Hedoban Vol. 13 Editor’s talk on Metallica’s Korea show
This is only for reference purposes. Be sure to purchase an actual copy which contains this article.
Hedoban Vol. 13
There is no way that we could stay silent after being mesmerized by such an overpowering and moving live performance!!
Our comprehensive report on the Metallica&Babymetal Seoul performance.
(Umezawa Naoyuki, Editor of Hedoban)
(Hayashi Kousei, Editing staff member of Hedoban)
‘Hedoban’ Editor’s round table discussion
It is amazing that they could put on such an overwhelming show just with their raw movements. I was totally blown away. (Hayashi)
This was the first time for me to see one of Metallica’s solo shows.
Oh! Is that right? Up to now you have only seen them at Festivals and the like?
The timing of when Metallica came to Japan would always for some reason or other not match with my situation, such as them coming when I was still a child, or something in my private schedule prevented me from going. Because of that I have only seen them at Summer Sonic and a few times at overseas Festivals.
What did you think of your first solo Metallica show?
Oh, well, I was terrifically moved as it exceeded my preconceived ideas of what it would be like. What I mean by that is that in the videos I have seen of Metallica solo shows up to that point featured statues of Maiden goddesses, crumbling stages and other kinds of large scale production effects. That was the image I had of their shows. Even in the stage shown in the movie, ‘Through the Never’, crosses appeared on the theretofore simple stage as well as the assembling suddenly of a Goddess statue.
That is correct.
But, now with this stage all there is is a single drum set and some amps. Other than these items all there is that is set up are 5 gigantic LED screens and nothing else. The stage is totally, radically, simple. However, all they needed to produce an overwhelming presentation was to make use of these high quality visual images and more than anything, their own movements set against this total simplicity. I was in a state of shock.
So this was totally different than the Metallica you had encountered at the Festivals?
Yes, totally different! Of course I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor that only Festivals can provide and the set lists they carried out, but the sense of falling deep into the world of Metallica that came across at this show was truly outstanding. It was like one was witnessing one complete tale.
Since they haven’t come to Japan since the 2013 Summer Sonic I have only seen them at overseas Festivals. This show in Korea was the best show I personally have seen since the shows in the 00’s and, no, actually it is right up there with the best shows I have ever seen by Metallica.
You would evaluate it that highly!
Speaking of myself, I have been a big fan of Metallica ever since I was in Jr. High, so much so in fact that immediately after the ‘Black Album’ was released in 1991 I was so into them that I couldn’t restrain myself and went all the way to England’s Donington Park to see them play at the ‘Monsters of Rock’.
This was the show where AC/DC was the headlining act and Metallica went on before them. I took all the money that we had been saving up for my school excursion and used all the money to go there (laughs). For the 1991 New Year’s Eve show at the Tokyo Dome where Metallica put on a countdown performance, I lined up many times all night outside the Aoyama ticket agency located near the Aoyama cemetery in order to get front row tickets. I was that crazy about Metallica.
You sound like ‘Meat Arai’’s Arai-san, or ‘Metallica information bureau’’s thingy-san!
I felt that Metallica is right now in their utmost prime! (Umezawa)
Something like that. However, there was a period of time when I drifted away from Metallica as well. Metallica put out a video that was a documentary of their arena tour for the ‘Black Album’ called, ‘A year and a half in the life of Metallica’. In the documentary there was a scene of them backstage kind of behaving like they were becoming rich wearing bathrobes, you see.
With that I thought that Metallica had made it to the big time and that they had switched into what we now call Arena Metal. I was quite disappointed.
Just because they were casually wearing bathrobes?! (laughs)
That scene just kind of summed things up for me regarding them at the time (laughs). They were of course playing large scale venues around the time of ‘…And Justice For All’ as well, but it was like they were performing just the way they did at live houses only on larger scale stages. There was a sense of exhilaration that it was ‘us versus Metallica’. To this immature youth that I was at the time seeing them wearing bathrobes and flying around in their private jet made me think, ‘Ah, that is not the Metallica we know. They are now no different from Bon Jovi or Def Leppard!’. And so, I kind of fell out of grace with them for some time. I had kind of lost my passion for this gigantic band that Metallica had grown into.
I see. (laughs)
If I think about it now, I realize that I was kind of a representative of what it is to be a bad fan in that I turned on them just because they had become successful (laughs). And I distanced myself even farther from them when ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ came out. They came to Japan several times in the ‘90s and I would go the shows just out of pure momentum. I would force myself to put my opinions to the side and just sit down and watch the shows. But, when ‘Saint Anger’ came out and they came to Japan in 2003 I started to once again think that after all is said and done, Metallica is wonderful. This was a revival tour coming on the heels of all the upheaval with Jason Newsted leaving as shown in the video, ‘Some kind of monster’. It was here that I felt Metallica had returned to its original form. After that, I went to see them at Summer Sonic and the ‘Death Magnetic’ tour when they came to Japan to perform, but I wasn’t as let down as I was in the ’90’s. In fact, they seemed to get better each time I went to see them. They would perform their older songs with passion and they didn’t seem to get off kilter. But, even saying that, it did not mean that I was as moved by them as I had been before.
You are saying that they were good at putting on regular live shows, right?
Yes, that’s right. That changed for me when we as the ‘Hedoban’ editing staff went to the 2014 Sonisphere to the cover the Festival and saw Metallica’s show. I am sure the atmosphere of the Festival plays a part in this, but I felt the seriousness, the raw drive of Metallica coming through their performance. There was so much packed into the images they presented on the screen as well. And the fans around us were long time middle aged, devoted fans decked out in old Metallica T-shirts putting their arms around one another’s shoulders singing along with the band. So, including that whole atmosphere and all, Metallica’s performance at Sonisphere was truly fantastic. I hadn’t been moved like that for quite some time. I am sure that the fact that I was now facing Metallica with a more direct, head-on approach than I had long ago also played into this. But, I was more emotionally moved with this Korean show than I was even at Sonisphere. I felt that Metallica is truly at their utmost prime.
One doesn’t get tired even though you are listening to such explosive, such hard music. (Hayashi)
Yes! It seems like the band is heading in a direction in just the way they should be. Further, I was most surprised by how good the sound was.
It was absolutely out of this world! Even the sound coming out of the drum sound check reverberated in every organ in my body, you could say.
There was a wave of excitement amongst the crowd when that kick of the drums resounded out with a response of, ‘What is this?!’. The way that dome is structured allows for a great deal of reverberation. But, I was amazed that in spite of that it was possible to put out such a clear and uncluttered sound. Once that first sound sounded out, I felt that I could give myself entirely to the show, you could say. There was after that no feeling of unease or of this being out of place.
I was watching from the most frontal standing only arena area somewhere near the back left. But, even from this position in this spacious venture I was able to hear each and every sound coming from the guitars with great clarity. And even taking that into consideration, it was possible to hear the edginess of the guitars in full detail. With the impact of this sound discovery, I realized that THIS is the sound of a band that is able to occupy the main position in Festivals all over the world! It goes without saying that Stadium Metal means spending a lot of time and energy to get where it is, but in and above that it means the ability to convey that level of quality of sound to the people in the back as well. That is what signifies ‘True Stadium Metal’. There is no way I could think other than that in the world Metallica is truly the greatest Stadium Metal band after watching this Korean show. The thing that shocked me to my core the most in terms of sound was the first riff set out by James in ‘Battery’. His riff had the sound so amazingly lined up while not losing anything in its power. It was truly amazing.
I don’t know if it was because of the way the system was set up or because the set up was so close to me, but anyway this was the most metallic sound I have ever heard from BABYMETAL. The sound was heavy, big and hard.
That is true. BABYMETAL’s sound was also amazing. It may have been the most METAL sounding BABYMETAL live performance of all time. The bass sounds were also put out amazingly well.
That is so true. That refined and perfected sound of Metallica combined with Metallica’s simple yet strong and solid performance made for a powerful impact. You could say that they are pushing the envelope on what entertainment is. Not only do they not leave a second to be bored, they also hit you will this explosive sound, this unbelievably hard sound and yet you are not worn out by it at all.
With those kinds of sound and those visuals you could easily watch the goings on for hour after hour. I was so happy that they were willing to play their new first and second songs in the live show as their first and second songs and I was also happy that BABYMETAL fans who saw Metallica live were going on to say that they were, ‘Amazing!’ and ‘they were the best!’. I think it is wonderful that more people will see Metallica like this and go on to be Metallica fans. Hayashi-kun, were you able to watch both BABYMETAL and Metallica from a position near the front row?
Yes, I was. I was basically in the front row. The fans were also really wonderful. They participated in the sing alongs and rode along with the points where the excitement peaks and yet they did not out of hand at all.
Was there a Mosh pit going on in the area near the stage?
I was on the stage right side of things and from my point of view I could not see one. However, due to the intense fervor of the crowd there were people who fell down or started to feel bad and there were many of these people who were led away by the security staff. Also, right up near the stage there were young women who would scream out, ‘Kyaaa!’ every time James came near them on the stage. (laughs)
There he is, this middle aged guy in his 50’s dressed in a jean jacket covered in Metal patches and this time he showed up also wearing boots like you might imagine an engineer wears, right?
When I saw him wearing leather pants from where I was near the stage, I was totally blown away!
The only one that could not only look good dressed out like that, but come across as a ridiculously cool Metalhead in his 50’s is none other than James. I can say without fear of overstating it that the ‘Metallica of now’, including their new album is the greatest of all time. Of course there will be those who say that ‘no, it is the Metallica of the 90’s that is the best’, or that their early years were the best and yet now that they are in their 50’s they are at their strongest both mentally and physically and they are at their peak with the sound they are putting out and the presence they bring to the stage. There is no band or even groups of bands that can stand their own against them. They play the key position in major overseas Festivals and sell out solo concerts with crowds of 50 thousand or more people. That speaks mountains as to their strength. Since they have not played in Japan outside of some Festivals for the past few years I feel that the degree of their strength has not been properly conveyed. But, seeing this live performance burned into me the inescapable fact that the ‘Metallica of now’ is stronger than any Metallica in the past.
It is true that no one can stand as their rival.
They are without rivals. They seem to be peaking with each generation. They peaked in their 20’s and then went on to a bigger peak in their 30’s and yet now in their 50’s they are reaching their biggest peak yet.
They are tough. Of course it goes without saying that each time they put out a new release there will be people debating whether it is good or bad, but when you seem them live that all goes out the window, right?
That is so true. (laughs) Whether they bring out an old song or a new one, the crowd will go wild, and that is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself. I really felt that they are overwhelming.
Their ability to raise the excitement of the crowd depending upon whether they know the song being performed or not, of course if they know it they will go all out, but they know that even if the crowd doesn’t know it, with this gigantic screen and hearing the music they will be moved by the song even if they are in their teens. There is no band out there that will move the hearts of so many age groups as does Metallica. And what is more, the members themselves are not swayed by factors such as these in the slightest. They do not break from their hard established stance to any degree.
Even if you were not thrilled by the new songs, you would be totally excited with them seeing this live show. (Umezawa)
This show was so simple, but the set was so firmly set up and in place, James was so metallically suited up and we had the new album behind it all. It seems when you look closely at all of this like we are returning to the roots, the starting point of Metallica. It felt to me that they were doing what they really like and were bringing to life what they really love.
They are not unnecessarily trying to outdo themselves. They are not shouting out, ‘We are the latest and greatest in Metal!’, or attempting to do something new just for newness sake. There were times in the past where they were experimenting with new things or it seemed they felt they had to do something different from their previous albums, but now they seem to be just going all out with what they have in a nonchalant attitude. Their publicity shots show this attitude as well. Their recent Twitter posts and Instagrams often show them smiling away. I feel that that shows them as ‘the Metallica of the present’.
One gets the distinct feeling that they are having fun at what they are doing.
Yes, yes that is it. Said in a good way, it seems they have leeway in what they are doing. Those who were not too impressed with their new songs and album I am sure changed their feelings when they heard them perform at this show. I am sure that if you are someone who loves Metal that even if you were not thrilled by the new songs, you would be totally excited with them seeing this live show.
The atmosphere of this live show was just oozing with fun that the band members themselves were having.
I think that is true. Metallica is a band that has its high points and its low points. They have had members die on them, they have had members leave, members who go to therapists, they have tried working with orchestras and have do Lou Reed type things. They are a band that has walked an incredibly dramatic path with countless undulations, but the Metallica that they are now is firmly settled and relaxed in what they do.
They are calm and relaxed and yet extremely strong, you could say.
They are at their peak in power. It was like James had grabbed all of us who were pontificating in the manner of ‘this is not the real Metallica’, or Metallica is finished!’ by the neck shouting at us, ‘just stop it with your verbal nonsensical garbage!’. One got the feeling that they were kind of saying, ‘enough of that, just come watch us perform live’. Of all the live shows I have seen of Metallica this one in Korea where I felt the power of ‘the Metallica of the present’ was the one that most reverberated through my whole being. And because of that I hope that they will as soon as possible perform in Japan to reach even one person who will see and experience ‘the Metallica of the present’ which is ‘the greatest stadium Metal’ out there.
I truly feel that way as well!
Hedoban Vol. 13 Babymetal Korea report
Be sure to pick up this edition of Hedoban for the full report and more.
There may be hard core fans who want to see Metallica from the very front row, but there are also several thousand fans who have made there way here who want to see BABYMETAL. All that is left is for everyone to go all out in excitement.
I think it would be fair to say that to some degree or another many of the people here are because they want to know more about BABYMETAL
I seemed to recollect that I had heard somewhere that it would be prudent to, ‘be prepared for dealing with winter in Seoul’. That said, the coldness I encountered when I got off the plane following my 2 hour flight to Gimpo International Airport exceeded my imagination. On this outing I ventured out on a path that was separate from the main Hedoban overseas unit wherein I would be going on basically a forced march that got me in and out of the country in less than 24-hours. What is more, I was in the worst of conditions as I did not sleep at all the night before departing. I was somehow able to retain my sanity by getting a bit of sleep as I traveled from place to place.
I got off the subway at Seoul station which is located about 20 minutes from the airport and headed to small, tidy hotel about 10 minutes on foot from the station where I checked in. After unpacking my bags I rushed to track 1 of the subway and got on making my way to the Gocheok Sky Dome where the live show for today was to be performed. Since the subways in Korea were originally built based on technology provided from Japan they are easy for Japanese to use as well. The subway cars themselves were clean and nice in appearance. However, thinking that I could make my way to the venue using one line, I found out that the tracks separated at the Kuuichi station 1 stop before the nearest dome stop making it so I had to backtrack one station. Apparently the subway tracks branch off into differing directions when they reach this station. It is similar to the way things are set up on the Marunouchi line in Japan.
With this mishap and other occurrences I ended up finally reaching the Sky Dome at around 5:30. The periphery of the Dome just prior to opening the gates was filled with people standing in line for merchandise and staff members organizing the crowd with shouts over their megaphones. I am not sure what misunderstanding they may have had, but some booths were even selling penlights. The place was filled with a spirit of welcome for Metallica with flags printed saying Metallica lined up evenly spaced all up the slope and a gigantic Metallica flag plastered up over the main entrance.
I met up with Hedoban’s main unit and as we made our way into the venue we were met with a long winding concourse. It was a familiar and welcome sight to see similar to what we see at a Japanese baseball stadium with food and beverage booths lined up in rows. That said, the aisle was a bit narrow and there were not so many food and beverage booths to choose from. This is probably influenced by the fact that there are around 18,000 seats set up in the Dome.
The stands are much narrower than anything a Japanese person would imagine when thinking of the seating set-up at a dome type of baseball stadium. I am sure that such a close, narrow set up would provide for more enjoyment in watching a baseball game. With those thoughts in mind I descended to the ground floor using a short flight of stairs that were perhaps about half the length of those of the stairs on 1st floor of the Tokyo Dome. The artificial turf was covered with protective sheets to prevent it getting all messed up, but this was done in a very haphazard manner with areas where the sheets had already been pushed up exposing the turf underneath. Things used to be like this in Japan as well a long time ago.
I let myself relax and have a look around once I arrived more or less at the center of the standing area. It seems to me that there are not so many fans in attendance. It called to mind the way things were at the London Red Chili Peppers’ performance. The only difference is is that today’s show was not a sold-out event. I was pretty sure that even when Metallica’s show began that the stands would not be filled up.
People began to sing out in a totally instinctive way here and there. There is no way that one could film what was happening in front of us and remain calm doing so.
Even considering that though, one could not simply feel that this was an away from home show for BABYMETAL. The time schedule had been announced beforehand and so fans who were not interested in the girl’s performance would have no problem simply showing up later. And so one could only surmise that the fans showing up now were those who were more or less interested in BABYMETAL. And certainly there must be some Metallica fans who wanted to watch the show standing in the very front row. Regardless, there were many thousands of people here who came to see BABYMETAL. The remainder were here to just mosh out. The curtain on BABYMETAL’s 5th performance in Asia spread out over the 4 countries of Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and now Korea was now about to be lifted.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome.
Amidst a rush of people that surpassed our expectations swarming toward the standing only floor moved by the power of BABYMETAL’s vocals, we were able to witness the familiar storyline taking place for the first time on Korean soil. The wave of excitement in the dome ramped up a degree or two.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome. I was heretofore of the feeling that the Korean crowd was rather docile, but once things got going I was witness to the amazing, fervent excitement of the Koreans. As soon as the members appeared on the stage there were smartphones being raised all around the crowd as people struggled to get images of their first glimpse of BABYMETAL.
The first song was ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’. One was unable to not let out a ‘Ohhhh!’ of excitement due to the loudness of the performance sound. It was an explosion of sound that was clearness itself. I can not comment on how things were at the back of the dome, but at least in the arena area I can say that the state of affairs was of the optimal condition. The people who were raising their smartphones for pictures were now raising their fists in approval. Many of the people were well acquainted with the songs and were moving in accordance with the music. Other than these people there were those spread out over the audience who were calling out in excitement instinctively with the show. There is no way that anyone could be calming trying to film this performance in light of what was going on on stage.
What was interesting about this was that the people in charge of filming the show had obviously not done any kind of preliminary research and were totally unable to deal with what they were showing on the screen (speaking in detailed terms, I am referring to the persons in charge of switching the camera views). It was a total mess with them showing Yuimetal when Moametal was singing and vice versa Moametal when Yuimetal was singing.
But, this is something that can not be avoided perhaps. Before the performance of ‘Catch me if you can’ was the traditional Kami band solo. However, with the Bass Kami being covered by another musician for the day there was a bit of a strange feeling about the performance, but that was most likely just because I was not used to it and the 4 members went on to lay out a wonderful, new groove.
I felt the 3 girls put on a performance that exhibited a sense of leeway in their expressions. And that is not too surprising. But, that is just so, they have now learned so much about the meaning of, and their roles, in performing as opening acts for these big artists by accompanying the Red Hot Chili Peppers in heir UK tour. Their performances were even more stately and dignified than ever before.
Su-metal enticed the crowd to, ‘Show me a big circle pit’ along with Yuimetal and Moametal depicting the image of a large circle with their hands and arms. It was here that there was a bit of a mistake. Su-metal mistook the take in to the last chorus of ‘Oni-san Kochira’ and was 4 beats off. In the interim between songs the girls realized, ‘Ah, we screwed up!’ and their grimaced faces were truly cute. However, the 3 girls did not drag this mistake along with themselves. The vocals in ‘Megitsune’ were fantastically clear and far reaching and they went on to totally mesmerize the audience with heretofore untold levels of cute smiles and amazing performance with ‘Gimme Choco!’. They were unwavering in their performance.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome.The unification of the people in the venue in the call and response section was of the highest level and fans were going wild raising their voice in exhilaration responding to the song.
Metallica was as to be expected even more amazing than this.
Each note of the final song, ‘Road of Resistance’ stimulated the venue as we headed into the end of the performance bringing those of us in the standing area to an ever deeper state of enthusiasm. The dignified introductory guitar riff floating out throughout the Sky Dome announcing the coming of Metallica was truly fantastic. And along with this, the vision of the 3 girls as they exited the stage shown on the giant screen was absolutely ethereal.
I think it can be safely stated that BABYMETAL’s first Korean performance was a success. When the show ended there were groups of people who were hugging each other due to the excitement (at a glance I thought they were Japanese) and there were girls wearing patch ridden jean jackets who were dancing crazily throughout the performance- something I have never seen in any other countries.
I was in such a high state of excitement because of the degree to which BABYMETAL had been so well received – even more than I had imagined – that I was amazed that Metallica could go even beyond this. The level of excitement and enthusiasm of the fans went way beyond even what I had just experienced making the venue feel like it was taking place in South America, leading me to believe that the 4 Metallica members would not feel too bad about this show not being sold out. They put on a performance that didn’t make one think that this was their first day of a World Tour and totally enthralled their audience. The screen which was of a scale the likes of which I have never seen before was truly effective and despite not making use of other special effects, the depiction of the 4 performers on this screen was enough to totally overpower the audience. There are certainly very few venues in Japan that would allow for this to be used.
The overpowering, explosive sound and performance of this band that envelops the audience while showing the band members to be having a good time attests to the broad appeal of the Metal genre. I was under the impression that Korean Rock fans loved ballads, but that does not seem to be the case. I am very envious of the unchanging fervor of the Korean fans.
- BABYMETAL DEATH
- Catch me if you can
- Gimme Choco!!
- Road of Resistance
Himetan’s wishes upon Coming of Age
I want to take on the challenges of going on an overseas trip, and get better at cooking
Before I had seen Maiyan’s (Shiraishi Mai) Coming of Age ceremony and so I was filled with emotions when it had come to be my turn to be on the participatory side of things at long last. Since this is such a precious opportunity to dress up in so colorful a manner, I decided to go with a lovely, pink kimono. Because I am very much an indoor oriented girl for my 20th year I want to be a bit more of an outdoor type. I have never traveled outside of Japan for personal pleasure and so I want to take a trip overseas. I also want to study cooking. My younger sister can make up a whole meal just out of what she finds in the refrigerator, but this is something I am not good at (laughing). I hope that the dreams of each member will come true this year.
Rockin’ On Japan Vol. 479
Be sure to get a copy of Rockin’ On Japan Vol. 479 for the full experience of this amazing article.
Rockin’ On Japan
Comprehensive 2016 Interview
Putting it simply, this is just not enough and with these 3 girls we can be sure that there is much more ahead.
This was a year filled with a series of miraculous scenes.
What do these 3 girls think of the events of this year as it comes to a close?
