Rockin’ On Japan Vol. 479
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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.”
BudouKan 2 days Monster Hedoban Vol 4 article (old article)
BABYMETAL live at Nippon Budokan by HEDOBAN Magazine
Hedoban Vol. 4
Listen up! …. The “Red night-Black night” are truly Japan’s cutting edge Metal — Babymetal!!
The first chapter of the Metal resistance is compiled right here.
Our report chock full of emotions spanning 10,000 characters (referring to the number of Kanji).
Are you holding on tightly to the Neck Brace that was handed out to you at the opening day at the Budoukan venue?
Are you daily watching the “Live at Budokan” trailer?
The Metallers, no, all of the fans who witnessed the “Red Night/Black Night” are certainly proud of what they saw and are filled with excitement everyt ime they remember every detail they experienced that night that has become etched into their minds. I would like to talk about the “Red Night/Black Night”. Over and over and endlessly I would like to talk about it. I dedicate this 10,000 character report to all those fans who shared these nights with me and with all those true Babymetal fans who have been so fascinated with Babymetal. It is the hope of us at “Hedoban” that this report will serve as a source of reference for “talking about the Red Night/Black Night experience. Our true feeling is that this can not be captured even with 10,000 characters. So, we have entrusted out intent with the 3 girls of Babymetal, with Kobametal and as well with the entire staff that supports Babymetal!
We hope we will be able to see unapologetically and in all its glory the “True Metal” of Babymetal at the Mecca of Metal as was shown to us at the “Red Night/Black Night”.
On February 25th BABYMETAL’s first album went on sale. The night before this albums were first released for sale at Shinjuku’s Tower Records. Toy Factory twitted on its official twitter site that a “Stupendous line of people” had formed outside Tower Records. I couldn’t take my eyes off my Smartphone screen. I became so concerned with each passing second of the current state of affairs of Babymetal that I was unable to concentrate on my work. In a fortunate turn of events “Hedoban” Vol. 3 was scheduled to go on sale this same day. I received a mail from the editor on the day it was to go on sale which said, “It is amazing! Everyone standing in line at the cash REGISTERS are holding their hands the Babymetal CD and “Hedoban!”.
So apparently he had gone to Tower Records to check on how things were going. I am quite certain that he wrote that mail with his eyes tearing up.
At the end of last year’s December 21st Babymetal solo concert, “Legend 1997 Su-metal’s Seitansai” held at Makuhari Messe it was announced by way of a video presentation that Babymetal would be performing 2 days at the Nippon Budoukan. For a large number of fans this meant they would have to wait patiently until March 1st until they would be able to experience once again (or for the first time) a Babymetal live performance. Of course some lucky fans would be able to see them before that at a joint show with Kinniku Shoujo Tai, or at their Singapore or Taiwan performances, but this is obviously only a very narrow segment of their fan base. Considering their rapidly expanding number of fans this scarcity of live performances is kind of weird.
Live Legeng 1997, Su-metal Seitansai.
For the ordinary fan the pace of Babymetal’s activities that they are aware of appear to be rather uneventful. It goes without saying that this pace is not anything like the 8-year intervals between albums that we saw with AC/DC but it does feel to one that the metal resistance that has been carried out up to now has been slow and kind of inching steadily along. That is why it is very interesting that in spite of this there has been this sudden increase in the number of fans.
There is very little information about Babymetal. They have no blog and even the official Twitter account only announces the bare minimum of information deemed necessary. It does seem kind of weird. However, that said, one can also be of the point of view that having a smaller amount of information makes things easier to organize and handle in your head. Having too much information can in some cases bring on fatigue or cause you to lose interest. It also may make it easier for new fans to get on the boat so to speak. It is not a simple of case of more is better when it comes to information. Fans who are starving for information tend to listen to the music and watch available video material over and over. That goes for the writer as well and I find myself repeatedly viewing “LIVE ~ LEGEND I, D, Z APOCALYPSE”. I don’t think that it was a purposeful intent to create a state of starvation in their fans, but I would say that most certainly the lack of information has served as a side effect playing around in the background of this rapid increase in the fan base..
And now we come to the long awaited date of March 1st. Due to the large number of fans perched on the edge of starvation the tickets sold out almost immediatelyThe fate of these 3 girls will be decided one the first day of this 2-day event, the “Red Night Legend, Giant Neck Brace festival, the Tenka metal Budoukan Final”.
I was planning to get to the venue early to stand in line to buy goods, but since I was unable to sleep well the night before I ended up arriving after 3 O’clock. I really wanted to buy the legendary Budoukan version of the “Corset Festival” T-shirt but one look at the monstrous line of people made me give up on that idea. I decided to wait for a while outside the venue.
When I looked over the line of people waiting to buy goods I was delighted to see that there were people holding copies of “Hedoban” and even some reading it as they stood in line – a favorable scene to see. It appears that the publication side of the metal resistance is gradually making inroads as well. I had heard all this through mails from my editor before but seeing it with my own eyes actually caused them to well up with tears of happiness.
Had the octogonal center stage really been changed on purpose to make the “most superior metal stage on earth-the Budoukan” into a fighting arena, or colosseum?
OK, here we go-entrance time! My spirit of excitement has been building up to incredible heights.
As I approach the entrance I am handed a corset and told, “Please put this on as you enter the arena”. It is an obligation possessed by all who enter to wear their corset. When I entered the Budoukan with the corset wrapped around my neck I let out a expression of surprise as I had done when I saw Babymetal at Makuhari Messe.
There was a great octogonal stage positioned right in the center of the Budoukan, and there was a monitor hanging down from the ceiling. Surrounding the octogonal stage there were 4 circular stages in place which connected to the main stage by with aisles. The stage which was all done out beautifully in red and black was embellished with magic squares (Mahoujin). This is truly a work of excellence.
A center stage, and what is more, at a standing only style of concert, at an arena of the class of the Budoukan is an extremely rare occurrence. A long time ago ARB set up a boxing ring in the Korakuen hall upon which they performed and in more recent times Brahman put on a standing only performance at Makuhari Messe. However this may in fact be the first time that a concert has been put on with a stage set-up like this at the Budoukan.
The octogonal center stage deliberately draws out the elite status of the “most superior metal stage” and further helps to portray it as a fighting arena, or colosseum. When I reflected that this Budoukan performance would be a part of a story that began with last spring’s “Babymetal Death Match” and continuing through 2013 Summer Sonic a wave of emotions rose up in my chest.
The stage set-up was a true spectacle and then when I looked around the entirety of the arena an even more mysterious scene met my eyes. The periphery of the stage seemed to my perception like a scene that had been recorded and shown to me in black and white. This was due to everyone in the audience wearing a black T-shirt or a black jacket thrown over their shoulders which were in contrast to the white corsets they were wearing. While I do not know how many people were in attendance, the vast majority were all dressed more or less the same. This also I can only express as being truly spectacular. This type of scenery is also one of the factors that goes into to constructing the world of Babymetal. By the way, if you were to come into the arena without a corset around your neck, one of the “Bonesman” patrolling the areana would point and gesture to you to quickly put it on.
These “Bonesmen” really carried out good work in the arena. Before the concert began they were walking around the arena carrying flags bearing the logo mark of Babymetal on them raised high in the air. They would lead people who had entered the arena to their seats and help them out. At times they would call out “Oi, Oi!” in a loud voice. From time to time their actions would appear on the monitor hanging from the central ceiling. This being seen by the fans in the stands helped greatly in building up their excitement and involvement with the event unravelling before them. This great attention paid to the fine details of putting a first class show is truly a wonderful thing. The result of all this attention to details helps to create a world that separate and removed from ordinary reality.
Somewhere along the way the arena has morphed from a concert venue into a sort of underworld theme park.
The concert has yet to start. I wonder what will things be like when it has finished.
The arena goes dark. A “Boneman” appears on the monitor and in a deep voice he says, “Kobametal Death” (I am Kobametal) Kobametal is a figure well known to our readers and who is best known as the porducer of Babymetal. However, Kobametal appearing on a large screen monitor at a performance is indeed a rare event. I do not know if he is someone who likes to be the center of attention or not but the fact that he has chosen to appear in form of a character is itself a really interesting idea. He goes on to announce that the “Neck Brace festival” that was in the past held at the Meguro Rockmaykan would now have its venue changed to the Budoukan where it would be called the “Giant Neck Brace festival”.
Next, we are informed through an oracle from Kitsune-Sama that, “When the pitch black darkness transforms into a crimson red color, Babymetal is challenged with a further test conveyed by Kitsune-Sama”. The Fox god continues, “There will be no stories or commentaries between songs, no encore and that from the time one puts the corset on your neck the battle will begin. Indeed we are already headed toward destruction…”. When I heard the word destruction I felt myself shake. The countdown to destruction…Wait a minute sometime in the past I bought a CD that had that as its title.
“Have you made preparations for your neck?” Is the switch about to pressed?
“I will ask you once again, have you made preparations for your neck?”
The audience growls back loudly, “Guoooooooo!”
“The Giant Corset festival begins now!”
With that the excitement building visual presentation of Kobametal came to a close and the countdown switch was pressed. Here the breakdown part of THAT song was played over and over in a loop. Ki—Tsu—Ne—Ki—Tsu—Ne—Ki—Tsu—Ne…….. That’s right, “Megitsune”. No mistake about it, the most fitting song to be performed as the opening piece is none other than “Megitsune”. The circular stages rise up in a mysterious red light with the three girls posed theatrically. When the “Soiya, Soiya”, “Sore, Sore, Sore” begins the audience is in a festive frenzy.
For many of the fans here this is the first time to meet the girls since the Seitansai held at the end of last year. And there must be many for whom this is their first time to encounter Babymetal-their, “At last I am able to see them in person” moment. So how is it?! Just how incredibly cool is this?! Just how cute are they?! Look! Look at the way they move! All of it including of course the performance of the Kami band is of the highest quality found in Japan at the present time, isn’t it!
