Category Archives: Babymetal/Sakura Gakuin

Mikiko-sensei on News Zero 2017 June 16

 

Koi Dance (with the always lovely, Aragaki Yui aka, Gakki)

 

 

 

An old, but ever so fun to watch ‘Pocky’ CM from a ways back in time. 

 

 

Perfume ‘Tokyo Girl’

 

Kayama Yuzou on BABYMETAL 2017 June 11

2017 June 12

Yahoo! News

 

A talk show was held at Sogou Yokohama department store on the 11th of June to celebrate the famous singer, Kayama Yuzou’s 80th birthday.

He will be appearing on the main stage of the ‘Fuji Rock Festival 2017’ in the later half of July.

He said with a face brimming with happiness, ‘I am so happy to be celebrated like this’. And further said, ‘If you believe hard enough, your dreams will come true.’ When asked what artists he is interested in at the moment, he said, ‘There are so many!’. But, out of them it is BABYMETAL that he particularly pointed out, saying, ‘I bought a ticket and went to their Tokyo Dome show’. Not only are they amazing as far as visuals and singing go, their back band is also truly amazing.’ I am so happy to see that they are accepted around the world’, said with a happy and satisfied look.

BABYMETAL on Japan Countdown Check 2017 June 11

This is the section featuring BABYMETAL that appeared on Japan Countdown Check 

on the morning of 2017 June 11. 

 

Note: You may also be interested in ‘Wagakki band’ which appeared for a few seconds at the 

beginning of the clip. 

Japan’s two greatest and most lovable female singers, Nakamoto Suzuka and Utada Hikaru

 

 

      This selection of mine naming Nakamoto Suzuka, aka ‘Su-metal’ and Utada Hikaru as the two greatest Japanese woman singers is obviously an almost totally subjective determination. I mean, how could it not be? I am sure there are some more or less objective measures of the skill level of a person’s singing voice such as range of octave, decibel levels, lack of contour errors, pitch accuracy and on and on. That said since I personally have no knowledge or understanding of these units of measurement I, and most likely you as well, can only go on my own personal sense of what constitutes a great singer. 

    There are an almost uncountable number of beautiful phenomena in the world that move one’s heart running from sunsets, flowers, good food and starry night skies. However, for me, the most enthralling ‘thing’ in the world is the sound as well as the performance and all that entails of Japanese women singers. 

     What is it exactly about Su-metal and Utada that so captivates and touches the hearts and minds of so many people? In the end I would have to say from my perspective, and even following upon a few weeks of considering this question after deciding to write about it, that their attractiveness is an elusive charm that goes beyond verbal or even mental understanding. While I will try to express the possible reasons for their loveliness herein, I will say that I will most likely not be able to do so to a satisfactory degree. Both women visually lie in that realm that lies between, and overlaps into, cuteness and beauty, and without any sense of projected sexiness. They both move with a gliding sense of grace and dignity that seems to be backed up by a hidden power source and yet neither comes off as an overly crafted dancer in spite of the fact that you simply can not take your eyes of them when they move on stage (or off, for that matter). Internally, both are ridiculously confident. In fact, when my students have asked me to sum up Utada with one word, it was always ‘Confident’ that I would respond with. And I mean a confidence that goes beyond just an assumption that they can pull off a good show, but rather a rock solid sense that they almost CAN NOT fail- a confidence that is seemingly divinely gifted. In spite of this, neither of these two women conveys even a hint of arrogance and in fact are extremely humble almost to the point of being self-deprecating. And then there is of course their vocals, their voices. Words can obviously not do them justice and their is no need to try to express the power, the clarity, the cuteness, the at times frailty with which they express lyrics with their voices when a simple listen is all that it takes. 

     So, to dive in to actually writing about these two giants it is best to get to know their backgrounds a bit even though we may not in fact need to know anything about a singer to be able to enjoy and appreciate their singing. I have often thought, though, what it would be like to listen to Karen Carpenter’s voice without knowing anything about the tragic nature of her life. In fact I am pretty sure that I remember feeling a deep sadness or melancholy in her voice when I listened to the Carpenters on the radio as a little boy, so there may be something inherently in it that evokes sadness. That said, I am certain that knowing about the life and background of a singer affects they way we perceive their vocals. 

Nakamoto Suzuka (中元すず香)

     Su-chan was born as the 3rd and youngest daughter in 1997, December 20 in Hiroshima. It is said that when she was still only two years old that she would become so absorbed in the background music playing at shops that she would sing and dance so intensely that she would often get separated from her family. It is reported that she was considered to be a prodigy by those who heard her sing when she was still an infant. 

     She began her childhood modeling career at the age of 5 and won the Grand prize of Bandai cosmetic’s Jewel Drop, ’Image girl’ contest. 

 

     This was followed by another Grand prize at the age of 8 Alpark Scholarship Audition which played a huge role in her being able to be granted admission to the Actor’s School of Hiroshima (ASH).

  I can not go much farther in chronicling her early history and achievements as it would go on for several pages and have been recorded both in English and, to a much more detailed extent in Japanese elsewhere. I will just say that she apparently went on to win basically every contest that she entered either solely or with her sister, Himeka, with the exception of one where they most likely basically bowed out because of a scheduling difficulty and yet still took runners up place.

    Here are some of her early vocals prior to and following that fateful occurrence of being one of the three members of the iconic, ‘Karen Girl’s’ group that led directly into the formation of Sakura Gakuin to ‘Juonbun’ or as what we now know as ‘BABYMETAL’. 

 

 

And my personal favorite…

     Two of Su-chan’s most recognizable characteristics are evidently revealed in a short interview with her and her Karen Girl’s co-members, Mutou Ayami and Shima Yuika before they embark on their stage at the Animelo Summer Live 2008 – CHALLENGE, (Saitama Super Arena). What are those characteristics? One is Su’s constant scanning, constant taking in of what is happening in her surroundings. This characteristic of one’s eyes actively scanning one’s surroundings and of not letting the eyes settle into a ‘dead stare’ is something we often see with not only Su-chan but also of such mysterious intellectuals and mystics such as Krishnamurti

and contained in the teachings of Takuan Osho,

a zen master who taught the mental side of sword fighting to Yagyu Munenori and I would include the way my favorite fictional character of ‘Sugishita Keibu from the incredibly popular and long running Japanese TV series, ‘Aibou’

uses his eyes in constantly scanning any situation for clues. While this is often looked upon at least in the West as a sign of deceptiveness or an unsettled state of mind, it is more correctly seen as a sign of intelligence and wakefulness, at least in certain individuals. Of course I would include Su-chan in this latter category. There is something truly wonderful and actually quite rare going on with her as she does this and is something that I believe the reader can verify for themselves right now. See how you feel when you do not let you eyesight rest on a single item in your line of sight for more than a fraction of second before you move on to the next, the next and then the next object as compared with letting your eyes kind of rest on a single point. I believe you will see the almost animalistic sense of aliveness that this flitting of the eyes conveys. 

