BABYMETAL in Nikkei Business online

Here a translation of BABYMETAL interview from japanese site Nikkei Business online

babymetal_wembley_750

Babymetal is a Japanese music group that gets best attention worldwide not by its idol-ness but by its performance. By researching its popularity coming from, we might see the new possibility of advertising Japan Culture, Cool Japan to be said.

Its success began with MV of Gimme Chocolate in ’14, its viewcount is over 32 million now. Its album was on Billboard Chart. It hit No.1 on iTunes Metal and Rock chart in western countries and southeast asian countries. Babymetal did its world tour last year in UK, France, Germany, U.S. And Canada. In the UK they performed in front of 65,000 audience at Sonisphere Festival, their quality of singing, dancing, songs, plays were praised.

Then they made their appearances on other music festivals over the world, now in their world tour again at 15 sites in 10 countries. Big names like Metallica, Megadeth and Dragonforce are on the same festivals. And they were awarded in two of popular Metal magazines. They’ll perform a solo live at famous Wembley Arena with 12,000 audience next year.
This is a series of accomplishments as Japanese artist, and exceptional as an idol. They are the youngest solo performers at Budokan, also did at big arenas like SSA and Makuhari Messe. On the other hand, they rarely appear on TV, don’t do any handshake event like other idols. Release periods of songs are slower, they’re far from “National Idol”, even their idol-ness is getting disappearing in Japan.

Then, what in them gets attention from people around the world? I (the author) am a huge fan of them, my wife sent doubtful eyes on me being excited about watching underage girls singing and dancing on YouTube. Now I believe two of us are fans…I assume these eyes are familiar to many middle aged men. Ages of Babymetal audience are varied. Men and women. Their types of music too, from Metal to idols. Fans in their 40s and 50s are not so rare.

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I stood alone at a platform of Keiyo line in Tokyo station, in the band tee with red and black, to their concert at Makuhari. I felt weakness remembering my wife’s glare, but noticed many men, like me, in the same tee. Solo attendees were there. So I was much encouraged to Makuhari.Metal in Japan is said to reach its peak in 80’s, then lost its moment. So they would be that old boys who loved Metal and its heroes in these days. After long years, they found Babymetal, their love of Metal firing up again, and took their feet to the venue again. There’s a reason why people distant from idol culture accept Babymetal. They don’t use Metal as a flavor of idol performance, but they try to pursue Metal as their own power, in a high level.

The concept of Babymetal revealed through Kamishibai, is Metal Resistance (a movement of three girls taking back the moment of Metal). Each member of the back band is top notch players in Japan, their solo performances are in a program. The girls barely talk in their lives, songs performed nonstop. A lot of homage to metal songs grab metal fans’ hearts. From their lives we feel that they aims to be more Metal than idol.

Here’s the point why Babymetal is getting its success over the world. Heavy Metal has dedicated fan base in western countries and Babymetal ran straight into it, not as an idol with Metal fashion but as Metal with girls singing and dancing.

Regarding Metal is western culture, Babymetal can be said to localize idol and Kawaii boldly to western Metal culture. Not to mention, it’s not about deodorizing a smell of idol, but about making a fusion. Metal instinct of pursuing performance skills and idol ones of appealing to majority are two opposites, so making fusion of the two in a higher standard results in a unique performance never been for a Metal fans, gives an impression vividly. There’re discussions going about Babymetal is Metal or idol, or a real thing or not. The fact itself is some kind of proof that Babymetal makes the fusion to some extent, and it’s innovation.

An uncompromising fusion of opposites in a high standard – to generate something new. Babymetal might be the case of it. They even make this attempt to their ongoing story as Metal Resistance.
This can be adopted to other Japanese contents making their way to overseas? It would be just about combining something different into one. But pursuing it to the limit, new contents for new markets would be made. A problem is that such things could survive long or not. Babymetal just released its debut album. As a fan I hope their release of the second and keeps us surprised.