During the performance of “Doki Doki Morning” and following through “Gimme Choco” a vortex is formed in the Mosshu Pit. Since the arena is separated into differing blocks each block has formed it’s own respective Mosshu circle all of which are spinning around with incredible momentum. Babymetal fans refer to each other as Mosshu mates. And so Mosshing with this kind of intense energy is just a matter of course. “Zukyun!” “Dokyun!”
The cuteness of Yuimetal and Moametal has in an instant pierced the hearts of 10,000 fans. And this number shall most surely increase as time goes on. In “Iine!” a laser beam was used which added a further feeling of theatre to the arena and immediately following “Kitsune Da O” one saw the incredible sight of 10,000 fans all together doing a Dogeza Hedoban. A true masterpiece of performance.
The girls got to take a brief break before diving into “Catch Me If You Can”. The long version intro provided the 4 members of the Kami band each ample opportunity to show their mind boggling musical skills. The sounds they were drawing out from their vast pool of abilities resonated deeply in the hearts of the audience propelling on the excitement the show. The 3 girls made their reappearance as the entire arena was thoroughly grooved into the heavy sound of the Kami band which served to further heat up the excitement. One could almost feel the Mosshu pit heating up tangibly on one’s skin.
After “Uki Uki * Midnight” it was time to unveil Su-metal’s solo, “Akumu no Rondo”. Once again I have to ask myself, “Just what is this aura, or presence that this teenage girl possesses”? As usual her standing posture is the embodiment of cool strength, but at this moment I felt she was attempting to reach an even higher level. She is truly in possession of a deep well of talent and at this point in time we yet unable to see how far she will go. This chaotic song rolls along with a viciously modulating tempo which she masters perfectly even while engaging and fixating the entire arena. She performed this very difficult piece with smooth ease. I have listened to this song since then repeatedly on CD but it is certainly quite a different animal from the one I heard performed with the blasting sounds of the live performance.
Black Babymetal composed of Yuimetal and Moametal then performed “Onedari Daisakusen” followed by the incredibly lighthearted and fun yet extremely wild “Yon no Uta” which was unveiled at this venue on this day. Ever since I heard this song for the first time“Yon Yon Yoyoyoyon” has been playing in my head virtually non-stop. And I truly appreciate the Metal reggae section that reminds one of the way the Scorpions did this many years ago. This too is metal. I once again recognized the fact that metal is a genre of music that is able to swallow up any type of music it encounters.
The split second that Su-metal screamed out, “Now, Akatsuki!”, fire flared up from locations around the stage. “Akatsuki”. When Su-metal’s voice rides on the Speed, on the Metal everything heats up to a fervent pitch. I feel that I will fly up infinitely high riding on this accelerated vocal myself. Akatsuki has totally recharged me with vitality and I even have a heightened sense of courage surging through my chest. “Babymetal Death”. A low bass sound that seems to lead one into the very depths of hell resounds eerily throughout the entire arena as the audience responds with chants of, “Death!, Death!”.
“Headbanga!” We must be coming close to the end of the show. I was already filled to the brim by this time. Just as Kobametal had declared, this show had proceeded as a non-stop, no MC heavy metal onslaught. In the interval before “Headbanga!” Yuimetal and Moametal were running around the periphery of the stage calling out “Hedoban, Hedoban!” stirring up the audience.
Babymetal – Concert – Schedule.
It was at this time that a problem occurred. There were only two girls on the stage. I didn’t at first realize that Yuimetal had disappeared from the stage. Some of the people around me were also starting sense something was wrong tilting their heads in confusion. “Where did Yuimetal go?”
The performance went on unheeded but there was some kind of commotion going on amongst the fans located near the stage. At this time I was still unable to get a grasp on what was happening. What I heard later was that during the pre “Headbanga!” interval Yuimetal had slipped and fallen off the stage. I was unable however to verify what had happened at that time from where I was sitting.
Su-metal and Moametal performed “Headbanga!” to the end without Yuimetal. The lights in the arena went out and stayed out for some time. I was thinking there is probably one more song to go.
From my perspective I knew there was some sort of accident but it was still unclear to me. My mind went blank-was the show just going to end with things the way they were? Throughout the audience people were yelling out, “Yuimetal!” here and there. These individual calls gathered up naturally into one big Yuimetal call that enveloped the entire arena.
After a few minutes had gone by the lead in for “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” started up. Even with this the audience was still all worked up. On the other side of the darkness appeared the three figures of the girls. The whole erupted in an unbelievable roar of, “Guooooooooooo!!!!” As I stood there overwhelmed and in a state of stunned amazement right in front of me the preparations for IDZ were moving ahead without fail. Yuimetal and Moametal were crouched down in runner’s starting positions. Wall of Death followed by the “Dame” jump-this all feels like a dream. This whole flow of confusion pressed upon me. I was all confused and upset with the excitement of Yuimetal’s accident and I felt for some reason like Moametal had also fell down with all of this seemingly impressed on my memory in a lump sum of detail.
The narration from the Metal master went on to state that the “3 girls had conquered the Tenka Ichi Budoukan” had achieved the status of “Real Metal” bringing this narration to a conclusion.
I was unable to believe all the events that had occurred right before my eyes. I remember thinking this is what is meant by having one’s mind go completely blank almost like being in a trance. I think there must have been a large number of others fans who felt the same way as I did. With that the countdown to the “final chapter of the metal resistance” had begun. I was unable in my state of mind to follow what the narration went on to say however.
While the length of the concert was just about exactly 1-hour, in consideration of all that had happened it certainly didn’t feel like just 1-hour. I have read what has happened with this accident as being part of the great power that has become part of the Babymetal legend when I reflect upon it now.
Even when the lights went on in the arena, I was unable to return to ordinary reality.
2. Doki Doki Morning
3. Gimee Choco
5. Catch me if you can
6. Uki Uki Midnight
7. Rondo no Akumu
8. Onedari Daisakusen
9. 4 no Uta
11. BABYMETAL DEATH
13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
A conclusive ceremony that spreads out to the final and a thorough homage to X Japan. The first chapter in Metal resistance opens the door to a new form of metal beauty.
Justice of summation
March 2, 2014
Every seat in the arena is filled. Everyone here is hoping to become a witness to history.
The night before March 2nd I was filled with an incomprehensible excitement and ended up drinking too much. There was no way I could get through this night without drinking.
As you can imagine I was completely concerned with the situation surrounding Yuimetal every since my encounter with it at the first performance. However, I had received a twitter saying, “yesterday we are sure you were really surprised but Yuimetal is now completely fine and healthy” which even included a picture verifying this claim. Twitter is certainly useful in these situations. With my feelings of uncertainty being wiped away from my mind I went drinking with a friend. With that and a feeling of being one of the chosen ones I made my way to the arena. I was once again unable to buy a T-shirt.
In the same manner as yesterday, the stage was a center stage layout. But there was one part that was different. A barrier had been set up alongside the runway leading up to the stage. All of the fans felt a feeling of relief knowing that safety measures had been taken. All that is left is to wait for the start of the show.
This is the second day of the Budoukan performances so I am wondering what will be the ceremony prepared for this “Black Night Legend “Doomsday Justice Of Summation” show. Every seat is filled. Every fan here is here with the intention of becoming a witness to Babymetal history.
While waiting for the show to begin I was pondering on the hidden meaning of “Doomsday” that had been inserted into the subtitle. From before I had been concerned about the homage to X Japan that had been repeatedly introduced into the Babymetal world. “Crimson Night” and “Black Night” were certainly created based on the “Blue Night” and “White Night” concerts held on December 30 and 31, 1994 and the roots for the Neck Brace definitely came from Yoshiki. And I certainly can not be without remembering Toshi’s scream when considering “Akatsuki”. However, I keep getting the feeling that there is something more hidden and contained in this term Doomsday. And I am sure this will be revealed in tonight’s performance. I may in fact have missed something from yesterday’s show.
I knew from reading an interview in a magazine that Kobametal is a big fan of X Japan. Even before become a producer I got the feeling that he had the quality of being a big fan of X Japan. He expresses his love of music very openly without playing down his deep appreciation of heavy metal. This is actually a very big point. This gives him a very unobtrusive almost air like quality in his approach to producing Babymetal that is not just one of producing them as a product. Metallers are extremely sensitive to this air like quality of producing. The Metal music market when looked upon world wide is a very big market and yet each band that has succeeded has done so with a production quality similar to the one possessed by Kobametal. The atmosphere surrounding big bands such as Iron Maiden or Metallica all very much feature this quality. The reason we Babymetal fans are able to trust the entertainment provided by Babymetal is perhaps found in this quality.
One performance is already finished and from today this vast Babymetal story will begin once again. And that is absolutely the way things must be. “Doomsday-From the gigantic magic circle the sound of gong emanates out announcing the final stage of the Metal Resistance”
The lights go out in the arena and the narration begins. Yesterday’s “Crimson Night” performance, excepting for the accident that happened, was a simple and straightforward stage without excessive dramatic touches. Today’s performance looks like it will develop into theatrical one flavored with movies.
“The Metal soul burning in the dark of the night turns into the crimson flames and all is consumed in flames”.
The picture story theatre begins. Today is one period in time. One story ends and from today once again a vast story begins. It must be this way. “The time remaining has become very scarce…”
From before I had a thorough premonition that today something would be coming to an end, but when I actually heard it coming through the narration my chest was hit with emotion.
The first song was “Babymetal Death!”. The arena immediately turned into “Hell”. My mind and body shook with the fact that today’s setlist differed from the day before. In the next song, “Iine” Su-metal nonchalantly threw out the ominous word of, “Doomsday”. By the way, yesterday the word was “Budoukan!”. This is one of my favorite moments, when one can peer into the extremely scarce moments of “essential” Su-metal.