We will also provide a detailed report on their 1st and 2nd days of performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
This interview took place in the morning the day after the December 6th 1st day London show with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the morning of their 2nd performance. The interview was conducted over Skype and lasted for 90 minutes.
BABYMETAL’s 2016. When we look back on this year in terms of BABYMETAL history I am sure we will see ‘That year of 2016’ as being a year where the outstanding BABYMETAL phenomena enveloped the world.
In 2016 BABYMETAL’s ‘Metal Resistance’ was released and become a major hit in Europe and America which was followed up by a World Tour which kicked off as them being the first Japanese artist ever to perform a solo show at Wembley Arena and which finished off of with 2 sold out shows at the Tokyo Dome. To round things off in a big way they were selected to perform in the UK tour of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It became a daily occurrence for us to learn about the world wide activities and news about BABYMETAL through the respective news outlets around the world. I did some media coverage with the 3 girls in March of 2016 and the time following that until this interview flew by in a flash flow of excitement. I once again was blow away by the factors that made for this outstanding success of theirs which included their earnest steadfastness and the charm it generated as the girls would approach any stage even if it was in a land totally foreign to them with a direct and positive approach, as well as their mental soundness and raw toughness that served them so well. With that, I want to delve into how they themselves consider 2016 and how they actually think about how they have developed and grown over this year. What do they think about the 1-year period as it draws to a close? They spoke deeply and in detail about these topics. They spoke in a language that was full of fun and harmony but that also showed to a surprising degreee just how tough they have become.
Is it morning for you over there?
How do you feel following the 1st show?
It felt like it had been a long time since we had performed away from home. I was a bit worried about how it would go but, as we progressed through the set list I could sense that they audience was getting more into the music and enjoying the show and I began to feel that from that point things would go just fine.
It reminded me a lot of how things were when we performed as Lady Gaga’s supporting act. And the early stage Festivals we performed at were also all away from home and so when I remembered that if we just plow ahead with our own BABYMETAL-ish flair that the crowds would follow along with us and so I was able to perform knowing in my own mind that everything would be fine.
Remembering the early days, Moametal also starts to feel like she is going to cry. That happened in last night’s show as well. I feel there is no reason for us to get anxious or rush things and all we need to do is bring to everyone a performance that is ours and so that is how I want to do my best for the remaining 7 shows. Additionally, the members of RHCP are really wonderful people and I don’t mean that just as artists but as human beings as well and so I feel I can learn a lot from them.
The fact that you are performing with the RHCP is a huge news item and is being reported upon here in Japan as well. What were you saying amongst yourselves when you learned that you had been selected for this role?
We were talking like everything would be fine if we believed in ourselves and performed as we usually do to the best of our abilities.
Q: Do you mean to say that there was no need to do anything special to work yourselves up for this and that you should approach it as the usual run of things?
Yes, that’s right.
So, after finishing this first show was there anything about the performance that differed from the away from home shows you have pulled off in the past?
The range of ages was the same with everyone from small children to adults, but the type of music favored by the audience was different. We perform a type of music that builds up the excitement with aggressive and wild shows but many of the songs of the RHCPs are more of a slow build up resulting in the audience singing along. There was a bit of a sense of frustration in that they did not immediately respond to what we would throw out to them.
Talking with you now, you all seem just like this is an ordinary day for you (laughs). You know you have one more stage to perform today there in London, right? Rather than being all nervous prior to taking on the challenge of performing on such a major stage you seem to be very relaxed.
We you able to ‘burn up every ounce of fuel’ <Kanzen Nanshou>?
We have not yet performed with all we have, I feel. We will just give all that we are able to perform and then watch the reaction of the audience.
By going through this process time and time again we learn how that we should approach this reaction or that reaction in this or that way.
You must feel a sense of leeway and confidence born out of having successfully making it through this 1 year period of 2016.
(laughs) Yes, but it is true that 2016 seemed to be the year where we played the biggest number of live shows. This year’s World Tour had the greatest number of live shows in it. We performed a lot in America as well.
I want this interview to be mostly about how you feel looking back on 2016. Can I ask each of you in succession to give us a brief summarization of how you see 2016 looking back on it?
Speaking in very brief terms, I feel it was a year of great change. That includes changes in my own feelings as well. For example, in the Festivals that we have appeared in the past it was always accompanied by a feeling of, ‘What is this thing called BABYMETAL?’ with many people in attendance having never even hearing our name. However, I felt that this year many came to the shows with the mindset of ‘I have heard that BABYMETAL is apparently really something amazing’. Up to recently I always felt a bit of being at a loss and bewilderment when we played at a show away from home, but now it is more like I feel we have to go that extra mile conversely just because we are somewhat well-known. That is because I felt we had to live up to the expectations of people coming to us with the mindset of, ‘these girls are supposedly really amazing’. I felt constantly that we had to provide shows that topped even what we had done up until this year.
Su-metal, you as the central figure must carry the burden of symbolically being the biggest member of BABYMETAL. Did you feel that the pressure or rather the sense of responsibility around this role change this year?
Up to now there were many instances where I had to present a formation that was perfectly crafted, but speaking about the feeling this year it was more like since I felt each live performance was a raw, living thing that from that perspective I needed to lead us along and had to pull out ideas from within myself a bit more. At the beginning I was at a bit of a loss at times but as I learned firsthand that each live show was a one time only affair I was able to realize that each venue was totally unique and different in the response of the fans and began to enjoy that aspect of things.
How were things for Yuimetal and Moametal?
There were many shows where just hearing the name of the venue like Wembley Arena or the Tokyo Dome awed me just knowing of the scale of the venue. There was an increase in the number of occasions for many people both within and outside of Japan to come to know us and I was a bit uneasy and anxious about knowing that at places like Wembley Arena that we would be performing as the first Japanese artists to do so and would be laying down a legend. However, with the conclusion of each live performance I gained in confidence and the level of trust in the staff-san and the members grew as well making me feel stronger as we went along. The events of this year made me want to travel ever farther down this path.
I really felt that the environment around us had changed greatly. It is how Su-metal stated a little earlier, the number of people who had come to know us had really grown in number. Because of this I became anxious considering just how we should go about delivering BABYMETAL to everyone. But, I felt that better than worrying about things that it was better to just plow ahead. And so I think it was a good thing that we had a lot of away from home shows this year. My thinking really changed due to meeting so many people as we moved from Wembley Arena to the RHCP tour. This is because I realized that it is not that we as BABYMETAL have to adjust ourselves to our surrounding environment but rather that we have to learn not to change even as the surrounding environment does so. I feel that we have to aim at ever higher goals while not changing who we are.
Moametal, you said in a previous interview, ‘no matter what kind of situation we face, we can only move ahead’. It seems that this attitude has grown stronger over this 1-year.
Eh, no, I don’t feel like I have grown that strong, you know (laughs). I feel I was only able to make through this year because Su-metal and Yuimetal were by my side. Because these two strong girls are by my side I feel that I too want to be strong. I would be best if all of us are strong together, right? (laughs). And that is why we will continue to get stronger and stronger.
As you have just stated the unified bond of power of the 3 of you is one of the main strengths of BABYMETAL. In that regard, how do you feel that you have grown stronger this year?
Ever since we have started to go out on these World Tours I have felt in an undetermined way that whenever we make eye contact with each other that we know what the other is thinking. I think this is something that we have trained ourselves to be able to do ever since we began doing these away from home shows way back in the day. And so I think this unified bond between the 3 of us itself is something that we have developed to a high level of completion from quite some time ago. However, I think it is recently that we are able to read the atmosphere of our shows in a more unified manner. It is like we can direct the show in this way or that according to the feel of the crowd. There were times in the past when we could not get that same unified of the audience. But, recently we are often told by those watching the shows that even though we haven’t verbally said anything between ourselves that, ‘Wow, you were able to raise the excitement of the show together’. That ability is something that comes from feeling the atmosphere of many shows taken from our experiences in doing so many performances.
Su-metal, you performing and singing in the central position have carried a big load of responsibility up to this point and from the point of view of this unified group cohesiveness that has grown in this year, has the significance of what you must deal with changed at all?
Yes, well, the final thing we are aiming at is the same for all of us. While that is not something that we can yet see, it is something that we know lies on the path that we have walked so far and so… well, actually this year was the first time I ever got nervous doing a live show. At Wembley Arena for the first time, or rather the first time in many years, I got nervous. Up to now, I feel that usually I would just find myself performing on stage without knowing exactly what it was all about, but at Wembley Arena I finally felt the immensity of what it was all about. (laughs) At that time I was greatly encouraged on by these two.
Eh, so when the show was over did it seem different to the 3 of you?
Wembley Arena was, as you can imagine, a show that would determine how we should approach 2016 and the fans at Wembley determined that for us. I was very happy about that. I felt a sense of relief, like, ‘’Ah, now I can see the road to take’. I felt that I then knew how to proceed. At the beginning the audience seemed in a state of chaos and there was a sense of an unsettled blur, but through our songs the fans came together as one unified whole. When you perform on a stage the scale of Wembley Arena the audience is not made up wholly of hard core fans. It was there that I felt, ‘Ah, our music is something that surpassed the boundaries of countries’. This gave me more confidence in our music.
Wembley Arena took place the day after ‘Metal Resistance’ was released simultaneously around the world and was set timing-wise as the frontal attack for 2016 was getting its full-fledged start. In other words, I feel that you must have felt the pressure that the whole battle that awaited you for 2016 hung in the balance scales of how this live show went.
Ever since we began recording the album I felt that we were heading out into a new challenge. This 2nd album was us as BABYMETAL created something new that only we could do based on the tours we had performed and on the various types of music that we had studied. In fact, in truth, this was the beginning of our challenge and was to be the real start line for us. I feel that there was perhaps a sense that we also had to change.
That is truly how it is. I think that you had to create a world view that was unique to BABYMETAL, show a performance style that only BABYMETAL could perform and connect with the world-wide fan base as you dove into a challenge on a scale that was of a dimension different from what had come before. So, of course you would feel nervous.
This is the same for the album, but we ourselves also had to keep our core essence as it always was in ourselves as BABYMETAL and in the passion we put into each and every live performance but we also had to absorb and include as much as possible the areas of respect we have for all the various people we have come in contact with. The main core doesn’t change but we have to raise our level of skillmanship based on the what we have taken in from outside sources. In that sense, we felt we had to make bigger changes.
In the midst of all that, ‘Metal Resistance’ was received with high praise around the world. As BABYMETAL got bigger and bigger I can imagine that the 3 of you must have felt like this existence known as BABYMETAL was starting to charge ahead with a will of its own. What do you think about that?
The hurdle set by or for BABYMETAL got higher. The only place for us to express ourselves is in our live shows. So, how to go over that hurdle is something that we fretted and concerned ourselves with with every show. As you can imagine all kinds of things can happen at a live show, but those are not things you can make excuses about.
That is true.
But, just exactly because we were successful with those live shows we are now able to be where we are. However, this situation is something that in actuality I have come to think of as a scary situation.
That is because live shows are ‘live’, living things. We have gotten so that we can talk with each other during the shows – recently, that is. That came about following Wembley.
Ah, yes, that is so.
Up until then we would talk about how to approach things after a live show had finished. But, from around the time of Wembley we started talking about our approach about things during the show. We came to talk amongst ourselves about what direction to go based on what we observed about the mood of the fans.
And so, we are now able to calmly deal with things as they come up during a show.
Up to then we were only concerned with ‘attacking’ but now we have learned how to use the technique of ‘defending’ as well. (laughs) That doesn’t mean just huddling up in defense but rather doing things defensively with a purpose. We now talk amongst ourselves before a show and looking that overall picture we decide, ‘this is where we will play it safe’ and ‘this is where we will bring things to a climax’ and so we know clearly how to deal with the shows.
Comparing the shows to a battle it is like we have come to be able to conceive a fighting strategy. Up until recently we have come out with all guns blazing but now we properly attack things starting with the small stuff first and depending upon the reaction of the audience we are able to move accordingly. If the fans are really getting into things we are able to adjust our fighting stance, or something like that. We are now able to consider a wider range of actions.
For us, from the outset we considered our shows to be battles but now we are able to think about and use a variety of approaches making it much more fun. I feel the time I have to reflect upon myself during live shows has increased. It is like getting items in a game. I feel like I have gathered up quite a few over the years.
Having watching your live shows over this year I felt that you each had an individual kind of set of boundaries that you challenged yourself with, but with this year it was more like the 3 of you were moving as one unified unit. Don’t you think in that meaning that your sense of unification has grown much more than before? Having been asked so, how do you feel about this point of view?
We were very acutely aware of the fact that if each of us just did our best in our own individual way that we would all be going in separate directions without any meaning. I think that the sense of just going all out in for what it is worth was of value and had some great benefit but I feel that at last the individual battles we had been waging have come together as a unified set of 3 and since we now have the feeling of, ‘the 3 of us fighting together’, that we have all become stronger in spirit.
This is something I think about every year. With each increasing year I realize that BABYMETAL is something that I can not ever let go of, you could say. This feeling of really loving BABYMETAL just keeps getting stronger. It goes without saying that I am referring to the 3 of us but I also include the staff-san and the fans as part of this increasing sense of a unified group feeling. This year I felt even more than in the past that not only the 3 of us but also the degree of teamwork of everyone related with BABYMETAL has grown greatly.
Up to now the way it has been with BABYMETAL was that each of us respectively did our best to the 100% maximum but by doing so these efforts would remain within the realm of BABYMETAL and not reach the outer world at all. I felt there were times where the true essence of BABYMETAL was not properly conveyed to the fans. In that sense, it would be better for each of us to give 50% of our efforts making for a total of 150% being delivered to the fans which I feel would be a much better state of affairs.
Up to now I have thought of BABYMETAL as being separated in terms of roles as one and then two. That means one member sings overwhelming songs while two of you perform perfectly synchronized dance movements while mesmerizing the fans. But over this span of one year I feel strongly that this 1 to 2 ratio of roles has faded away.
Up to now I felt that for the time being I had to focus on moving ahead. I had a sense of responsibility telling me that I had to keep doing my best. There was a strong sense of awareness that I had to lead the three of us onwards. When we were to perform at Wembley, and this was the case at other times as well when I felt nervous, they tapped me on the shoulders and said, ‘Everything is fine. Lets go out and do our best!’. I had always thought of them as being the little girls I knew but recently I feel they are more grown up than myself. It is because they are like this that I feel we have been able to become ‘the 3’ that we are now. It was like all of a sudden I realized that the two of them had grown into being adults. (laughs)
(laughs) Returning again to the timeline, we see you touring completely overseas from spring in through summer. The summation of that being the 2 nights of performances at the Tokyo Dome. While the state of the relationships between the 3 of you has changed dramatically throughout this year the 3 of you have already spoken about how for the Tokyo Dome shows you were in the best state of balance and the highest point to unleash your power. Could you talk about that?
When you get to a stage of the scale of the Tokyo Dome there is very little time for the 3 of us to get together. But, that said, I think it was because of this year’s tour that we were able to pull it off. In that sense I feel that you could say that it truly was a summation of the year.
When I first heard that we would be performing at the Tokyo Dome I felt that perhaps we were not yet up to that level of things. I wanted to be truly full of confidence and be able to perform at a level equal with that of the Dome. From there as we traveled around on the World Tour we learned a great deal, grew in power and the bonds between the 3 of us grew stronger and stronger as we headed towards performing at the Tokyo Dome and this really made me happy. I think the performances where we were able to exhibit the maximum of our current abilities were the shows at the Tokyo Dome.
I was amazed that so many people would come and follow BABYMETAL around on tour and that overseas fans would come from their home countries to see us perform at the Tokyo Dome. We are of the mindset of wanting to give energy and happiness to everyone but it almost seems as if it is us who are given these things. I wonder if it is alright to be so happy and fortunate. But, once the Dome shows were over I felt that we would be able to go on to bigger things and this idea of going on to achieve even bigger goals was something the 3 of us talked about together.
This is the same for me. I simply feel that have not done enough. (laughs) I felt that with the 3 of us, with team BABYMETAL, we can plow farther ahead.
That is how I felt as well. Being able to think like that is not such an ordinary thing, is it? For the me who existed just 1 year ago, or perhaps a bit farther back I am pretty sure just standing on the stage at the Tokyo Dome would have been way too scary for me. There are DVDs of artists performing at the Tokyo Dome where they show scenes from the stage looking out over the fans, right? Being able to see that scene for myself with my own eyes…well, wow, even though 2-months have passed since I actually stood on that stage even now I wonder in amazement if I actually performed there. When we were performing on the Tokyo Dome stage I thought that if we have fans who will support us this much that we perhaps can go on to even bigger things.
It seems to me that over this year the 3 of you come to know extremely well how best to present BABYMETAL. In accordance with that, it seems that rather than focusing on what particular stage performance you want to challenge yourselves with it seems to be that there is more of a significance in how you can best and most properly perform the particular ideal that the 3 of you have developed amongst yourselves.
Yes, that sounds right.. This is also an area dealing with intuition and feeling and so I am not able to express it in words so well, but giving it a go, I would say that exactly because the way we approach our live shows and our relationship with the fans has changed this desire to do ‘more and more’ is not in reference to the size of the venue. Of course we ‘put and burned up every ounce of fuel’ <Kanzen Nenshou> into the Dome shows, but once they were finished to me they were no different than our usual performances. It was a feeling of, ’Oh, we have finished this stage?’. And, ‘Alright then, lets move on to something greater’. I think all this signifies is simply that we have overcome another hurdle.
Do the two of you also have that same feeling?
The feeling of nervousness when we appeared on the stage at the Tokyo Dome was greater than I had imagined. I honestly thought that my heart would just give out – it was just about that scary. With our other shows there is always a mixture of nervousness and enjoyment, but with these shows the feeling of nervousness was strikingly bigger. However, because I was able to feel the same way as Su-metal and Moametal about the 3 of us overcoming this major event together I was able to approach the shows with that shared feeling and I was able to get accustomed to the challenge while I was dancing to a degree greater than I had imagined. It is hard for me to put into words, but the feeling expressed by Su-metal’s ‘more and more! is also now a part of Yuimetal’s thinking. I have performed now on so many stages, all of which have helped me to grow at a rapid pace and so I feel I have now become strong enough in spirit to not be overwhelmed by performing at the Tokyo Dome and so I feel that is why I can now be of the mindset of, ‘more and more!’. I feel that is a kind of proof that I have grown and developed.
As I was thinking deliberately on this just now I couldn’t answer for myself why I too am of the mindset of ‘more and more!’. But, listening to Su-metal and Yuimetal’s answers something came to me and that is that it is not that the Dome was such a big stage as our of 7 billion people on the planet 110 thousand people is a such a small number of people that we have been able to make contact with. The world is a much bigger place and so I feel that I would like to meet more and more people and I want to become even more a person who is the reason a person smiles. I want to meet more and more people.
Talking like this as we are now and being able to listen to everyone’s ideas from the ground up I feel like I have understood that there is an actual reason for me to feel that I have changed. We took on many challenges in 2016. Before we departed on the World Tour I said that, ‘I want to return as a person suitable for performing at the Tokyo Dome’. But, in fact I feel that we returned having grown to a level that exceeds that by a bit. When we performed at the Saitama Super Arena one and a half years ago it was like, ‘Wow, we have made to it to this major stage’. But as we are talking now, I feel like the ‘me’ that has experienced performing in various countries overseas has grown to a degree that is a bit bigger than the scale of the Tokyo Dome.
That is amazing. (laughs) It truly was an incredible year, wasn’t it?
It really was a period of many successes. That said, I feel that exactly because we have come this far we must be compelled to aim ever higher and the burden from the pressure that comes with that does show its face sometimes. I want to do my best to be able to exceed this period of successes next year.
I watched the 1st and 2nd day performances with the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
This is a thorough report that follows the 3 girls as they continue to develop as they step onto the explosive stages they have been selected to appear on!
BABYMETAL appeared as the guest artist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in their UK tour. And while I am not the artists performing, just thinking about it frightens me into stone cold paralysis. There is simply no way that the girls were not full of apprehension and self doubt. Wondering just what kind of shows these girls who took this challenge upon themselves would put on propelled me, with a desire to see them first hand, to drop everything and make to London to see their 1st and 2nd performances.
The 1st day performance. I made my way to the O2 Arena. While I was able to spot BABYMETAL fans who had come from Japan for the show here and there, the vast majority of the people present were local RHCP fans. Thinking to myself that tonight’s stage would most likely prove to be a tough environment for BABYMETAL – I made my way to my seat. The stage set up was an extremely simple one. There would be no use of screen effects nor ?? and all there was on the stage were BABYMETAL flags standing in the background. Contrasting this with the Tokyo Dome shows I saw in September really bright home the realization that this was to be an away from home performance. The show started out with ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’. The floor of the viewing area was not even half filled up yet. But this did not seem to bother the girls in the least as they surveyed the venue with calm, detached eyes followed by their usual performance carried out as outstandingly as always. Seeing them perform the ‘B – A – B – Y – M – E – T – A- L.’ sharply and without holding back in their movements for some reason sent tingles up and down my spine. They followed this up with the popish, cute ‘Awadama Fever’ and when Su-metal’s crystal clear voice resounded throughout the venue the first time viewers began to gradually get a sense of how to enjoy the existence of this thing called BABYMETAL. Watching from the standing area I was able to see that many of the people in attendance were starting to bob their heads. But what shook the atmosphere that was largely of a sense of checking things out and trying to get a grasp on things out of its placidity was ‘Megitsune’. Appearing dressed in Kimono-like costumes with the Fox masks backed by this melody that evokes the ‘Wa’ of Japan immediately drew the crowd into the charm of BABYMETAL. Without giving a hint of a care about this being an away from home performance, Su-metal aggressively fanned the excitement of the audience. Questioning the crowd, ‘Are You Ready? and being met with an inadequate response, Su-metal again drilled the crowd with ‘Are You Ready? O2 Arena!!?’ throwing in clapping and jumping into the mix. Just where does the tenacity and courage to do this come from? There is no doubt that this stirring up and egging on the audience really changed the mood of the venue. It dawned on me that the crowd had grown in size until it reached to the back of the arena. I felt like I had witnessed firsthand the instant that BABYMETAL had overcome a huge obstacle. Then with Moametal and Yuimetal joining in actively on the call and response in ‘Gimme Choko!’ the reaction of the audience rapidly heated up.