An interview with Kobametal

A new interview with Kobametal

Translation courtesy of Dokoiko via Reddit.

kobametal

 

Music-ism #68 : Series The producers #60 : Kobametal-San, Babymetal producer, Amuse Inc.
One of the most breaking band in 2014 – Babymetal. Its first album got a notable appreciation in the world, they made some legends as it did some support acts for Lady Gaga and made audiences hyped at some festivals and its world tour. This time we interviewed the man behind the scenes.

The reason why it doesn’t make much songs
Q: Did you take a consideration of going worldwide from the beginning of Babymetal?

Koba: I had a feeling slightly that people in foreign countries might’ve loved something like that, but to be honest I didn’t have a slightest idea that we got a ride that fast. It’s just out of blue to me. I noticed it accelerated much after the release of the first album. I’m really surprised that foreign metalheads found it first, who might have been the last one to accept, I thought. It was the beginning.

Q: It had been recognized as an idol before, but in fact the way it took was different. It made less songs… It released songs in a long intervals, didn’t it?

Koba: I don’t want to have filler songs actually. Just what I think is a live performance. My goal is how it performs songs at lives and how audience react to these, I always take back steps from the end and make songs. I also make our songs more like those for a musical than those for constant releases to a market. I have an image that songs themselves are the same but arrangements and interpretations are slightly different every time. Audiences who go to see musicals know what to be performed, right?

Q: But fascinated every time.

Koba: I think we’re that type. So it’s about a beauty in formula, in a way.

Q: Perfectionism for each songs is the key for it, not a number of songs?

Koba: I think so. Now is the time that everything is so accelerating. It would end to be disposable and nothing remains in the end if we ride the tide. I think we better play ten concrete songs in a long run than release many of that kind of songs. Its like, in the end e have one album of Musical Babymetal and everyone can totally enjoy its lives by the one album.
A journey to grade up to the world

 

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Q: That first album was finally released, then it declared to go worldwide in the Budokan.

Koba: There are little things left in Japan once we went to Budokan. So I think it better go outside. We had three periods in Metal Resistance we call it that way, we ended the first one by the Budokan also ended our acts in Japan, acts in a so-called idol scene. Then as the second one we were going to focus on worldwide activities to take a journey to grade up to the world, as our story went. We are telling the story as an oracle from the Fox God. But we didn’t have any idea how it went like that… I almost believe there’s a metal god indeed.

Q: But the time you showed it there’s nothing confirmed (laugh).

Koba: Yes. Always trials and errors. I just decided by large that we took a rest after the Budokan and moved our base to outside of the country.

Q: Took a rest?

Koba: In a common sense an arena tour would be planned right after Budokan, I think it better not take the common promotion. I felt Babymetal could have been consumed easily before its true values were properly recognized though we took an enormous time and effort in it to build a real thing. I thought it wasn’t good so better took a rest a while. So I decided to take a rest, focus on worldwide activities from going to some festivals and tour lives even nothing was scheduled yet.

Q: Did you have a confidence to win?

Koba: No. Not at all.

Q: You decided to go anyway.

Koba: Yes. Everything’s like that actually. I live a life only by my instinct (laugh).
A reason of the success overseas

 

sonisphere

 

Q: In the end, people in foreign countries were unexpectedly hyped. What did you think was a reason of the success?

Koba: I think it’s amount of time and effort that we have been taking since the beginning. We never released a song with compromise, but made our best songs as we could. It hit foreign people I think. When I had a talk with media people they said its sound was cool and they have never seen these joyful metal before including performances of these three.

Q: As a conclusion, no compromise policy is a good decision.

Koba: I think so. There’s often the case that an original concept gets unfocused by increasing voices when a project gets bigger. But as the case of Babymetal we didn’t care about tying-up promotions from the beginning, took our own way. So I never thought that we had to adopt, or sing in English cause we were going overseas.

Q: There is nothing changed in particular?

Koba: Nothing. Just dubbed and subbed presentation movies in English, that played in our lives. Some request for the sub and dub but others do otherwise, I think neither is wrong. It means that they would be disappointed if wrong localization was made. It’s like we don’t have to localize Ramen (noodle) when people expect a genuine Ramen in Tokyo. Babymetal might be the same for them.