Not appearing in the set list yesterday, “Answer For Animation With You”, was performed today with the 3 girls flying all over the gigantic stage in every direction. While I would love to be able to more closely observe each girl’s expressions and movements, the speediness with which they move makes this impossible. There is just so much information that enters into one’s field of vision at a Babymetal performance. Even though there are just the 3 girls on stage it feels like an unlimited space spreads out before one on the stage. So, I often feel like I may perhaps be missing something that I should have seen. I think this is one of the reasons all of us tend to repeat over and over some scenes when watching a recorded video format. The number of view counts on Youtube for “Gimme Choco!” is an amazing phenomena but much of that is probably due to this natural desire to re-watch parts of the performance. The picture story theatre portrays the pair of Yuimetal and Moametal extremely excited watching the most recent version of their favorite Anime, “The happy grape man” in the Cyber city of A-Ki-Ba.
Grapeman challenges the girls to show him real reggae and he will reward them by teaching them the real way to arrange the number 4. With this, the two transform into Black Babymetal and go on to perform “Onedari Daisakusen” and then “4 no Uta”. Happy 4! The cuteness of Yuimetal and Moametal was so outstanding that even today I felt a rush of infatuation. The picture story theatre begins again. Both screens show a story of a young girl carrying a cross of despair with a soft yet strong ballad playing in the background. It would appear that this is a new song.
Su-metal’s voice completely blends her heart with the song. The emotions that bubble up from within her build up to their limit and expresses this song straight and honestly as a 16-year old girl would. While it still might not yet be a 100% perfect performance, her emotional posture strikes right to the core of the hearts of all who hear it. When she was singing “Akatsuki” I could swear that there were huge streams of fire shooting up behind her. I promise I am not lying.
As we enter the second half, they fly right through “Catch Me If You Can” and into “IDZ”. This rich and dense stage show leaves one bored for not one single second. This style of performance reminded me of Yoshiki’s famous quote of, “the aesthetics of a moment”.
In this completed stage we find a rich and dense style of beauty that has been fostered over nearly 40 years of Heavy Metal history. When I first saw Babymetal exactly 1 year ago they were already in possession of the ability to transmit a very powerful and attractive charm. Babymetal has progressed this far due to a strong belief in themselves. The result of that is that they are able to fire up and entrance 10,000 fans in a live show. Now the scale of their stage shows are 10 times or more greater than they were then. We believed for a long time that this would be the case.
“We are ! …Babymetal!”
When I came to my senses I realized that we are almost at the end of the show. I seems I always feel this way. The girls pleasantly sing out, “See you!” and make their lightfooted exit from the stage. I was happy beyond measure. I want to express my appreciation for having met Babymetal. Kitsune-sama, thank you!
One of the factors of attractiveness of Babymetal is their “style of beauty”. This is not a “Style of beauty Metal”. That is to say it contains the essence of Metallica’s theme of the destruction of the goddess and X JAPAN’s Speed Metal sound and many of the other great parts of the Metal movement that have so excited the world. This so magnificently completed stage is built on the foundation of a style of beauty that has been fostered over almost 40 years of Heavy Metal history. It can be said that the world of Babymetal is a form of entertainment that is built based deeply on the past history of Heavy Metal. And that is why they are able to engross and entrance us to this degree.
And further, today is a special day. Everyone in attendance today knows that this is not the end of things. The narration begins again. “The crimson flame burns up everything, and when this land is completely engulfed in a pitch black darkness at last the moment of fate shall come to us…we are heading to the final chapter of the Metal Resistance”. As soon as the narration began, the entire arena became completely silent. “Kitsune-Sama said, ” With that the Gong is rung making a divine oracle like statement that the curtains have risen on a new legend.”
This brought on an uproar from the audience. This eruption of cheers from the fans came at the moment when it was announced that the Legend would be starting up again. On both of the screens a new character was seen and this is the mother of Kitsune-sama-”Godmother”. “You are the one who banged the Gong”. With this the crowd erupted into laughter and a very pleasant mood spread throughout the arena. Amidst this aura of new hope that filled the arena the audience began the calls for an Encore.
“Doki Doki Morningt” started. Isn’t it a heart warming gesture that the song that commemorates the start of Babymetal is selected for the initial Encore song? And now we know that the group will continue to exist. I felt like I would cry. They continued with one more song. The last song of the first chapter of Babymetal and their first major debut song, “Headbangya!”. That’s right, the 3 girls sent out a wolf smoke signal of the metal resistance with this song.
“Hedoban, Hedoban, Banbanbaban!”
The performances of the first period of Babymetal continued to this point. The audience had their eyes riveted on the form of this performance. The shows have now completed transformed into a ritual. Every single fan was watching quietly over this pattern of events in an atmosphere of dignified seriousness. Even with the conclusion of the 2nd song of the Encore the lights in the arena stayed off. “Shall we now talk about the totality of the Metal Resistance?” After a short span of time began the “History of the fierce fighting of the Metal Resistance”, or, a history of the activities of Babymetal. “The media, politics, economy and indeed everything in this land was under the control an enormous entity known as “Idol” and its dark and overwhelming power. Everything other than Idol songs were considered to be harmful and Metal was no exception.”
I read this over and over and could recite this narration from memory even now. “The prayer of the messenger requesting the reinstatement of the rights of Metal reached the ears of the god residing over all Metal matters, Kitsune-sama, who went on to give the name of Babymetal to Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal a unit given birth on the theme of fusing together Idol and Metal and brought them in to this land. Kitsune-sama provided Babymetal with numerous trials to make it possible for them to take possession of true Metal”.
10,000 fans were gazing at the monitor in the center of the stage in silence. The narration goes on passionately as scene after scene of momentous episodes in Babymetal history reeled by on the screen. “Traveling down this pathless path, the girls changed ever single challenge they faced into Legends and the sight of actions struck deeply into the hearts of all witnessed them”.
Oh, that’s right, this is reality. This all really happened. This was not a work of fiction. “Kitsune-Sama spoke divinely to Babymetal. The first chapter of Babymetal in this land has come to a conclusion” and with that 3 coffins began to descend slowly from the ceiling of the BudouKan. It appears that the girls are being summoned to a new land. “Doomsday-time has come”, it seems the time has arrived. For whatever reason, the narration now continues in English.
“Screaming and Dance-Moametal”
“Screaming and Dance-Yuimetal”
“Vocal and Dance-Su-metal”
Dressed in new costumes each member is introduced. When the 3 girls have entered into the coffins they are raised up high. This is now nothing other than a ritual. In the background orchestral music is playing. Every fan, every single one of them was watching this in solemn silence. In conclusion the narration goes on to say, “Babymetal, say Goodbye”. The crowd moaned in awe, “Eh..!”
“to Japan, Japan, Japan…..”What is this?! What in the world is happening!? This seemed to be the mood in the arena and my head was thrown into confusion. On both of the screens appeared the words, “Babymetal Japan”. Next the words of “Legend “Y” Yuimetal Seitansai (Birthday festival) and “Legend “M” Moametal Seitansai”. Next on the screen appeared a world map moving away from Japan and on to…Europe. While my mind was in a state of confusion to the end and I don’t remember clearly what took place, it seems that the Seitansai were going to be held in the countries of Europe. Babymetal’s Metal Resistance on this land has come to a conclusion and it is now time for them to continue their warrior training in foreign lands.
When I looked up I saw the the Hi no Maru flag of Japan. Alright this is not bad, Europe is great idea! With this the curtain came down on 2 days of performances in the BudouKan. Even though a few months have passed since then the incredibleness of the event stays with me. I have no idea how I am going to be able to convey this in writing. Anyway, we have once again been witnesses to the creation of a Legend. Of that I have no doubt. “Japan, Japan, Japan…” for quite some time this “Japan” echoed in my head. I am sure that those of you who are familiar with X JAPAN will understand this. That is this reverberation of “Japan”. Their live performances begin with a narration. The orchestra that was playing in the background was an homage to “Amethyst”!
At the 2 days concerts “Blue Night” and “White Night” held at the end of December 1994 at the Tokyo Dome, X JAPAN used this “Amethyst” as their opening song. This song was released in 1993 and was included in YOSHIKI’s solo album and was also released as a single. While this song was playing each member of the band was introduced with a female voice narration as they made their entrance onto the stage. And then the narration went on to echo, “X JAPAN, Japan, Japan…” followed by the performance of their first song in the Set List. And then, one more thing. In yesterday’s narration the phrase, “heading toward destruction” was used. In January of 1992 at their 3 days of concerts at the Tokyo Dome and when X JAPAN was still going by the name of X they used exactly this phrase as the title of the concerts. Not Mega Death. Babymetal’s final concert in this chapter can also be considered to be one performed under the name of X and of “heading toward destruction”.
Now, I see, all is connected. The lights in the arena went on and if one looks up one can see the Japanese flag, the Hi no Maru. Not bad. Not bad. Europe, sure Europe is an excellent choice. Show the entire world this new type of Metal that was born in Japan! Show them this incredible entertainment packed full of Heavy Metal history! Babymetal is a group with whom it is possible to draw a straight line right into the history of Metal. As a form of Metal renaissance this will become a movement that totally envelops the entire world. There is no doubt about this and it is coming soon. The age of Babymetal will come into existence without fail.
1. Babymetal Death
3. Answer For Animation With You
4. Onedari Daisakusen
5. 4 no Uta
6. New song (No Rain, No Rainbow)
8. Catch Me If You Can
9. Uki Uki Midnight
10. Gimme Choco!
11. Akumu No Rondo
13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
14. Doki Doki Morning
The summoning ritual
rockin’ on Japan Interview with Yuimetal and Moametal 2016 May
We are not twins, but most likely from the time we first met the two of us have been as one.
Herein we will reveal the knowledge of ‘these two girls’
The divinely commissioned 8,000 character interview
rockin’ on Japan 2016 May
Please purchase the magazine in which this interview is contained at the link above.
Just having her beside me I feel confident and feel that I can depend on her. She is a very important existence to me. (Moametal)
Following upon the Su-metal interview we now bring you a joint interview with Yuimetal and Moametal.