The responses to the girls rapid fire and unreserved shots of ‘Louder!’ and ‘One More!’ were almost funny in how large they were in volume. These girls are amazing – they are able to stately and without any sense of timidity pull this kind of performance off in spite of this being their first time in this venue in front of a totally unknown kind of audience. Seeing them perform in this manner truly moved me. Next was ‘Karate’. And although the meaning of the Japanese lyrics of, ‘Seiya, Seiya Tatakau n da. Kanashiku natte, Tachiagarenaku nattemo’ could not be comprehended by the audience in this foreign country, I was convinced that the sense of ‘Tatakau’ <fight/battle> was more than sufficiently conveyed through the performances of the girls themselves. The cheers following this song were one step louder and enthusiastic than before. With the girls performing the 7 songs up to and including the last song of ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ to the full extent of their abilities made one feel that there is potential for them to take it even further. There is no doubt that this night’s performance served to enhance the girls’ confidence greatly. The following night’s show amazed me and showed an even greater level of growth and development.
Having successfully carried out the 1st day’s performance there was nothing for the girls to be afraid of and so in the 2nd night’s show all they had to do was to sincerely pursue whatever is required to grab the hearts and minds of ever more fans as they put on the best show possible. While the show stage with the curtain being raised on the opening song of ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’, with tonight’s show I could not see even a speck of self doubt as the 3 girls scanned every nook and cranny of the venue and from the very outset of the show directed all of their energy onto the audience. On this day as well there most definitely were a large number of people in attendance who were seeing BABYMETAL for the first time but this time the speed at which the audience was drawn into the charm of the performance was dramatically faster. The size of the reaction of the audience serves as an accelerator to raise the energy level of the show itself. This was something I felt from the performance of the Kami band as well. In and above being from the outset a band made up of exceedingly talented musicians it seems that the interest paid to the band by the RHCP fans on the 2nd day helped to bring more emotionality to the band even than usual resulting in the Kami band putting on a truly spectacular performance. In the day’s 3rd song, ‘Catch me if you can’ the self initiated clapping and joining in with the sing along began at an early stage and there were decidedly more people than the previous day head banging along with the band’s performance. By adding more parts to the call and response section of the song the osmotic penetrating power of this song grew drastically in strength. In just one night BABYMETAL was able to clearly and with pinpoint precision zero in on what they needed to do and adjust their performance accordingly. This occurrence at this away from home venue in the UK where they hadn’t played for quite some time is testament to the extreme importance they placed on these shows. The fact that they never slacken up or take it easy for even one song or even one single phrase even when they are appearing as a guest act is the same with how things have been up to now, but their ability to grasp the mood of the audience and immediately implement what needs to be done into their performance has increased to a surprising degree.
When it is the right time to stir up the excitement of the audience they are able to do so with precision, and when it is time to let their emotions take flight they do so without pulling punches. It is precisely because they overcame the hardships of the 1st day filled with nervous tension that they were able to put on such an emotion filled performance the 2nd day. One this day every member of BABYMETAL was able to put those emotions into their singing, their dancing and their performances without a hint of holding anything back at all. They succeeded in creating a sense of unification with everyone in the venue that exceeded the day before in the ‘Jump’ part of ‘Megitsune’ and the call and response of ‘Gimme Choco!’. While simultaneously cooly and rationally considering the harmony and overall balance of their performance the girls are now able to expose, without any sense of covering things up, the raw, passionate emotions that reside within themselves. That is what live shows are all about, and it may in fact be that this was a challenge meant for the girls to re-realize how important it is to shake up the hearts and minds of the audience.
At the first day’s show, RHCP’s Anthony expressed his thanks to BABYMETAL for accompanying them on this tour during his MC talk, on the 2nd day, Flea appeared on stage wearing a Fox mask, while Josh wore a BABYMETAL T-shirt during one of the shows. I am certain that they felt how much BABYMETAL had grown with each passing show. By the time of the Manchester show, the 3 girls actually appeared on the stage with the RHCPs and performed alongside them.
Moreover, at the final show of the tour, Chad appeared on stage dressed up in Kami band cosplay attire and proceeded to perform a Judas Priest cover song together with BABYMETAL. That is absolutely fantastic.
BABYMETAL is a unit that been able to carry out the Metal Resistance by redefining the concept of Metal as being something that is also a form of entertainment. Up to this point in time the 3 girls have completely comprehended this fact and have provided us all with performances that are all a very high level of completeness. However, with this tour they have transformed into a unit that can express an even more bare and raw performance that truly shows the essential qualities of what live shows are all about. On the 1st day at the London performance they felt the possibilities of this. Then, at the 2nd show the were able to shift into being able to spill out somewhat from the here to fore BABYMETAL way of doing things and to be able to enjoy doing so. Su-metal’s vocals have grown in emotional depth while Yuimetal and Moametal’s dance performance have surpassed the realms of harmony and synchronization and have evolved into the realm of expressing emotion and allowing us to feel the qualities of physicality. They have gained an new confidence knowing that they are more than able to traverse the world without having to rely on large scale stage sets or gimmicks. I am quite certain that their upcoming live shows with Metallica and Guns N’ Roses they will show us ever developing performances. It is becoming ever more difficult to take your eyes off of BABYMETAL.
Hedoban Vol. 12 Black Night
Hedoban Vol. 12
The 3 girls appear crucified on crosses positioned on the ends of the stage runways.
WORLD TOUR 2016
LEGEND – Metal Resistance
2016 September 20 (Tues.)
Tokyo Dome 2nd day
Thus begins the 2nd day of the Tokyo Dome performances. I was able to make my way to Suidoubashi for a second time in a relatively calm, relaxed state of mind. However, once I put one foot into the arena I was met with a mood of excitement that was even greater than the previous day. With more than 20 minutes to go before the start of the show there were spontaneous waves of people clapping in unison giving the stadium a feeling of an overseas concert filled with passion. The 55 thousand fans who had had their expectations boosted perhaps by the high praises posted on SNS outlets about the 1st day’s show conveyed to one a sense of heightened excitement about tonight’s show.
My seat tonight was positioned toward the front of the second tier of seats. Since my seat tonight is more than 10 rows further to the front than yesterday it will be interesting to see what changes this brings. Well, anyway, I was not expecting too much of difference. I am saying that because after all this the Tokyo Dome.
Unexpectedly, the editor of ‘Hedoban’, Umezawa sitting next to me suddenly leaned over and asked, ‘What is that thing projecting outward?’. Taking a look I saw a stage set up that was the same as the day before, but upon a closer examination I saw something sticking out on the tip of one of the runways covered in some kind of cloth.
At 7:05 the lights on the side of the audience went out, and an opening movie identical in contents with the first day began to play. Today they would play all the songs on the 1st and 2nd albums that had not been performed on the Red Night. Once the movie ended a machine gun like refrain echoed in our ears. BABYMETAL DEATH! And then, as with the 1st night’s show I thought I could see the 3 BABYMETAL girls dressed in white costumes appearing on the upper most stage.
It was then that an unexpected development took place. At the tips of each of the runways extending out from the main stage the 3 girls were each respectively crucified on crosses. What an clever style of performance this is!
The utter coolness of this caused my whole body to breakout in goosebumps.
The 3 girls are then transported on circular movable disks which they stand on on the ends of the runways to the center stage. And once they reach the center stage, the periphery of this stage begins to revolve and they begin to jump around as a kind of greeting to the entire audience. This entire spectacle is taken in by the crazily flying winged camera floated above the heads of the fans. The camerawork displayed by this winged camera is truly amazing.
Next up is ‘Awadama Fever’. I was here that I realized something. The sound of the band was much louder than the 1st day with each instrument coming over more distinctly than before. I don’t know if this was due to simply being seated in a different area than the Red Night or because of corrections to the sound system. However, regardless of which it was I was totally of the impression of, ‘I can’t believe I am able to hear this quality of sound at the Tokyo Dome’. From the stoic expression of Su-metal’s face as she urged the crowd along during the sing-along screaming out, ‘Sing it!’ I sensed that she was relaxed and still had much in reserve.
Even though this rotating stage continues to revolve to show the girls and the band to the audience and is by its nature an uneasy set up the girls amazingly continue to perform their complicated and complex dance routines without incident. It is not only impossible under these circumstances to visually determine where exactly is the center of the stage it is also difficult to know where you are in relation to the other performers. This what is nothing short of a magical performance continues on without problem into ‘Uki Uki Midnight’, which they performed without any hint of difficulty. And in and above all, I felt that I was able to see Yuimetal smiling even more than usual. This was really evident with the song, ‘META! Meta Tarou’. Much of this could be attributed to the character of the song, but the 3 girls were ever so seeming to have a good time with the song, ‘META! Meta Tarou’ with them showing a rapidly changing flow of facial expressions. Su-metal has stated that this is her personal favorite from the 2nd album because she ‘is so happy to have a song that the 3 of us can sing together’, and even seated far away from the stage I can tell you that her enjoyment of this song was tangibly conveyed. Meanwhile, the sound generated by the Kami band was distinct, clear and solid. The whole song was extremely cool and the entirety of the audience was unified as a single unit raising their voices as one.
It is not an exaggeration to say that there is no doubt that Su-metal is getting closer and closer, step by step to becoming a prominent representative of Japan’s best vocalists.
Personally, the song which I felt had deep significance was ‘Sis. Anger’. It is so amazing to realize that the day had come where the Tokyo Dome was to be rocked by Black Metal! While I most certainly was intoxicated with the exhilaration (or should I say, sense of strangeness) of hearing a blast beat at this show, it was ‘Akatsuki’ that got my fists pumping in an excitement that even surpassed ‘Sis. Anger’. It had been a long time I had seen this song performed at a live show. And exactly because it had been such a long time since seeing it performed I was able to recognize just how different it was compared with before. What I am talking about is Su-metal’s vocals. There is more of a solid core to it than before and she is able to change the expression conveyed by her voice adjusting to the lyrics. This song is fantastic for showing the proficiency of her straight-forward, expansive and smooth vocal abilities but now with her having added an extra dimension of expressive skills to her storehouse of talents, she is invincible.
Further, the highlight of the interlude of this song with the twin lead was performed with a perfect victorious pose. Without doubt this was the highlight of today’s performance.
Su-metal’s vocals in ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ which had also not been performed live for a long, long time were also absolutely wonderful. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is no doubt that Su-metal is getting closer and closer, step by step to becoming a prominent representative of Japan’s best vocalists.
It is amazing to think that this can be said of her now and yet she is still in her teenage years. She has an incredible future in front of her. I would like to add here that it the song presented just before this Black Babymetal’s ‘Onedari Daisakusen’ served perfectly as a bridge into this song. It was a nice demonstration of good teamwork.
When the intro for ‘Doki Doki Morning’ started up with the girls bathed in a pink colored light, a roar from the audience boomed out with an emotional tone that we had not heard up to the point. The Dome was packed over these 2 days with both new and old fans alike. This roaring of the crowd echoing through the Dome was an interesting mixture of the expression of various differing feelings about this song that symbolized the initial stages of BABYMETAL.
It was here that I felt something was a bit different from the usual with Su-metal. Perhaps you could say that her way of singing seemed to be focused more on singing in a cute manner than usual and with her voice kind of slightly jumping and floating around there were occasions where her voice got a bit drowned out by the music. I felt like I was peering into one aspect of her process of learning through trial and error.
BABYMETAL is accelerating at a pace and with a momentum that exceeds the dreams of these girls. This (The Tokyo Dome) is not their final destination.
The 3 girls seemed to be having a fun time throughout the whole show but it was especially apparent and really stood out that that was the case with ‘Megitsune’. The girls usually perform this song with sharp, cool expressions on their faces – it is kind of the trademark style of performance for ‘Megitsune’. Today was totally different. In stark contrast with the cool feel of the red and white lighting that moved in a coordinated flow with the sound, the 3 girls were performing with radiant smiles on their faces. What’s that?…’All women are actresses’ <Onna ha Joyuu, yo>? No, no way, at least for today these girls are throwing that aside and enjoying this show at the core of their being. This is most definitely not acting that is going on on-stage. Pretending to not be content with the crowd egging them on with ‘Everybody, clap your hands!’ <Su-metal>, ‘Come on, you can do better than that, can’t you?’ <Yuimetal>, ‘I can’t hear you at all!’ <Moametal>, in fact I am quite certain the girls were completely satisfied and happy with everything. While this happy mood was pervasive throughout the Dome, we could also see up on the giant monitor screen views of the fans going absolutely wild taken from cameras behind the Kami band. The perceivable gap between the two was quite an awesome sight to behold.
With the following song, ‘Hedobangya!’ a phenomena occurred that was exactly the opposite of what we saw with ‘Megitsune’. Amidst a scene that resembled nothing other than a religious ceremony with 55 thousand fans shaking their heads wildly in every nook and cranny of the Dome, the camera focused in for an extended amount of time on a single fan who was going all out repeatedly do a ‘Dogeza Hedoban’ <bowing all the way to the floor while sitting on your heels> while raising a ‘Juuonbu’ towel, which served as the launch pad for BABYMETAL, as he did so. I believe it is correct to look upon this as a symbol of maximum respect for the long time fans coming from not only the 3 girls but from the whole BABYMETAL team. While this caused people throughout the Dome to burst out in laughter, it was actually a very heart warming scene.
The final song was ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’. Before the performance of the song began there was the traditional Kamishibai, but this one was a longer version than had come before that really emphasized the message contained in the song.
Tonight the neck corsets worn by everyone emitted a red light which became the red backdrop for Yuimetal and Moametal to bathe in as they sprinted around the stage. With the use of these long runways this became more of a full fledged track and field race than a short dash. The Dome seats shook in a monstrous quake during the Dame Jump phase of the song as 55 thousand fans all unified as one heading into the end of this curtain closing song.
With the final BABYMETAL call the girls were brimming over with faces showing refreshed smiles indicating their happiness with having performed to the full extent of their capabilities. It would be fair to say that these smiles encapsulated their thoughts and feelings over these 2 days. By the way Moametal was jumping and dancing around I am sure she was especially happy.
The girls walked slowly as if to soak in the sensation of walking on these 3 runways as they waved at the fans who had become witnesses to this historical event. Doing so, Su-metal suddenly slipped and fell down and was somehow helped up by Yuimetal and Moametal who were having been drawn into almost falling themselves somehow managed to stay on their feet.
Overcoming this, the 3 girls huddled up and walked on as one. I am certain that this is exactly how they have overcome hardships and made it to where they are now. I felt to me as if I was watching the last scene of a movie depicting the joys of teenage life.
Following this and in conclusion, the girls made their way to the top of the circular tower where Su-metal lavishly struck a gigantic metal gong bringing the show to a close. The low reverberation of the gong ringing out signaled the conclusion of the 4th chapter of the Metal Resistance as surely as it signified the ringing in of an announcement of the next new step to be taken by BABYMETAL who has already pioneered a pathless road for us.
BABYMETAL has up to now pulled off so many accomplishments that most people had considered as being beyond the realm of the possible. In fact, just a few days ago it was announced that they would be doing an anime version of BABYMETAL in a joint venture with a Hollywood based company. This was in fact something that Moametal had stated 3 and 1/2 years ago in an interview as one of her dreams for the future. It goes without saying that at the time she said this there was no talk of doing a joint venture with Hollywood. BABYMETAL is accelerating at a pace and with a momentum that exceeds the dreams of these girls. This (The Tokyo Dome) is not their final destination. This is not their final destination. Stories that no one other than the Fox god are privy to will continue to become reality for BABYMETAL into the future.
Hedoban vol. 12 Red night
Hedoban vol. 12
Those who carry and take forward the 5-letter magical word of ‘METAL’
Thank you, Su-metal! Thank you, Yuimetal! Thank you, Moametal!
Thank you, the 3 guitar gods! Thank you, bass god! Thank you, drum god! Thank you, Kobametal!
Thank you for showing us this wonderful scenery….really, thank you, BABYMETAL!
‘2-days of Japanese Metal, Japanese miracles’ witnessed by 110 thousand fans.
‘2-days that are the envy of the world of Metal’ witnessed by 110 thousand fans.
BABYMETAL brought to you by 110 thousand fans.
BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2016 LEGEND – METAL RESISTANCE – RED NIGHT/BLACK NIGHT
2016 September 19 (Monday) Tokyo Dome/2016 September 20 (Tuesday) Tokyo Dome
A ‘Metal Gospel’ delivered under the name of ‘Tokyo Dome 2-days’
The following is a report on BABYMETAL’s 2 days at the Tokyo Dome brought to you by ‘Hedoban’ which has been moved deeply by the BABYMETAL’s ‘Metal Gospel’ time and time again in the past and which we will herein deliver to you to the extent possible, the maximum degree of appreciation and love for BABYMETAL in the truest form possible. This took place approximately 4 years since their 2 solo live performances of the ‘LEGEND CORSET FESTIVAL’ in front of 600 fans at the Japanese Metal sacred location of Mejiro’s ‘Rokumeikan’ on 2012 July 21. What took place on that stage on those 2 nights in front of 110 thousand fans? Just how big of impact were those 2 nights on the world of Metal? Further, what kind of compilation of performances did those 110 thousand fans witness over those 2 nights? With 30 color filled pages, ‘Hedoban’ will expound upon the ‘Truth of this Metal Gospel’.
Carrying and taking forward the 5-letter magical word of ‘METAL’…is this their fate?
‘A new Metal is born! BABYMETAL has uprooted and changed the concept of what Metal is!’
In 2013 with the decision to appear in Summer Sonic ’13 with the headlining act of Metallica, BABYMETAL goes all out to show their love of Metallica with their ‘May Revolution’.
Following on the heels of their fateful meeting with Metallica at Summer Sonic ’13, they went on to perform, ‘Legend 1997 – Sumetal’s Seitansai’ on December 21st, 2013 at Makuhari Messe’s event hall. The towering goddess statue collapsing at the end of the show was an all-out homage to Metallica mirroring the goddess statue that crumbles to the ground in their ‘Damaged Justice Tour’ in the latter half of the 1980’s.
At the end of the 2nd day of their first performances at the BudouKan in March of 2014 came the announcement that BABYMETAL would be performing at the Metal Festival, Sonisphere in the UK with Metallica billed as the headlining act.
In August of 2015 they experienced the awesomeness and greatness of Metallica witnessing them from the extremely close proximity of the stage side when Metallica played as the headlining act at the tradition-rich UK Rock Festival, Reading Festival 2015.
It was about 25 years ago. On New Years Eve of the year that the album monster Metal album , ‘Metallica’, known more commonly as the ‘Black Album’ was released and has gone on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide that, for just one time and one time only, that on December 31st, 2016, Metallica performed on stage at the Tokyo Dome.
Following this, Metallica went on to completely rewrite the world map of Metal in one fell swoop. It has now been 25 years since this band shook the Tokyo Dome bringing us to September 19th and 20th, 2016. This Metal Dance unit, BABYMETAL, who are carrying on their backs the 5-letter magical word of Metal and accompanied by 5 gods, have come to blast out Metal at the Tokyo Dome like it hasn’t experienced in 25 years.
Metal will shake the Tokyo Dome for the first time in 25 years.
‘Metal Gospel’ comes to the Tokyo Dome for the first time in 25 years.
BABYMETAL- you who carry and take forward the 5-letter magical word of ‘METAL’…
To start off you mission, begin by completely repainting the world’s Metal map!
~ with all the BABYMETAL love there is ~
What exactly did the writer of this article feel in that space that attracted 110 thousand people over 2 shows?
Also, just what took place on that stage and the coffin-shaped runways set up in the center of the Dome?
This report will record what happened with all the BABYMETAL love there is.
The numerous ‘Moments of Truth’ that dramatically occurred on the stages of these 2 days at the Tokyo Dome.
Tokyo Dome 2-days
Comprehensive report of…
‘The compilation of miraculous Metal entertainment’
Going a bit past the scheduled start time for the show, at 6:21 the Tokyo Dome was plunged into a moment of darkness.
The opening movie began to play amidst a roar of applause and excitement the likes of which I have never heard at any venue before.
According to the movie, all of the songs recorded on the 1st album, ‘BABYMETAL’ and the 2nd album, ‘Metal Resistance’ will be performed over the 2 days.
In other words, that means there will also be no repetition of songs in the set lists.
One of the main points to consider for these shows is just what is possible with the extreme spaciousness of this venue.
I was certain that I would be able to meet this day with a rational state of mind. Following the announcement at the end of last year at the Yokohama Arena that there would be solo shows at the Tokyo Dome and then the specified dates being announced at Wembley Arena all led to a building up of excitement for me. And thought the following nearly 6 months I kind of had a vague sense as I witnessed all that happened with the shows in America that these days were approaching. However, it was not until I actually had the view of the Tokyo Dome directly in my line of sight that the excitement was to suddenly swell up in my chest
Tokyo on September 19th was hit with heavy rain and a coldness that was enough to cause you to shiver. When I arrived at the Dome a bit past 4 in the afternoon the areas surrounding the Dome were already buzzing with immense excitement. Seeing the areas around the Dome this filled with excitement was a first for me and that includes the Dome before baseball games as well.
It was virtually impossible to even know where to line up to enter the Dome and trying to figure out what the staff’s instruction were was equally futile. I was completely lost in the confusion. In the end, I was able to make my way into the Dome after about 30 minutes of struggle. Once I had settled down I realized that my T-shirt was completely stuck to me because of all the sweat.
At the entrance I was handed a transparent neck corset. At the Nikon BudouKan performances everyone was given a neck corset when they entered the arena, but at those shows some people were given synthetically manufactured items while at this show everyone got vinyl corsets embedded with white parts in the center that were designed to duplicate the Tokyo Dome itself. According to the explanation on the corset I was to understand that at some certain timing in the live performance this part of the corset would emit light. It apparently is the same type of set up as a Xyloband. However, I found out only later that not all of the corsets were identical with this one.
My own seat was located on the second floor more or less directly behind the back net. As I was located near the ceiling, I assumed at this point that I would not be able to truly enjoy the sound of the show. This is because even in the best of situations this is not a venue that has the best sound. However, with advancements in technology it goes without saying that the level of sound quality has gotten better. In the past when I had seen such acts as MC Hammer or Guns N’ Roses perform at the Dome I would have no idea what song was being played when into each song and would have to wait till the refrain came up to know what song I was listening to. With the stage set up this time that is a center stage one there is still a fairly long distance to the stage. It would be fair to say that with this show it will not be possible to enjoy BABYMETAL as one usually does. That said, conversely, one wonders what kind of performance they will put on that makes the most of this spacious venue.
