BABYMETAL on Rockin’ On: “Our hearts became so strong that we weren’t overwhelmed by Tokyo Dome”
BABYMETAL was intreviewed via Skype by Rockin' On Japan Magazine after their first show supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers on December 5 at The O2 in London. The girls talk in depth about their relationship with the rest of the team and their friendship through the years specially after Wembley Arena. Interview translated below.
BABYMETAL interviewed on Rockin' On Magazine February 2017
Is it in the morning over there ?
What is your feeling after the first show?
Su-Metal: "I was kind of worried about playing away in quite a while, like how it was going to be. But as we played along, the audience warmed up slowly and we could see more people coming in. So I felt like, "not over yet"."
Yuimetal: "It reminded me of us opening for Lady Gaga, or of our early live shows. While we were performing away in those days, people came to follow us little by little when we sticked to our perfoming style. Remembering all that, I did my performance thinking to myself, "this is going to be all right"."
Moametal"Thinking back to our shows in the early days, I was almost in my tears while performing (last night). Yet we do not have to rush anything. It will be all right for us if we could continue to give what we have. So, we will do our best for the remaining seven shows. Plus, RHCP members are truely wonderful people both as an artist and human being, and we could learn so many things from them."
"BABYMETAL supporting for RHCP" has been treated as a big news here in Japan. What did you three talk about when you were selected as supporting act for the band?
Su-Metal: "We talked something like, we will be OK if we could perform as we always do, so let us believe ourselves."
So it was not like you were pumped up more than usual, or something. You just wanted to do it as you have always done.
Su-Metal"Yes, that is right."
Well then, after the first show, is there anything you felt different from "the away shows" in the past that you have overcome?
Yuimetal"The audience was the same, age-wise, ranging from little children to adults, but their taste of music was different. Our music excites the audience aggressively with its boisterousness, but many of the RHCP songs gradually liven up audiences and they would eventually sing along. So I was a little bit fretting over the lack of immediate response to our calls from the stage."
Talking with you right now, you sound so natural (Laughs). You are going to perform one more show tonight in London, aren't you? You guys sound so relaxed, rather than getting nervous before the big show.
So you gave it everything you've got?
Su-Metal"We will give everything we can and see how audiences react. As the tour goes on, I hope we can work out some details."
I can feel your confidence and composure which you acqired after going through the year 2016.
Su-Metal(Laughs) "Sure, I feel like we did more live shows in 2016 than ever. The number of world tours we did is the largest, and we toured within the US as well."
We would like the main issue of this interview to be your review of the year 2016. Can each of you tell us what kind of year it was?
Su-Metal"Generally speaking, the year was full of changes. Including the way I feel things. For example, when we performed at festivals, it used to be like "who is BABYMETAL?" Our name was little known. But now, I can see people saying "I heard that BABYMETAL is awesome." People now appraise us differently. Although I was a bit confused with the fact that we were performing away shows, now I know that I have to strive harder because more people came to know us. I think so because I really feel bigger expectation from the audience, like "they must be good!" That always made me feel like we have to give something more than we used to."
Su-Metal, you stand in the middle, carrying BABYMETAL symbolically on your back. Have you felt any changes in yourself, in terms of feeling pressured or sense of self-determination?
Su-Metal"Until last year, we quite often presented what was completely pre-produced. But this year, I have felt that each of our live shows became more like a "raw thing". In that sense, I think I have to lead the group and to present my own idea in making our shows. In the beginning I was a little worried, but now I realize more that a live show is the one and only experience. Plus, I have learned to enjoy myself with various audience responses from place to place."
How about you, Yuimetal and Moametal ?
Yuimetal"Like the shows at Wembley and Tokyo Dome, venues with such a fame that I myself would be awed only by thinking about it, there were so many big events for us. Both in Japan and abroad, we have had opportunities for letting more people know about us. I was worried at first if we could give a good performance, the one that people can call it legendary, at Wembley where no Japanese artists had ever performed. But as we went through our tours and live shows one by one, I became more confident, and my trust in the members and the staff became deeper as well. So I can say I have grown much stronger than before. It was the year that made me feel like going further from where I am."
Moametal"I do feel that what surrounds us has drastically changed. As Su-Metal said, more and more people came to know BABYMETAL, which made me worry so much about how we are going to present the band to the audience. But I thought we should just go forward and do it rather than worrying. So I was glad that we had many live performances this year. From Wembley to the RHCP tour, we have met so many people and my thoughts have changed. I do not think that BABYMETAL should change simply because the situation around us is changing. On the contrary, I would say, BABYMETAL should not change because everything around us does. Therefore, we will aim at higher things without changing."
--Moametal, you said in a previous interview that "we just have to go forward no matter what situation you are in." Going through this year, you are more for that line of thinking, aren't you?