 

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Q: Babymetal took a likable responses in Sonisphire, one of the biggest metal festival, didn’t it?

Koba: Well, it’s my biggest impact. At first it’s booked at another stage in another day. And they received tons of inquiries so made a change to the main stage, so we thought it was okay? Really? But no one knew it’s okay or not. So we just went to find the answer. And we realized the way it proceeded was completely different from that in Japan. No rehearsal scheduled… I thought we got to get some experience there. We the member, bands and staffs all did our best, really hard.

Q: And the audience were so hyped.

Koba: There were few people at the setting, but more and more audiences were coming from the first song, then full of them when I noticed. It’s surprising. Its host said Babymetal was practically the second in the day and they had never seen such a crowd at noon. We’re selected in a ten best acts at Sonisphire of the year. It’s so surprising.
The keyword is the only one

Q: What you learned was to go there anyway.

Koba: We don’t know anything until we go there. Truth. Until we see it. To go there, feel the atmosphere and share the time is everything. It’s so important I realized.

Q: Experience than strategy.

Koba: Right. And better assume anything common in Japan is not common overseas. You need to throw everything into it and no room for complaining that you need this or that.

Q: For your last word, what’s your ambition of worldwide challenge in 2015?

Koba: It’s also continuing trials and errors, but everything is a result of daily efforts. What we get cleared today builds our tomorrow. It’s nothing new but it describes everything. And the members go to their schools and they are still underage so activities are limited. So even I say overseas activities, there’s no possibility now for them to move to other countries to be its residents. And it’s unusual that Babymetal hasn’t had any national tour in japan yet. We just do lives in Tokyo area. Fans are coming to see them as visiting a holy place. But it’s nearly been a custom now so maybe we better keep the style as it is (laugh). The fact was that its first tour was the world tour last year. It might suit to Babymetal.

Q: Well, Babymetal is nothing to compare, isn’t it?

Koba: Being the only one is its keyword from the beginning, and its concept is that we have to be ourselves, believe in ourselves and do what we have to do. In other word we have just one thing to do. In the end, we could perform best when we do what we believe.

Source: http://babymetal.me/906.html

BABYMETAL exclusive interview

Here is a english translation from NY 新聞社社長の摩天楼★日記

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Q: So first of all, your faces are small! (Note: A small face is really highly praised in Japan. One of the girls’ obsessions.)

Su: No, no no no no (laugh).
Moa: I don’t think so (laugh).

Q: You did great yesterday. NYC audiences were so hyped.
Su: Thank you. It’s our first live at NYC, so I was full of anxiety about what audience was like here and how our live went, but I was so surprised and happy when I heard audiences loud from the dressing room.
Yui: And once the live began a lot of clapping and singing along happened, so I had a very happy time.

Q: Most of them were New Yorker… Americans.
Moa: Yes, I was so surprised!
Su: It’s so great, wasn’t it? Because we could see their faces so well.
Yui: We even could see them at balcony.

Q: And they sang along in Japanese.
Su: There is a solo song of mine titled as Akatsuki, its lyrics are difficult even for Japanese but fans overseas learned it and sang along as they could, I was so impressed!

Q: How did you feel first when live at NYC was booked?
Su: An announcement was done in the middle of our live in Summer Sonic! We were never noticed about it and it was shown on a screen at the very end of the introduction video, a simple statement only (laugh). We took a rest at the moment and saying “What?” is all we could do (laugh).
Moa: Yes, yes (laugh).

Q: Didn’t you know at all till the moment?
Su: No, we didn’t. We just said, “Really? Really? Really?” (laugh) We panicked little just after that. Moametal and I saw it but Yuimetal didn’t, and she said, “What? It must be kidding,” and “What? What?” So we couldn’t talk about the same thing. Soon a next song began and we scrambled to the stage saying, “Time to go! Time to go!” (laugh) We were full of surprise at the announcement but full of joy because I felt like retuning here after seeing the town and warmth of people at NYC in last May.
Yui: I was so surprised when I knew it at the live with audience, but also I was so, so much happy. I felt the people were so kind at the last visit in May. I was looking forward to seeing how these people look like at a live.