Adding a bit about the set up of the stage, I need to explain that it has a circular stage located on the ground of the Dome out of which spread in equidistant placement 3 runways shaped in coffin like formats spreading out from the this center stage. And from this center ground stage stands at a towering height another tubular stage with a gigantic 4 part screen that fills in most of the space between the top of the stage and the ground, main stage. With this, fans are able to take in the movements of the members from whatever seat they happen to be in.
The venue is basically without vacancy. Other than the ‘difficult to see’ seats located roughly where a foul ball would be hit to the right or left, the remaining seats are all packed with fans. The arena is packed with a huge number of fans where a quick glance would convince you that there are around 60 thousand people in attendance.
The SE flowing out of the speakers featuring the Metal all time hits of such acts as, Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of the dark – 1992’, Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller – 1990’, Arch Enemy’s ‘Nemesis – 2005’ and Slipnot’s ‘Sick – 1999’ did much to add to the feeling that today would be part of the compilation of BABYMETAL’s work. And then, going a bit past the scheduled start time for the show, at 6:21 the Tokyo Dome was plunged into a moment of darkness.
Following this, the opening movie began amidst an eruption of cheers and excitement that I have never heard at any show I have ever attended. In addition to the Japanese subtitles, the movie featured English ones as well for the fans that had come from overseas. The gigantic monitor screens employed as well as the consideration of their overseas fans, once again team BABYMETAL has gone all out in the attention to detail they give how BABYMETAL is presented. According to the movie, over the next 2 days all of the songs recorded on the 1st album, ‘BABYMETAL’ and the 2nd album, ‘Metal Resistance’ will be performed. Said differently, there will be absolutely no overlap in the set lists for the 2 days.
nThe opening song about much was speculated here and there before the show turned out to be ‘Road of Resistance’. With this being the first time it has been played as an opening number outside of THE ONE limited fan club performances the reaction of the fans was one of thunderous, roaring applause. However, following directly after this an explosion of excitement erupted from the Dome that surpassed even this. Unbelievably, the 3 girls appeared on top of the tubular stage positioned above the main ground stage brandishing the familiar flags. No one in attendance expected the stage to be set up like this. I was able to take in a view of the 3 girls directly from the front and based on its relation with our seats this upper stage must have been a very tall one indeed. The unsung heroes of the Kami band were literally the support that upheld the circular tower above them. <There is a play on ‘En no shita’ that can not be translated without a 3 page explanation, sorry>
The heating up of the Dome accelerated as fire spurt out from the pyros one after the other matching with the signaled count of ‘1, 2, 3, 4!’. Su-metal, who always sings this song with a cool, detached look on her face was smiling away this time and I was able to see that in the sing along part in the latter half of the song that Moametal was also smiling. Just seeing them performing like this was enough for me to almost begin to cry. The sing along part directed in a guitar-led fashion went on longer than usual.
When the introduction for ‘Karate’ started I heard the immediate well up of an earthshaking roar from the crowd like I had heard time and time again on the west coast of America. I am sure that the 7 members felt in a tangible way the significance of this middle tune sound.
It went on and on and on. And then Su-metal screamed out. She brought the song to its climax with a scream of, ‘Come on! Bring it on!’ <Kakatte koi ya!>.
As I imagined the sound quality where I was seated was not very good. With the sound pressure being low I had the sensation that the sounds were being played out at a distance far from where I was sitting. That said, the thoughts and feelings of the 7 members standing on that stage were delivered directly to me and the spirit of this innocent and free-from-care stage performance that we had all been waiting for with so much anticipation caused my heart and mind to quake with excitement.
When the next song, ‘Yava!’, started up the outer periphery of the stage began to rotate making it possible for everyone in attendance to be able to see the 3 girls from the front. While I mentioned earlier that the Kami band was there performing in a formation that kind of surrounded the stage under the circular tower with them obviously faced outwards. With this format it becomes exceedingly difficult for the members to make visible verification of the other members’ movement as well as making it hard to make eye contact with one another. I pondered over just how difficult a task it must be for them to pull off this complex ensemble with this kind of stage set-up. However, the Kami band did not show even a hint of this being a burden. This sense of the hidden ‘awesomeness’ of the Kami band that does not easily come across in simply in their music was none the less communicated to all of us. With the song, ‘iine!’, an overwhelming number of laser lights flooded the entire interior of the Dome and the entire collection of fans raised all at once their arms in a Kitsune sign pose during the interlude.
In shows of this kind scale one usually sees sections of the crowd that don’t really get into the action, but today this was certainly not the case. The 55 thousand fans that had packed into the Dome here on this day were most definitely almost to a person a hard core fan. Everyone without exception was raising their hands in a Kitsune sign. This kind of reaction is not something you come across in ordinary circumstances.
In the mid part of the show we were treated to performances separated into Su-metal solo songs and Black BABYMETAL songs performed distinctly. The one that really caused one to stand in awe was, ‘Amore – Aoboshi’. A huge roar of applause burst out when Su-metal appeared on the screen standing on the most upper stage of the tower with wings spreading out from her back. In spite of these wings being in fact created through synthesis with an illustration, the design of the wings, the way they balanced so perfectly with Su-metal’s body and the aura that powerfully emits from her all came together as one single unified whole that completely convinced the viewer that what one was seeing was real. And of course not only Su-metal, but also the performance of the Kami band was also truly amazing. In particular, the ensemble played in the interlude by the two guitarists as they faced each other was something that gives one goosebumps of excitement.
Outside of the ‘THE ONE’ limited live performances this was the first time for the girls to perform, ‘4 no uta’ since they performed it at Wembley Arena. Said in a good, positive way, I can say that I really enjoyed the slightly ‘out of place’ feeling of the song. Although it can be said of all the songs contained on the 1st album more or less that I was of the feeling of, ‘I can’t believe I am seeing this being performed at the Tokyo Dome’ – that sense was especially strong with this song. In perhaps the most peaceful atmosphere in a BABYMETAL show yet, they divided the fans into 4 teams with such names as, ‘the Happy 4 <Shiawase no yon> team’ or ‘the Delicious/Vitamin C <OiC no yon> team’ upon which they carried out rounds of ‘4 calls’. The facial expressions of Yuimetal and Moametal throughout the performance from beginning to end were ones of relaxed cuteness.
The thing to bring to a state of tension and alertness once again was the solo performances of the Kami band at the beginning of ‘Catch me if you can’. The 3 members of the stringed instrumental section of the band spread out over the respective runways where they put on monstrous performances that drew in the attention of everyone in their area of influence. The time that they were able to display their best expressions of Metal were perhaps during these performances. This is a benevolent favor that is perhaps granted only to those big artists who are allowed to perform solo acts to their hearts content on these major stages.
Even the song, ‘Gimme Choco!!’ which is usually positioned as a song that can be used to get things cooking and to provide excitement for the rest of the show was on this day used as a kind of bridge to the next song. Making use of the 360 degree revolving periphery stage in performing this killer tune this song tied in to the following big song of ‘Karate’.
In the realm of progressive Metal the ability to dance to the music is only in the hands of these 3 girls.
I think it would be fair to say that this song is the one that has grown and developed the most out of the songs on this tour. More than when it had been performed inside of Japan, and as it was at Wembley, the energetic, passionate eruption of applause when this song starts is an amazing thing and is something that I heard time and time again when they performed on the West coast of America. I am sure that the 7 members felt in a tangible way the significance of this middle tune sound conveyed by this song. With the heavy groove that hits one in the lower back as a backing sound, Su-metal filled us up with expansive vocals that were at once strong and powerful and yet filled with benevolence.
The masterpiece song for the band was the long awaited, first performance of the song, ‘Tales of The Destinies’. Due to the issues with the Dome’s sound circumstances there were parts where the sound did not quite live up to listening expectations. That said, the Kami band put on an amazing performance for this song that no matter how you think about it, could not possibly be performed on stage. Moreover, the 3 girls performing out front danced and sang this transcendent, gigantic epic of progressive Metal in an outstanding manner. Their ability to dance and perform this song with it’s complex beat without falling out of step signifies that they have delved into a new realm, a new dimension of performance. The ability to dance to progressive Metal is something that only these 3 girls can pull off.
At the end of this song the neck corsets that we all were wearing were at last all lit up. A roar of excitement and amazement growled out as the whole of the Dome of was lit up with white lights, followed by a monstrous swelling up of thunderous applause. It was a spectacle of that level of wonderment. These kinds of methods are often used in the shows of other performers, but the scene unveiled here was unlike anything I have experienced before. The reason I say this is that with other shows these next generation lights controlled by wireless technology are usually in the form of wristbands, and so while they are beautiful when they light up they lose their unifying impact with everyone swinging them around. However, for us at this performance, the lights were wrapped around our necks. The very fact that we could not sway them around freely was an integral part of their performance impact, and they fulfilled their role lighting up the arena equally throughout the time required. It created a great sense of solemnity. This fit perfectly with the image of the song and was a wonderful performance effect.
With this state of affairs the only song remaining to be played was of course what came next. That is, ‘The One’. At last the time for this song to be performed at the Dome had come. At the tips of each of the three runways the girls appeared dressed in costumes highlighted with golden colors where they proceeded to walk toward the center stage. Ever since I hear the studio version of this song I have always looked forward to how it would be performed live and I felt that this performance of it even surpassed its unveiling at the Yokohama Arena.
Upon reflection after the show finished I can say that it was a non-stop round of emotional excitement. While I have some misgivings about the sound quality that remain even now, I can say unequivocally that the 7 members of this band have the undeniable ability to evoke emotions that surpass how well they dance, or how well they sing or how well the band performs. The attractiveness of BABYMETAL has become a phenomena that can not be explained in simple terms.
It goes without saying that of course everyone has their own way of feeling and perceiving a show.
While I can not state that I encountered these girls at a very early stage, I can say that looking back and digging through my memories I can say that they were always an entity that struck deeply into my heart. Speaking conversely, from the viewpoint of fans who have only come to be enchanted by their music recently they are certainly a huge Metal entertainment form of music that can be enjoyed without over examining things. I think either approach to their music is just fine. You can enjoy their music and performance from whatever angle you approach them. That is BABYMETAL. With the excitement of the show running around my head, I wandered around the streets of Suidobashi in the horrendous rain wondering just as before what exactly is this thing called BABYMETAL.
MTV BABYMETAL Wembley Arena broadcast announcement
2016 November 16
BABYMETAL’s Wembley arena show is to be shown on MTV
MTV announced that they will broadcast a special show on the 30th of December of the group, BABYMETAL which was awarded with 2 awards at the ‘MTV VMA’ award show honoring the best music videos of the year with BABYMETAL getting the the most awards.
The result of around 2.5 million votes gave BABYMETAL 2 awards for the best Japanese album award and the best Metal video bringing them in line with Utada Hikaru. To commemorate this feat MTV plans to broadcast their precious London Wembley Arena show which was held in April of this year. This is a masterwork of a stage that you will not want to miss of this amazing band that has gone on to achieve so much again this year.
BABYMETAL member, Su-metal stated, ‘we want to thank all of you who voted for and supported us making it possible for us to receive the ‘Best Japanese album award’ and the ‘Best Metal video award’ for our music video for ‘Karate’! I am so happy that there is so much appreciation for this album that is so packed with a new side of BABYMETAL in it’.
She went on to say, ‘I am so happy that this song and the music video of ‘Karate’ was able to capture in the form of a song all that we have experienced and learned in our live performances up to this day, namely that of, <the importance of continuing to fight and challenge oneself by exceeding who you were in the past and that even if you get knocked down and feel you can’t go on, that you must stand up and fight on, DEATH!>. After the album was released and we went on to tour around the world, we met with so many fans who have continued to grow along with us. This makes us so happy even as we have had to conquer many language barriers. We want to continue to grow and develop in light of the growing number of comments from our fans who have felt this message and we hope to continue to do what we can do – to do what only we can do.’
‘BABYMETAL Live at Wembley Arena’ will be aired at 11PM (Japanese time) on the 30th of December. On the same day at 11:30 they will also broadcast, ‘BABYMETAL Videoselects.’
Young Guitar’s Tokyo Dome report 2016 November
Be sure to pick up a copy of Young Guitar November 2016 and use this translation merely as a reference source.
Babymetal World Tour 2016
Legend – Metal Resistance
Red Night & Black Night
2016 9/19 & 20 at Tokyo Dome
Special report with exclusive gear analysis
The conclusion of Chapter 4 of the Metal Resistance! This is a thorough report on the live performances as well as the musical tools used by the Kami band in the Tokyo Dome 2-days that served as the final shows of BABYMETAL’s World Tour.
The three metal princesses singing and dancing on the Red night.
The explosive performance of the Kami gods roaring throughout the Dome!!
The curtains were raised on the 4th chapter of the Metal Resistance on April 1st, 2016 better known as ‘Fox Day’.
The World Tour that tested its metal with its start at London’s Wembley Arena proceeded to its final shows on the home ground of Japan!! In this report we will paint the happenings of these Metal Nights that spanned two nights filled with the grandiose performances of BABYMETAL that were honed and evolved through their world wide battles and filled with the outstanding performances of the Kami band!
Yuimetal (Scream, Dance)
Su-metal (Vocal, Dance)
Moametal (Scream, Dance)
Here we bring you a complete report on the totally unprecedented Metal Entertainment shows filled to the brim with surprises and emotions!
The appearance of a gigantic Tokyo Dome stage!
Tokyo Dome served as the location for the final shows of final stage of BABYMETAL’s World Tour. These shows spread out over two successive sold out performances made us all realize that ‘BABYMETAL has actually made it to this fateful stage.’
I personally am not a long term fan who has followed the back since the days when they were still doing live shows with the usage of pre-recorded musical sounds and so I have no intention of saying something questionable like, ‘I knew from a long time ago that some day this day would come!’. However, following this start with their solo show debut in front of the 300 person capacity venue of the live house known as the Meguro RokumeiKan they went on not to leapfrog their progress but rather to expand their activities through a very clever quick expansion in scale. They they went on to follow up on their 2-days of performances at the Nihon BudouKan (March 2014) which is when I reflect upon it a success story that enveloped the whole world and fills me with deep emotions considering all that led up to it. It is not like they had started out their journey adorned with glitter and jazz. And yet in spite of that I now want to clap my hands in a simple and honest sense of respect for them now appearing on this incredible Tokyo Dome stage.
The reason we have chosen to feature BABYMETAL in this magazine is obviously not simply because we were attracted by the phenomena that they have become, but more due to the fact of the existence of high quality Metal sound and high quality Metal guitars that are at the heart of their music. That said, the definition of just what is Metal is something that varies greatly from person to person. With the vast difference in the Metal of Bon Jovi and that of Cannibal Corpse there is obviously going to be things that some like and things that some equally dislike. In the same manner while you are welcome to approach and enjoy BABYMETAL’s music in any way that you want but let me say from the outset as a person who considers himself a Metalhead I was able to thoroughly enjoy the the singing, the musical performance and the presentation that I experienced at the Tokyo Dome, but no, wait, that simply doesn’t say it strongly enough. Let me say that it exceeded all that and the contents of the showed truly moved something deep in me with impact of the scale of the shows. Moreover, the center of the stage soars up t almost reach the ceiling of the Dome. This gigantic stage seems to be designed to raise the excitement of the fans gathered there. Further, we have been told that all songs from the 1st album, ‘BABYMETAL (2014)’ and the 2nd album, ‘METAL RESISTANCE (2016)’ will be performed over these two days without any songs being performed twice-no doubling over.
And then, the curtains come up. The song to start the event off with is ‘Road of Resistance’! With the red searchlights criss crossing around the still dark arena as the bold introduction blares out is nothing more like what one would experience at a Judas Priest performance of ‘The Helliion’. Even being well aware that this intro was born out of respect for this song does not tarnish the fact that one’s Metal heart is truly tickled by it.
And then the three girls, Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal descend slowly from the pinnacle of the stage that I have already talked about. The girls are performing on what could be called the sub stage located right up by the ceiling of the Dome, while the Kami band carry out their performances on the main, ground stage. In the latter part of the song the three girls who have now made their way to the ground stage rush out to the runways fanning the excitement of the over 55 thousand fans gathered to see them.
The girls work through the songs recorded on Metal Resistance till they come to the mid point with the truly pure Melodic Speed Metal song of ‘Amore – Aoboshi’. Su-metal appears projected on the LED vision monitor with white wings extending from her back whereupon she entrances her listeners with all enveloping vocals. With an overwhelming sense of speed the twin guitars of the Ookami (Big god) and the Shokami (Little god <stage names>) perform a thrilling refrain using open string guitars in a thoroughly beautiful harmony. This lead play was so outstanding that we can understand why Moametal said in a pre-show rehearsal that she thought, ‘I am worried your hands might fall off if you play like that!’.
Following this in a totally different feel we were treated to the stately and strong dancing of Yuimetal and Moametal with the modern, groovy and oh so low center of gravity Metal tune of ‘GJ!’. The matching of this low Metal sound with the cute vocals of the two girls creates a truly unique song. Next it is again time for a solo song from Su-metal. Su-metal and the Kami band perform an outstanding version of ‘Akumu no Rhondo’ with its irregularly timed beat highlighted by a machine-like, rough refrain. The show proceeds amidst a bewilderingly high paced pitch while treating us to dignified and stately sung vocals even as it suddenly plunges us into richly gothic and beautiful, dark underworld.
After this we dive into an introduction session by the Kami band leading into ‘Catch me if you can’. To start things out the Little god shows his technical skills with a tricky performance highlighted with aggressive arming. Meanwhile, the Big god moves from tapping into an avalanche of high speed shredding and concluding beautifully with a guitar arm up finish. (I have no idea what this sentence means, ‘Kids!?’,sorry). Heading into the last part of the show with the aggressive, attacking and heavy groove song of ‘Karate’, Su-metal invited the fans to sing the chorus saying to them, ‘Let us hear your voice!’. And while we have seen her rouse the audience into a fury in this natural manner before she now does it with such finesse obviously becoming second nature to her with her countless battles carried out overseas.
The show then came to its climax with successive combination of songs – the live debut of ‘Tales of The Destinies’ blending into ‘The One – English ver.’. ‘Tales of The Destinies’ is often referred to as being in the Progressive Metal vein and as being very similar to the sound of Dream Theater and the purely exquisite dance performances of Yuimetal and Moametal totally riveted one’s eyes as they performed with a skill that perfectly matched with this complex rhythm chock full of irregular beats. Further, what makes it possible for this song to come across in such a catchy and not overly obscure manner is due to the fact that smooth vocals and precise powers of expression of Su-metal are serve as its core anchor.
When the outro of ‘TOTD’ kicks in all of the clear neck corsets (these were handed out at the entrance before the show) worn around the necks of all the fans in attendance started to shine simultaneously, and in almost a sleight of magic moment the three girls suddenly appeared standing at the tip of each runway dressed in golden cloaks. With this the outro ties into ‘The One – English ver’ and everything came together in a perfectly matched sense of harmony with Su-metal singing in English accompanied by Yuimetal and Moametal’s chorus. Everything and everyone coming together in unison this dramatic, gigantic conclusion truly worked perfectly with the spacious form of the Tokyo Dome.
A stately finale performed all out, with no holds barred.
Now we move on to the second show, ‘The Black Night’. Prior to the start of the show there were numerous masterpieces of Metal playing as BGM and it was as we reached partway into Judas Priest’s ‘Leather Rebel’ following on the heels of Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’ that the song faded out and the arena went dark. These two monstrous works of Metal served as the prologue to the show, and the reverberation from these songs led into ‘Babymetal Death’n which kicked off the Black Night. Three figures dressed in white costumes appeared on the upper stages of the center stage set. Everyone was focused on these three figures…..but, the authentic three girls of Babymetal popped up one each at the tip ends of the ground floor runways all crucified on crosses! During the interim when we were all filled with excitement at the dexterity of this trick, the three girls gathered on the main stage and went on to immediately on to dance in a fervent manner.
Staring at the Big god as the next song, ‘Awadama Fever’ started I was able to see that he had taken in hand the original version of the E-II ARROW-7 Babymetal collaboration model. On the other hand, his partner in today’s show, the L god was making use of a Black colored Strandberg model with its characteristic shape. The L god is along with the Big god and the Little god a Kami band member who the fans are all very familiar with.
Yuimetal and Moametal’s ‘Sis. Anger’ performed near the middle of the show was absolutely fantastic. These two girls who could not be more further removed from this extreme Melodic Black/Death Metal sound that owes it roots to The Black Dahlia Murder if they tried, riled up the fans with perfectly timed screams of, ‘Don’t be messing around! <Zakken ja ne zo> and ‘You stupid idiot’ <Bakayarou> all performed while dancing in perfect symmetry. The fact that all these differing factors blend together without any sense of things being out of
kilter is truly mysterious. An awesome event is taking place at this time, I mean, the whole of the Tokyo Dome is roaring with the blast beat sounds and the tremolo riffs coming from the stage.
Also, again tonight there was a Kami band session worked into the set list and the L god showed his own unique flair by doing what he does so well- mixing and weaving high speed strumming into the structured phrasing of the music. On the other hand, the Big god starts off with long tone chocking and proceeds to get down on his knees on one of the runways where he puts on a high speed shredding performance.
The heat of this session cools down for the time being with the introduction of piano special effects leading into the masterpiece ‘Akatsuki’. Su-metal beautifully sings the lead in part with 5 spotlights trained on her and when she screams out, ‘Akatsuki da-!’ everyone in the dome felt the underlying strength of her passionate vocal abilities. And later when she performed the ballad, ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ which had not been performed since she sang it at the BudouKan shows I am certain that the balanced mixture of tenderness, sadness and power with which she sang it completely satisfied all the fans who had been waiting and anticipating it for so long. Further, the guitar solos in these 2 songs reveal an homage to X Japan’s ‘Silent Jealousy’ and ‘Endless Rain’ and the extended harmony built up exquisitely through the relay, back and forth style of guitar solos by the L god and the Big god were also most definitely highlights of the songs themselves.
‘Doki Doki Morning’ performed with extremely active moments by the 3 girls on the highly placed and not so spacious sub stages on top of the set carried quite an impact and it was from here on to the last song of the night that things plowed into a smoking hot progression of events. From the intense sense of oneness created throughout the entire dome beginning with the intro ‘Oi Call’ springing up in ‘Megitsune’ to the following, ‘Hedobangya!’ there was already a special feel in the air when Su-metal began singing. From the piercing eyes of Su-metal looking around the gigantic dome as she sings, to Yuimetal and Moametal’s execution of highly professional dancing that has been calculated right down to the very finest detail and yet flowing over in expression – there has not been a hint of dark clouds over any of it as we come to the final minutes of the show.