Moametal"Well, not that I myself became that strong. (Laughs) I was able to go through the year because Su-Metal and Yuimetal were with me. Since they are strong I want to be strong as well, and if three of us all get strong that should be the strongest, should it not? (Laughs) So we are getting stronger."
As you have just said, bond of solidarity among three of you is one of BABYMETAL's forte. How did it grow during this year?
Su-Metal"For the last several years, since we started going on world tours, we have been able to tell what each of us want to say, just by looking into each other's eyes. Performing on stages away made our relationship grow tighter, I think. So the bond among us three was already there from the beginning. In addition, the way we feel an atmosphere among audiences has recently become more and more alike. It is like, let's go this way since the audience is getting lively that way. We could not always have that kind of similar feel for the audience in the past. These days, some people watch our shows and tell us later that "three of you all were in highest spirits", although we had not exchanged any words about that. That kind of thing, we were able to do after experiencing many live performances."
Su-Metal, as a lead singer in the middle you have born a lot on your shoulders. Now, as the bond of solidarity among you three grew even stronger this year, have you felt any changes in what you should bear?
Su-Metal"Well, we are all pursuing the same goal. Although we can not see it ourselves, we know it has always been there in the path we have taken so far. But, yes, come to think of it, I had my first experience of getting nervous on stage. At Wembley I was nervous, maybe not the first time but in a long while. Before that, I may have stood and performed on stage without knowing what was really going on, but I finally realized that things are serious, perhaps.(Laughs) That was when Yui and Moa encouraged me a lot."
Interesting. Are you three different now, after the Wembley show?
Su-Metal"I felt so good after Wembley because it was the show where the audience showed us which direction we should go in 2016. I was relieved, like "Yes we see the road," and this is how we are going to do things. At first, audiences at the show were floating in a kind of chaos, but as the show went on they became more and more united through our songs. At a huge venue like Wembley, it is not that every audience is the core fans of ours. That made us feel that "wow, our music does transcend countries" and gave us more confidence in our music."
The Wembley show was held one day after the worldwide release of METAL RESISTANCE. It was when you were about to initiate the succesful march of 2016. The outcome of the show, therefore, was to determine whether you will have a good year or not. You must have felt pressured about it.
Su-Metal"While we were recording the album, we thought we were challenging something new. After going through many live tours and getting to know various kinds of music, the second album was supposed to be a new type of music that only BABYMETAL can create. We may have felt that we had to change ourselves, since we were at the starting point and our true challenge would begin there."
I agree. Creating the one and only world of BABYMETAL with the band's own performance and connecting to the audience worldwide. It was the starting point where you would challenge to do something with a whole new dimension. You should get nervous.
Yuimetal"The album was important, but we ourselves started absorbing things that we look up to from various artists we met, while keeping our core selves intact, for example, the BABYMETAL-ness and the spirit and energy we put into each of our live shows. Although we would not change at the deepest part of ourselves, we would level up our skills by learning and absorbing from others. In that sense, I thought we had to change more."
--The album METAL RESISTANCE was well accepted worldwide. As the fame of BABYMETAL grew bigger and bigger, three of you must have felt like BABYMETAL having its own life apart from you. What do you think about that?
Su-Metal"Expectation for BABYMETAL did get higher. Since live show is the only place we could present ourselves, we thought hard each time as to how we excel that expectation. Anything could happen on stage when you perform live, as you know, yet you can not make any excuses."
Yuimetal"No, you can't."
Su-Metal"But at the same time, the reason why we are accepted now is that we did our live shows all right. Still, I have come to think that we are in kind of a scary situation."
Moametal"We have recently come to talk more to each other during a show, since live performance is a "raw thing". Maybe since Wembley."
Moametal"We used to talk after the show, like "we are going to do this and that tomrrow." But since around Wembley we talk with ourselves during the show about how we were going to perform thereafter, by looking at the audience. That made us feel settled down during our performance."
Yuimetal"We used to run offense only, but we now learn how to do defense, so to speak. (Laughs) It's not that you just defend yourself by holding yourself in but that you defend with proper aim. We now look over the entire show plan beforehand and discuss among ourselves at which point we save our breaths and which part we make it as the climax of the show."
Su-Metal"If I may compare it with a battle, we have changed our tactics. Although we used to give a finishing attack from the beginning, now we attack step by step. Looking at the opponent, we would try to counter the opponent's move. Or when the opponent gets warmed and livend up, we may take poses a bit. I can think like that these days."
Moametal"Live performace has been a battle for me from the beginning, yet I have come to enjoy that battle more after I started thinking about it more. Now I have more time to face myself during the live show. It is like capturing a game item, and I think I have caught many."
In the past, each one of you seemed to challenge your own limit by yourself, but, through shows of this year I have seen, you have gained bonds as a unit of 3. What do you think about this?
Su-Metal"I was aware that if each of us make effort in different ways, it doesn't make sense. In the past, our recklessness was our important value. Now that we have learned to battle together, not separately. Even when things are hard, we are encouraged by a thought that we are battling as a unit of 3."