Watching these two at their live shows one gets the feeling that they really understand each other to what must be a very deep degree, or you could even say that there are things that make one think that it is more than that and that they ‘know’ each other and just kind of totally bypass the necessity to ‘understand’ one another. They seem, I can only say, to be in perfect synchronization with each other, that they seem to think with a single mind shared between the two of them. And I feel the most incredible thing about these two is that they both share the same stance of not questioning or fiddling around with the way Babymetal was formed or its concepts but rather totally devoted themselves to Babymetal right from its inception. I feel that it is correct to state things in that way.
In this interview we will go into the nature of this fate filled mission that they have shouldered themselves with.
To start off with, what kinds of things did you think about regarding the creation of this new album?
2 years have elapsed since we released the first album. And I felt that the fans must be waiting fervently for the next album. We worked to put our feelings and thoughts into each and every song and while some of them are totally new songs I was thinking how can we deliver these new songs to the fans and equal to that was the concern and pressure of how will we equal these songs that the fans have already heard and have even made it into the charts, and so there was a great sense of pressure. So there was a sense of unease but this was more than overbalanced by the feeling of feeling of fun knowing that everyone will love these new songs.
Since we have put out the first album and that has with each and every song been filled with the thoughts and memories of not only ourselves but also the fans there was a sense of uneasiness about whether the new album would be able to exceed the first album. However, when we would record each song I felt that there was so much fun and playfulness reflected in them that this flavor and depth of each song will be drawn out if at least in part by the Ai no Te parts of myself and Moametal. I think this new album is something that we can be confident in that it will be enjoyed by everyone.
We recorded many patterns for each song during the recording sessions, you see. And because of this we did not know which version would be included on the album and so when we listened to it it was like, ‘Ah, this is how it came together’, and ‘this is so interesting.’.
It has been two years since you made your first album, right? Since that time the environment around you and all of the circumstances have changed, what do think, in light of your own feelings, has changed the most since then?
Our first album we often referred to as a type of replacement for business cards. We did our best to put our own style into that album and so in light of the fact that we had since then traveled around the world doing tours we really needed to show how much we have grown and developed in that period. You could say that it was a process where we tried our hand at some of the many varieties of genres that we came across at Festivals and other locations leading to this album having a wide span of differing songs on it. We approached it will the desire to fill up the album with the things we have challenged ourselves with in the past and to show how we have grown.
Making the 1st album we performed the songs that we were requested to play but with this album we would approach the songs with thoughts like, ‘What will the fans think when they listen to this song’, or, ‘This song will probably come out like this or that when we perform it at a show’, and I think our imaginative involvement with the album attests to our growth.
Do you mean you can envision the faces of the fans?
It has gotten easier to imagine how things will be. Also, I think there are a lot of songs that have a strong message aspect to them on this album but we have learned how to even in light of that to sing and perform without putting our feelings into the songs. Instead we have chosen to sing the songs with a flaring up, or passionate feel them.
The two of you do many of your performances as one and not separately as two. Listening to this album I thought to ask you how do you each think of the other?
Up to now we have always done our ‘Ai no Te’ parts together but with this new album we sing parts separate from each other at times. In ‘Tales of The Destinies’ there is a part where we perform in three separate parts. Since we have always up to now performed our joint parts together in harmony I felt that with this trio we have grown and devoloped.
That is true that with this album it is the first time for us to perform our parts singularly.
Right? Since that had never happened before we were a bit happy about it.
I would imagine that when you perform so many live shows that you come to see how each of you have changed. How do you feel about that?
When you meet your aunt after a long time you can see how she has changed, right? But with your own family since you are together all the time you don’t notice how they have changed, right? It is like that. Since we are together almost everyday and we are both growing and changing we don’t know how the other has changed. But, when it comes to the live performances I can depend on her without doubt. I feel at ease just with her next to me. I truly feel that she is a huge presence for me.
For myself as well, since we are always meeting each other there are very few occasions when I feel that she has changed. But as far as sensing, ‘Ah, this is not the usual Moametal’, or, ‘She is not so happy right now’, or, ‘I think this is how she is feeling now’, for those things I feel I know her better than anyone else (laughs).
You are able to sense those kinds of things?
Yes, we know those things. Because we are always together.
Right, and I think that you two are doing something that is truly difficult. What I mean when I say difficult is that it will not do to have either of you stand out excessively. You have to do things to the maximum level for each of you respectively while maintaining the overall balance between you. You can’t have ‘Just Yuimetal’, or ‘Just Moametal’ taking the spotlight, you have to standout equally as a two person set. And on the other side of things, at certain times you both have to slip into the background at the same time. I think that the moment that balance goes off kilter is the moment that your magic would fall apart. I would guess that the two of you achieve that balance without paying particular attention to it but if what I have said drums up any thoughts, please let us hear them.
No, not really.
Hahaha…..Is that right?
I have never been consciously aware of anything like that. So, when I was listening to you it was like, ‘Wow!’. It is most likely just that while we are not twins, we have just always been two people that function as one and that was from when we first met.
To us that is just a natural matter of course. We have never given any thought to one or the other of us has to be this way or that. However, if that means that it is something that we are doing on an subconscious level then that would make me very happy.
(Laughs) Thank you very much.
But, it must be with the sense of trust you have for each other that when Yuimetal feels a certain way, for example, she must feel that Moametal certainly feels things like so and so, right? I get the sense that the two of you have developed your own way of communicating between yourselves that is only for you.
I do feel that. Like when we are listening to Kobametal speak I think to myself, ‘Ah, Yuimetal is surely thinking such and such as well’ and when I glance secretly at her I find that she is grinning making me think that we are thinking the same thing.
I see. That is something that happens to you?
Yes, things like that happen sometimes.
(Laughs) Yes, they do.
Yeah, and sometimes our opinions are different from other people, right? When that happens I think, ‘Ah, it is most likely that Moametal is thinking of me right now’ and when I look over at her she is looking back at me and we make eye contact like that.
How is it during live performances? For example, if one of you is really hyped up and really going at it, but knowing that things will fall apart if you alone charge on like that, do you check on the other’s state of affairs and try to line things up?
Really in live shows for the vast majority of the time we are totally engrossed in a mindless performance oriented absorption. There are very few points in time when we come bck to our senses. On the rare occasions when I feel we must calm things down a bit and I look at Yuimetal’s face I see that she is thinking, I feel, the same thing.
Yes. There are times in the live shows when our eye contact timing matches up absolutely perfectly. On those occasions I always get the sense that, ‘Oh, today’s show is going to be a doozy’. This is a way we can verify our team work and so if I am feeling things are getting a bit too much for me in the middle of a live performance I can just look at their eyes and get power from them. At that time they pick up on the fact that I am having a tough time, so if one of us is not in the best of spirits the other two will help to restore her to a powerful state by making eye contact like that. The existence of these two girls is an extremely big thing to me.
What there some kind of factor that served as a trigger for this type of communication between you in this manner?
Probably because we have been together for so much and for so long that this type of communication just naturally developed, I would say. For example, at times one of us will screw up on something. The ability to cover for the one who made a mistake is a kind of power that came out of that way of communicating, I feel.
You must feel very mentally confident now that you have obtained that kind of power.
Yes, we feel very strong and confident.
So, Babymetal now has that strong confidence and a sense of unity that goes beyond words, right? I feel that that is the most important thing for you. I would really like to hear you speak about what kinds of experiences you went through that created this kind of relationship amongst yourselves.
I think there were mountains that we had to climb over. I feel there were many mountains that could only be traversed by the three of us, by this team. Some examples of those would be the BudouKan shows, and places like Mexico and Italy on last year’s World tour-all of these were very difficult experiences for us to overcome. We could do it with this team work and because of these hardships this team work grew in size by order of magnitude, I feel.
Instead of isolating one instance I would say that it is because we have overcome so many difficulties in so many shows and because the time time we share colored with the same kinds of emotions that we have been able to create such a strong sense of unity and trust between us.
The live performances of Babymetal are truly amazing, aren’t they? They have a feeling of, ‘We are going to carry this show with this energy right up to the end’. I believe there are things that each of you for yourself have that you feel are the obstacles that you need to make it over. And with each and every show you manage to clear those difficulties. There is something that you draw out of yourselves to make it through to the end of each of these shows. I feel that that something has some kind of deep connection to your mutual relationship with one another. Like you must say to yourself that things are tough for Moametal, and things are tough for Yuimetal.
I don’t want to leave the stage.
I believe that there is something waiting for us up ahead on the road and so all that is left for me to do is to do my best, to enjoy what we are doing. (Moametal)
I think that this is something that doesn’t happen by chance but is a quality that is only born out by the relationship that the two of you have.
At the present time the group known as Babymetal is becoming a really big thing, right? Involved in this I feel the that there is an increase in what is demanded of us and a heightening of our sense of responsibility. But that load is not something that I carry alone and when I realize that it is also shared equally by Moametal and Su-metal, I feel that the three of us together can plow ahead even farther. If something happened and we did not have this two person relationship I feel that I would not be able to do anything.
I feel the same. If this relationship of us as two people working together were to go away I wouldn’t know what to do after that. We can’t envision what the end of Babymetal would be like, right? I think that if we could know how Babymetal will eventually end it would not be very interesting. I personally really like this Babymetal that just flies on ahead without giving consideration for how it will all end. I like this Babymetal that believes it can we can do so much because of the team we are. And so I want to keep plowing ahead into the future with the team we have.
What do the two of you think about during the live performances? Or, is it that you don’t think anything?
Basically, I just dance without thinking about anything. However, there are moments when I suddenly come back to myself. When that happens I suddenly can’t remember how to choreography goes for a part even though I have danced it for what seems like forever of the past five years (laughs). Because I have had experiences like that I try to not think in my head and just try to enjoy things through my body.
I don’t think about hardly anything on stage as well. I have no memory of what happens during a live show and I think that is because I am under the influence of ‘having the Fox God descend and merge with me’. When I am my usual, day to day self I tend to draw back into myself and lose confidence so easily and quickly, but when I am on stage as Yuimetal I get the sense that I can do anything. Those times when I am totally free from a sense of a personal self and absorbed totally in the performance and I am just performing without sense of deliberately being conscious of anything- those times I truly love.