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Q: Is it normal to know live schedules like that?
Su: Yes, it always is.
Moa: Always, isn’t it?
Yui: We knew about The World Tour on stage, too.

Q: See. It’s a Babymetal way, isn’t it? (laugh) But you would do it well at the end of the day.
All: (Laugh)

Q: Support acts for Lady Gaga’s in the last Spring were noticed much.
Moa: What I learned by my own eyes from watching Lady Gaga-san’s show in the last May was that a live is beyond languages. Lady Gaga-san’s songs were English which I don’t understand, but I could feel something. I remembered that music is universal. So when the NYC live was booked I felt like delivering my feelings (even I could sing only in Japanese) as a presenter this time.
Su: Lady Gaga-san’s song and Babymetal’s are different in genres, aren’t they? So I was so anxious whether audiences accepted us or not. And I remembered at the very first they looked like, “What were these girls?” with a lot of “?” in their minds. But the more acts we played, the more I could feel they got some fun with us. I did remember one of her staff said to us, “You’re so good on stage!”
Moa: We played five stages. At the final one we did warm-ups with her back dancers (laugh). (Not only Gaga-san but) also staff were all very friendly.

Q: You looks so happy.
Moa: Yes! (laugh)

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Q: What was Gaga-san like in person?
Su: We three had a talk with Gaga-san before her live, she gave us an advice kindly. We got almost paralyzed in front of her but she gave us words and never was bothered to understand us speaking in Japanese. She is full of kindness.
Yui: And in a middle of singing Gimme Choco I looked at a side of the stage she’s there in a long time to support us!
Moa: I happened to look at a side and Lady Gaga-san’s there and I said, “Gosh!” in my head (laugh)

Q: It’s surprising, no doubt (laugh).
Yui: She’s so kind.

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Q: Are lives overseas different from those in Japan?
Su: Audiences in Japan tend to fill out in sync, and those overseas tend to sing along. My impression is that they enjoy songs as a whole.

Q: Did you have fun in NYC live?
All: Absolutely yes! (in sync)

Q: Will you come back here again?
All: We will! (In sync)

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Q: For last words, your messages to readers in America, please?
Su: Yes. What I try to do is to do best by doing what we always did. It might be needed to do anything different, but I want to deliver good Babymetal as usual. I want to deliver it to fans in America, too. I came to the city and felt warmth of its people, so I want to be here again. I hope you looking forward to seeing us in the city again!
Moa: I want to build a new genre Babymetal by blending Kawaii and Metal. So I want to do what we only can do now and in future. I was so happy to have a chance to perform in NYC, so I want to be here to see you again.
Yui: Babymetal is distinct not only by our songs but also by our dances, so I want more people to know that. So I want to improve ourselves a lot enough to deliver that to many people as possible. I’ll be back.
(End of the interview)

Dom Lawson interview with Hedoban magazine (vol. 5)

The man who runs column on a major paper The Guardian, who is one of main writers of one of the top metal magazines Metal Hammer and who recognized Babymetal earliest and highest in the UK, finally came to Hedoban which pushes Babymetal as hard as can in Japan!

Dom Lawson
Dom Lawson

He was interviewed with Japanese metal magazine Hedoban before the second UK live at O2 Academy and its translation as follows:

Q : First, please tell us your metal experience as a listener and metal fan.

D : I spend almost of my life with listening to metal! Metal has taken my heart since I knew Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Twisted Sisters at ten years old. I devoted to thrash metal in my teenage years, and have listened to all sub genres of extreme metal from death metal to grind core to black metal, and underground music. I also like commercial and modern ones, but my true passion wants traditional metal and its descendants. I have listened to music of countless genres since then, my passion for metal is beyond ones for other genres. And I feel myself belong to it. Now I got a job to write about metal and drown in music with best circumstances. It’s so great!

Q : I went to see performance at Sonisphire and solo show at The Forum, I was surprised by an amount of metalheads there even more than those in Japan. Especially audiences in a solo show at The Forum was unexpectedly hyped, and it was one of the best hype of all. What in Babymetal do you think moved metalheads in UK?