The figure of Su-metal standing without moving a muscle, holding the mic stand up in the mid part of ‘Hedobangya!’ was truly a stately, dignified sight to see!
And then, the song that drove the nail in the coffin with one deadly blow- the last song, ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’. As with the previous night the neck corsets worn by the fans glowed, this time with a red light, as the intro kicked in bringing a colorful sense to the show. When you pop back to your senses you realize that Yuimetal and Moametal are crouched downing a runner’s starting position at the tips of two respective runways and as the rhythm breaks in they dash at full power toward the main stage. They dash a distance that is the longest in the performance of this song amidst flames shooting up at every conceivable place ending with the three girls all converging in perfect timing with the flow of the song. As if to meet the joining of the girls the guitarists perform a twin lead that echoes in the dome and echoes in the hearts of all in attendance. It is impossible to fully explain the awesomeness of the excitement created by this song.
With all the songs on the set list having been performed the three girls walk along the runways carrying out the ‘We are?’ ‘Babymetal!’ call and response to all reaches of the dome. In conclusion they once again return to the pinnacle of the stage set up and ring the gigantic metal gong which triggers the eruption of a gigantic explosive sound and the launching of fireworks. And with that the World Tour which started in April of this year comes to a close.
As a result the second night was occupied by a large number of songs from the 1st album, ‘Babymetal’ and so I can not say that I do not understand the feelings of envy expressed by the fans who only attended the first night as the 1st album certainly contains for the fans a sense of being a particularly special, you could even say a fate filled, album. The album ‘Babymetal’ especially has a sense of being a kind of ‘Best of’ album for the band at the time of its release and is packed full of the classic songs up to that point in time. And moreover, the period required to the release of the next album of around 2 years was relatively long and allowed for the songs to come of age. However, I feel that both nights displayed wonderful performances respectively and were filled with surprises and emotional qualities and so my honest impression is that there is no way to say this one or that one was better than the other considering we have never seen such an unprecedented succession of Metal Entertainment at such a huge scale ever before.
I am sure that the songs on ‘Metal Resistance’ will grow in the future into equally special songs and all we can expect is that they will continue to develop to far exceed anything we can imagine.
Babymetal World Tour 2016
- Road of Resistance
- Amore- Aoboshi
- Akumu no Rhondo
- 4 no Uta
- Catch me if you can
- Gimme Choco!!
- Tales of The Destinies
- The One – English ver.
- Babymetal Death
- Awadama Fever
- Uki Uki Midnight
- Meta! Meta Tarou
- Sis. Anger
- Onedari Daisakusen
- No Rain, No Rainbow
- Doki Doki Morning
- Ijime, Dame, Zettai
Is Nakamoto Suzuka-chan a ‘true natural’?
[This is a translation of a post on the ‘We love babymetal’ blog. I do not have a way to contact the writer and so this was done without permission. If you are the writer or know of a way to contact the writer, please contact me.]
Is Nakamoto Suzuka-chan a ‘true natural’? A collection of funny episodes about this side of her.
If you watch Sakura Gakuin DVDs or online videos you will know that the other members often comment that Nakamoto Suzuka-chan, or, Su-chan is a truly interesting girl. And that is true and something no one doubts. She has a wonderful sense of humor, a richly imaginative character and a great sense of comic timing.
‘Sakura Gakuin, Hajimemashita’
[Sakura Gakuin starts now!]
The first time I realized that Su-chan has a great sense of humor and was also kind of blown away by her was when I saw a scene titled ‘Sakura Gakuin, Hajimemashita’ [Sakura Gakuin starts now!] which is included in the DVD, ‘Sakura Gakuin First Live & Documentary 2010 to 2011 ~ Smile ~’. This scene can be found at (Disk 2 13:10) of this DVD.
This DVD was made with a documentary-like feel to it and featured the upper grade members of Mutou Ayami-chan, Matsui Airi-chan and Miyoshi Ayaka-chan talking seriously about their state of mind and feelings at that time in Sakura Gakuin along with scenes showing SG lessons and a look into the filming of the DVD.
The girls were asked to speak about what it was like ‘the first time they performed in front of an audience’. Moa-chan said that she was really nervous and couldn’t speak very well. Next, it was Su-chan’s turn.
Su-chan tilted her head and looked up toward the ceiling saying, ‘What can I say? How shall I express this? It was a feeling of ‘Sakura Gakuin, Hajimemashita’ [Sakura Gakuin starts now!]. Speaking personally, this scene just absolutely floored me.
This one line kind blasted away the documentary tone that had led up to her comment, putting the whole DVD back to square one. I was truly amazed and could only laugh at how brilliant was her choice of words and expression.
Note: I highly advise you to watch or rewatch this scene to get a feel for the unique comedic feel with which Su-chan delivers this line.
Putting her shoes on on the wrong feet
During an appearance on the TV show, ‘Gekkan MelodiX!’, the story was brought up that Su-chan has in the past put her shoes on with right and left switched backwards and Su then went on to speak about it. ‘Well, you know, I was walking along and something seemed out of the ordinary. Just as I was thinking that everyone said to me that my shoes were on the wrong feet. I thought, ‘What? What is going on?’, and when I looked down my shoes seemed to be different in shape than usual. I was like, ‘Whoa! That’s strange’. She seemed to be enjoying herself recalling and retelling this event.
When Su-chan relates these episodes from her life that show her naturally goofy side she speaks in a quite detailed manner making it easy for the listener to envision the story and the way she speaks allows us to depict the scene clearly in our mind.
And then there is that part in her story where she says, ‘What? What is going on?’, and when I looked down….’ that is a way of communicating that only Su-chan can do. It is when she speaks like this that we can feel her natural sense of humor. Even with, or perhaps in part because of, her sense of humor, Su-chan is oh, so cute.
The scene talked about starts around 5:35 in the YouTube video.
Su-chan’s valued possession- a spatula (Hera)
One of my favorite episodes involving Su-chan, and it is one where her sense of humor really shines through, relates to the photo shoot for the jacket cover of Sakura Gakuin’s first album, ‘Sakura Gakuin 2010 ~ message ~ (Ku edition)’. For this photo shoot the girls were asked to bring one of their favorite possessions with them.
Look at the photograph. Su-chan is standing there with a lovely smile on her face holding her beloved spatula (Hera). The idea of bringing a spatula to the shoot is just so wonderful, isn’t it? This story makes me so happy I can’t stop grinning.
She didn’t show up with a spatula as a joke or to get a laugh out of everyone, right? And just how rare is it that someone would think, ‘My favorite thing?….ah, yes, a spatula!’, right? I am sure there are many fans who roared with laughter to themselves thinking, ‘So, this is how you approached this assignment, Su-chan?!’.
In her blog that came out after this she wrote, ‘The Okonomiyaki that Su makes is ridiculously delicious, you know’. I would love to try Su-chan’s Okonomiyaki.
Some other episodes
- As her self-selected research assignment during summer vacation when she was in the first grade of Jr. High school, Su-chan chose to do a joint research project with her sister into, ‘The secret behind how pudding solidifies’.
- Her big ears that are tilted rather forward are great for hearing sounds in front of her, but she has a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they are speaking in hushed tones behind her.
- ‘Su went to a lesson (practice) wearing pyjamas under a long skirt and didn’t realise she had done so under she arrived.
- When Su-chan was Elementary she once forgot her school backpack (Randoseru) on the way to school with her sister, but didn’t notice and continued on to school without it.
- It was discovered that all of the answers to the math problems that Su-chan had taught to Yui-chan and Moa-chan were actually wrong. The 2 girls often like to bring this story up for retelling.
- Somewhere along the way collecting 1-yen coins became a hobby of Su-chan to the point where she stopped using them even if she had them in her coin purse when shopping. She has told with great enthusiasm about finding a ‘rare’ 1-yen coin that had changed to a greenish color.
- She is very particular about making sure her bangs are completely tucked inside the cap when she wears a knit hat. The members of Sakura Gakuin included this in the lyrics to a song later on.
- After begrudgingly riding on a roller coaster at an amusement park with her friends she became so afraid of the feeling of falling that she was afraid to get on elevators after that.
- At times she gets uncontrollable cravings for milk and one drank 2 liters of milk at one sitting-of course her mother got very angry at her.
- She enjoys joking around with e-mails to herself where she does both the ‘Boke’ and the ‘Tsukkomi’ roles. Note: You will have to look these up for yourself as it would take too long to explain. In other words, she does a kind of 2-person comedy skit ‘Manzai’ with herself in her e-mails.
- “A question from Himetan’s blog!Where does a snake’s tail begin? This was the topic of discussion amongst our family.
- Mama: Where does a snake’s tail begin?
- Himeka: A snake doesn’t have a tail.
- Suzuka: Snakes have hands, don’t they? Maa, if they do or don’t who cares?
- Anyway, Mama wants to know the borderline between a snake’s body and it’s tail. If you happen to know please let me know.”
Note: I didn’t translate every story, but to make up for that I added the final ‘Snake story’.
T-shirt round table discussion Quick Japan Vol. 125
Quick Japan Vol. 125
A meeting of designers
A discussion meeting on Live T-shirts
It is not enough to just talk about how amazing are Babymetal’s songs and performance! The other thing to consider is their Live performance T-shirts. We can not by any means think that there are just a few fans who find great fascination with the unique and excellent designs and incredible variation in their T-shirts. Considering this, lets have a discussion amongst 4 of the designers of these Live T-shirts and look at the history of the official Babymetal T-shirts.
Lets start with the #1 Tee, the memorial official Tee.
This was when the split single with Kiba of Akiba came out and was used as a special present. It was made as a special present. At that time there were so many unknown factors involved that I went with the ‘Doki Doki Morning’ MV as a source of reference and based the image on Kitsune-sama. I am pretty sure that only about 100 shirts were printed. And so I have personally never come across anyone wearing it (laughs).
Wow, so it is a rare item indeed. And then with the Tee designed by KagaMI-san (No. 5) we see a bit of an homage taking place.
Yes, that is true. This logo is an homage to Behemoth (A Polish Black Metal band). I thought we should pursue a ‘Goddess’ motif. In the #6 Tee we went with a Joan of Arc motif, and it reflects an image of armor. By the way, this is something we used in the Seitansai for Su-metal.
That was used in the Akasaka Blitz show, right? That was I am quite sure, the first time I saw Babymetal perform live. And that is when my thinking about them changed. What I mean is, is that I realized they are for real (laughs).
In other words, up to that point you had a bit of a bias against them, right?
Yes, I did (laughs) In the #4 Tee we used an artist photo and from Kobametal we were told that he wanted to ‘use red lettering on the back’. And so I used Pantera lettering. It was like, ‘Hey, do what you want as I am sure this will just be a one time thing’ (laughs)
So, at that time you had no idea that it would lead to such a deep relationship?
I had absolutely no idea it would. But, when I saw them live for the first time I immediately loved them. (laughs)
It was the same for me. The first time I received an offer I was a bit perplexed at what to do. What I mean by that is that I specialize in Death Metal and so I assumed this was some kind of mistaken understanding. I had no way to reconcile the idea of blood oozing out of the intestines of a dead body with the world of Idols (laughs) But after thinking about it for a couple of days I thought, ‘there must be some purpose behind this’ and so I drew out a design. And then I was met with a command, I guess because the face was to scary or something, saying, ‘we want you change the face in the design’. So, changing it carefully and in detail which resulted in the Tee shown in #7.
Hahaha. After designing my first Tee for them that we mentioned earlier, I became a huge fan of the girls. I was of course buying the T-shirts that you all designed and was went to their afternoon and night first solo shows. And since I was watching Babymetal as one of their very first fans in this manner I was so very happy when I got an e-mail asking me to design one of their Tees. By the way, in addition to the collage-ish shirt (#9), I also submitted a one that depicted the 3 girls. In the end the collage-ish Tee was selected but the one that depicted the members later tied into a design that was used after that.
That is true. I get the strong image that Yutty-san’s designs incorporate the 3 girls.
The first one that was accepted that used an illustration of the 3 girls was the #14 T-shirt. And for your information, this was at a time when ‘Onedari Daisakusen’ was not yet in recorded song form.
But because I was lucky enough to go to many live shows and knew the lyrics well enough I was able to cross out ‘Papa’ and introduce ‘Money’ into the design.
And then with KagaMI-san’s works we see that you have taken the armor to a further level.
That is right. At that time the three girls were all wearing armor and were even wearing masks. Further said, when I was watching their live performances I started to feel that they wanted to go on to show a more mysterious or you could say a more solemn image.
That is amazing. In my case, I think I was lacking in an ability to understand what it was all about and so I would just make designs faithfully to what Kobametal-san asked of me. So, from #17 I was all out parody. And from around this time Babymetal was performing at Festivals all over the place. At Summer Sonic at that time they played when Metallica was also appearing and so I asked Kobametal-san, ‘Is this kind of design alright?’. To which he responded with, ‘Sure, lets go with it’ (laughs). I heard a story that at that show one of the staff members of Metallica saw one of the Tees worn by a staff of the Catering service and asked if she could get one to take home as a souvenir for her daughter. Hearing that I thought the design would prove to be a hit (laughs).
The design #22 has no relation to Metal but it is a design that really grabs you.
Me, too. I really wanted this Tee.
Oh, thank you. You know, we do these designs working with the three girls, right? Speaking frankly, I must say that I realized I could not get far with straight, out and out Metal designs and so went with the Parody approach. But, along the way I kind of ran out of ideas (laughs). And ironically that was when the demand for designs started to increase in pace. It was like, ‘Eh, you want another one!?’. Since we are doing out best to make the Tees I certainly hope they will sell a bit more (laughs). Even without considering all that, the standards for the work connected with Babymetal are so high that it is really quite a difficult task to be continually asked to come up with new designs one after the other.
That is so true. It was right around that time that the number of live shows suddenly began to increase and the size of the venues also grew in size. And once a Tee sells out you are on to the next one. For me around the time of the Loud Park #18 Tee I was really at a loss as how to proceed. I came up with the idea of a Maria Motif depicted as a Zombie Kitsune (#21) which turned out to overlap with designs by KagaMI-san and so I started thinking, ‘It might be best for me to turn over what I can do and entrust my work to KagaMI-san’.
Ah, no, no, that’s silly!
We were all having a tough time of it around then.
But because of all the trial and error processes of that time I began to be able somewhat to understand how to adjust to the speed and pace of the process a bit. What I came up with at that time was the color Tee #31. All of this worry and thinking led me to understand that, ‘Not all of the designs have to be directly related to Babymetal at all.
In my case when I am designing Death Metal Tees as is my usual work, I do not take into consideration the feel of the band just as it is. So, for me I didn’t forcibly try to design things as Babymetal designs per se. When I realized that I could do things that way I felt a weight taken from my shoulders. And here is the Alien design, I believe. With this Tee, #40, I gradually began to comprehend what Kobametal-san was asking for and so I worked for designs that are not too grotesque and at the same time not too ‘Idol-ish’; in other words, designs that can only be called ‘Babymetal’. In that meaning of things, I feel I was able to put together a grand collection of similar designs.
So instead of trying to get close in to an image that lines up with Babymetal, you are actually able to find the answer to your designs by rather kind of ignoring the Babymetal concept. On the other hand in Yutty-san’s case it seems you have established your own individual style where you work more on depicting the cuteness of the three girls.
That is right. Of the designs I created probably the most popular is the Gimme Choco #33 Tee, I would guess. I have even heard that some people have liked it so much that they have gotten tattoos
There are even some Idols who wear it, right?
Yes, that’s so. I understand that one of the members of AKB was wearing it. Also, around this time they were putting on shows that were limited to only female fans. And so I felt that it was my role to create a design that even young women who previously had no interest in Idols would be interested in wearing.
When you look carefully at Yutty’s designs there are all kinds of Kawaii things to discover. Upon realizing that I have recently started trying to incorporate that approach into my designs as well. For example, if you look at the back-side of #59 you can see really little footprints in the design.
That is really cute. That is something I could never do (laughs). It does seem that it was around the 2014 time period that our respective roles kind of got allocated amongst us. Even though we had not ever met in person (laughs).
I am quite sure that it was around that time that I felt I was starting to get a grasp on what I should be doing. In particular, I personally really like this BudouKan #25 Tee. From way back I have done a lot of skeleton designs. And so I was really happy to be able to draw these skulls for Babymetal.
Further, this 2015 World Tour Tee #46 was also a piece that brought about a major change in my thinking.
It was around this time that the designs that featured human or human-like illustrations that had been used up until then almost totally disappear from the Tees.
That is right. But, that said, these are also of course depicted based on the image of the girls. However, these designs stopped being fictional, made-up characters like those of angels or goddesses.
From 2014 and after, Fukushima-san, you, started to incorporate a Kitsune Motif into your parody style that we were talking about earlier.
Hmmm, in my case I really don’t have an established style of my own (laughs). Kobametal-san told me that at the upcoming Festival so and so would be appearing. When I heard that I thought, ‘Alright, that is what I will go with!’. It was in a manner similar with when I came up with the Big Fox #34 Tee based on the Big 4 of the Metal world (The so-called ‘Slash Metal Big 4’). It was a kind of devilish, trickster-like thing to do, putting it briefly.
Also, it was around this time that a good number of T-shirts sold first at overseas’ venues started to come into existence.
This Alien #31 Tee was a prime example of one of the Tees that was sold first overseas. Additionally, this T-shirt was actually supposed to be of the same color as this one, #35, but for some reason the color came out totally different. Now, this is only my own personal hunch about it, but I think that it may be possible that the plant that printed it was different from the previous one.
I can relate with that! I am pretty sure that the Alien Tee #35 was was sold as an overseas first release Tee just at about the same time as the Gimme Choco Tee. And there were occasions with the Gimme Choco Tee as well where it was like, ‘Eh, what is up with this color?!’.
In other words, the Tees with the more mellow color where printed overseas?
Most likely that is the case. So, when you see someone wearing a Gimme Choco Tee with a slightly mellow coloring to it you can say to yourself, ‘Ah, that person probably bought that overseas’. (laughs)
Speaking of overseas issues, now that Babymetal has become more well known around the world we have seen the appearance of some designs coming out that are not so good. An example of this would be up-side down crosses and things like that.
When I attempted to put a Rising Sun in the #38 Tee, I was told not to. By the way, there are a whole bunch of different people depicted in the design. And….one of them is actually me.
Whoa! There you are! Fukushima-san, you are engraved in the halls of the Legends of Metal. (laughs)
This design is based on a scroll of the Sengoku (Warring states) era that I found in a library. Let me tell you, it was a really tough task (laughs). But, when you work on these designs there is somewhere within the feeling that one just can not slacken up on the quality of the work. Now that Babymetal has become so big there are a variety of things that one must of course be careful of. But even considering that, I don’t want to become afraid of doing something that is considered taboo and so I will continue to experiment with various ideas in the future as well.
You mean you want to continue to push the envelope?
Hmmm..yes, you could say that. Kobametal-san is extremely steadfast in his resolution to face those kinds of issues.
I am also now completely free of so many biases and I now am able to carry out my work with Babymetal and Death Metal bands with the same state of mind. So, I want to plow ahead into more and more new realms along with the other designers.
Yes, I guess that means that we have all come to truly love Babymetal. (laughs)
[Spanning the pages of the interview, compiled here in a list]
A list of the shirts
The Kiba of Akiba Tee
The Moshusshu Tee
Mekuro Rokumeikan ‘Legend ~ Corset Festival Tee
Babymetal Death Tee
[I,D,Z ~ Legend ‘I’] Memorial Tee
[Legend ‘D’ Su-metal Seitansai <Birthday>] memorial Tee
Colorful Kitsune Tee
[I,D,Z ~ Legend ‘Z’] memorial Tee
March revolution Tee
[Legend ‘1999’ Yuimetal & Moametal Seitansai] memorial Tee
Black Babymetal Tee
[Legend Kitsune Festival] Memorial Tee (white)
[Legend Kitsune Festival] Memorial Tee (red)
2013 Summer Fes Tee
[Loud Park 13] Memorial Tee
Red Moon Tee
Red Moon Apocalypse Web Limited edition Tee
Fox Sign Tee
[Legend 71997′ Su-metal Seitansai] Memorial Tee
[Legend ‘1997’ Su-metal Seitansai] Memorial Apocalypse Limited edition Tee
[Legend ‘Red Night-Black Night-Black BudouKan] Memorial Tee
Babymetal ‘Summoning’ Tee
[Legend ‘Giant Corset Festival’ BudouKan Memorial] Tee
[Brutal Kitsune-sama BudouKan] Memorial Tee
Coming of the Doomsday Tee
Apocalypse The One Tee
[World Tour 2014] London show Live Viewing Tee
[Apocrypha-Y&M Memorial] Tee
Gimme Chocolate!! Tee
The Big Fox Tee
Metal Alien Tee
[Su-metal Seitansai] Memorial Tee
The One Tee
Sengoku WOD Tee
New Spring/Year Kitsune-sama Festival Tee
Kitsune-sama 2015 Tee
Hand wrung Kitsune Tee
The Black Mass Tee
The Red Mass Tee
New World Tour 2015 Tee
The Dark Knights Tee
Metal God Tee
The Dark Knights LV version Tee
Only The Fox God Knows Tee
The Red Mass-2 Tee
The Black Mass 2 Tee
Reading and Leeds Festivals 2015 Tee
The Land of Rising Sun tour Tee
Mad Fox Tee
Merry Baby Christmas 2015 Tee
The Land of the Rising Sun tour Completed Tee
Wembley Arena Tee
Wembley Arena Tee
The One Limited Edition Event Tee
Interview with Kobametal Hedoban Vol. 10 (Part 2) 2016 April
Hedoban Vol. 10
You can hear them singing in the background, ‘Kattobase! Naranu Buttobase!’. (laughs)
That is also a rhythm that matches well with the song so I thought, ‘it would be good to insert a feeling like that of a baseball cheerleading squad’ into the song. The choreography also has those and other similar elements entwined into it making this a song with a feel of, ‘What the heck is going on here!?’ that we haven’t had in a while.
‘Meta! Meta Tarou’-‘Babymetal children’
We want to raise up and foster the coming generation of Babymetal children
Do you, Kobametal-san, yourself listen to a lot of Viking Metal?
I listen to bands like Turisas and Sabaton…And perhaps some more Forest Metal types of bands.
