; I just take it in my stride. Everyone has an opinion and for every person that says we are manufactured, there are a thousand people out there, who love us.

GIRL: Now Scandal'us recently signed to perform in the UK on the Hear'Say tour. How did you land this gig?

Simon: The people from Hear'Say actually called our management and said we want Scandal'us to play on tour with us and that's pretty much the crux of the story. It's unbelievable because no one actually ever gets asked to go on tour, especially in the UK, so it's amazing! I think with the whole Popstar program going on over there, we have been the luckiest in the world really. It's an opportunity we just couldn't pass up.

GIRL: Scandal'us copped a bit of slack from the media when you postponed your upcoming Australian tour. What do you say to those people out there?

Simon: Well it's a bittersweet situation for us - but I think it will work out more in the favour of the fans here. The tour in England will enable us to refine our performing style and then we can come back to Australia and put on an awesome show. Again if people want to criticise, that's cool, they can do that.

GIRL: Who comes up with the ideas for your music clips?

Simon: We basically do all the singing and dancing and that's what we're here to do. Our management source out directors. We'll then give them the idea and they'll come back to us with treatments for the clips, then we'll have a look and see which one we like the best.

GIRL: How much creative input do Scandal'us have?

Simon: We have heaps of input - Jason actually choreographed the dance break in our last clip. I was actually really surprised when I got here, I thought everything would be mapped out for us, but that hasn't been the case. Everything we've done to date has been put to the group first and then we've given our perspective on things. Everyone in the group is very passionate and has strong ideals for what we do. And our management wants us to have as much input as possible because then it becomes less manufactured. They want us to be who we are and I think that's the essence of the group.

GIRL: So who is the messiest member of the band?

Simon: I think there was a bit of a struggle there between Jason and I for a little while. Our rooms became this bombsite! (laughs) But I think I take honors for being the messiest at the moment.

GIRL: Who is the loudest?

Simon: When you listen to the girls talking on the phone I reckon it would have to be Dani. She speaks so loudly - it's like a shouting match when she's on the phone!

GIRL: And who is the cheekiest?

Simon: I'm going to go with me! (laughs) That's only because I'm the least mature.

GIRL: How do you feel about the image of the band? Are you comfortable with it all?

Simon: I've never been one who is comfortable with any image so I find it funny the whole image thing. It's like playing dress-ups. Pop is a tiny bit surreal - the whole image behind it.

GIRL: What does a typical day involve for you?

Simon: From now on a typical day will involve waking up and going to the gym, followed by vocal training, then interviews during the day and rehearsing for the tour - so that will basically be our schedule.

GIRL: Now that the TV show has finished, are you still living together?

Simon: Yeah we love each other too much! (laughs) We had the opportunity to move out and we were like -nah! We moved into two apartments next to each other.

GIRL: After your UK tour, what is next on the cards?

Simon: After the UK tour we'll come back here and begin rehearsing for the Australian tour.

GIRL: Do you see yourself pursuing a solo career in the future?

Simon: I think everyone in the group probably has aspirations for that. As far as myself goes, I'd probably take a different path in music and experiment with other musical styles.

- Annemarie Failla & Michelle Palmer


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