Incidentally, Su-metal was saying the same things as you. There is a separate entity known as Su-metal and this Su-metal is able to do things that her ordinary self can not do on her own. Do the two of you have that kind of sense as well?
I think almost all of what I do I could not do not being Yuimetal. My ordinary self could not do that, you know, the things we do (laughs). When I look at video images of our live shows there are times when I think, ‘Wow, that is what we were doing!’. I am so happy to be able to see this kind of a new me every time we do a live show.
I really think that Babymetal is place where I can find a new ‘me’ as every time we do a live performance there are moments in the show where I think to myself, ‘Wow, I didn’t know there was this kind of ‘me!’.
There are times where I am surprised that there is a me who can dance in this or that way, or a me who can bring excitement to the audience in this kind of fashion. At the Yokohama Arena shows I was doing a kind of movement that I usually don’t do in ‘Catch me if you can’ and found a new and interesting way to hide. I was really surprised when I watched a video of it later.
One thing that Su-metal said that amazed me was she said that she has a sense when things are going really well where she can she what she will be doing 1 or 2 seconds before she does them.
She said that she usually has a feeing of being led by something. And she knows that this will be well received by the fans as well.
There is a way of seeing the world that is uniquely Babymetal and when the way she thinks about how to act out that world view and her own sense of being get blended in a perfect balance she says that something explosive happens. At least that is how think she meant her words to say when talking about this. Do the two of you have something like this?
Speaking honestly, Moametal doesn’t have so much a sense of being led by something. How should I put it? That is why I think what Su-metal is saying is so incredible. More than being led by someone, the sense of walking with my own two legs is a stronger sense for Moametal. Babymetal is a group that doesn’t look back at the past-it is a group that doesn’t get attached to what has happened before, I think. Babymetal is a group that thinks more about the future than the past and I feel that it is really cool that it is plowing ahead into the future rapidly and surely by its own power. And so I want to also advance ahead by my own two legs. I don’t think about what will be well received by the world but because of the members that make up Babymetal I quite sure that we will continue to get more and more interesting. There many, many times when I am able to think that we can move ahead like that with the members that we are now.
How about Yuimetal?:
I feel the same way. The three of us talk amongst ourselves and we are well aware that we must do our utmost best as the three of us when we are performing. Because once we take our places on the stage it is only the three of us and so we have the feeling that we have to make things work through the efforts of the three of us. But as we travel around on tours the distance between us and the staff and the Kami band keeps getting closer and closer and so through this process I have come to realize deeply that it is all of the people who are involved with Babymetal and ourselves who are creating these shows. Now when we do live shows we have the Kami band standing behind us and if I look back sometimes our eyes meet. And that kind of team work gets stronger and stronger the more we perform together. I would hate to think of not being a member of this band. The desire to spread Babymetal as far as possible as it is with the members we have now gets stronger everyday.
You really fly around wildly in the live performances, don’t you? Why do go at it so hard?
I wonder why myself.
That is true when to step back and think about it. I would certainly not be able to do that as my ordinary self.
Yeah, that would not be possible. But, there is the fact that we are enjoying it. The live shows seem so much shorter than the rehearsals, you know. They are over in a flash. Since it is so interesting creating Babymetal during the roughly 1 and 1/2 hours and that must be why we are able to fly around like that.
You mean you know just what a great feeling it is so you are able to move around like that?
Yes, it an incredibly good feeling. Whether we play in a small venue or a big one our feelings for the live shows doesn’t change. We treat each show with great importance and because we have had so much fun in the past, this sense of fun piles up higher and higher and develops rapidly into new versions of our shows. Because of that it feels like a split second of time.
How about Yuimetal?
I think it is because I am not alone. If it was just myself on stage I could never perform like that, but because everyone is there with me it is possible. When we have flown around on stage like that and make it to the end without losing that energy, that moment is the greatest feeling. It is a feeling of achievement for performing successfully you could say, of a sense of satisfaction for how the show went. So, even when I feel things are getting a bit difficult in a live show I remind myself that that moment will soon be upon me and I am able to carry on.
What Su-metal was saying a bit ago is that during your first solo performance and things were getting rather tough….there is the scene in ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ where the two of you fight, right? When she saw the two of you giving it your utmost best she thought to herself, ‘I really have to up my game!’.
Whoa, I am happy to hear that (laughs).
I believe that the two of you have that kind of power. It is like you believe in something without a hint of doubt, or you could say that you do not allow yourselves to admit that you are tired out and just focus intently on ‘making it through to the end no matter what’. You have a power like that.
Yes, and I am was so happy to hear that Su-metal said that she got energized by watching Yuimetal and Moametal’s fight scene and also, I think the same holds for myself as well. When I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in live show and look over and see Moametal and see that, ‘Oh, Moametal is giving it her best!’, I am motivated to put myself into the same kind of state. And when are off stage when Su-metal is doing her solo songs I think to myself that now Su-metal is on stage doing her best. I also get power by realizing when I hear the sounds of the band through my ear monitor that they are also giving it their all. Because all of the people around me are moving on ahead taking care of things I know that it will not do if I stand still. I don’t want to be left behind and I want to catch up with everyone.
It could be a sense of having a mission to do. Also, I don’t want to leave the stage, you see. Leaving the stage is not a possibility for me so I have to keep going. Also, no matter how tough things get, I love Su-metal’s singing voice, you know. And so, when we exit the stage and and Su-metal starts singing a solo song like ‘Akatsuki’ I get hit with a burst of fatigue but that tiredness is also a part of a time where I feel happy. It is because of things like that that I can lose myself totally into the performances and keep doing my best.
You said ‘I don’t want to leave the stage’ with a very fervent feel to your voice. That must be a source of power and that when all is said and done becomes the belief and strength possessed by the group known as Babymetal. People who do not allow themselves to choose not to do their best in these tough situations are the kind of people who are able to think to themselves from the outset, ‘I will never lose my way. I will give it my all’.
I think that is absolutely right. The choice to retreat back is not there for us, or, at any rate not there for me. I believe that there is something waiting for us up ahead on the road and so all that is left for me to do is to do my best, to enjoy what we are doing. So I think that is how it is.
You know what it is that is waiting for you, right?
Fun and enjoyment is waiting for us.
The altitude in Mexico is way too high so the amount of energy and stamina we had to use in the show was ridiculously huge when compared with our usual shows. I was really apprehensive about whether we could actually do a live show there and I was very uneasy about it, but the thought of giving up never crossed my mind. I only ever have the single choice of doing my best. And it is that kind of Babymetal that I love. When I am Yuimetal I am able to always think in a positive manner. I want things to continue like that. I feels like when I am Yuimetal I can be strong and dignified. It is truly a mysterious thing.
It is like you are casting a magic spell on yourself and moving ahead. I think that all three of you have that kind of sense about you. How do you feel about that?
I feel like I am wide awake you could say. There are times when I feel I am not myself.
And that is a good feeling, right?
Yes, it is a good feeling (laughs). No matter how tired I may get and now matter how else you look at it, I know once we have completed a show there will be a fun, happy feeling waiting there. And that always surprises me. I will continue to do my best.
Rockin’ on interview with Su-metal 2016 May
rockin’ on magazine
“There was a monster inside of me. When I snapped that monster out of me it flew off and bounded freely away.”
Where did she come from?
The following is a 15,000 character interview pursuing the truth about Su-metal.
When I am in good condition everything goes smoothly as if someone has taken me by the hand and is leading me on. Everything proceeds exactly as I wish it to, almost as if I am seeing reality 1 or 2 seconds ahead of time.
We shall start out with a super long interview with Su-metal.
No matter how gigantic the stage or venue may be her vocal ability is so incredible that her voice spreads out equally to the farthest possible reaches. Her voice has a galant power to it that makes us the listener sit up with our backs straight at attention. There is a perception of some kind of centripetal force emanating from the stage the instant she makes her appearance. These are all aspects of of this girl who brings this very rare entity known as Babymetal into being and to whom alone these incredible powers belong. Earlier in the introduction for this publication I wrote that it is the existence of all three members that is absolutely essential but to add or expand on that I feel that it is Su-metal’s overwhelming power and abilities that must be placed first and foremost.
This article’s aim is to dive deeply and thoroughly into this girl in her role as a singer and to unravel truth behind Su-metal’s almost Miko-like <Miko-a mystical shrine maiden> way of performing and how it all fits together. Where did this greatest of all symbols of Babymetal- Su-metal, come from? As I was listening to her tell her story I was moved emotionally from beginning to end.
Shall we start things out by talking about the album? Now that you have completed this second album, what is your state of mind at the moment?
The first album was used as kind of a business card for all of us. And since I felt that we had created an album that represented us to that level when I heard that we would be putting out a second album, speaking honestly, I felt a great deal of pressure. And so we started recording with this kind of pressure as a backdrop but I feel that this recording had even more of an unique and individualistic feel to it and the lyrics and melodies were more mature in nature and I felt that there were more aspects that approached closer to our current state of affairs. And so I felt that there were so many songs on this album that I could feel were part of my own outlook on life.
When you speak of pressure what exactly is the feeling of it on your side?
I loved the first album and there was a feeling that we are also creating new songs as we traveled around on tours for 2 years while performing these songs. In the midst of that I felt that we are creating new songs was something I felt and so I thought that each and every new song was of great importance and that they all stand for what Babymetal is all about. And so I was unsure about whether they could truly reflect the state of this new form of Babymetal and how can we show this was a bit of a source of worry. But as we went on to perform these new songs this all changed into a sense of fun and so it was only the early stages that were worrisome.
I see. The comparison between the the new album and the first one and whether you can make a great new album was a source of stress. Wasn’t this a source of great stress for you?
Hmm…let me think about this. Just taking upon the challenge of making new songs was in and of itself a source of stress. Just by performing songs over this 2 year period and fostering new songs these new songs must have a have greater quality is what is expected in the world and that pressure is there. And so I felt that in accordance with those expectations we must raise the levels of the songs.