Yuimetal: "Every year I think that the more we play shows, I am more attached to BABYMETAL and feel my love for BABYMETAL more often. Not just the 3 of us, but our staff and audience are becoming more and more united which I like. Our teamwork is not limited to the 3 of us and I feel more than ever that the whole team BABYMETAL is now extremely in a high level."
Moametal: "In the past, each of us put 100% energy at shows. But doing that way limited us in BABYMETAL world and didn't reach outer world. Audience could not perceive BABYMETALNESS. So now I think it's definitely better for each of us to put 50% energy that makes 150% energy in total which are delivered to audience."
In the past, BABYMETAL was one + two. The one who delivers overwhelming singing and the two whose perfect choreography charms audience. But, after the past year, that divided roles are now fading out.
Su-Metal: "In the past, for the time being, I had to look forward and felt responsibility to lead the 3 of us. But, like at Wembley, when I'm nervous (Yui and Moa) pat (my shoulders) and say "It's alright. Cheer up!". I thought they would be
younger than me forever, but lately I feel as if they have grown up than me that makes us become 3. Suddenly I have realized they become adults (Laughs)."
Moametal and Yuimetal: (Laughs)
(Laughs) In chronological order, you toured abroad from spring to summer and its pinnacle was 2 Tokyo Dome shows. Through this year relationships between 3 of you have been always changing and, as you told, you showed the best balance and the power at Tokyo Dome. How do you think about that?
Su-Metal: "When the show is huge as Tokyo Dome, we only had a few chances to meet together, but we did it because of experience of this year's tours. It was a pinnacle in that sense."
Yuimetal: When "I first heard that we would play Tokyo Dome, I thought I wasn't at that level yet and wanted to be on stage with confidence. Since then we absorbed a lot through tours, gained power and our bonds were strengthened. When we played Tokyo Dome we could put our maximum power that made me very pleased."
Moametal: "We have so many BABYMETAL fans and there were fans who came to Tokyo Dome from abroad. We want to give people energy, but we received energy. I doubted if it was OK to be so happy. But, when Tokyo Dome shows were over, I thought we still could move forward more. We talk that we want to go to higher places."
Su-Metal: "I simply think we haven't fulfilled ourselves. We 3, team BABYMETAL can move forward."
Yuimetal: "I think so, too, which is not a normal thing. A year or so ago, I would have been too scared to be on stage of Tokyo Dome. On Tokyo Dome show DVDs (of other acts), there are shots of audience from the stage. I actually saw it and felt "Oh, I'm actually on the stage". It's been 2 months since the shows and I'm still unsure if I was actually on the stage, but when I was there I thought we could move further because there were people who support us."
I think through this year you have mastered how to show what BABYMETAL is. Therefore now all of you see the stage as where your ideals are realized rather than what you should challenge, don’t you?
Su-Metal: "Yes. I have a feeling that I can't describe well. My attitude to shows and our relationships with audience have changed. So, when I say more and more, it's not in terms of the size of the venue. Though we burned all our energy, when Dome shows were over, I thought it was as usual. "We've done this, so we can move up
from here." We might just climbed over the wall."
Yui and Moa, did you have the same feeling?
Yuimetal: "The tension on Tokyo Dome's stage was tighter than I had imagined. I was so
scared that I thought my heart would explode. Usually it's a mix of pleasure and tension. (At Tokyo Dome) it was apparently more tension than pleasure. But Su and Moa had the same feeling and I perceived that they wanted to overcome as the 3 of us. So I adopted the same attitude. While I was dancing, I was gradually getting more used to the
situation than I had thought. It's hard to explain, but I shared "More!" feeling with Su-Metal. We have gone through many shows and all of us are growing up more and more. Our hearts became so strong that we weren't overwhelmed by Tokyo Dome. So I think I have "More!" feeling. I think it's a proof of our growth.
Moametal: "Now I'm looking back closely and not sure how I got that "More!" feeling. But, listening to Su and Yui talking, I think it's sure it wasn’t a huge stage. The world's population is more than 7 billion and we met just 110,000 people which is a small figure. The world is broad and I want to meet more people and be a reason of someone's smile. I want to meet more people."
Su-Metal: "Listening to Yui and Moa talking all, now I realize there is a reason why I somehow changed. We had various challenges in 2016. Before we went on to the world tour, I had said I would return as a fit for Tokyo Dome. I feel I have grown up more than I said. For example, when we played Saitama Super Arena 1 and
a half years ago, I thought we finally made it. But now we have toured the world and I'm a little bigger than the scale of Tokyo Dome."
Awesome (Laughs). It was really an amazing year, wasn't it?
Su-Metal: "It's a big growing period. As we're here, we have to have a higher target and that pressure can be a burden. Next year we will make effort to grow up more than this big growing period."
Interview by: Rockin' On Magazine February 2017