Yes, indeed. I find their music quite interesting. There are bands that are a bit more rugged and rough out there like Amon Amarth who have a manly, chivalrous feeling about them, don’t they? I wonder how things would turn out if a girl’s band did something similar? You know, that tough, manly and rather squalid feel. (laughs)
Their MVs have by and large a feel of being in Europe in the Middle ages. If we were to express that in terms more familiar in Japan it perhaps be more like our Samurai TV shows. Men have an romantic ideal that they consider cool of shooting a MV with the actors dressed up in Samurai TV show types of fashion.
That is so true. It is a very thin line that separates Viking Metal from being either full fledged and cool or actually something that makes you laugh.
Yes, that is right. It is not a simple matter to know truly what people were actually worshipping as expressed in the myths and legends of long, long ago.
Things could get quite interesting if Babymetal fans upon listening to this song begin to explore the world of Viking Metal.
Interpreting things from a Metal outlook that would be in and of itself very interesting. From a Babymetal perspective there is also different sort of message embedded in the song. We are calling out to the ‘Babymetal Children’ with this song which also has a message meant for the upcoming generation of Babymetal. This doesn’t mean necessarily little children but rather is something of a message telling the listener to transform his or herself into a hero! For some that might be similar to Ultraman or Anpanman and for girls it could be similar to Pretty Cure or Sailor Moon. Speaking of myself, I am not exactly sure when it was or what made it so that I got into Metal but we want ‘Babymetal Children’ to know that what got them into thinking Metal is cool and coming to like it to be ‘Meta! Tarou!’. I want to raise up and foster the coming generation of Babymetal.
I had no idea that there was such a deep message in this song.
(laughs) But in fact, it does have that kind of message in it. I requested Mikikometal to ‘make a choreography that would be easy for younger children to dance to’. This song is made to be easy for children to get accustomed to, a song that is easy to move to together with the girls and is of a rhythm that is easy to dance to.
And yes, there are more and more children in the fan base recently. Did you, Kobametal-san, lay out deliberately a formula that would make it possible to see an increase in children fans?
I did not put too much emphasis on doing so. Our fan base has fans in the age ranges of those in their 30’s and 40’s and so by natural laws that means many of them will also have children. Fans of the age of being around during the time of Hi-Standard have come of age and many were actually kids riding on the shoulders of their fathers watching the shows of bands like Hi-Standard at the AIR JAM performances put on at Yokohama Stadium. For bands like X Japan and Luna Sea and others I wouldn’t be surprised if they even include areas at their concerts where fans can leave their children to be taken care of in a kind of babysitter service.
I have heard that Luna Sea offers that kind of service.
I figured that they would. This all makes sense to me when I hear these kinds of reports. I think it is truly a good thing that Babymetal is supported by such a wide fan base spanning from children all the way up to the elderly.
When Iron Maiden appeared at Sonisphere families there together that spanned over 3 generations all of whom were fans.
Yes, that is true! When I witnessed that at that time I had became implicitly aware of the fact that Iron Maiden is a band of the people. It seems that even small children and people who do not have any Iron Maiden Cds were saying to themselves, ‘Hey, have heard this before’-it seems like there songs are just known by people all over.
The Metal band in Japan may be able to string together 3 generations of fans may in fact be Babymetal.
I would be very happy if that was to prove to be the case. Recently we have seen an increase in lady fans and there are more and more teenagers around the age of the girls who are also becoming fans. There are young people admiring and wanting to be like Babymetal and we are even seeing more and more students putting on mock Babymetal performances and their school festivals and so on.
Do you mean they perform in front of a band of musicians and dance and the whole thing?
That seems to be the case. I have myself seen them on YouTube. Of course from the outset playing the instruments is quite a difficult task and we have to take that into consideration, but you see them giving their all playing on double bass drums…and it really makes you smile. It is something that I feel very grateful about.
Lets talk about ‘Syncopation’. What I felt from listening to this song is that it is a Visual style of music.
You are spot on with that (laughs). This is a song we had ready to go from 3 or 4 years ago. Hints as to what kind of music it is lie in the lyrics and as well when you listen to it you get a feeling of syncopation hinting at, ‘Ah, this has a Visual style of rhythm to it’, or at least that is how I see it. Bringing it all together it has an Emo or a Screamo approach building up in it. The initial version of it had a more Visual style of feel about it.
You can quite clearly hear the Emo feel to it. Were you deliberately attempting to put a Visual style into the lyrics as well?
Yes, I was. There is a definite ‘loop’ like feel to it you could say…in a kind of Madoka Hiroshi way (laughs). Those who get this reference will get it and those who don’t, won’t (laughs).
A looping sequence like that with, ‘Tonde tonde, mawatte mawatte’! <flying, flying, spinning around, spinning around – from the song ‘Musoubana’> (laughs)
Also, the drum rhythm has a sound that is very representative of the Visual style as well, I feel. I feel that coming through in ‘Syncopation’ as well.
It really does have a feel about it that is uniquely its own, doesn’t it? Kind of a jumpy feel you could say.
That feel is not present in X Japan, right? It seems like something that started with Luna Sea perhaps.
I think that with X Japan you have more of a shuffle rhythm. With most 8-note feel songs Yoshiki played with more of a shuffle type of feel. Even playing a double bass drum he would insert a wound up 2-beat feel into things. Luna Sea’s drummer, Shinya has an extremely unique way of drumming with an exquisite way of accentuating the groove and a very tight way of finishing things up with the hi-hat. Artists who have been performing for a long period of time and able to do so because there is something they do that allows them to survive, some kind of amazing unique and individual characteristic. The people that so many want to copy or emulate have that something special about them.
Of all the songs in this album wouldn’t you say that ‘Syncopation’ has the most Japanese feel to it?
Yes, I would agree to that. And that is why on the overseas edition we put a different song in its place. On the Japanese edition we wanted to present an ever more Japanese quality to it and so this song was included. On the overseas edition in place of ‘Syncopation’ we have instead included the song ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’.
What kind of song is that?
It has a feel close to ‘Linkin Park’ or the recently popular, ‘Bring me the Horizon’. There are also aspects of EDM like sounds and a Skrillex feel as well. This song is one that is of a type totally different from anything Babymetal has done up to now.
I would love to listen to it (laughs).
(laughs) It is a song that will make you sit back and go, ‘Eh, whoa, what is this?!’. The way Su-metal sings on this song is something totally different for her.
It seems to me that there is an introduction of the recent ‘Bring me the Horizon’ type of keyboard sound intertwined deeply into the song.
We made use of a bit more emotional, symphonic feel you could say…We are also making use of a falsetto feel.
Ah, I see!
That’s right. ‘Syncopation’ is also like that. I did not want to deal with it as a kind of bonus track type of treatment. With some albums they add on the final tracks as kind of a demo track addition, right? I am sure that that is a kind of fun thing for the fans to look forward to, but these are often not listened to so much. So instead of adding these kinds of tracks I thought it would be better to add this as a differing part of the story that begins with ‘Road of Resistance’ and ending with ‘The One’. I thought it would be interesting to change the central parts and so added it here in the middle.
I don’t see many examples of this kind of approach.
Yes, it is unusual. Most likely because it is troublesome to do so, I think (laughs). This is because you have to make many originals to do so.
For people of my generation we would recall the sense of a bit of strangeness we felt with the introduction of, ‘So What?’ in final part of the Metallica’s Japanese edition of the ‘Black Album’.
That is right. Yes, that is so. (laughs) It was kind of like, ‘Why did you end the album with this?’. I personally did not want to create an album where the final song was a kind of bonus track. Additionally, with this album, we have 3 master versions of The One in and above the Japanese edition and the overseas edition.
That is not done normally (laughs).
(laughs) Depending upon the song in question (laughs), there are cases where this goes totally unnoticed. I am fine with the idea of only those who notice it, noticing it.
Next, lets talk about ‘GJ!’. This is a Yuimetal&Moametal Black Babymetal song. This is a further extension of their songs following upon ‘4 no Uta’ and ‘Onedari Daisakusen’.
That is right. As they progressed in this series they have gradually gotten better at doing rap and so I felt that I wanted the 2 girls to move on to the next step.
You are so right saying that the two girls have gotten much better at rap!
They really have. It may actually be that they are actually better at these kinds of songs than Su-metal.
Are you of the mindset of wanting to have Black Babymetal continue on for a long time into the future traveling on this path of Rap Metal?
I think it would be wonderful for this to be one character in their repertoire. And the girls enjoy doing it. There are techniques that Su-metal is proficient at and for the areas that are not her specialty the two Black Babymetal girls are able to fill in the gaps with their own special abilities. I feel it is a great idea for these two to continue to do what only they can do. In fact these two girls are very adept at performing to the rhythm of these kinds of songs. The other amazing thing is just how incredibly they harmonize with each other. When we record in the studio they sing completely in unison without any kind of discrepancy at all.
So, they do the recordings together at the same time!
In the majority of the recordings they sing together.
Next up is ‘Sis. Anger’ This is also a Black Babymetal song. And tying into the ‘Black’ reference this is a form of Black Metal (laughs).
That is right (laughs).
This song also makes quite an impact. It also gives on the feeling of, ‘Wow, they have really gone and done it this time!’. (laughs)
(laughs) We kicked around the idea of Black Babymetal doing a Black Metal song from quite way back. The members involved were also at that time goofing around doing Death Voices and things like that. You know, yelling out in voices screaming, ‘Beehh!’ (laughs).
That was all cute and really interesting to me. But rather than just them screaming out, ‘Beehh!’ I felt it that if they were to sing Black lyrics we could create the ultimate in Black Metal including of course, Death voices.
From one way of thinking it is as if their voices just as they are, are a kind of Death voice you could say. I thought, if we can have them sing in a manner that would knock us out we would have the creation of a true Black Babymetal style of Black Metal. In the beginning I was not by any stretch of the imagination sure if these lyrics were alright to have the girls sing or not. This was something I dealt with when making, ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ as well. There was some deliberation about the pros and cons of making this available to the public at large. Once we made a trial recording I realized that this is something that, ‘We MUST release to the world’. Once we realized that everything gelled rapidly into the finished piece.
There are many songs on this album that have the feel of being first time ventures in Metal songs for you. Every time I listen to it I get the feeling of, ‘Wow, they performed this AND they did this other one as well!’. (laughs)
(laughs) For myself personally as well, this is a song that I truly love.
I think the sound is overflowing with the fragrance Northern Europe and comes across with a cool feel to it. I made a request to the songwriters to give the feel of having a, ‘blast beat and guitar sound built on chords that one can’t quite put one’s finger on’. I showed the songwriters the videos of ‘Immortal’, which is now called ‘Abbath’ and told them I wanted the guitar to be played in the same manner where they stick their tongue out and play the guitar like this. (laughs)
Right, in kind of a bowlegged manner (laughs).
That’s right (laughs).
Now that you say that, I can see that it has an ‘Immortal’/’Abbath’ feel to it.
I have long been a fan of Behemoth and Darkthrone and by putting in these kinds of sounds I think we have created a Black Babymetal style of Black Meta.
Listening to it I can envision snow capped mountains (laughs).
Yes, that is true. (laughs) It has a feel that seems like they are playing almost naked out in the snow capped mountains of Northern Europe.
No Rain, No Rainbow
Q: Lets move on to ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’. This song was first performed in front of an audience in 2013 at NHK Hall.
Right. We played it at NHK Hall and then at the BudouKan as well.
So, it has been performed just those two times, right?
That’s right. Because of the style of the song it is a bit difficult to know what is the best way to present it especially when considering live performances. Since this album has a wide variety feel to it and since Su-metal has grown so much in her vocal abilities I felt felt that timing-wise now would be perfect to include it. It was a bit of a gamble. Considering things from the point of view of Metal singles it seems that there are many cases where the 3rd single is a ballad, right? Taking that into consideration amongst other factors I felt that the timing was right to include this song.
I think the timing is outstanding. Was the reason for not performing it at live shows for so long that it wasn’t ready? Or was it that it didn’t quite fit in with the feel of a live performance?
Songs like this one can not be performed well with the singer just standing plopped out there on the stage-you need some kind of stage production to support it.
So, for that and perhaps other reasons you decided not to perform it since the BudouKan shows?
Yes, that is right.
At the NHK Hall performance you had Yuimetal and Moametal play a crystal piano to accompany this song.
Yes, that’s right. If the timing matches right in with the theme those kinds of performances are made possible.
Well, the title of the song is ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ and the song itself certainly has a strong X Japan feel to it in the manner of their song, ‘Endless Rain’, right?
Musically speaking, it was in line with Billy Joel, you know.
As we were listening to ‘Honesty’ I said to them, ‘This is how it should be performed’. (laughs)
I can’t believe it-Billy Joel’s ‘Honesty!
We also gave a listen to some AOR songs as well. We tried out suddenly dropping into a minor chord and things like that (laughs). This song really was created as the result of us talking about all kinds of ideas for it. It contains quite a mixture of influences all blended together.
Tales of The Destinies
The 11th song on the album, ‘Tales of The Destinies’, to me is the highlight of the album and is the song that best symbolizes the concept of ‘Metal Resistance’. It is an extreme, almost overcooked kind of Technical Metal Progressive song that is…well, I must say, quite unusual. (laughs)
(laughs) Upon opening the World map of Metal music, this song as well really made me stop and consider how are we going to deal with the genre of Progressive Metal represented by such bands that I love such much like Dream Theater. It took about 2 or 3 years to put it into the form that it is in now. As you can imagine, there were a multitude of hardships to overcome to do so. That goes for the performance side of it as well and we had to put it through countless, repeated changes to its arrangement to finally get it where it is now.
The performance side of this song is state of technical craziness that will go beyond that of even Dream Theater.
I think it will be quite a difficult task (laughs).
Do you have plans to perform it live?
I am thinking that if we can pull it off we should (laughs).
I am sure this must have been tough for the 3 members of Babymetal as well.
They said that they did not know how to correctly work with the rhythm. However, what is a amazing is that once they get used to it I’m sure they will be able to perform it without problem. I’m not sure, but their incredible potential in these matters may come from being so young. They are truly astonishing. (laughs)
That is also highly unusual (laughs). Because this song is a storm of irregular beats. So, it seems that Kobametal-san likes to listen to Progressive Metal as well.
Yes, I absolutely love Dream Theater. I have enjoyed listening to the whole range of that type of music from ‘Yes’ to ‘Rush’, ‘UK’, ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’ and others of this genre. And I also like jazz. Even if the music does not have vocals in it I enjoy the emotionality of music that leaves you with a sense of thrill wondering where the new change in the development of the song is going to lead you. I would love to some day have us take on Progressive Metal, but it does sound like a very challenging prospect. (laughs)
Listening to it that really comes across strongly. (laughs)
Yes, but it is so obscure that for people who don’t play a musical instrument it is a song that they may not be able to comprehend at all (laughs). That said, those who can appreciate and enjoy it, I am sure they will truly enjoy it.
Of all the songs on ‘Metal Resistance’ I think this is one that will really hit home with people who are deeply into Metal. Further said, wouldn’t you say that we are now seeing a lot of new generation Technical Metal bands?
Yes, I would agree. This is not limited to Metal it is also the post-Rock people and the guitarists and all the people who really get into music at a deep, no nonsense attitude kind of approach have increased in number. In that sense I think this song will reach those kinds of people at a deeper level. Those who get it, will get it. This kind of ‘well, those who don’t get it, won’t get it’ is a Babymetal kind of attitude that is OK. Some of Babymetal’s songs are incredibly catchy and popish, some songs are only for music maniacs, some are ballads and some are even like this song ‘Meta! Meta Tarou’.
By putting ‘The One’ after this song I get the feeling that the album really comes together as a complete album.
The two final songs do perhaps play that role.
In Progressive Metal there are songs that work as compilation songs. Some famous songs are labeled as part 1 and part 2. Was this something that you deliberately tried to achieve?
You are spot on with that insight. The songs of ‘Tales of The Destinies’ and ‘The One’ were one single song. When I listened to the demo track I thought we should cut off the latter half and make a more medium tempo ensemble song that would play off of ‘Road of Resistance’ in musical meaning and so cut it off to create ‘The One’.
So, that means that it was originally quite a gigantic piece.
Saying that it was connected refers just to the guitar melody part, the Rararara outro part, you see. I really love the melody and so I wanted to add lyrics and vocals onto the Rararara guitar phrase and so I just cut that part out to make a new song. To that I added an A verse and a B verse onto it and turned it into its own song.
Ah, and so the melodies are tied together at the end part of ‘Tales~..’.
That’s right. Also, the opening guitar phrase of ‘Tales of The Destinies’ is the song melody of ‘The One’. We left that in there on purpose.
So, we move on to the final song ‘The One’ that we now know is tied in to ‘Tales of The Destinies’.
We had from before already had in mind the motif that forms this song, ‘The One’ in the form of the theme of the lyrics. This is a theme or you could say, a song that conveys a message that stands on the same level and as kind of a balancing song working with ‘Road of Resistance’. With that as a background we wanted to make a song that, while not being exactly a new version of the U.S.A. For Africa message song, ‘We are the World’, but one that would be in a similar vein to that kind of song. So coming from thoughts like that when I was thinking about just how we could create such a song I came up with the idea that it would be good to fuse together the Rararara phrase that comes up in ‘Tales of The Destinies’ just as it is with this lyrical theme. It was from that concept that we created the song.
Now that you point it out, there is a similar feel to ‘We are the World’.
It is a sense of coming together as a unified one with the 3 members of Babymetal kind of serving as the conductive medium for all of us.
With Babymetal appearing in these major Festivals that bring in fans in the scope of 10’s of thousands and with them now putting on arena class live performances of their own we can see that the scale of Babymetal is rapidly ballooning larger and larger. All of these experiences under these conditions, the creation of a song like ‘The One’ that creates the feeling of unification of tens of thousands of people gathered together at a live performance-does it seem to you that the consciousness and awareness of Babymetal is bit by bit undergoing a transformation?
Yes, I think so. When they were playing at places like the RokumeiKan or Akasaka Blitz I talked with the members about someday playing at venues like Yokohama Arena or the Tokyo Dome and they were all of the opinion that those locations were just too big and they felt that, ‘We can’t perform at concert halls like those’. ‘No, way, Yokohama Arena is just too big…’. You know, we would go around and watch other artist’s shows for study purposes. At those times, the girls would be of the opinion of, ‘how in the world do they perform at places like these?’. What really surprised me is that at the final shows last year at Yokohama Arena the members looked around and said, ‘Hmm…Yokohama Arena is surprisingly small, you know’ (laughs).
But that is truly how their perception of things has changed. That was quite a surprising thing to me.
What did the Yokohama Arena feel like or you personally?
For myself as well it honestly felt smaller than I had expected it would feel. It goes without saying that it is obviously a big venue but after playing at Saitama Super Arena, Makuhari Messe and not to mention all of the overseas festivals one’s perception changes. Playing at those big overseas Festivals you experience a scenery that spreads out so far you can’t even see the fans way in the back.
Do you feel at times like you have arrived at a truly awesome situation?
The speed at which it has all happened is amazing (laughs). What would take an average band to reach in 5 or even 10 years we have covered in a short span of 1 or 2 years. It would not be mistaken to say that it doesn’t feel real. It is like realizing something has happened after it has already come to a conclusion.
It is stupendous that in the midst of all that Babymetal has constantly put on shows and music that are always of high quality. That really hit home for me seeing the Yokohama Arena shows.
In fact it is a truly difficult thing to do. There are so many things to take into consideration.
And now, this year again there are so many overseas Festivals and the World tour shows all filling up the schedule. It appears to be a very tough schedule.
The members also say that it is not a good thing to have too big of gaps opening up without shows. They are of the mind that this makes it easier to maintain a good sense of tempo and to get in the right rhythm…. kind of like the mindset of a sports athlete I would say. It is like going into pre-season training camp and then facing periodically scheduled matches actually makes it easier to get into the best performance condition. It seems that for the girls having a constant line up of live shows is conducive for staying in top form. Conversely, if they have 2 or 3 months off they say it is a tiring process to return to good form.
They are at the level of top athletes.
I am told that, ‘That is a rigorous schedule and things must be really tough!’, but it appears that this continuous flow of performing is actually the best way for the girls to stay in good condition. It is like players in school club activities or high school soccer teams that will appear in a semi final game followed up by the championship the next day, or where they might have to play two matches in single day.
From the perspective of the girls is it like they are of the mindset of ‘Bring it on! Give us more!’?
They often say that they really love doing the live performances. Even when a show ends they keep themselves in an excited state of mind. They always seem to be saying, ‘We want to do another show!’. (laughs)
Looking at the current state of affairs of the overseas media at the moment…was the reaction, especially from the British magazine, ‘Metal Hammer’ something unexpected to you?
Yes, you could say that. The response from people overseas through Youtube was quite something so I thought that there is something big happening in the reactions from the overseas fans but that said, I thought that making our way into the final stronghold, the final fortress that the Metal field is would be even more difficult than it proved to be.
Speaking conversely to that however, I was ???? Many Japanese artists of previous generations in genres including, but not limited to Metal, attempted to become as big and respected as their Western counterparts in the States and Europe and would try to make a name for themselves overseas. So now that Babymetal has just kind of seemingly lightheartedly flittered over to these overseas venues and audiences it creates in you a mysterious feeling of kind of wondering if all of this is actually real, or is it in fact a dream? It is kind of like it has all just happened on its own (laughs). I say this because speaking basically, we did not make overt efforts on our side of things to make this happen.
(laughs) It is a certain fact that Babymetal’s dive into the Metal field was a historical event.
That kind of entrance into the Metal field is not something that you can just take aim at and then achieve easily. If you don’t create something that lies outside of the norm, the Metallers and persons of concern on that side of things won’t give you the time of day. I personally was involved with bands that were aiming at making it in the overseas market but I learned that a straight, frontal attack kind of approach does not work. This is similar to what we were talking about with the Viking Metal world-there are so many historical and cultural factors to take into consideration. For example, if people living overseas think that their versions of the so-called Samurai TV shows are really cool, I may not see it that way. The people living overseas, outside of Japan, have their own way of seeing things and we in Japan have ours. From the outset we have different blood running through our veins. I have thought about this, and I feel in a certain sense, Metal is a kind of Soul music. If you just try to ‘do’ Metal you can’t quite make it into an authentic thing. It just turns into some kind of imitation of the real thing. We had to bring the game to them by doing something that the authentic artists and people in the Metal world could not do. All we could do was to hit them with something that was totally outside of the usual standards that was so amazing that they would be forced to raise their hands in surrender.
Babymetal truly does give the impression of having hit the overseas world with something totally new.