Every time I see you perform I think the same thing, it is much more like you do not think, ‘We must perform properly as is written in some curriculum, but rather we must go beyond what we did before and how shall we do that?’ And that is how I see you doing your live performances.
When we first started Babymetal that is how we worked as hard as we could to do our shows. But now it is more a feeling of wanting to enjoy our songs as they are. It is more like we are now more able to respond to the reactions of the audience and what is more is that live shows can be really difficult (laughs). They are really tough, but since we have already overcome the difficulties of previous shows, even if we think, ‘what is this song now?’ we can now say to ourselves we have already been through all this and are now full of confidence and this confidence that comes from doing so many shows is of great importance, I think.
I will ask this simply. You do shows that make me think how in the world do you hold yourselves together through the whole show. What is it that gets you through all of this?
(laughs) We started our shows without know much about other music or other live performances in our Babymetal performances and that is how we approached our live performances for the most part.
You were not aware of the other ways of performing but were told that your performances were incredible. Is that how it has been for you?
Yes, that is how it has been.
But what is important must be that when you realized that Babymetal has been doing the same thing as other surrounding acts, I would think.
No actually, contrary to that, when we were told that and that it was great we realized that what we do with Babymetal is something that only we can do which led to us having a great deal of confidence. And so we want to put a great deal of emphasis on this. And so, of course since we want to not lose to what we did at a live performance yesterday and do not want to be beaten by our selves of yesterday, we get stronger and stronger in our determination to keep getting better day by day.
You are a type of people who are only able to live doing your best that kind of environment.
That may just be true (laughs).
Your default button is different from other people. We could even say that you are slightly broken (laughs).
(laughs) We performed a the BudouKan and at the RokumeiKan and those two performances were really tough for the three of us. Conversely, I would like to see how things would play out if we did the same set list as we did then now. That could be a sign that I want to feel how much I myself have grown perhaps.
Are you talking about physical stamina?
I think the strongest thing is the physical side of things. We really were totally fatigued with those shows. I think the ability to have some physical power remaining is a pre-requisite to being able to being able to enjoy things.
But, of course you must get tired out. Su-metal is human after all.
That is true (laughs)
It is generally thought that it is rather rather rock-ish for a band to end a concert because they have gotten all tired out. But, Babymetal differs from that way of thinking. You feel that it is more in line with your world view to show your bodily reactions as they are to the audience. It seems that you are ready to deal with those situations and feel responsible for them strongly. How is that for you?
I really feel this way. And that is that I feel like I am a totally different personality on the stage. When I exit the stage I immediately feel like something has gone away from me. And so I think that there is a separate personality that is assisting me. When I am in good condition for a live show, it feels like there is a someone or something taking me by the hand and leading me along so that all goes well. So, I feel a high sense of pride when on stage. It is as if I must carry out a mission to mysteriously be really cool on stage.
I see. Could you speak in more detail about the feeling of someone leading you when you are on stage? What kind of feeling is it?
What kind of feeling is it…..? From the middle of a show toward the end…it is like how they say that sometimes when you are running a marathon and you are really tired out but for some reason you get into a kind of high and make it through to the end faster than even the first half. It is a feeling like that I think. It may be that toward the end of a show I get into a higher state of consciousness and actually enjoy it more that usual perhaps. It is like we have made it this far so the rest will be all OK. It is like when I am singing and I think I will sing in a certain way and the voice that I thought would come out comes out exactly as I hoped. And when I am dancing I think this is how I want to dance in a cool manner and as I think that I am able to pull it off exactly as I had hoped. It is as if I am 1 or 2 seconds ahead in time watching myself making it possible for everything to go just as I want. Especially it was when we were playing at the Saitama Super Arena and when we were performing ‘Road of Resistance’ it felt like the ‘Whoa, whoa’ of the fans was totally supporting me making me feel like, ”Alright, everyone follow along with us’-that kind of feeling. I get into a place where I have a very strong feeling and from time to time there is a ‘me’ that gets enveloped in that sensation and that seems to be happening more and more recently.
I see. That is similar to this occurrence in the sports world.
Yes, that could be the same thing.
It is reported that when Ichiro was asked why he went out of his way to hit a pitch that didn’t make it to home plate and he had to hit it after it bounced one time, he said that his body had just responded to it without his thinking about it. That seems similar to your situation. It is as if he (you) are just following through with something that has already been decided.
That’s true. And so when things have not gone well there are times I think to myself that ‘I want to get off the stage’. That seldom ever happens though. There are times when things are really tough and in the early days I had a sense of resistance against the shows we performed away from our home ground. But, even if I felt that way there I was, for some reason, back up on the stage. So, I think that there must be a ‘me’ that is like that and as I was listening to your story just now I remembered all that. It is a feeling that whatever I want to do will go off just as I want it to. When that happens it is an extremely good feeling.
When did you first ever feel that way?
In last year’s Zepp tour. Up to that time there were instances where I would get into a good state mind and everything would go exceedingly well as if being lead by someone but it was around this time that I was able to truly understand this phenomena inside my own mind.
When you were able to understand it, how did you feel?
I felt relieved and at ease. Since up to that point in time I could not understand why I could think things would be alright and once I was able to truly figure it out in my head I was able to say to myself, ‘Don’t forget, you are totally ready for anything’. I gained an unshakable confidence that most likely in the future there will be many occasions where everything will work out perfectly without my trying, if I can put it like that.
In the project known as Babymetal this aspect of Su-metal being led in the way you feel it is something that I feel is of great importance. Stating this simply it is as if the project itself becomes a trifling thing at the instant that you want to ‘express yourself as a you are in your individual human character’. Do you understand this point of view?
Yes, I do.
Regarding this the way you are as yourself, as ‘you’ is something that you have developed on your own. I would feel that this is exactly equivalent to having a separate personality.
That is so. There is a scene in the song ‘Doki Doki Morning’ which we were performing from the very early stages of Babymetal where we have a dance move where we lie down, right? When we first performed that song the audience got all excited when we did that, right? At that time I remember a ‘me’ that felt like, ‘OK, we did that!’. Up to that point in time I would have felt that having the audience laugh at what we did would be rather embarrassing, but that time there was a ‘me’ who was able to think it was a happy incident. At that time, I realized that there is a ‘me’ who is different from the normal, day to day, ‘me’. From that point on I started to look upon a Babymetal ‘me’ that is different from my everyday self. That feeling has not changed from that point to now, and now there is a ‘me’ that enjoys performing as that separate personality. At times I am able to view myself from a 3rd person perspective and my usual self is kind of able to design my other self you could say to do things in a more interesting manner. Doing things like this I am able to enjoy things from my side of things. Since I am now of the understanding that there are things that ‘this me’ can do there are things that most likely only this created version of myself can do. I would not go so far as to say it is a manga like character but I do at times feel that this version of myself will be completely fine with whatever she does. And so I feel that there is nothing I can not do in a live performance.
The level of trust you put in your other self is truly amazing. She is totally fine, or something like that must be the way you feel.
Yes, that is right (laughs). I think that is how I feel. I totally trust her.
You trust her and you have opened your heart and mind totally to this existence known as Su-metal and you must really like this Su-metal figure. You must also have the sense on your end of wanting to make this character into the strongest Su-metal possible. Why is it do you think that you have become a person who enjoy this situation?
I wonder why that is myself. But, recently I think to myself that perhaps that Metal is that kind of thing.
That is very perceptive. I think you are spot on with that.
When you listen to Metal it is not a listening that takes place with your ears, but is rather something that enters your heart and mind and strikes you emotionally. I think that when you listen to music with your usual approach you do so with your ears, but when you go to a live show it hits you with a stab to the heart and it flips your normal common sense on its head. And so I feels to me that this existence known as Su-metal is a totally different type of personality that completely out of the ordinary, you see. So when I attempt to deal with this character as just another human being because she is so far removed from myself we get into fights with each other. So, rather than deal with Su-metal in that manner if I let her have some space away from me I am able to look upon her from an objective position and even cheer her on – I am able to give her advice and support you could say. If we were one and the same person I think I would be afraid to make mistakes.
Listening to you talk right now I get the feeling that by you attempting to get this other you some space and distance from you that she must have been with you from the very first live performance, right?
Yes, I think so. It is often said that people have two faces or something to that effect, right? So, speaking in the sense of that meaning I think in my case that this other personality is my other face and I first thought that at that time.
An ordinary person would get into an internal duel in that situation. It would be like where can I go to satisfy my own desires and impulses, or something like that. But that is not the case with Su-metal. You have a sound, healthy kind of pressure on you with a sense of responsibility. How do you think this was fostered in Su-metal?
The instant I discovered this other face of mine, and this goes for the music that drew this out of me as well, I was thought that more than anything it was truly interesting that I have been able to see this other face. It is as if there is a monster existing in my heart and mind. I thought to myself what would happen if I were to let that monster go free. And when I let snapped it away from myself it flew off and away freely. Ever since that time she only makes her appearance in live performances. Now in her freedom she continues to grow bigger and bigger as she moves around wildly in her natural state. When I came to realize what was happening her existence came to be extremely important to me. And that is how I feel about this other entity.
I see. You have a clear sense that this existence known as Su-metal is an entity that was born out of you, correct?
Yes, that is the sense I have.
So you could say that it is not like you are acting out something that is totally unknown to you but is rather perhaps better to say that it is like a monster seed that was in you has grown to what it is now.
It is kind of like this, that this girl grows bigger bigger and stronger when she ventures to a new place, then returns to where she was and this cycle keeps repeating itself. It is a feeling kind of like that.
I would like to take this talk a step further. I think that this feeling of having a monster within you from before makes Su-metal grow in dimension. What is it that connects you to this existence known as Su-metal that was inside you from the outset?
I too wonder about that. This is something that I don’t really understand all that well myself. Part of it is I am able to enjoy pressure, and when there is some kind of emergency or out of the ordinary happening that occurs there is something there that I had never felt with my ordinary day to day self before. So, this feeling of being able to have fun even when playing away from Japan and being able to enjoy traveling overseas is something that I feel that I had never experienced with my usual self.