D : Really? The impression might not be 100% precise. To be honest I was surprised to the fact that Babymetal got a big applause at Sonisphire. UK metal fans are so varied so we don’t tell what goes big and what not. But it was true that their appearance in Sonisphire this time gained tons of recognition all of a sudden. Fans who saw their stage got to know that Kami Band was real metallers and have superb talent. Also passionate performance of the trio of Babymetal had enough power of conviction. A power of making audiences enjoy flourished from the stage and it affected on the audiences. Yes, some somber and difficult audiences must have disliked a concept of Babymetal. But they react like that to anything.

Q : Have you ever had a interest in any Japanese metal band before Babymetal came to you?

D : I’m a big fan of Sigh and Church of Misery. And I like Boredoms, Ruins, Melt-Banana, Zeni Geva and more. Japanese bands give me an impression that they add new and a little crazy interpretation into established ideas on music. It makes music more fun and exotic for eastern listeners including me.

Q : In Japan die-hard Iron Maiden fans are recognized to be a high ranked metal fan and called as Gachi Metarā (true metalheads). And it is true that many in these Gachi Metarā never admit so-called perverted metal. What do you think of that, as one of die-hard Iron Maiden fans?

D : Yes, there are a lot of traditional metal fans in the UK, and they don’t accept anything but conservative and authentic metal sound. Fans of Maiden might support these narrow mindedness in a sense. But most of metal fans in the UK have an open mind about music. It would be because the UK is a major market and we have opportunities to listen to all bands, all kinds of music in the world. So there would be a lot of Maiden fans who also love Babymetal because it’s new, different a little and enjoying music, isn’t it? Not everyone listen to the music all the time along with a rule of what metal should be.

Q : Changing the subject, when and how was your first encounter with Babymetal?

D : Same as the many people I suppose, at first I knew Babymetal from a link which someone posted on Twitter. I clicked the link and watched a video, then I became a fan in a moment.

Q : Which song was it that you listened first?

D : I’m not 100% sure, but I think Megitsune was my first experience. I liked it in a moment. It’s enough heavy to me as a metalhead, its Pop aspect was also good. Good quality Pop music does no harm at all.

Q : So, which is your favorite Babymetal song?

D : I have two, Iine! and Ijime, Dame, Zettai. Iine! is crazy about mixture of different styles of music and has fine composition. Ijime, Dame, Zettai is a gorgeous epic metal song with killer melody!

Q : Hedoban thinks that Babymetal the first album is something that will become one of the best metal albums. What do you think of this album?

D : I think it’s a great album, too. All songs in it are powerful, also performance and production are first class. On top of that, it’s completely different from any other existing songs around us. I feel so refreshed by listening to it. I listen to it many times and my 11 years old daughter says she loves the album.

Q : Was Sonisphire your first time to see them live? I think it sounded different from sound sources or videos…?

D : I have seen Babymetal only at Sonisphire. I think the performance was minimum version of their full lives that they always do in Japan, even so it was the performance that exceeded my expectation enough. It was unexpectedly fun from the beginning to end!

Q : Then, which is your favorite member of Babymetal?

BABYMETAL uk flag

D : It’s a question I can’t answer to be honest. Haha! (wild)

Q : (laugh) So, what’s interesting about Babymetal for you? What’s the major difference from other metal and loud bands?

D : One of the best joys in life is to listen to something new. It should be not just a copy of existing music but fresh ones that surprise everyone. So Babymetal is exciting. The difference between them and other bands in metal scene is that everything they do is a series of joy and surprise. I watch them and think they are great.

Q : In Japan Babymetal is so popular enough to sell out arenas with over 10,000 audiences, but there’s a lot of controversial discussions about it’s metal or not metal. Do you think they are metal? If so, what do you think makes them metal?

D : Babymetal is not authentic metal. I think Babymetal is a hybrid of metal and Japanese Pop music. But they are heavy and enough metal, that makes metal fans enjoy it, including me. Personally it doesn’t matter to me whether Babymetal is metal or not. I can listen to Maiden or King Diamond or Carcass whenever I want some pure heavy metal. But sometimes you want to enjoy another things with more experimental and roguish taste, don’t you?

