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.”