You learned that this is something to get really excited about. This must be a feeling that you could most definitely not come to just by merely singing songs as a girl on your own and that now without this you could not go on living, or that you would fall into a state where something vital is missing from your life.
Honestly the more we do live shows the more I want to keep performing. I am extremely grateful for being able to perform as Babymetal and to be able to thus meet up with this side of myself and yet every time we do a show I wonder to myself if this is OK. Meaning I worry have gotten to a place where I am not able to stop doing this. Su-metal allows me to expel from myself the things that I don’t like that are hidden deep inside of myself along with any stress I may have – all of the things like that. So, if this girl were to hide away, and I had to return to my old self, I think it would be a really difficult thing to do.
How different are you comparing yourself before a live performance starts with how you are after it ends?
I wonder how much myself. Again my way of explaining this might sound a bit strange, but it is like if I had a clump of chocolate, a clump that was inside of me that is. That clump of chocolate would melt from the heat of the live performance and become this light, soft thing. It is a feeling kind of like that. It is like it all becomes liquified, like my heart and mind totally open up, and even though my body is totally tired out, or rather perhaps in proportion to that, my mind, heart and spirit and all that are all set totally free. Because of that I am pretty sure that the live shows get rid of my stress. Also, I feel like I have gotten stronger…when we have completed a show that is. There is a feeling of having gotten stronger by playing a fighting style of game, right? It is like that but just one rank higher. I feel that I have gotten stronger to point that if some subtitles appeared on the screen saying so, I don’t think that would be out of place (laughs).
Hahaha…I follow what you mean.
Especially since we started touring overseas the environment changes with each and every new venue. The way the fans get into and enjoy the songs differ and the aspects of the shows that the fans of each location find interesting also differ. I made new discoveries that some fans would find ‘this’ or ‘that’ interesting and that whole experience is a kind of a sense of a new kind of study for me. With the conclusion of each and every live performance I get a really strong feeling of having accomplished something and that is especially so for the overseas shows.
In this thing called Babymetal I feel that it would be appropriate to say that it has been your role regarding Su-metal to stoically eliminate your own desires and wants for the overall picture. And while that is a correct interpretation of things now that Su-metal has gotten an understanding of the underlying good feeling of her existence there must be an even furthered motivation in this direction.
The existence known as Su-metal is something that lies so outside of normal common sense that she became a separate personality on her own.
If I attempt to deal with this character as just another human being because she is so far removed from myself we get into fights with each other and I fear I will make mistakes.
And so no matter how heavy or tough of a situation you find yourself in, because you know that you will feel great after overcoming it you come to crave that feeling. I feel that that style works better as a way of explaining this perhaps.
I personally do not think I am particularly stoic. I just simply and honestly enjoy doing the live shows and they have become kind of an addiction. They may be hard and tough but because I know how incredibly wonderful is the sense of accomplishment when I have overcome those difficulties is what makes me keep going.
I think that is right. You are undertaking a strong training and so your desire to move on ahead must also be equally outrageously strong. It could be perhaps considered to be like a black hole in its level of desire.
That just might be correct (laughs). I think that that desire and craving is really big in nature.
In most cases this is referred to as talent, right? It is like even if you eat and eat you are never satisfied.
Probably it is because I have met up with the existence of music, or songs that I have been able to realize my own existence and that may be the reason that because I seen this as my life work that I have been able to come this far with it.
It is wonderful that there is this thing called singing. It is wonderful that we have songs. What do kind of person do you think you would be now if we didn’t?
I am so glad that they exist (laughs). I am sometimes told that I am, ‘an either 0 or 100 type of person’. And I think this is exactly right. I didn’t continue on in my studies with extra-curricular classes at all and the only one I continued on with was singing. When I realized that I truly only enjoy studying singing I thought that this is the path for me. Once I realized that I totally dived into it. Recently I have really come to understand that I am a type of person who really digs into what she loves to do when she comes across it. I see only that and everything else falls by the wayside, out of sight. I think that just by nature that is the type of person that I am.
Up to this point we have focused on the mental side of things, but from now I want to hear about the songs. In the truest sense the most awesome thing for you is singing, I feel. This discovery of this style of singing is the greatest weapon for Su-metal and it has gone on to be the most interesting side of Babymetal. Were the songs of Su-metal like they are now from the very beginning?
I think from the outset, from the beginning, that they were like this. I don’t have a graspable sense of it but since I was told that I have a good vocal quality from people I feel that that may be the case. But that said, for me I am just singing in an ordinary manner from my way of thinking.
Is that said as Su-metal? Or are you singing as you yourself?
Let me think about that. When the songs veer into the realm of hot, passionate types of songs I think feeling-wise I transform into Su-metal but the vocal qualities are obviously my own from the outset. I feel that the singing ‘me’ is the real me.
In a manner of speaking that may be that you are giving permission to your own emotions or something like that.
Yes, that sounds right. And so, said in the best sense of that meaning this existence known as Su-metal and myself may be creating songs out of a mixed combination between the two of us.
The singing and the songs go on to become more incredible step by step. Many varied songwriters have written songs for this new album and it seems that the span of the songs has really widened when compared with the first album. Along with thinking that this is due partly because of the increased skill on the side of the persons creating the album it seems that you the singers and performers of Babymetal have rapidly changed and because of this your growth is an element that leads to the changes in the songs. The thing more than anything else that has drawn out the wonderfulness of this album is none other than the three of you. How do you feel when you have been told this?
The way I sing now compared with the say I sang when we were making the first album is different. When we were first starting out it was all I could do to just meet the demands of the Babymetal songs and doing the Babymetal live shows and I was just doing my utmost to successfully deal with the work that we had been given but now I have been able to get to a place beyond all that and now have a leeway to be able to enjoy these things. I think it is a big change to now be able to make the choreography and the way of singing more fun and enjoyable, to be able pay attention to how the fans are working with the shows and to include them to sing with us – in other words there is more a sense of play in everything now. The songs on this album have a sense of playfulness about them. I want to expand the world of Babymetal more widely. A rebirth after 2 years is what this album reflects, I think.
Putting it briefly, I feel that this album is an expression of who the three of you are. Writing music or writing songs and these kinds of things are of course important but they are not the essential core thing. It is because it is Su-metal who is singing that these songs all come together. It is because of your singing and all that goes with it that this wonderful work of expression has been brought into existence here and now, I feel. The more the three of you grow in greatness the more the works of music that you create will advance in greatness and I feel that the three of are aware of this cycle.
The appreciation and understanding that it is an interesting process to see the music change as we continue to carry on doing live shows is something that has begun to come to fruition lately. And that is because as we travel around doing tours together with the Kami band members, the music of the bands as well as our way of singing all changes as we move from show to show. While I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to perform music, I do feel that the music that we are playing now is a wonderful thing. The music on the 1st album has changed since we put it out as an album and since the music that we put out as the 2nd album will also go on to change I am of the feeling that I want to be able to enjoy that process.
Do have a sense of confidence about and an awareness of the fact that you are able to envelop the people around through your own efforts and you own performances?
Yes, I guess so. I do have a strong desire to bring people along through the power of song. This is because being at the center position when we do live performances I have the feeling that it is my role to lead on the two girls at my side, the band members, the staff and all of the fans as well. I hope that that sense of responsibility will come together with my singing and I will be able to lead all of this along as we move ahead.
Babymetal is a project that is composed of the ideas and love of a variety of people, right? But I get the feeling that somewhere inside of you you have the feeling that in the end equation that if I, Su-metal, am stable and have my stuff together that Babymetal will be just fine. You must have a determined mindset something like that I would assume.
I do have that mindset. There is a sense of pride that goes along with taking up the center position. I surely have the sense of being supported by everyone but also I most definitely have the feeling that am in a position where I must lead everyone on as well. And also, because I have the tangible realization that I am growing and developing through the help of everyone’s power with each show that we do I also know that I must continue to grow in light of the meaning behind this.
Around when was it that you first felt this feeling that you must lead people on?
As you can probably guess it was when we did our first solo show I think. In that show we had to sing 5 songs in succession and following that in the shows in the early stages of Babymetal we would gradually get tired out during the shows and that was something that we felt quite often. On top of that the final song at that time was ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ and Moametal and Yuimetal were so incredibly serious performing the fight scene at the end. When they would get to the point of being so into what they were doing that it was a question of whether they could even stand up or not that I felt I had to be strong and steadfast on my side of things. In that period before the Kami band had joined us it was just the three of us doing all the singing and dancing and it was in that period that I was of the mindset that it was up to me to lead the other two along. Following that as the number of staff members increased and the number of fans increased and as I began to realize that I was being supported by everyone, the scale of the whole thing gradually grew bigger and bigger.
When you would get tired out and you felt things were getting tough you would see these two girls who you have to pull along giving it all they have right in front of you. And so seeing them doing their utmost best you felt you had to make even stronger efforts, right?
Yes, that is right. The year before last when we were performing at a lot of Festivals in Japan, there were many really tough situations performing under the glaring sun where they would be dancing so wild and aggressively that their shoes would fall apart or other things like that would happen. The staff would be watching over the situation from the stage wings with a look of apprehension and worry and I would be feeling the same watching them dancing in front of me on the stage, and it was at those times that even though I would feel overwhelmed or feel like giving up, seeing those two going at it at 100% that I realized that I just can not slacken up and give in to the pressure. It was from around that time that I started to get stronger.
So, do you mean to say that you began to think that you should be singing songs for other people and not for your own self?
Yes, that is right. Yes, when singing ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ there were times when the strength of ‘Ijime! Dame!’ would overlay exactly with how I was feeling.
The reason I am asking you about this in such detail is because the way Su-metal resolves her mind to the task at hand or you could say how she carries the burden of this mission on her back runs on a parallel line with the story of Babymetal itself and is kind of a ledger of its growth and development, you see. In the world view of Babymetal the tale of the Metal Resistance is advancing along but at the same time there is also running alongside it the story of the growth and development of Su-metal herself and this a kind of thing that if either of these stories drop in precision the whole thing will fall apart.