 

  Now, not to go too off into wild ramblings, I want to focus on the what could be called ‘Vacant mind’ of Su-chan as compared with ‘Su-metal’. And not to draw the comparison with one of my favorites, the aforementioned, Krishnamurti, a person who is well known to have a side to himself that was best summed up as ‘Vacant’, to the point of over embellishment, I would like to draw attention to this, what could derogatorily be referred to as sign of below par intelligence that is often pointed out in reference to Su-chan, this aspect of her character that is, I would say, rather a sign of exceptional and in fact genius level intelligence. We know of Su from the countless anecdotal stories that exist (often from Su-chan herself) that:

[Please remember that most of these were either 1 time, or limited in frequency, occurrences that happened early in Su-chan’s life. They are glimpses into her unique make-up and not on-going (I would assume) characteristics. Anyway, here are some of them.]

‘Su can not tie her shoe laces by herself’

‘She is unable to make a sound with a whistle as she blows on it holding it upside-down’

‘Su-chan has been known to walk along with her shoes on the wrong feet not noticing until someone points it out to her’. 

‘Su has apparently, at least once, when singing ‘Megitsune’, mistakenly sung ‘Joyuu yo’ <actress> with ‘Kyonyuu’ <big breasts>’.

‘In order to collect <Bell Mark> stamps <stamps that schoolchildren collect from various products to exchange for school related goods>, Su-chan would cut the stamps out of her older sisters’ notebooks, for which she was of course scolded by her sisters.’

‘Su-chan would often leave her family in bewilderment as she ripped off <Bell Marks> from their Sesame oil bottles.’

‘There were numerous occasions where Su-chan would be left behind yelling, ‘Hey, wait for me!’, as the filming crew would move from location to location.’

‘Su-chan would occasionally (OK, so at least once) show up for lessons only to find that she still had her pajamas on under her long skirt.’

‘Su-chan was happy to have moved from the 12-member Sakura                       Gakuin format to the 3-member BABYMETAL one because it reduced the need to fight for staff boxed lunches by 9.’

‘As her self-selected research assignment during summer vacation when she was in the 1st grade of Jr. High, Su-chan chose to do a joint research project with her sister, Himeka, into <The secret behind how pudding solidifies>.’

‘Her big ears that are tilted rather forward are great for hearing sounds in the front of her, but she has a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they are speaking in hushed tones behind her.’

‘She enjoys joking around with e-mails to herself where she does both the <Boke> and the <Tsukokomi> 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’.

‘Her big ears that are tilted rather forward are great for hearing sounds in the front of her, but she has a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they are speaking in hushed tones behind her.’

‘She enjoys joking around with e-mails to herself where she does both the <Boke> and the <Tsukokomi> 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.’

    All of these examples that are mostly well known amongst the vast

BABYMETAL lore all show a side of a girl who walks to the beat of

a different drummer. Now don’t get me wrong, this side of Su-chan makes

her all the more charming and enchanting and is a property that I personally

absolutely adore along with probably all BABYMETAL fans. This property is

called, ‘Tennen’ in Japan and said for the most part as an enduring, if not

almost admirable characteristics usually found in girls and women. 

      So lets now shift gears and focus on the other side of the equation that is Nakamoto Suzuka, Su-chan, Su-metal, which is that side of this enigmatic person that is so incredibly talented, creative, skilled and captivating that it kind of exceeds the power of words to describe. 

    First of all is her high work standard and stoicism. She is one who has a high degree of professionalism and has determined to herself that she will never cry on stage, no matter what the circumstances. Virtually all of her singing on stage is done live and since these lives performances go on to be recorded products for sale as is, there is absolutely no room for errors to be made. 

Himeka wrote in her blog that she often goes to Karaoke with Su-chan where they will sing for 7-hours straight at times. Upon writing this she was so swamped by questions about what goes on in these Karaoke sessions with Su that she has vowed to steer away from writing about her sister in the future. 

    Nakamoto Suzuka is an interesting blend: she is not able to do some things that we mere mortals can do easily, but is able on the other hand to do things easily (or make them seem easy) that we can’t begin to dream of. There is no denying it; she is a very unique person. 

     Babymetal’s choreographer, Mikiko-sensei said this about Nakamoto-san’s work ethic and abilities as a professional singer, ’Su-chan memorizes the lyrics to new songs faster than anyone else in Sakura Gakuin or BABYMETAL.’ She also conveyed in an interview that while Su-chan is not as naturally gifted as a dancer as the other two members of the trio, Mizuno Yui and Kikuchi Moa, she will work on the choreography until she masters it and invariably surprises even Mikiko-sensei with how she has done so and even added a little something uniquely hers to the movements. Apparently she does not dance in accordance with a count as most dancer do, but rather subjectively adjusts herself to the song itself. It is even said that she sees the song/dance in a kind of color code that makes sense to her. Mikiko-sensei also has said that she is amazed at how she approaches regular rehearsals with the same all-out energy and concentration that most artists tend to save for ‘the show’ – to the extent that after rehearsals she is often scolded by the make-up artists because she has sweated so profusely that her make-up gets totally messed up. We even know that she broke a cardboard guitar that was made for the ‘Graduation Toss’ MV due to moving around so aggressively. 

Quote from Mikiko-sensei

Su-metal as seen by Mikiko-metal

     ‘She is so full of natural, in born performance related talent that it is as if the word genius was created just for this girl. She undergoes a transformation on the stage that you could not imagine based on who she is in daily life. It is not to say that she is particularly good at dancing a particular dance movement exactly as set up, but rather she makes the movements her own to the point that her expressive abilities overpower the song. And so if she is required to simply extend her arms out in from of her she will do it in a way that emotionally moves those watching it. I think it is the non-sense concerned passion that she has within her that makes this possible. Up until recently I felt that whatever she sang had a uniform, ‘Su-metal’ feel to it, but recently she has become able to lay on a wide variety of emotions in her performances and is able to control or regulate herself song by song. Her English pronunciation has also dramatically improved.’