And what’s more is that Metallica doesn’t dance when they perform on the stage (laughs).
They can’t-no way! (laughs) I don’t even want to entertain that thought.
(laughs) It was in this way that changed the playing ground itself you could say. We approached things by not playing in the same field and rather we came at things doing techniques that are not in their range of capacity.
And now we come to the final question. The title of the album, ‘Metal Resistance’ is a real fastball, right?
We had many other candidates for the title. We had ideas like going with ‘Babymetal 2’ in a vein similar to ‘Led Zeppelin 2’. However, if we did so things would get really confusing as the Babymetal ‘Metal Resistance’ is episode 4 in the saga and so as we progress along numerically an album with ‘2’ in it would makes things hard to understand. (laughs) When we were considering all of this the songs of ‘Road of Resistance’ and ‘The One’ served as kind of key words for us. The Babymetal of today has put out its first album, has carried out a couple of World Tours and have traveled down many and various paths to get where we are now. The best title, the best words to represent in an easy to understand manner the idea that Babymetal is about to venture out on a new start, on a new journey of training or you could even say a new battle proved to be ‘Metal Resistance’.
It seems that the word, ‘Metal’ is not so readily used in album titles these days. I thought the use of ‘Metal’ in the title has a rather chivalrous feel.
I think there is a positive side and a negative side to using the word Metal. Using the word Metal will draw the attention of some people and yet conversely, it will repel others. So there is a bit of a risk in using it. But, with Babymetal, the word Metal is right there in the artists’ name. I think this title completely depicts the image of these 3 girls fighting with the world in the name of ‘Metal Resistance’. If that central axis wavers however the whole thing changes. While basing everything on the backbone of Metal and of taking on the field of Metal the girls can go on to explore and take on other fields such as popular music or whatever in both Japan and overseas. But by carrying the signboard of Metal in and above other titles gives a significance to the existence of Babymetal. And this is something important I feel.
Interview with Kobametal, Hedoban Vol. 10 (Part 1) 2016 April
Hedoban Vol. 10
Hedoban interview with Kobametal 2016 March
An interview analyzing all 12 songs
I felt that this album would be based around the two songs of ‘Road of Resistance’ and ‘The One’.
You have once again created a Metal album of incredible high quality. It is amazing that you have advanced this far! This is on the same level as the first album.
Do you really think so?
Yes, really this has gone to an exceptional level. To start off, around what time did you consider making and then actually begin working to create the 2nd album?
Rather than say we tried to make a new album, in the case of Babymetal it is more that they perform new songs at live shows and then go on to make changes to them here and there. Before we are aware of it consciously new songs have been created.
That said, it seems the pace of these songs building up has gotten faster than before.
That is true. With this new album there were many songs contained in it that we had laid out the framework for from before. From a subjective perspective I would say there were many songs where it was like, ‘Wow, we finally have given birth to this song’. There are some songs where we think, ‘My, how many years have we been carrying this over for?’. (Laughs)
It is kind of surprising to hear that there is such a stock of songs on hand. (Laughs) Did you have a concept album in mind?
We did not have such a clear cut concept in mind. However, ‘Road of Resistance’ was there from the earliest point and then there was ‘The One’ that was performed at last year’s Yokohama Arena. I felt that this album would be based around the two songs of ‘Road of Resistance’ and ‘The One’.
Q: These songs are placed as the head and then the last song on the album, right?
I was somewhat intent on staring the album with ‘Road of Resistance’.
Also, wouldn’t you say that the Metal-ness of the songs has gone up in scale?
Do you think so?!
I think that is just a happenstance. There are other songs as well that didn’t make it into this album. And some of those songs are more Pop in nature. Well, I guess you could say that when we were considering many factors it was these 12 songs that formed themselves into the album. For example, it is fair to question if a song like ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ can be considered a Metal song or not (Laughs). In terms of the balance of things it may be true that it lies more on the Metal side of things but I feel there are various types of songs on the ablum.
Q: From my own personal image I think it has a X Japan ‘Blue Blood’ feel to it. That refers to the way the songs are laid out as well as the positioning of the Ballards. There is no doubt about it being Metal and yet it is incredibly rich in variety.
I hope that is how it is (Laughs). The theme at all times is that of ‘taking trip through the sub-genres of Metal’. It is like asking ‘Where have we not explored yet?’. In other words, there are many different components involved.
Road of Resistance
I would like to now ask you about each of the 12 songs on ‘METAL RESISTANCE’ one by one.
In our mail interview in Vol. 6 you explained ‘Road of Resistance’. When we interviewed the 3 girls of Babymetal recently they said that emphatically that it has become a song that represents Babymetal as it is now. Is that how you, Kobametal, feel about it as well?
‘Road of Resistance’ is a song that was created as we traveled around for the World Tour after the 1st album as released and because of that I feel it is packed heavily with the feelings Babymetal had in the situations they were placed in at that time and concerning where they were headed. I am sure the members feel a strong sense of emotional connection with this song as well.
When this song was coming into completion did you already have a feeling that it would go on to become a song that symbolizes Babymetal?
We created it as an ensemble type of song in mind and worked on it as that kind of song including the lyrical parts as well.
The three members have all said that they really like the lyrics.
I place myself in the vicinity of the members and try to get a grasp on what kind of situation they find themselves in and want to come up with lyrics that reflect a vision of the destination that they should be proceeded towards and so it could be that they feel that this song is one that they feel is kind of their own song.
The first time Babymetal performed this song was at London’s Brixton Academy, correct? I myself was also present at that show and what stays with me as a strong impression is that the fans really sang along with the song in spite of it being performed for the first time. From your perspective as Kobametal was this not an ideal happening thinking about just how enthusiastically the fans responded to this unveiling?
Yes, it was indeed! It is not exactly a gambling move but until you actually do it you don’t know how things will unfold. But even saying that, I mean, suddenly presenting a song that no one knows, well….(laughs). But I did have the feeling and expectation that the English fans would come through and so decided to unveil it there. I feel that the end result was very good. In fact, we suddenly change the arrangement of the song during the rehearsal session (laughs). The Brixton venue is a kind of old style opera house and so the sound reverberation is quite something. When the instruments come in there is actually too much reverberation. So, during rehearsal we realized that the melody would be drown out. The girls understood that even if they asked the fans to, ‘Sing it!’ that they would not be able to understand that ‘Wow wow’ nor the melody of the song. And so we decided on the spot to cut the instruments in the middle of the song and go with an A cappella approach.
Wow, so that is what lies behind the reason for that big chorus part!
There were a lot of factors at play. In the end that incredible scene came into being so I am certain that the girls came away very happy and with a strong sense of having pulled off a truly successful song.
Next I would like to move on to ‘Karate’. What was it that propelled you to release this song as the pre-release track ahead of the album?
The overall balance of the song, I would say. For promoting the album I felt that ‘Karate’ had the best balance to it. That includes Su-metal’s vocals as well as the ‘Ai-no-Te’ of Yuimetal and Moametal. The song has a Heavy feel to it and yet is catchy and yet has sections that strike your emotions as well. So it was that aspect of having a good overall balance and because it is a type of song that has not been in Babymetal’s repertoire before I felt it might be interesting to take a new approach.
This song has a feel to that I feel is similar to the Groove Metal bands spanning from Pantera to acts like Lamb of God in the first decade of the 21st century.
Yes, that sounds right. The first time I heard the demo tape I had the feeling that the introductory refrain had a nice catchy and cool sound to it. I had assigned the creators with the task of ‘coming up with a song was not in Babymetal’s repertoire’. It has a refrain that can be sung in a Metal manner, don’t you think? Kind of in line with Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ or Pantera’s ‘Mouth for War’.
Yes, yes, I see!
Those kinds of songs are ones that if you are a guitarist of the Metal bent when you go to a musical instrument shop and are trying out a guitar you will certainly start out playing one of those refrains, right?
They are simple and ones you don’t easily make mistakes with (laughs).
(laughs) Right, and that is why there are so many people who play Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’. I was looking for that kind of refrain that was simple and catchy at the same time. Those were in fact the refrains I was requesting of the songwriters. In other words, a guitar refrain that is easy to sing along with. Those good refrains that are also catchy also have a Western music feel to them.
It is true that they are refrains that one would hear being played by the mainstream overseas Metal bands.
You can imagine a macho Metalhead grinding away with these songs (laughs).
Yes, one can easily imagine Hatebreed or All that remains playing them.
It does have that kind of feel to it. There are in fact a large number of people in the overseas media saying that the refrain of ‘Karate’ has a heavy and cool feel to it.
I thought that it would be a good idea to have a Babymetal song where we could sing along with the guitar phrase.
Do you like songs like Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ that have a refrain that you can sing along with and is easy to understand?
All said and done, what I garnered from our appearances at the overseas Festivals was that there are an abundance of fans that like to sing along with the guitar phrases. You could say that they like to sing the refrains rather than the song’s melody (laughs). So, I came to think that it would be a good idea to have a song like that in the Babymetal lineup. We make the Babymetal songs by repeated testing out in sessions and with ‘Karate’ we had the refrain from the outset and at the beginning there was only one chorus section. We were at a loss considering should we make the song emphasizing the refrain or should we go with a bit different approach. The refrain is really cool but we decided to add a different aspect in the later half of the song. It was here that we added an emotional part that would make it possible for every to sing along together with the girls. I wanted the latter half, the end part to be dramatic. In the studio we referred to it as ‘Maria’ (Laughs).
The final fake part I asked Su-metal to sing with an image in mind that was in a manner that was in line with a Maria Carey or a Celine Dion.
Ah, the Maria comes from Maria Carey (laughs)?
That’s right (laughs). So, we tried out several patterns and finally ended up making the ending as it is now. It starts out with a catchy but heavy refrain in the beginning, but changes as it moves into the latter half and takes on more of what you could say is a Babymetal-ish feel. We are always making songs with a kind of Mash-up feel to them so in that sense as well this song has a real Babymetal feel to it. The refrain only comes up two times. It is a bit ‘Mottainai <a bit of a waste> because it is such a good refrain (laughs).
When Su-metal sings the bridge or chorus part the song instantly takes on even more of a Babymetal feel.
As she goes along stocking up experiences she naturally develops more and more a style that is all her own. In order to take her style up one more notch and build up a Babymetal feel we put in the ‘Maria’ effect in the latter half of the song (laughs). That part is sung with a high key and recently the songs are including more high keys than in the past and so Su-metal is taking it upon herself to be able to sing these higher keys.
The topic of Babymetal’s appearance at overseas Festivals came up a bit ago. As Babymetal performs at more and more overseas Festivals do these experiences have an inspirational influence on the songs and other aspects of the band?
It would not be true to say that they don’t. The power of these Festivals to bring together so many people in such large numbers from so many different countries to hear so many various artists and songs is a truly amazing. It takes quite an astonishing power to unify tens of thousands of people together as these Festivals do.
When you see Metallica performing on a scale of tens of thousands of people at these overseas Festivals it changes the way you think, in a good way.
That is definitely true (Laughs). You often hear the wording that something is ‘a something or other of the people’ and I feel that there is a this kind of ‘thing of the people’ in the Metal world as well. This is something that we can’t readily imagine happening in Japan however. In places like America or Europe there are these events where tens of thousands of people come to watch and enjoy Metal bands. And Metallica is a band that is kind of representative of that phenomena.
Next, lets look at ‘Awadama Fever’. The song was composed by AA=’s Takeshi-san, and it seems that his style of composition comes through with even more explosiveness than was the case with ‘Gimme Choco!!’.
Yes, that is so. I had requested Takeshi-san before he composed the song that I wanted him to do such and such with this part of the song and to make this part into a sing-along section and so on. We had several exchanges about these kinds of things in the making of this song.
I very well could be that this is the most popish of all the Babymetal songs.
Yes, it runs right along the borderline spilling into popular music.
For Kobametal-san, at what point does a song cross over this pop music borderline?
I draw that line with the songs, ‘Gimme Choco!!” and ‘Doki Doki Morning’. Takeshi is a composer who can create really wild and aggressive songs while at the same time he has a good sense in making very popish pop music as well. I personally interpret what he does with us as kind of him trying out things with Babymetal that he can’t readily do with AA=. Because of this we are getting ever more catchy songs coming from him.
Did you have in mind the idea of making a more ‘popish and catchy’ song?
More than saying I was aiming at making a popish and catchy song it is more accurate to say that when girls sing in a major chord it usually turns into a song that sounds like it does when a girls band performs. The important thing how to create a Babymetal-ish sound that does not take us into that realm. That can be things like changing the phrasing or introducing a reggae rhythm into the first verse or something similar, or adding in an homage to the songs that Takeshi has created for us up to this point. I tried to convey to him that, ‘I want a like this or that song’.
Now, let us talk about ‘Yava!’. This song has some Ska in it, doesn’t it?
Babymetal includes a bit wider range of genre than Metal with Loud Rock like in ‘iine!’. This wider framework itself is an aspect of Babymetal. In fact this song was in our repertoire from quite a while back. We even performed it at live shows.
As you continually perform songs at live shows does the image of the song go through a process of change?
This song changed, I can tell you. There are many fine nuances and details that underwent change including everything from the dance moves to the song arrangement and the drum phrasings. The song recorded on the CD is the final product of that and has a different arrangement from how it was we it was performed at the Yokohama Arena (laughs).
(laughs) Is that because you get a succession of desires to change the arrangement as you continue to present it at the live shows?
When I am observing the shows there are times when I will feel that the balance is not right at this point, or the dance movements are not quite there, or we don’t need that sound at this point in the song. Those kinds of things come up. For instance, there was a time when we had a death voice in the song while the chorus part was sung and we decided to shave that off as they overlaid each other making it so neither had good effect. Those kinds of realizations and judgements come up as I watch over the live shows. Like at the beginning the ska part was performed with the guitar sound deliberately distorted but as I wanted to get an even more pronounced ska sounding rhythm I had them make use of a clean tone cutting technique (??).
Next up is ‘Amore’. This is an extreme Melodic Speed Metal song that I was not expecting.
(laughs) This song as well was already around from about 3 or 4 years ago. Originally it was an 8-beat feel song and was not a Melodic Speed Metal type.
It was in existence from that far back?!
All that remains from its early format is the chorus however (laughs). We took a song that had already been around and broke it apart until all that remained was the chorus with the added verse and bridge sections. The original intent was to make a song that would be a counterpart to ‘Akatsuki’.
While ‘Road of Resistance’ is certainly a high speed Melodic Speed Metal song, don’t you think this song is even faster?
It really is fast, isn’t it? (laughs) This is probably going to be really difficult to perform.
I would say that is definitely understating it (laughs). I am saying this is a good sense of the words, but it seems in listening to it that ‘Amore’ – (Aoboshi) has a sense of excessiveness about it. One is left speechless wondering to oneself, ‘How far are they going to push this?!’.
Is that really how it feels? (laughs)
Oh, no mistake in that (laughs). Also, what I thought when listening to ‘Amore’ – (Aoboshi) was I wondered if you envisioned in your head the Kami band performing this as you were making it?
I think of the song and the live performance of that song as separate things. I am often asked by people living overseas, ‘Does the Kami band also perform in the recordings when you are making CDs?’. To which I answer that the Kami band members are gods who only descend into their respective roles when we are playing live shows and so they are not part of the recording of the songs. <Translator note: I am not sure if he means they are NOT part of the recordings, or that they are not part of the recordings AS kami gods> The songs are the songs on their own and so we do our utmost to pursue every aspect as thoroughly as possible when recording them. It is not until we have put the song in the can that I can start thinking about the live performances (laughs).
(laughs) The guitar part seemed really tough to perform.
I am sure it does (laughs)
I know that you, Kobametal-san also play the quitar. I wonder if you also attempt to play songs like this.
Eh?! No way. These songs are……! (laughs).
At what point did this song change from an 8-beat feel to a Melodic Speed Metal song?
I had a good feel for it from about a year or more ago. So for us on the production side we felt, ‘OK, at last we have reached this point!’. I think from Su-metal’s point of view as well she felt that it time for this old song to get its due.
Do you personally listen often to Melodic Speed Metal songs?
There are trends in the music I listen to. There are times when I will listen to it full out and times when I don’t listen to it at all. That said, I do not dislike it. The up tempo songs blow around with a rhythm that I like.
Meta! Meta Tarou
Now we move on to ‘Meta! Meta Tarou’. This song is one of the highlights of this album. It feels like we have come to the point where Viking Metal has been added to the repertoire (laughs).
So, I have already let my thoughts out of the bag. But, I would like to verify my thoughts. (laughs)
This is Viking Metal, right?
If you break it down as a type of Metal then it would be called Viking Metal. When I unraveled my world map of Metal and looked for genres therein that I had not yet visited I came across Viking Metal and Forest Metal. I thought to myself that it would be wonderful if someday we could take these on. There are a lot of factors involved in ‘Meta! Meta Tarou’, aren’t there? Some of it sounds very Japanese like and some has a kind of song used for cheering on sports’ teams. I feel like ‘Meta! Meta Tarou’ is kind of a conglomeration of all types of elements (laughs).
Are the ideas of Kobametal-san also reflected in the lyrics of the song?
My ideas are included but remember we work with some really excellent music creators. This was made by the team that came up with ‘Onedari Daisakusen’. We worked together on it and banged around ideas over and over like, ‘Let’s make this part take on a ‘Mito Koumon’ feel’, or, ‘Let’s put in a real Viking sound in the chorus’, and “’M! E! T! A!’ would be good here” and things like that. This is peppered with sub-sets like the rhythm of ‘Meta! Tarou!, Meta! Tarou!’ being sung in a rhythm that lines up with the rhythm of ‘Mito Koumon’.
Boh’s impressions of London and New York
Boh: “My impressions with Babymetal in New York and London”
We finished our two additional concerts on the World Tour of New York and London without incident.
Things were really full out exciting this time as well.
First about the 11/4 New York show.
Not only this show with Babymetal but for myself as well this was the first time to play at Hammerstein Ballroom.
I arrived at the concert hall amidst a full blown case of jet lag. First we started with a sound check followed by rehearsal.
Due perhaps to the way the hall is constructed sound really reverberates. The sound here is just a slightly different taste from the way things sound in Japan. Maybe because the voltage is higher here than in Japan, or maybe because I am in high spirits, the sounds come out powerfully and with a rich feeling of expression. For myself personally, at this show I have changed from a Shure ear monitor to a Fitear one and this makes it possible to hear more minute and fine details in all aspects of performance. Following rehearsal I went outside and found that some fans had already started waiting in line… I thought, “No one will recognize me if I am not all made up”…but I was found out. People called out to me and I stopped to take pictures with them.
I try to approach these kinds of situations with an attitude of gratefulness and appreciation (Seeing as these will become good memories for both parties) Some people that I always see in Japan are here as well. Thank you for coming from so far away.
If we get too many people taking pictures together it actually become a nuisance for others so I hurried back as fast as possible and changed in to my stealth disguise of being the Kami of Bass. From this moment on, no matter how itchy my face gets I can not scratch. (And the entire head in my case) No matter how tired I am from traveling, just before the actual performance I mysteriously get charged with energy. Almost time for the Babymetal show to start.
The feeling of nervousness that exists from the calls from the audience the moment we step on stage to time we start playing contains an indescribable feeling of comfort and stability. And then when the performance begins I can truly feel my life energy burning. “This is my dream”. I murmured this unconsciously as I was playing.
I get the impression that rather than just going wild and thrashing around, the New York fans seem to really listen carefully to the performance and give themselves over to the sounds as they take them in to their respective perspectives.
I was also surprised by the large number of people who were taking videos. Since in Japan it is a matter of course that filming is not allowed it was quite an interesting experience to brush up against such a difference in culture. I saw some people carrying flags that said, “BOH” on them as well as some people dressed up like me. I am grateful for this. We in the Kami band are really happy to have attention paid to us and to have fans call out in support. Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal are members and we are the back band, you see. We could not be paid so much attention as a back band in any other country or setting and so I am
filled with gratitude.
Next, the 11/8 London, O2 Academy show.
The tickets were Sold Out! It started raining before the show began and I got worried about the health of the fans getting soaked waiting in line outside. I hope they don’t catch colds.
Perhaps due to England being the birthplace of Rock the excitement and energy given off made it feel like the hall would collapse.
There was a lot of power behind the Mosshushu what with there being so many largely structured Europeans. I beg of you don’t get injured or cause injury to others, OK?
This theatre type of historical hall has transformed into a Metal Live house. I feel so fortunate that while performing I am able to take in the view of so many different types of people from young children to older metallers all enjoying the show together. We are all humans, all the same. We can all have a great time together going beyond differences in race, religion and the environments we were brought up in. That is one of the charms of music. I am proud of the fact that we can do this with Babymetal.
OK, now about the contents of this tour… I am sure that the fans from Japan as well as the fans living overseas have verified this through videos uploaded to Youtube….but Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal are all continuing to grow. Giving my own impression I would say that it goes without saying that Su-metal’s vocal range as well as her power have both increased but it is her “ability to convey her feelings to the audience” that has dramatically gone up. However, it is not that she is particularly trying to sing more skillfully it is that she has a wonderful aura (presence) as a vocalist and frontman (frontwoman?).
The same goes for Yuimetal and Moametal. They are not simply dancing in unison with the songs, one can feel the the passion they bring to the stage, and the unshakable intent they have in exciting and entertaining the audience coming from the bottom of their hearts.
Being able to sing while dancing such wild and aggressive dances is something in itself that is no small feat.
Babymetal plays without MC…This does not simply signify that they perform “without a break time”, it means there is no place to slack mentally and there is no leeway to kind of zone out and no way to do things over… If one is lacking in even one of the features of concentration, mental power, Kiai, stamina, guts, or passion one could not carry these performances out and yet the 3 members do it everytime. I have an unlimited amount of respect for these 3 girls.
When I was a Jr. High/High school student I would not have been able to carry on and do my best the way they do… really this is not a trifling matter. I respect the 3 members of Babymetal as artists. There are also skills that we have acquired through these performances together with the girls. We are not treated simply as a back band and are given emphasis as the Kami band, an important part of the Babymetal show. And without mistake it is Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal that pull up and give significance to the existence of us, the Kami band. It is a matter of course that our performing abilities and techniques are professional in caliber but we also perform with high quality not only loud, showy performances but also back up music and sound effects. It is because of the incredible combination of members who can perform with these skills that we are able to play music as Babymetal that seems to surpass the human range of ability. Not just playing as a back band but changing us into being an existence with value is the existence of the 3 members.
And also, this goes for the fans who are always supporting us.