Since this is a made up world there are times when I want to place myself inside this world that differs from ordinary reality and I sometimes want to run and play around inside it. I feel that after all there is someone, and I feel it is Kitsune-sama, who is pulling and leading this whole thing along. And it is all I can do just to keep up with it and not fall behind. Even at this point in time I have that kind of feeling. Since there is always some challenge at hand, even if I think I have overcome one of the tasks there is always a new one that pops up. I think that it is kind of a rule that we must live by and that is that we must keep running ahead.
Speaking from my perspective I would say that it is not that you have become who you are because there is rule like that, but rather it is because you are the kind of person you are that has brought this rule into existence. (laughs)
Moving on, for you what is the newest thing in the ‘Metal Resistance’?
I would say, ‘Road of Resistance’. Ever since encountering this song my sense of responsibility has gotten larger, and I think I have become more of an adult by singing this song. I am of the feeling that this song mirrors exactly what kind of situation I find myself in at the present. Last year we carried out our activities centering on the theme of traveling down this pathless road, the ‘Road of Resistance’ as we pioneered a new path for us. You know, I listen to ‘Road of Resistance’ in my daily life as it is a piece of music that really encourages me. I think it is a song that is extremely symbolic of Babymetal at the moment. Also, since it is a song that is able to grant me a mysterious sense of confidence that makes me feel if we jump on the sense of speed of this song that we will be able to go anywhere we like. When I listen to the lyrics of ‘Road of Resistance’ they seem be a bit of an exaggeration but actually that is not so because here I am in a place and situation that is not an exaggeration. I feel like it expresses who I am. I think that the world view of this song is one that is a theme of a time similar to that of the era of the warring states in Japan. But differing from that time, this is not about a anguishing type of battle but rather a battle that we fight so that all of us can become as One, you could say. A sense of accomplishment comes into being when we overcome some kind of difficulty and because we have overcome obstacles together we can all become a unified One. Thinking along those lines that is probably why I always think that performing live shows is kind of like fighting a battle.
These live performances are a battle with the aim of all us coming together as One.
So, in that sense I am always fighting this battle.
Since I feel the destination of where this battle ends is place that feels good where one has been lead by someone as I stated earlier, it feels to me that when one listens to this song you can see that it expresses who we are. And so, when I am singing in a live show it feels so wonderful. It is like, ‘Ah, it is happening now!’.
I see, it is like you feel that you can enter that state of being.
Yes, there is a good feeling when we elongate that final ‘Resistance’ in the song. Sometimes I stretch it out a bit too long and it seems like in ends up with Moametal and Yuimetal being in a rather uncomfortable body position for quite some time (laughs). At times the calls from the fans of ‘Whaaaa’ feels so good that I stretch it out a bit too long. There are times when that happens. I am so happy that we are able to share a song together like this. That is because I think that parts of songs like this really express how I feel.
I see. The other song on this album that I felt was really great is ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’. What I think is especially good about it is that I feel the meaning of the song really comes to life through the fact that Su-metal is singing it.
(laughs) I get what you mean.
This might be a strange way of expressing what I mean, but for example, the lyrics of, ‘Even desperation changes into light’ <Zetsubou sae mo, Hikari ni naru> is rather difficult to understand. But when one hears it sung as a song, the feeling conveyed by the words, ‘Even desperation changes into light’ are made easy to understand. I feel there is some like of magic at work there. I think that what it is that is casting that magic spell is that Su-metal is singing it.
This song was already completed just before we released the first album and would have not been out of place to have been included on it. But, it was the first time for me to sing a ballad and moreover speaking honestly, I had a hard time understanding what it meant and would approach it as for the time being all I needed to do was to get a good grasp on the melody of the song and try not to make mistakes with the lyrics when I performed it at live shows. I have the impression to myself that if we had included it on the first album it would not have had the effect that it deserves. After doing many shows over two years I think that it is a song that I can only now sing as it should be sung. Seeing people come to tears listening to this song in the live shows I now have the first hand realization that some songs can move people emotionally on a deep level. And so now inside of me I have the conviction that it was a correct decision to include it on this album.
It is difficult to understand the meaning of ‘Even desperation changes into light’ just by reading the lyrics, but when Su-metal sings this phrase I listen to her voice and think to myself, ‘Yes, even desperation has changed into light’ (laughs). This is a kind of magic possessed by pop music. Speaking of things from the perspective of a gigantic world view I feel that whether a singer can stir people’s hearts and minds emotionally in a real tangible way or not depends upon the degree of power possessed by the singer and his or her ability to properly interpret the lyrics and the intent of the music. I think that Su-metal has gone deeply into this on a variety of songs. And so, I would love to hear what you are thinking when you are singing.
There is a world view inside of myself created for each separate song. For example, I have called up various colors and scenery for the songs and in each song I will decide on one particular lyrical part that I especially like and will attempt to sing those lyrics with stupendous importance. That will, of course, change from show to show however. That is something that I deliberately try to do. For songs where it is the three of us dancing together we like to get together and envision ‘where we are at a certain point in the song’. Just by bringing the scenery that we see together in unison really helps to put our dance moves into harmony with each other.
Is that something different from determining what character you will act for each separate song?
In the early days such as for songs like, ‘Doki Doki Morning’ and the like I would make distinctions in acting out characters for the songs. For instance, I would distinguish them separately part by part where in one case I would act in a cute manner, in another I would act cooly and in still others I would perform in more of a robot-like manner. And those parts I would separate by facial expressions and dance moves but recently I feel that I can do all this without separating them like that and so now don’t do that.
So what do you consider to be the part of being a singer that has changed the most?
I have come to try to convey as properly as possible the meaning of the lyrics and that is the case with ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ as well. Up until recently I would be focusing on singing in the right pitch, or whether to stretch my voice out here or there, or to try not to make mistakes with the lyrics and so I placed the majority of my awareness on making sure I was doing the fundamental aspects of performing correctly. However, I have come to realize that there is something more important than all of that. I now try in particular to convey the meaning of the lyrics and try to enjoy the music and you could say there is now more emphasis on performing with my own feelings being given more priority. By doing so I am better able to see the reactions of the fans. Up until recently I had the feeling thatI had to kind of hole up in my own world and just make sure that I sang correctly, but now I am able to open up my heart and mind a bit more and sing taking into consideration the thoughts of the fans as well. I have come to realize that that is what a live performance is really all about. That incorporation of the thoughts of the fans may come from a totally outrageous direction and yet I have to be able to deal effectively with that and even have come to be able to enjoy those kinds of situations.
You have come to see what it is that you need to do and you have a strong sense that you are being led on by something at a rapid pace, it seems. So even if something occurs that just totally knocks you off course you are able to get to where you need to go to – you have a feeling that everything will always work out just fine. Is that how it is for you?
It could be that I have reached a point where I can feel that since I already know what the end outcome will be it doesn’t really matter what happens along the way. My confidence has grown much stronger.
I want to ask you one more thing in conclusion. Several years have elapsed since Babymetal started and now you have arrived at this new album. Inclusive of all that and regarding what you yourself can do for Babymetal and what you yourself can do for Su-metal, what is it that has changed the most?
What I think regarding the existence known as Su-metal at the moment is that up until now I have kind of said to her, ‘Please, go out and have fun’ and have let her fly around and do as she wants in freedom, but now perhaps I could say that I am able to tell her to ‘come back’ as is proper for her to do. I think that because my mind has opened up that much to try and accept her existence. Up to now it has been as if she was just running around at her own heart’s desire and the tale of Babymetal was also moving on and being created in and of its own accord and it felt like for some reason that I was just watching that objectively. Even now I think it is like that to some extent, but recently I get the sense that I myself am also now a part of all that. And so, my own growth and development and the growth and development of Su-metal are proceeding ahead at the same time and pace and in addition to that the growth and development of Babymetal is also proceeding along simultaneous with these two. I feel that perhaps the opportunities for me to enter into the tale of Su-metal have increased. I have the sense that I have been able to allow the existence known as Su-metal to enter more into myself and we have become closer in distance to each other.
You have really come to understand Su-metal, right?
In the live performances and other similar circumstances I occasionally get the sense that I am standing right behind her watching what unfolds in an objective manner. So, it is like I will be saying to myself while ‘I’ am singing, ‘the audience is really amazing today’, or, ‘the two girls are really doing their best’ or things like that (laughs) Occasionally there are times when I see things from an intensely 3rd party perspective. I could be perhaps that those times are the instances when I have unexpectedly come back to my own self.
What do you think or feel when those kinds of experiences happen?
It feels like that feeling you get when you catch yourself nodding off to sleep on a train. That happens and then I come gently back and the show kind of begins again. For a split second everything moves in slow motion, you see. And so, when a live performance ends more than anything else it is those instances that I remember more than anything else. What I feel in those split seconds is really amazing. There are times recently where I feel I am wandering around half dazed and not able to know if I am in the world of reality or in an unreal world (laughs).
The main theme for today’s interview was ‘Who is Su-metal?’. I had my own hypothesis set up in my head but now I feel I understand this question much better. From one point of view you could say you are a very stoic singer, and from another perspective you could say you are a person who has a very strong, intense desire and who handles that desire well. Thinking about it once again, how do you yourself think about this question?
I think I am really full of desires. When I perform in a show, and this is especially true with Babymetal as they truly are amazing…the Babymetal shows, right? Once you experience that you can’t dismiss the desire to do it again. Naturally I want more of that experience and I know very well that in order to be able to continue with this I have grow and develop myself. With every show we do the pressure gets bigger and the pressure I put on myself as goes up. However, I have really come to know that there is a truly splendid world that I can experience and enjoy that is much bigger than all of that. So the give and take between those two goes on repeating. Even as we are speaking I want to be performing like nothing else (laughs). I get really impatient waiting to perform. We are doing rehearsals at the moment and even just rehearsing I can get a good sense of achievement (laughs).