Quote from Su-chan’s ‘homeroom teacher’, Mori Hayashi-sensei at her 

graduation ceremony from Sakura Gakuin

     ‘Last year, THOSE three graduated, and now…This girl, Nakamoto…she who is unable to deal properly with others is now the Student Council President?! I was filled with worry. But now she is able to make a speech and is able to touch the hearts of the listeners to an amazing degree. In the past it would have been a miracle for her to say ‘My name is Nakamoto Suzuka’. I have the feeling that she has kind of turned into a totally separate person. No, but really, this girl called Nakamoto is an extremely stoic person. I think that her ability to stand on this stage today like this is due to the efforts she has made outside of the view of all of us. Anyway, that is how she has carried out so many achievements since she was in Elementary school to the present day. But, regardless, since she is still in the 3rd grade of Jr. High school I am sure that in this entertainment world that she will  encounter times when she could not exhibit her best. And while Nakamoto’s stoic nature is a wonderful thing, I hope that she will be able to find a place within herself that forgives herself when things don’t go well. But, really, honestly speaking, when Nakamoto …makes a mistake or messes up on something…even then I think everyone here thinks of her as a lovable girl. I feel that that also is a part of her attractiveness.As her teacher I hope that she will put great value on this side of herself as she grows as well.

     As for her talent as a singer, there is nothing better than for the reader to listen to any song, perhaps especially the solo ones of ‘Akatsuki’, ‘Akumu no Rhondo’, ‘Amore’, and ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’. And we must never forget that she is truly singing a totally new genre, one that mixes Idol with Heavy Metal and thus there are demands on her voice that literally no one has ever experienced before and that alone commands our total respect. 

     This is an interesting audio track that has been manipulated to take the musical components out of a performance of ‘Akatsuki’ leaving only Su-metal’s voice. If this doesn’t blow you away, nothing will. 

 

     Before I move into and then close out with the side of Su-metal/Su-chan that I find the most fascinating, I want to add one of the cutest stories I have ever come across about Su-chan as well as Yui and Moa. 

    This is one of my favorite stories about Babymetal ever. There is something very touching and yet profound about it.

    The picture here is called “The Coronation” by Hirokazu Sato.

    Many have seen it and there are many stories associated with it. This is one of my favorites. It’s about the grasshopper. If you zoom in close on the left, next to the toad, you’ll see the grasshopper. Here’s the grasshopper story….enjoy.

    It comes from the comments on Twitter posted by Mr. Kenta suzuki who is an announcer of MBS TV. Inazuma Rock 2013 was the first big stage for three girls at that time (around 20,000 attendance) and many Japnese BM fans were worried about how the show would go.

     “BABYMETAL-san, this was their second appearance at Inazuma Rock Festival with the Metal Idols performing using live-singing and a live band. They put on a magnificent performance on the main stage! However, in the backstage area before the show, Yui-chan and Moa-chan were chasing grasshoppers together in harmony, and Su-chan quietly watched over them with a smile like a female bodhisattva, I saw that and was very healed.”

     “A continuation of the previous tweet… A grasshopper was caught by Moa-chan but managed to escape (since Moa grabbed it too gently). Then, Moa-chan said to it “Bye-bye” waving her hands… I would say once more… she bade it good-bye waving her hands… (It’s so adorable that) I was nearly floored.”

 

     The most amazing thing to me about Nakamoto Suzuka though is the uncanny and virtually inexplicable transformation that takes place whenever she steps on the stage. It is well known in the BABYMETAL world that Yuimetal and Moametal also talk of this phenomena where they don’t remember what has happened on stage due to the ‘Kourin’ <divine descent or intertwining of a god or spirit> of the Fox god. Now this of course may be, and probably is a gimmick to make BABYMETAL more fun and interesting, but at least, or especially with Su-chan/Su-metal, I don’t think we can write it off so easily. There really does seem to be something bordering on the miraculous that takes place. Using the aforementioned Krishnamurti as an example, he reported throughout his life the presence at times of what he called ‘the other’. This ‘other’ was strong presence that would appear invisibly and yet tangibly and intertwine with him bringing his mind to state that he reported could be ‘untouched by thought’ for long stretches of time. Could it be that something like this happens with Su-chan as well? Well, it is best to let her state it in her own words (translated by yours truly, actually). 

 

Su-chan speaking on Su-metal:

    ‘Particularly in recent shows I have come to be aware of the moment when the Fox God descends into me. There are more and more instances where I feel as if someone inside of me is taking me by the hand and leading me making it so I can sing and express myself just exactly as I wish to do. So, more than saying I am making use of self control it is more like there is someone inside of me doing it for me (laughs).’

and 

    ‘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.

    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

    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.’

    Nakamoto Suzuka is at once and at times, beautiful, cute, playful, fierce, as well as silly, down right badass, mesmerizing, totally down to earth, but most of all she is someone you literally can not take your eyes off of. 

    And one more final point. I will be truly exciting to see how her English speaking and comprehension improves over the next few years. I am amazed at how much she has already progressed in just a couple of years. When I am writing or translating often my wife sits on the other side of the table and is unable to see the computer screen. The other day I was going through videos of Su preparing for this. When I was listening to a compilation of Su-chan’s English interviews my wife blurted out, ‘Is that Su-metal!? Her English is so wonderful!’. (The other time she has responded so enthusiastically to the way someone speaks English was when she heard Brian Cox <the scientist> speaking)

      Su, Su, Su…. the amazing Nakamoto Suzuka…..and remember she has been crucified 4 times and yet is still going strong. 

 

EPSON scanner image

 

Up next, part 2 – Utada Hikaru

Japan’s two greatest and most lovable female singers, Nakamoto Suzuka and Utada Hikaru

 

 

      This selection of mine naming Nakamoto Suzuka, aka ‘Su-metal’ and Utada Hikaru as the two greatest Japanese woman singers is obviously an almost totally subjective determination. I mean, how could it not be? I am sure there are some more or less objective measures of the skill level of a person’s singing voice such as range of octave, decibel levels, lack of contour errors, pitch accuracy and on and on. That said since I personally have no knowledge or understanding of these units of measurement I, and most likely you as well, can only go on my own personal sense of what constitutes a great singer. 

    There are an almost uncountable number of beautiful phenomena in the world that move one’s heart running from sunsets, flowers, good food and starry night skies. However, for me, the most enthralling ‘thing’ in the world is the sound as well as the performance and all that entails of Japanese women singers. 

     What is it exactly about Su-metal and Utada that so captivates and touches the hearts and minds of so many people? In the end I would have to say from my perspective, and even following upon a few weeks of considering this question after deciding to write about it, that their attractiveness is an elusive charm that goes beyond verbal or even mental understanding. While I will try to express the possible reasons for their loveliness herein, I will say that I will most likely not be able to do so to a satisfactory degree. Both women visually lie in that realm that lies between, and overlaps into, cuteness and beauty, and without any sense of projected sexiness. They both move with a gliding sense of grace and dignity that seems to be backed up by a hidden power source and yet neither comes off as an overly crafted dancer in spite of the fact that you simply can not take your eyes of them when they move on stage (or off, for that matter). Internally, both are ridiculously confident. In fact, when my students have asked me to sum up Utada with one word, it was always ‘Confident’ that I would respond with. And I mean a confidence that goes beyond just an assumption that they can pull off a good show, but rather a rock solid sense that they almost CAN NOT fail- a confidence that is seemingly divinely gifted. In spite of this, neither of these two women conveys even a hint of arrogance and in fact are extremely humble almost to the point of being self-deprecating. And then there is of course their vocals, their voices. Words can obviously not do them justice and their is no need to try to express the power, the clarity, the cuteness, the at times frailty with which they express lyrics with their voices when a simple listen is all that it takes. 