Without your existence there would not be the Kami band that we are now. Especially in Japan it is very rare that session musicians like us ever get a great deal of attention paid to them. There seem to be a lot of people who do not understand the difference between a bass and a guitar.
Amidst this background it is because of you all that come to be recognized and regarded by larger population of people as being “BOH, the man who plays the 6 stringed Japanese bass”.
The house I live in, the car I drive and the beer I drink are all because of you, the fans. I am playing the bass just because I like to do so. This occupation comes into being because there is and artist and the fans who support and cheer on that artist.
My talk has gotten off track a bit. Doing these two shows and I may be repeating things, of particularly deep impression was the increase in “the power to reach and affect the hearts of the audience” of the 3 members.
At the end of the London show we performed a new song that had not previously been performed.
In spite of the fact that this was the first time to perform the song and it was done in a country away from home, the song created a chorus call and response feature, the fans kept cheering after the song had ended like they didn’t want to leave, and so many fans were crying holding up their hands in the sing of Kitsune-sama moved by a song whose lyrics they could not understand. Seeing all of this I was convinced that we will see “these girls get ever, evermore great”.
I do not care a hoot about these opinions one sees such as “Babymetal is not Metal.” Or, “Well, real Metal is….” These kinds of disputes are just ridiculous and there is no room or reason for debating about them. These girls have gone to a place that is way beyond any of these trifling matters. I personally have never considered what genre Babymetal should be classified as.
What I have interest in as a Kami band member (Bass no Kami) is “continuing to create Babymetal shows that are one and only, original and unique in existence together with the 3 girls of Babymetal and the world wide fans of Babymetal.” And that is all.
Further, I hope to continue to polish my playing skills and promulgate the Japanese 6 stringed bass to as many people as possible. If I can do these things nothing could make me happier. The things I have acquired from working with Babymetal I hope to utilize elsewhere, and the things I get from other performances I hope to bring to Babymetal and the things I have gained through many experiences I hope to make use of in my own life. That is the 6 string bass path of the bassist BOH.
Gratitude and thanks to all, feel the connection of all, provide dreams while chasing them.
That is my life. And as you can see, my blog from today has become officialized.
I think this will make it possible for more people to be able to read my blog and that is something fun to look forward to.
By the way, my previous blog was translated by someone overseas, so I hope that will happen again (translator note: that appears to be the case) I do not have the skill to translate such a long blog. To all the fans throughout the world-let’s continue to excite and build up Babymetal together. I look forward to seeing you all again at a stage filled with Love, Peace and Kawaii.
I have written earnestly so I would like to add one more comment…
I am not bald due to sickness. Do not consult with a doctor if you start getting thin on top when in your 30’s!
If you start to lose hair, just shave it off yourself. Do it openly. You will understand this if you do it.
Minewaki Shachou talks about Moametal
Ikuo Minewaki about Moa Kikuchi on Entament
The President of Tower Records, Minewaki Ikuo-san speaks passionately about Sakura Gakuin’s Kikuchi Moa-chan once again! (Complete article/First section- calling a storm)
An article that we ran on this site in the early days of 2014 created quite a stir amongst not only ordinary viewers but also ardent fans, “Tower Records president, Minewaki Ikuo-san speaks about Kikuchi Moa-chan for 90 minutes!”. This theme comes back and it is powered up.
Our media coverage team visited the head office of Tower Records to cover the “The Idol Award 2014-Minewaki-Shachou determines the best of Kikuchi Moa award” which is reported in our 2015, February edition of “Monthly Entertainment”. The one we were waiting patiently for was the response from Minewaki-shachou who was waiting for us prepared to the teeth to deal with our coverage.
This year as well, the president’s passionate talk exceeded the time allotted for our media coverage. But, that is OK, We will present the whole version of his talk. So, Mr. President please talk to your heart’s content.
Q: Before we get into the main topic and looking back over last year, how do you feel Kikuchi Moa-chan has grown over the year?
Minewaki- “After becoming the student council president she kind of stepped back a bit. Before she took on that position she was the type that liked to go to the front and lead everyone. But, this year, Moa-chan held herself in reserve in live performances and in SG classroom’s as well, and she often lead other members into the more visible positions. The current 3rd year team is very kind and they allow the younger members to perform freely as they want. This is due to the techniques employed by Moa-chan that creates such an atmosphere and that creates an environment that allows them to all carry out activities that they wish to perform. She has taken on a sense of responsibility and has grown immensely.”
Q: She is still only 15 though. (laughs)
Minewaki- “I think that Moa-chan is at her end as the student council president as she did the most she could do going to the places she needed to go to, but with her overseas excursions with Babymetal she could not carry out completely every task she had been assigned with. Also she could not be present for the Fan club limited performance. She missed about 1 out of every 2 public performances. I was unable to watch the Haiku public class as regrettably I had to attend the Oosaka T-Palette thanksgiving festival that day. At the public classes Moa-chan also did not try to stand out and helped others to carry out their performances.”
Q: That ability to create such an atmosphere is also a great thing.
Minewaki- “And now in 2015 the real “The Road to Graduation” begins.”
Q: Are you ready mentally?
Minewaki- “I wonder how 2015 will progress…. I still don’t have a firm grasp on how this year is going, but this spring Berryz Koubou will take an indefinite break and Moa-chan will graduate. With these “2 big things that I love” dropping away I feel a bit empty. Of course even after she graduates Moa-chan will continue to support Sakura Gakuin. And Babymetal is scheduled to perform at the Rock festival “Rock on the the Range 2015” in Ohio in May.”
Q: In 2014 Babymetal performed on March 1st and 2nd at the Nippon BudouKan.
Minewaki- “I went to both day’s performances. I was really surprised on the first day when Yui-chan (Mizuno) fell off the stage. And then in “IDZ” Moa-chan fell down. “Live performances are the best!” but I get so worried about those two. After the first day’s performance I went to eat with my wife, and we were talking excitedly saying, “Will Yui-chan be able to perform tomorrow?” and “Do you think she injured her leg?”. I am so happy that she was not seriously injured.”
Q: Let’s get in to the main topic. Let’s start with the 5th place entry.
Minewaki- “I was thinking about this until 2 O’clock yesterday.”
Q: Thank you for staying up so late for us.
Minewaki- “5th place is Moa-chan’s February 15th diary.” http://ameblo.jp/sakuragakuin/entry-11772092273.html
Minewaki- “On this day there was a Sakura Gakuin live performance at EX Theater Roppongi, and it was the date of Moa-chan’s 100th diary entry. In it she wrote 100 items about herself and it being February and the fans are cold waiting in line to buy merchandise so she wrote this diary entry so the fans would not have too much free time on their hands. And so the title was, “Please read this as you wait”. This is truly an exceptional demonstration of caring for her fans. In the first column where her name is introduced she puts a circle around “Chi-地-land” so it will not be mistaken for “Ike-池-pond” in the Kikuchi part of her name. In the 3rd column she has a picture showing her height with it written as 157 cm. In column 4 she says, “when I entered SG my weight was equal to 2 koalas but now it is that of 4. In other areas of the diary she says she is an only child, that she wants to become “Super Moa-chan” and that she love anime. I think writing 100 items was quite a chore.”
Q: Just thinking about writing so many items is quite an exhausting chore.
Minewaki- “As I said last year, you can really see that she thinks about her readers when she writes her diary. And moreover, this was written specifically for fans who were waiting. The contents are quite detailed so reading it is quite a task as well. This really shows us Moa-chan’s character, she really has her stuff together. Hey! Look here! She has two less bottom teeth than ordinary people!”
Q: Shachou, please settle down (laughs)
Minewaki- “Sorry. But, when you read this you can understand that she has a small jaw because she is short 2 lower teeth. It is because she writes things that you would ordinarily not be able to understand at all that her fans are so pleased with her diaries. And following this diary entry we had planned with “Monthly Entertaiment” to do a “100 questions for Moa-chan (2014 August), right? When you read this together with that it is fantastic!”
Q: Those questions were thought up by several adult writers and they apparently had quite a hard time coming up with 100 questions.
Minewaki- “If you read both of these even if you are just getting interested in Moametal, you will be able to understand Moa-chan very well.”
Q: Thank you for slipping in a bit of advertising for us.
Q: So what is 4th?
Minewaki- “Moa-chan and Yui-chan were not present at the 2014 TIF, right?”
Q: Yes, they couldn’t attend because they were touring as Babymetal with Lady Gaga on her live tour.
Minewaki- “However, they appeared on the screen for “Yume ni Mukatte”. And so, Yui/Moa who were not expected to be in attendance seemed to be singing together with the other members.”
Q: Their sense of presence increased even though they were not there.
Minewaki- “True, their sense of presence stood out due to not actually being there. It was that sort of stage. I felt like I was standing in the presence of a truly great people. (laughs)”
Q: What great people do you mean (laughs).
Minewaki- “The Moa-chan in my brain was supremely cute when they synchronized with the other members! I thought how can she be so cute even though it is 2-dimensional. I burned the 2-dimension Moa-chan into my brain, and in front of all of us were the 8 actual members plus the 2 graduates of Iida Raura-chan and Horiuchi Marina-chan acting as assistants performing “Yume ni Mukatte”. And without doubt Yui/Moa were there as well.”
Q: In the July 30th diary entry of Moa-chan, she wrote that she was “not present at TIF”.
Minewaki- “This was where Moa-chan debuted so the TIF events are of great importance to her. Every year, the members of TIF get into fights amongst themselves and then they reform into new units. For Sakura Gakuin it is kind of like a ritual that the members must pass through. It is interesting to think that they could not attend because they were opening for Lady Gaga.”
Q: And a 15 year old girl feels bad about that (laughs)
Minewaki- “Speaking of Lady Gaga, you know she is a global pop icon (laughs). In this diary entry she writes passionately about her feelings for TIF, and there are pair photographs with everyone in the end of it. I think this is one of her great entries. Any Fukei who reads this and then gets angry that “Yui/Moa are not present at TIF” is not a real Fukei!”
Q: Yes, like, “Don’t say such an absurd thing” (laughs)
Minewaki- “Even though they are not there you can see them (laughs). And remember, more than anything else, the student council president is saying, “Even if we are apart our hearts are one”. Of course since we have to support them the same as the previous year, the 2014 TIF was a Sakura composition. The performances by Sakura Gakuin were a bit less than usual but I was able to able to watch each stage that the members performed on.”
Q: But of all those “Yume ni Mukatte” was the best.
Minewaki- “Yes, I was so excited. It goes without saying that Idols are cute, that is a given, but in my thinking the songs also have to be good. This song was a trigger to change that way of thinking for me. “Kawaii” can at times surpass the song.”
Q: So, you were reverted back to the basics of liking Idols, right?
Minewaki- “Composers can be broken easily! For a long time I also used to say, “I can’t like a performance if the song is no good”. Sorry for thinking like that. There is no need for me to make excuses!”
HEDOBAN Magazine Volume 6 interview with Kobametal
HEDOBAN Magazine Volume 6 interview with Kobametal
The producer of Babymetal who should more properly be called the “Metal command tower” appears in “Hedoban” for the first time in about 1 year!
-“Road of Resistance”!
-“Live at Budoukan ~ Red night”!
-Overseas warrior training journey!
-This can not be reduced simply to the genre of “Melodic Speed Metal”.
-“Road of Resistance” which should be referred to as the greatest Metal Anthem coming of out Japan in recent years.
-The clear and blaring sound of the “Red Night Edition” is knocking people over right and left.
-The multitude of Miracles shown during the overseas warrior training journey that followed on the heels of the “Live at Budoukan, Red Night”.
Due to the fervent love call of “Hedoban” Kobametal answered our requests with a mail based interview about hints as to where Babymetal is headed following their “Legend 2015, New Year Kitsune Festival” performance.
Regarding “Road Of Resistance”
When did you begin to start creating “Road of Resistance”? I remember you saying before when we talked with you when you were working on the Babymetal album that “you had a song in the works that had an even higher BPM”. Were you referring to the “Road of Resistance”?
Kobametal: “The basic form of the song was ready quite a ways back, but it took on the structure of a song in 2013, I think.”
With Babymetal songs made up to this point you have incorporated things from a variety of Metal sub-genres. “Road of Resistance” has a 100% degree of pure so-called “Melodic Speed Metal” to it. Were you, Kobametal, personally pondering doing a “Melodic Speed Metal with Babymetal”?
Kobametal: “With the songs of “IDZ” and “Akatsuki” that we have released in the past we already had incorporated Melodic Speed Metal aspects so I was not particularly making an attempt to do so anew with this song.”
Is the Metal sub-genre of Melodic Speed Metal one of the types of Metal that you personally like? Also, what facets of Melodic Speed Metal attract you?
Kobametal: “Personally, Melodic Speed Metal is a type of music that I have been listening to from a long time ago. With its high speed guitar work and drumming laid over with a melody I am attracted by, and I mean this as a compliment to this type of music, to its various components that are often called somewhat “uncool”.”
The first time I heard “Road of Resistance” in London I was truly surprised, but when I heard the finished studio song with all the various sounds packed into it I was once again and further surprised. Were there certain things you were focusing on or any difficulties you may have encountered when working on it?
Kobametal: “The point I was really trying to pay attention to was just how “Babymetal” could we make it sound. The difficult part was the high tempo of the song I guess you could say.”
In Vol. 1 of “Hedoban”, “Kobametal-san’s selections <29 Loud/Metal albums (+1) >,” you selected Dragon Force and so I would assume that they are a band that you like and so I would like to ask you what you find appealing about them from your point of view?
Kobametal: “It would be the fact that they do not let you down in your expectations of them and so speaking kind of metaphorically, it is like when you order a dish at a restaurant hoping to get the exact same taste that you got when you ordered and tasted it before. I feel that they have an originality that could be called the “Dragon Force beat” that they provide at just the right place in a song with just the right sound and melody.”
In having the guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li of Dragon Force collaborate with you on this song was there anything in particular you requested of them? Also, was that excessive “Baka Tech” (term for someone who is possessed with a unique and highly skilled musical technique) high speed guitar play born out of the instructions of a Kobametal who likes that kind of guitar technique perhaps? (laughs)
Kobametal: “Since we were envisioning the incorporation of Dragon Force playing from the demo making stage I feel there was not much of a wide ranging change from the initial image. They worked very cooperatively with the requests made to them from the Babymetal side of things. Thanks to this positive attitude we were able to add in this wonderful guitar performance and I feel create music that is even more powerful.”
Putting the lyrics of “Road of Resistance” into a massive song progression that could be considered a rather stereotypical has led fans to sometimes referring to this song as an “Anthem”. Were you deliberately trying to make this song into an anthem-like piece?
Kobametal: “Regarding the sound of the song, when we were creating the theme of song we wanted it to start off with a lead in that had a strong sense of making an appearance like Judas Priest’s “Hellion/Electric Eye” followed by the appearance of a high speed Melodic Speed Metal sound like that of Dragon Force with a sing along where the audience can cry together with the band. Since we were attempting to make a song with this kind of image I think it was destined to come out as an anthem-like song.”
The chorus with “Woa Woa” makes a deep impression on one. At the Saitama Super Arena performance this turned into a huge group chorus with 20,000 members. Said in a favorable meaning, it seems to me that you created this with deliberately with Arena Metal in mind.
Kobametal: “Up to now we have intentionally incorporated parts of the songs known as “Ai no Te” and the Death Voices into Babymetal songs so the fans could sing along together with the girls, but in the 2014 overseas tour I realized that “there were many foreign fans who wanted to sing along together from the beginning to the end of the show”. Especially in the overseas performances since the girls sing in Japanese and there is no MC this sing along part symbolically became a trigger for bringing Babymetal together with their fans into a unified, “The One””.
The lyrics of the “Road of Resistance” are of a type that has not been seen in Babymetal songs previously. Simply put, what is the theme of this song?
Kobametal: “The theme of the lyrics is the image of the road that Babymetal has traversed so far and the road that they will continue to walk here on out and I feel that this is not limited just to Babymetal but to all who participate in the Metal Resistance with the message to them being one of encouraging them to “Believe in oneself and charge ahead”. This is a song that has an important meaning and serves as a thematic song in the Babymetal Metal Resistance.”
“Road of Resistance” has a very strong feel of stately British Metal to it. Did this have anything to do with it being debuted in England?
Kobametal: “Since the Live performance at the O2 Academy in London on November 8th last year was the final show in the WORLD TOUR 2014 and was done under the theme of it being both the ???? of Chapter 2 of the Metal Resistance and the introduction of Chapter 3, presenting it at this venue at this time for the first time had significance as being the theme song for the 3rd Chapter. Further, Yuimetal ardently expressed her wish that it performed saying, “It must be so!”. (laughs)”
“Live at Budoukan, Red Night”
I feel that the number of artists who can put out Live performance editions is rather limited. Do you, Kobametal-san, personally have any special thoughts regarding Live performance albums?
Kobametal: “I think that Live Performance albums are interesting in that they offer a way to express differences in the way a guitar solo can be phrased or in the way the song arrangements can be presented. I may be possible to enjoy music even more by discovering the slight differences that occur in each performance.”
Q: “Live at Budoukan, Red Night” is being highly praised by the fans and because of many people have come to be fans or have come to look upon Babymetal in a more favorable light. With this Live album were you aiming to “draw out the core musical essence of Babymetal”?
Kobametal: “I was not in particular deliberately attempting to do so, but in that it contains all of the songs on the 1st album, “Babymetal” performed live without break, it could be said that it attempts to be a sort of “Best Live” album.”
Idols often release DVDs but one doesn’t often hear of them putting out Live performance editions. Including the opinions of the 3 Babymetal members did you have?
Kobametal: “With Babymetal I feel we have already come to the point where they can not be contained in the bracket of being an Idol band, and since in some cases I feel they are putting on Live shows that are richer and heavier than other rock bands I have absolutely no worries regarding this matter”.
One of the jewels of this Live album is the involvement of Ted Jensen. Why did you think of asking Ted Jensen to work with you on this Live performance album?
Kobametal: “This is also the workings of Fate, or rather the divine instructions of Kitsune-Sama, I feel.”
Incidentally, could you tell us how Ted Jensen thinks about Babymetal?
Kobametal: “He said he feels they are an extremely unique entity.”
I felt there were some differences in the way the sound was handled such as the way the sound was recorded and the way some sections were emphasized between “Red Night” and “Black Night”. If that is so, could you tell us why? And were these due to the ideas of Ted Jensen?
Kobametal: “We did not deliberately set out to create a difference in the sound and I feel the sound on the day of the recording plays a big part in this.”
Following the overseas warrior training journey
And then following upon the heels of the BudouKan shows the band suddenly embarked upon an overseas tour. Did you feel from before that this would develop into an overseas tour based on what came before?
Kobametal: “I did think that eventually we would develop into performing overseas, but I thought it would take a bit more time to do so. The speed of things following the release of the album was very fast.”
The staff at “Hedoban”’s sense of the outlook regarding Metal changed after experiencing the Metal Festival of Sonisphere with its gathering of everyone from small children to the elderly. Did you, Kobametal-San feel a change in your outlook toward Metal after experiencing Sonisphere from the inside realm of that world?
Kobametal: “I discovered many things by experiencing this authentic English Rock festival known as Sonisphere. I actually experienced the fact that the Headlining act, Iron Maiden is a people’s band. I felt the wide range as well as the history and scope of Metal on seeing everyone from grandchildren to elderly grandfathers and grandmothers participating in the festival wearing Iron Maiden T-shirts.”
There is an image that more than America that Europe has an enthusiastic fan base regarding Babymetal. How did you yourself feel about this?
Kobametal: “Since each country has its own way of reacting to and enjoying Babymetal, it is difficult for me to say which country is the most enthusiastic about Babymetal, but I do have the impression that within even Europe it is especially Germany and England in which there seems to be a bigger ratio of fans excited about Rock and Heavy Metal. Through the tour I heard from various people from many different countries that when Japanese artists perform in Europe it is usually the Asians living in Europe or people who are interested in Japanese culture that come to these shows, but that with Babymetal the fan base is different.”
Is there anything that you feel is interesting in the difference between the Japanese fans and the European fans?
Kobametal: “That would be that they really “sing a lot”.”
In England long time standing Metal media sources such as “Hammer” or “Kerrang” have been out and upfront in covering Babymetal. Please let us know your straight, unadulterated feelings regarding this.
Kobametal: “I feel it is a great honor.”
I am certain that you have received a great deal of foreign media coverage up to this point, and I would like to know if this differs from the Japanese media in any way?
Kobametal: “There does not seem to be too much different in the way both the Japanese media and the foreign media cover Babymetal as being a unique presence, but I feel that since the overseas cultures do not have the concept of Idol that the foreign press tends to treat Babymetal more as an artist in their own right or as Metal band. And I feel that the overseas media seems to be more enthusiastic in their coverage.”
Q: Along with Sonisphere of course, I feel that Babymetal acting as the opening band for Lady Gaga was an extremely precious experience for the girls. How do you, Kobametal-san yourself feel about this?
Kobametal: “Even if they differ in genres I feel it was an extremely important experience for Babymetal to be able to travel on a tour with an artist that is performing on the world stage.”
Q: In Japan the number of Metal fans who come to Babymetal shows dressed in Metal T-shirts has increased and because of Babymetal there are many former Metal fans who are returning to the fold so it seems that Babymetal has touched the hearts and minds of many Metal fans. What do you think about this situation?
Kobametal: “I feel that this is a sign that the Metal Resistance is moving steadily ahead.”
Q: Are you still responsible for the BGM that is played as fans file into Live performances? And if this is so is there something that you are paying attention to in selecting the songs played following the overseas warrior training journey? There are cases of Iron Maiden songs being prevalent and with the recent SSA there were many Judas Priest songs played…
Kobametal: “I am pretty sure that the songs selected are according to the whims of Kitsune-Sama on that day.”
Q: On January 10th at the Saitama Super Arena (SSA) there were about 20,000 fans in attendance. This is something in the Metal world in Japan that has not happened recently for Live performances. What do you, Kobametal-san think of this excitement?
Kobametal: “Since I have the impression that we were allowed to appear in the Loud Park event known as the “Big show” I was a bit worried whether we could fill out the arena with just Babymetal fans. And so when we were actually able to fill the entire arena with a sold out show I was filled with excitement.”
Q: I am sure that you are looking forward anxiously to the new overseas developments from May. And we here at “Hedoban” are looking forward both mentally and “financially” to this development (laughs). Is there a possibility of Babymetal venturing into unknown foreign countries?
Kobametal: “Only the Fox God knows.”