     So, to dive in to actually writing about these two giants it is best to get to know their backgrounds a bit even though we may not in fact need to know anything about a singer to be able to enjoy and appreciate their singing. I have often thought, though, what it would be like to listen to Karen Carpenter’s voice without knowing anything about the tragic nature of her life. In fact I am pretty sure that I remember feeling a deep sadness or melancholy in her voice when I listened to the Carpenters on the radio as a little boy, so there may be something inherently in it that evokes sadness. That said, I am certain that knowing about the life and background of a singer affects they way we perceive their vocals. 

Nakamoto Suzuka (中元すず香)

     Su-chan was born as the 3rd and youngest daughter in 1997, December 20 in Hiroshima. It is said that when she was still only two years old that she would become so absorbed in the background music playing at shops that she would sing and dance so intensely that she would often get separated from her family. It is reported that she was considered to be a prodigy by those who heard her sing when she was still an infant. 

     She began her childhood modeling career at the age of 5 and won the Grand prize of Bandai cosmetic’s Jewel Drop, ’Image girl’ contest. 

 

     This was followed by another Grand prize at the age of 8 Alpark Scholarship Audition which played a huge role in her being able to be granted admission to the Actor’s School of Hiroshima (ASH).

  I can not go much farther in chronicling her early history and achievements as it would go on for several pages and have been recorded both in English and, to a much more detailed extent in Japanese elsewhere. I will just say that she apparently went on to win basically every contest that she entered either solely or with her sister, Himeka, with the exception of one where they most likely basically bowed out because of a scheduling difficulty and yet still took runners up place.

    Here are some of her early vocals prior to and following that fateful occurrence of being one of the three members of the iconic, ‘Karen Girl’s’ group that led directly into the formation of Sakura Gakuin to ‘Juonbun’ or as what we now know as ‘BABYMETAL’. 

 

 

And my personal favorite…

     Two of Su-chan’s most recognizable characteristics are evidently revealed in a short interview with her and her Karen Girl’s co-members, Mutou Ayami and Shima Yuika before they embark on their stage at the Animelo Summer Live 2008 – CHALLENGE, (Saitama Super Arena). What are those characteristics? One is Su’s constant scanning, constant taking in of what is happening in her surroundings. This characteristic of one’s eyes actively scanning one’s surroundings and of not letting the eyes settle into a ‘dead stare’ is something we often see with not only Su-chan but also of such mysterious intellectuals and mystics such as Krishnamurti

and contained in the teachings of Takuan Osho,

a zen master who taught the mental side of sword fighting to Yagyu Munenori and I would include the way my favorite fictional character of ‘Sugishita Keibu from the incredibly popular and long running Japanese TV series, ‘Aibou’

uses his eyes in constantly scanning any situation for clues. While this is often looked upon at least in the West as a sign of deceptiveness or an unsettled state of mind, it is more correctly seen as a sign of intelligence and wakefulness, at least in certain individuals. Of course I would include Su-chan in this latter category. There is something truly wonderful and actually quite rare going on with her as she does this and is something that I believe the reader can verify for themselves right now. See how you feel when you do not let you eyesight rest on a single item in your line of sight for more than a fraction of second before you move on to the next, the next and then the next object as compared with letting your eyes kind of rest on a single point. I believe you will see the almost animalistic sense of aliveness that this flitting of the eyes conveys. 

 

  Now, not to go too off into wild ramblings, I want to focus on the what could be called ‘Vacant mind’ of Su-chan as compared with ‘Su-metal’. And not to draw the comparison with one of my favorites, the aforementioned, Krishnamurti, a person who is well known to have a side to himself that was best summed up as ‘Vacant’, to the point of over embellishment, I would like to draw attention to this, what could derogatorily be referred to as sign of below par intelligence that is often pointed out in reference to Su-chan, this aspect of her character that is, I would say, rather a sign of exceptional and in fact genius level intelligence. We know of Su from the countless anecdotal stories that exist (often from Su-chan herself) that:

[Please remember that most of these were either 1 time, or limited in frequency, occurrences that happened early in Su-chan’s life. They are glimpses into her unique make-up and not on-going (I would assume) characteristics. Anyway, here are some of them.]

‘Su can not tie her shoe laces by herself’

‘She is unable to make a sound with a whistle as she blows on it holding it upside-down’

‘Su-chan has been known to walk along with her shoes on the wrong feet not noticing until someone points it out to her’. 

‘Su has apparently, at least once, when singing ‘Megitsune’, mistakenly sung ‘Joyuu yo’ <actress> with ‘Kyonyuu’ <big breasts>’.

‘In order to collect <Bell Mark> stamps <stamps that schoolchildren collect from various products to exchange for school related goods>, Su-chan would cut the stamps out of her older sisters’ notebooks, for which she was of course scolded by her sisters.’

‘Su-chan would often leave her family in bewilderment as she ripped off <Bell Marks> from their Sesame oil bottles.’

‘There were numerous occasions where Su-chan would be left behind yelling, ‘Hey, wait for me!’, as the filming crew would move from location to location.’

‘Su-chan would occasionally (OK, so at least once) show up for lessons only to find that she still had her pajamas on under her long skirt.’

‘Su-chan was happy to have moved from the 12-member Sakura                       Gakuin format to the 3-member BABYMETAL one because it reduced the need to fight for staff boxed lunches by 9.’

‘As her self-selected research assignment during summer vacation when she was in the 1st grade of Jr. High, Su-chan chose to do a joint research project with her sister, Himeka, into <The secret behind how pudding solidifies>.’

‘Her big ears that are tilted rather forward are great for hearing sounds in the front of her, but she has a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they are speaking in hushed tones behind her.’

‘She enjoys joking around with e-mails to herself where she does both the <Boke> and the <Tsukokomi> 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’.

‘Her big ears that are tilted rather forward are great for hearing sounds in the front of her, but she has a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they are speaking in hushed tones behind her.’

‘She enjoys joking around with e-mails to herself where she does both the <Boke> and the <Tsukokomi> 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.’

    All of these examples that are mostly well known amongst the vast

BABYMETAL lore all show a side of a girl who walks to the beat of

a different drummer. Now don’t get me wrong, this side of Su-chan makes

her all the more charming and enchanting and is a property that I personally

absolutely adore along with probably all BABYMETAL fans. This property is

called, ‘Tennen’ in Japan and said for the most part as an enduring, if not

almost admirable characteristics usually found in girls and women. 

      So lets now shift gears and focus on the other side of the equation that is Nakamoto Suzuka, Su-chan, Su-metal, which is that side of this enigmatic person that is so incredibly talented, creative, skilled and captivating that it kind of exceeds the power of words to describe. 

    First of all is her high work standard and stoicism. She is one who has a high degree of professionalism and has determined to herself that she will never cry on stage, no matter what the circumstances. Virtually all of her singing on stage is done live and since these lives performances go on to be recorded products for sale as is, there is absolutely no room for errors to be made. 

Himeka wrote in her blog that she often goes to Karaoke with Su-chan where they will sing for 7-hours straight at times. Upon writing this she was so swamped by questions about what goes on in these Karaoke sessions with Su that she has vowed to steer away from writing about her sister in the future. 

    Nakamoto Suzuka is an interesting blend: she is not able to do some things that we mere mortals can do easily, but is able on the other hand to do things easily (or make them seem easy) that we can’t begin to dream of. There is no denying it; she is a very unique person. 

     Babymetal’s choreographer, Mikiko-sensei said this about Nakamoto-san’s work ethic and abilities as a professional singer, ’Su-chan memorizes the lyrics to new songs faster than anyone else in Sakura Gakuin or BABYMETAL.’ She also conveyed in an interview that while Su-chan is not as naturally gifted as a dancer as the other two members of the trio, Mizuno Yui and Kikuchi Moa, she will work on the choreography until she masters it and invariably surprises even Mikiko-sensei with how she has done so and even added a little something uniquely hers to the movements. Apparently she does not dance in accordance with a count as most dancer do, but rather subjectively adjusts herself to the song itself. It is even said that she sees the song/dance in a kind of color code that makes sense to her. Mikiko-sensei also has said that she is amazed at how she approaches regular rehearsals with the same all-out energy and concentration that most artists tend to save for ‘the show’ – to the extent that after rehearsals she is often scolded by the make-up artists because she has sweated so profusely that her make-up gets totally messed up. We even know that she broke a cardboard guitar that was made for the ‘Graduation Toss’ MV due to moving around so aggressively. 

Quote from Mikiko-sensei

Su-metal as seen by Mikiko-metal

     ‘She is so full of natural, in born performance related talent that it is as if the word genius was created just for this girl. She undergoes a transformation on the stage that you could not imagine based on who she is in daily life. It is not to say that she is particularly good at dancing a particular dance movement exactly as set up, but rather she makes the movements her own to the point that her expressive abilities overpower the song. And so if she is required to simply extend her arms out in from of her she will do it in a way that emotionally moves those watching it. I think it is the non-sense concerned passion that she has within her that makes this possible. Up until recently I felt that whatever she sang had a uniform, ‘Su-metal’ feel to it, but recently she has become able to lay on a wide variety of emotions in her performances and is able to control or regulate herself song by song. Her English pronunciation has also dramatically improved.’

Quote from Su-chan’s ‘homeroom teacher’, Mori Hayashi-sensei at her 

graduation ceremony from Sakura Gakuin

     ‘Last year, THOSE three graduated, and now…This girl, Nakamoto…she who is unable to deal properly with others is now the Student Council President?! I was filled with worry. But now she is able to make a speech and is able to touch the hearts of the listeners to an amazing degree. In the past it would have been a miracle for her to say ‘My name is Nakamoto Suzuka’. I have the feeling that she has kind of turned into a totally separate person. No, but really, this girl called Nakamoto is an extremely stoic person. I think that her ability to stand on this stage today like this is due to the efforts she has made outside of the view of all of us. Anyway, that is how she has carried out so many achievements since she was in Elementary school to the present day. But, regardless, since she is still in the 3rd grade of Jr. High school I am sure that in this entertainment world that she will  encounter times when she could not exhibit her best. And while Nakamoto’s stoic nature is a wonderful thing, I hope that she will be able to find a place within herself that forgives herself when things don’t go well. But, really, honestly speaking, when Nakamoto …makes a mistake or messes up on something…even then I think everyone here thinks of her as a lovable girl. I feel that that also is a part of her attractiveness.As her teacher I hope that she will put great value on this side of herself as she grows as well.

     As for her talent as a singer, there is nothing better than for the reader to listen to any song, perhaps especially the solo ones of ‘Akatsuki’, ‘Akumu no Rhondo’, ‘Amore’, and ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’. And we must never forget that she is truly singing a totally new genre, one that mixes Idol with Heavy Metal and thus there are demands on her voice that literally no one has ever experienced before and that alone commands our total respect. 

     This is an interesting audio track that has been manipulated to take the musical components out of a performance of ‘Akatsuki’ leaving only Su-metal’s voice. If this doesn’t blow you away, nothing will. 

 

     Before I move into and then close out with the side of Su-metal/Su-chan that I find the most fascinating, I want to add one of the cutest stories I have ever come across about Su-chan as well as Yui and Moa. 

    This is one of my favorite stories about Babymetal ever. There is something very touching and yet profound about it.

    The picture here is called “The Coronation” by Hirokazu Sato.

    Many have seen it and there are many stories associated with it. This is one of my favorites. It’s about the grasshopper. If you zoom in close on the left, next to the toad, you’ll see the grasshopper. Here’s the grasshopper story….enjoy.

    It comes from the comments on Twitter posted by Mr. Kenta suzuki who is an announcer of MBS TV. Inazuma Rock 2013 was the first big stage for three girls at that time (around 20,000 attendance) and many Japnese BM fans were worried about how the show would go.

     “BABYMETAL-san, this was their second appearance at Inazuma Rock Festival with the Metal Idols performing using live-singing and a live band. They put on a magnificent performance on the main stage! However, in the backstage area before the show, Yui-chan and Moa-chan were chasing grasshoppers together in harmony, and Su-chan quietly watched over them with a smile like a female bodhisattva, I saw that and was very healed.”

     “A continuation of the previous tweet… A grasshopper was caught by Moa-chan but managed to escape (since Moa grabbed it too gently). Then, Moa-chan said to it “Bye-bye” waving her hands… I would say once more… she bade it good-bye waving her hands… (It’s so adorable that) I was nearly floored.”

 

     The most amazing thing to me about Nakamoto Suzuka though is the uncanny and virtually inexplicable transformation that takes place whenever she steps on the stage. It is well known in the BABYMETAL world that Yuimetal and Moametal also talk of this phenomena where they don’t remember what has happened on stage due to the ‘Kourin’ <divine descent or intertwining of a god or spirit> of the Fox god. Now this of course may be, and probably is a gimmick to make BABYMETAL more fun and interesting, but at least, or especially with Su-chan/Su-metal, I don’t think we can write it off so easily. There really does seem to be something bordering on the miraculous that takes place. Using the aforementioned Krishnamurti as an example, he reported throughout his life the presence at times of what he called ‘the other’. This ‘other’ was strong presence that would appear invisibly and yet tangibly and intertwine with him bringing his mind to state that he reported could be ‘untouched by thought’ for long stretches of time. Could it be that something like this happens with Su-chan as well? Well, it is best to let her state it in her own words (translated by yours truly, actually). 

 

Su-chan speaking on Su-metal:

    ‘Particularly in recent shows I have come to be aware of the moment when the Fox God descends into me. There are more and more instances where I feel as if someone inside of me is taking me by the hand and leading me making it so I can sing and express myself just exactly as I wish to do. So, more than saying I am making use of self control it is more like there is someone inside of me doing it for me (laughs).’

and 

    ‘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.

    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

    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.’

    Nakamoto Suzuka is at once and at times, beautiful, cute, playful, fierce, as well as silly, down right badass, mesmerizing, totally down to earth, but most of all she is someone you literally can not take your eyes off of. 

    And one more final point. I will be truly exciting to see how her English speaking and comprehension improves over the next few years. I am amazed at how much she has already progressed in just a couple of years. When I am writing or translating often my wife sits on the other side of the table and is unable to see the computer screen. The other day I was going through videos of Su preparing for this. When I was listening to a compilation of Su-chan’s English interviews my wife blurted out, ‘Is that Su-metal!? Her English is so wonderful!’. (The other time she has responded so enthusiastically to the way someone speaks English was when she heard Brian Cox <the scientist> speaking)

      Su, Su, Su…. the amazing Nakamoto Suzuka…..and remember she has been crucified 4 times and yet is still going strong. 

 

EPSON scanner image

 

Up next, part 2 – Utada Hikaru

Perfume talks about BABYMETAL/Kami Band

Perfume talks about BABYMETAL/Kami Band on:

Perfume LOCKS

 

 

 

BABYMETAL featured on Nakai’s Momm (Museum of modern music)

Broadcast on 2017 May 8

Nakai’s Momm (Museum of modern music)

 

 

The host of the show is Nakai Masahiro who is extremely famous in Japan as a member of SMAP which disbanded last year. He is well know as baseball fanatic and is highly regarded as a skilled MC of quiz/talk shows and the like. He is also known for his utter lack in singing skills. 

 

 

Sawabe Yuu is a comedian who was (is?) 1/2 of the comedy duo ‘Haraichi’ and is sought after for his skills in Aizuchi and keeping the flow of talk shows running smoothly with his friendly, self deprecating manner. You may know him as the co-host of the ‘Keyakizaka tte kakenai?’.

 

 

Watanabe Mayu (Mayuyu) is an extremely famous member of AKB48 as well as for acting appearances in TV dramas. She is also apparently a big fan of BABYMETAL. 

 

 

Yokosawa Natsuko is a comedian and member of Yoshimoto Kougyou. 

 

 

Himetan’s blog 2017 May 8

Himetan’s blog 

2017 May 8

I went to New York with my mother and younger sister!

I am fond of indoor life and so I have absolutely zero interest in traveling in my mother kind of forced me to go on this trip. 

She said we should do this at it will be a good change of pace during these days off, but in the end we came back earlier than planned. 

We went shopping, saw some musicals, did some sightseeing and all the usual things, but the most enjoyable thing of all was to watch amateur night at the Apollo Theater!!

These are performances by people who genuinely love singing and performing and so the atmosphere of the venue was, was….totally different from anything in Japan. It was all so new and fresh. 

What I had always thought was the entirety of the world was made to seem still rather small in scale.

For example, I felt that things that I had a kind of hang up about myself I felt could be thought of as being charming and attractive at a place like this. 

I began to think that even if one doesn’t understand the words being spoken, that if you try to convey yourself and listen to what the other is trying to say that somehow things will work out. 

A smiling face is something that is universally communicated. 

It is like, a baby is cute regardless of national boundaries. 

 

 

 

Disk Union Solo interview with BOH [The Kari Ongen – Demo]

Translated for reference purposes only.

Please refer to the original Japanese article here

The release of the first mini album of the Kari band – ‘The Kari Ongen – Demo’. 

We have the ‘Kari Band’ 6-string bassist, BOH-san here to talk freely about this band that has spanned the entire world with its dynamic sound. 

The session unit ‘Kari Band’ composed of Fujioka Mikio (guitar), BOH (bass) and Maeda Yuuya (drums) which was launched in November of 2015 has at long last released its first mini album titled, ‘Kari Ongen -DEMO’. 

From live houses with a scale where the venue is filled by a few dozen fans to the arenas and stadiums that are considered to be the largest venues on the planet…… This band featuring some of the most talented artists in the world has experienced all this and all in between and has released their heart filled album featuring their original songs putting them up for an evaluation of their worth. ‘Kari Ongen -DEMO’ composed of these members who have garnered attention because of their virtual Heavy Metal god inspired performances along with guest artists such as Calmera, Nishiwaki Tatsuya, ISAO as well as rapidly up and coming pianist, Kuwahara Ai is certain to be met with enthusiastic approval from Jazz Fusion fans around the world. 

Our ‘Music Magazine’’s May features the interview that we carried out with the Kari Band, but here we would like to provide you with our solo interview with BOH-san. Coincidentally we were both born in the year of the dog and both come from Asahikawa city in Hokkaido so we felt like friends right from the git-go. I was so thrilled and happy to have received an instant approval to do another interview at another time centering on Jazz/Fusion and our shared home town. 

Q:

BOH-san, when you were a student where were you purchasing musical instruments and CDs and so on? When I (Harada) was a student the only place selling musical instruments in my home town of Asahikawa was Machii Gakki (closed in 1997). And for records there was really only ‘Kokuhara’ (closed in 2008) located in the building that housed the ramen shop, ‘Baikouken’, or ‘Gyokkoudou’ (since relocated in the suburbs) located in the basement of the department store ‘OKUNO’. 

BOH:

Mostly I made use of Gyokkoudou’ and Shimamura Gakki (Musical instruments). 

Q:

Did you like music from an early age?

BOH:

Actually, in fact it would be better to say that I didn’t like music (laughs). My mother worked as a music teacher at an elementary while my father worked in the market and served as the conductor of the Asahikawa city choir as a way to be of benefit to the community. When I was a little boy I was made to go to the city youth choir club as well as music school and so I came to hate music. Of course I did – it is not ‘wild’, you know. Growing up in Asahikawa it was just a natural progression of things that I would want to become a member of the Self Defense Force. 

Q: 

That is because the 7th division of the Japanese Imperial Army was located in Asahikawa in the past. About 1/2 of my classmates from elementary school were children of Self Defense Force members. 

BOH:

Yes, in summer vacation I would head out into the mountains and stay there for like a full week with only a supply of rice. I was always doing things like that as I wanted to get into that feeling of being in survival mode. However, there was this time that I went to a culture festival in Jr. High where my Senpai were performing and the girl I had gone there with said to me, ‘BOH-chan, do you play some kind of instrument?’. At the time I didn’t play anything so could only answer honestly that I was not able to play an instrument, to which she responded, ‘Oh, that is so uncool.’. The fact that she wasn’t even a cute girl just made me even more angry at her reaction. If that had been said to me by a cute girl I would have been shocked but since it was her I felt more anger than shock. Kind of the sense of, ‘Fine, I will transform myself into someone who is not uncool’, I went over to my friend’s house to give a guitar a try. Doing so, I felt this instrument with 6 stings and the way you had to work to make the chords was really off-putting. The bass, on the other hand, had only 4 strings, it was easier to play and you could look and sound good even with its monophonic sounds. Soon I was pumped up thinking, ‘I am simply the best!’ and from that point on I just got more and more into playing the bass. 

I am pretty sure that I was at first playing a score of Luna Sea that I had bought, and that was their ‘True Blue’ (released in 1994). My trip on this path started with me thinking, ‘I have just bought a bass but I am already almost as good as the professionals. This certainly means that the music gods are telling me to <become a bass player>’. I was interested in Western music and expanded my adventures into MR. BIG and came to like Billy Sheehan and that interest in the bass led me to be impressed with Victor Wooten, who I thought was amazing, and that further led me to ‘wonder how Marcus Miller was able to produce such amazing sounds. This furthered pursuit gradually led me in my high school years to listen to more jazz and fusion music. Also, at this time, my younger brother was into Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and other bands from the 60’s and 70’s and so I was also influenced by these bands as well.

Q: 

What was the first work by Victor Wooten that you got your hands on?

BOH:

That was a VHS of ‘Live at Bass Day’ 

When I was wondering if there was another ridiculously talented bassist out there after being so moved by Bill Sheehan, I was lucky enough to find this video in a video section of a music shop. The way he has his hands placed on the bass in the picture on the jacket is so obviously strange, you know. This got me interested in finding out just what he was doing. That is the reason I bought that album. As far as his albums go, I really like ‘Show of Hands’ (1997). 

Q: 

The first band I heard with Billy Sheehan was ‘Talas’. I was labeled using his name in Katakana, ’ビリーシーハン’ <Billy Sheehan>. 

 

BOH:

Counting back from MR. BIG’s best album (1996), I was also listening to performances from Talas and the David Lee Roth Band. I did not know of anyone else who was able to do such interesting phrasing as a rock bassist. It was extremely interesting to hear his different approach when he played rock in such endeavors as when he teamed up with Dennis Chambers in the fusion band, Niacin. The first bassist for me to carry out phrase analysis on was the bass player, Billy Sheehan. 

Q: 

What other fusion type of bassists did you listen to? 

BOH:

I was totally blown away by ‘Jaco Pastorius’s Word of mouth’. I couldn’t believe that these were sounds made by a bass. I also liked Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin, Stuart Hamm and  Nathan East. I was also later very drawn by the approaches taken by the guitar work of Brian Bromberg and I thought the vocals of Richard Bona were also wonderful. Added to that I was moved by the artist that it would not be an exaggeration to say created the 6-string bass, Anthony Jackson. He personally calls it the contrabass however. And his trio with Michel Camilo and Horacio Hernandez was absolutely outstanding. I got hints about performing slap playing mostly from Marcus Miller 

 

Q: 

Not from Victor Wooten?

BOH:

Wooten has kind of an acrobatic approach to slapping. The way he does slapping I feel is not the usual way one thinks about it where he kind of scratches the strings will all of his fingers. Marcus’ way of slapping is more of a building up of a foundation for the sound and his ‘backing’ is also fantastic. 

Q: 

To return to your story…after you so impressed by Victor Wooten and Billy Sheehan, you made your way to Tokyo at last. 

BOH:

From the time I was in High school I was saying that ‘in the future I will go to Tokyo and debut in a band’. My mother however felt that, ‘if you go to Tokyo and try to get into music while doing part time jobs will just play around with nothing to show for it’, and suggested that I enroll in a music school. I took her up on that and entered the Human Academy Music College in Aoyama, Tokyo. It is no longer in existence however. Upon entering I found out that there a lot of really good players (laughs). Most of the teachers were studio musicians and it was then that I learned that there are other ways to go about making a living at music other than debuting in a band and that led me think that I wanted to be a musician who could work doing sessions and as a back band performer. It was a 2-year program but I went on to be an instructor there after I graduated. After that I started to get a lot of offers from outside the school of people asking me, ‘hey, could you play for us?’, and it was during this time that I met DAITA-san, the guitarist for Siam Shade. At the beginning, I worked as a supporting bassist for the unit BINECKS that DAITA-san and KEITA had formed but later they said to me, ‘we are going to make our major debut and would like you to join as a member’. So, I became a member of BINECKS toward the end of 2007. I had no interest in making a major debut but they were my Senpai and all that, so I couldn’t really turn them down (laughs). 

Q: 

When did you start playing mainly on a 6-string bass?

BOH:

When I had first arrived in Tokyo I was of course playing a 4-string bass, but this extremely bothersome and rather scary teacher at the music school said to me, ‘Omae, your going to have to play a 6-string bass’. After summer vacation had finished and classes had started up again I still did not have a 6-string bass and that teacher got really angry at me – ‘Why do you not do as I tell you! I told you to buy a 6-string bass. Get one and bring it here!’. And so, I bought cheap 6-string bass. At the time I couldn’t really play the guitar nor the piano very well as the classes devoted to chords were rather hard to follow. But with the 6-string bass I was able to play the chords, making it easier to follow along with the classes and I was able to digest music theory as well as chord study much more than I had been able to do before. So, I started to think, ‘hmm, this 6-string bass is a good thing’. Additionally, I was told by a cute woman teacher that, ‘since there are very few back band bassists in Japan using mainly a 6-string bass you will be able to become a 6-string representative for Japan if you work at it from right now’ (laughs). From that point on to now I have been playing the 6-string bass. I only have one 4-string bass in my possession at the moment. I have been playing the 6-string for a long time now and am very used to it. It is very interesting to play and I don’t get asked to play a 4-string anyway. 

Q:

So it is kind of like, ‘If you need a 6-sting bassist, ask BOH-san’?

BOH:

I think the people in the industry know, ‘if you ask for BOH, you know what you will get’. And I don’t know why it is, but I get asked almost exclusively to perform difficult pieces. It is not that I personally like difficult songs though. The other day when we finished recording ‘Chuku’ in a 13 time/beat (?) as the Kari Band I got an offer to perform in 13 time/beat for another band. I have gotten extremely good at this 13 time/beat so I am sure the day will come when people will say, ‘that guy is incredibly good playing in a 13 time/beat, but for quadruple time…not so much’ (laughs). 

Q:

On the Kari Band’s, ’Kari Ongen – Demo’ album you can really fully enjoy BOH-san’s 6-string bass playing. In addition to ‘Chuku’ that came up in the discussion a bit earlier, the tapping performance in ‘Ninja Groove’ is amazing and the tranquil riff in ‘Snowflakes’ is truly impressive. 

BOH:

The foundation for ‘Snowflakes’ came from a phrase that came to me when I was practicing the bass in my home when I was a student. It is a riff of the Lydian scale (a scale where 4 degrees of the major scale have been raised up a semitone) that came to me due to being really into the guitar of Steve Vai at the time. If you delve into Billy Sheehan you always arrive at Steve Vai. I got really interested in this scale that he used that is kind of hard to determine if it has a good feel to it or actually a kind of bad feel and looking into it I found it was the Lydian scale that he was using.  I remembered being really impressed with myself for this really cool phrase that came to me at this snow covered park in Asahikawa. During the recording I was constantly repeating this scale over and over, it is actually really easy. The rest of the parts of this song I left entirely to Fujioka-sensei (Fujioka Mikio). (laughs)

Q: 

In your Kari Band live shows you do a cover of Mike Stern’s ‘Chatter’ (included on the 2003 album, ‘These Times’), but the songs on this album are all original pieces, right?

BOH:

The Kari Band is a session band and we started out just bringing together the songs that each of us liked. In the live shows we do quite a bit of cover songs. The inclusion of ‘Chatter’ was the idea of our drummer, Maeda Yuuya. 

Q:

With 6 songs on the ’Kari Ongen – Demo’ album it is treated as a mini album, but their is a myriad of music and sounds, and the contents are really dense. Also, the jacket is so overpowering. 

BOH:

Yes, it is an instrumental album that has the feel of us the members who all like jazz and fusion getting together and performing what we most want to play at the moment. As for the jacket, right from the outset we said to ourselves, ‘lets go with a real Japanese look’. We have gotten a lot of messages of interest about the release of the album from people overseas as well and so I think this kind of jacket will be met with pleasure by people overseas (laughs). Also, there probably aren’t too many albums with a ‘Japanese style jacket’ in the Jazz/Fusion section of music stores. I am looking forward to the reaction it stirs and how it looks when it hits the record shops. 

 

BABYMETAL DEATH MATCH TOUR – May Revolution Kamishibai collection

 

2013 May 18

BABYMETAL DEATH MATCH TOUR – May Revolution – BATTLE -2

ZEPP DiverCity Tokyo

Story 1 – 

[Revolution]

That was a challenge to exceed oneself, to imagine a totally new self, or, in other words, to go into battle with oneself.

BABYMETAL embarked on a new ordeal that would put them to the test and was to recover the true spirit of Metal that had been taken away by the magical powers of A-KIBA.

Now, together with our like-minded comrades gathered here in this Tokyo town of Odaiba, BABYMETAL will board the [METAL ARK], ‘The Flying V’ as we venture out on this training journey.

Ladies and Gentlemen, is your neck prepared for what is coming?

Now, it is time to lift the curtain on the [May Revolution]!!

As the result of making it through their intensely difficult trials and hardships, 

BABYMETAL has acquired the ability of ‘Speed’ in this country known as Japan.

As Himiko said…

‘If you show me True Metal I will give you ‘Romantic’. 

Himiko certified BABYMETAL as Metal messengers and entrusted Su-metal with one of her canons. 

That canon is known as the scripture of the Lightning that rules the Heavens.

Into this scripture Su-metal inscribed….. this set list that she brought into existence herself! This canon changed into an emblem right before her eyes.

So, just what is the meaning conveyed by this emblem?!

 

 

Story 2 –

The Metal Master of ancient Egypt, ‘Cleopatra’ said this to BABYMETAL when she met them….’In order to acquire True Metal it is necessary to make use of prayer’. 

Dogeza Hedoban <Hedoban done from a kneeling position>…….

Yuimetal and Moametal did nothing but prayer non-stop and continuously in order to obtain True Metal. 

Story 3 –

As the result of making it through their intensely difficult trials and hardships, 

BABYMETAL has acquired the power of ‘Prayer’ in this country known as Egypt.

As Cleopatra said…

‘Metal is already dead’. 

Cleopatra certified BABYMETAL as Metal messengers and entrusted Yuimetal with one of her canons. 

That canon is known as the scripture of the Earth that rules over all creation.

This canon changed into an emblem right before her eyes.

So, just what is the meaning conveyed by this emblem?!

2013 May 19

BABYMETAL DEATH MATCH TOUR – May Revolution – BATTLE -3

ZEPP DiverCity Tokyo

<Same as the 1st paragraph of Story 1>

Story 2 –

The Metal Master of ancient China, ‘Youkihi’ <Yang Kei Fei> said this to BABYMETAL when she met them….’In order to acquire True Metal it is necessary to have Perseverance’. 

Mosshusshu….

Yuimetal and Moametal put their backs to one another and did nothing but Oshikura Manju <a game of pushing against others using your backside>  non-stop and continuously in order to obtain perseverance. 

Story 3 –

As the result of making it through their intensely difficult trials and hardships, 

BABYMETAL has acquired ‘Perseverance’ in this country known as China.

As Youkihi said…

‘What is yours is mine’. 

Youkihi certified BABYMETAL as Metal messengers and entrusted Moametal with one of her canons. 

That canon is known as the scripture of the Goddess that rules over Freedom.

This canon changed into an emblem right before her eyes.

So, just what is the meaning conveyed by this emblem?!

2013 May 21

BABYMETAL DEATH MATCH TOUR – May Revolution – Final Battle

ZEPP DiverCity Tokyo

<Same as the 1st paragraph of Story 1>

Story 2 –

The Metal Master of France, Joan of Arc said this to BABYMETAL when she met them….’In order to acquire True Metal it is necessary to have Pride’. 

Kitsune sign….

BABYMETAL raised their hands in the Kitsune sign, formed a circle and danced so vigorously that they created a storm. 

Story 3 –

As the result of making it through their intensely difficult trials and hardships, 

BABYMETAL has acquired ‘Pride’ in this country known as France.

As Joan of Arc said…

‘You do not necessary have to become No. 1, what you must do is become a truly unique and special entity of which there is Only One. 

Joan of Arc certified BABYMETAL as Metal messengers and entrusted Moametal with the final canon. 

That canon is known as the Black Album of Kitsune-sama.

With this, at last, the emblems all came together depicting a Metal Master Throne?? in the summer night sky. The door to this Metal Master was then opened (not sure about this). 

This leads to making an appearance at the BudouKai where all the great Metal Masters gather.