Q : I see. How about discussions in the UK about Babymetal is metal or not? And did it change after Babymetal’s appearance at Sonisphire and their solo show at the Forum?

D : As I said, there are many metalheads in the UK who don’t want to listen to Babymetal. But it’s not a problem at all! I think it’s not right to want acceptance from everyone because Babymetal is far from standard metal. But there must be a lot of people who find themselves enjoy Babymetal unexpectedly. I think it is just a proof of how good a concept of Babymetal was built.

Q : Then by seeing flat, what results did the Europa tour bring to Babymetal?

D : it’s a great success, I think. Because it had a lot of people change their previous impression on Babymetal. Their London live was sold out and everyone who I talked with said that they had an amazing night. Is it a most important thing, isn’t it?

Q : In Japan rock and metal media are rather negative to Babymetal and situation is like Hedoban fights alone. Hedoban thought “We can see the future of metal in Babymetal,” then issued special articles even insanely. What reactions are there from rock and metal media in the UK?

D : I think Metal Hammer is only medium in the UK that really supports Babymetal though some other magazines covered them and wrote positive articles. I think the more underground and extreme these media is, the less they mention about them. But we knew it in advance!

Q : The UK is a mother of metal and people have keen eyes and ears on metal, I believe. How do you think about metalheads in the UK?

D : UK people have an open mind to accept new things in general, and want to make a decision by watching and listening by themselves. So it never happens that everyone has the same opinion. And it’s boring if it happened. But UK metal community is powerful and passionate.

Q : Babymetal is going to come to London in next November. What live do you expect at Brixton Academy?

D : Needless to say I want eye-opening gorgeousness and unbelievable joy!

Q : How much popularity in the UK do you think Babymetal get on future? Do they go farther to O2 Arena?

D : The possibility is high, I think. To become as big enough to be a headliner at O2 Arena, Babymetal needs to bring in both mainstream Pop audiences and metalheads. But it must be possible.

Q : At last, Babymetal is going to play a solo live at an arena for over 20,000 audiences in next January. We want you to be there if you can! Metalheads in Japan who love Babymetal will welcome you!

D : I want to go to Japan because I want to see Babymetal. But I need someone who gives me my expense to Japan! (laugh)

Above is his review of BABYMETAL, the debut album.

Dom Lawson interview with Hedoban magazine (vol. 5)

The man who runs column on a major paper The Guardian, who is one of main writers of one of the top metal magazines Metal Hammer and who recognized Babymetal earliest and highest in the UK, finally came to Hedoban which pushes Babymetal as hard as can in Japan!

Dom Lawson
Dom Lawson

He was interviewed with Japanese metal magazine Hedoban before the second UK live at O2 Academy and its translation as follows:

Q : First, please tell us your metal experience as a listener and metal fan.

D : I spend almost of my life with listening to metal! Metal has taken my heart since I knew Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Twisted Sisters at ten years old. I devoted to thrash metal in my teenage years, and have listened to all sub genres of extreme metal from death metal to grind core to black metal, and underground music. I also like commercial and modern ones, but my true passion wants traditional metal and its descendants. I have listened to music of countless genres since then, my passion for metal is beyond ones for other genres. And I feel myself belong to it. Now I got a job to write about metal and drown in music with best circumstances. It’s so great!

Q : I went to see performance at Sonisphire and solo show at The Forum, I was surprised by an amount of metalheads there even more than those in Japan. Especially audiences in a solo show at The Forum was unexpectedly hyped, and it was one of the best hype of all. What in Babymetal do you think moved metalheads in UK?

D : Really? The impression might not be 100% precise. To be honest I was surprised to the fact that Babymetal got a big applause at Sonisphire. UK metal fans are so varied so we don’t tell what goes big and what not. But it was true that their appearance in Sonisphire this time gained tons of recognition all of a sudden. Fans who saw their stage got to know that Kami Band was real metallers and have superb talent. Also passionate performance of the trio of Babymetal had enough power of conviction. A power of making audiences enjoy flourished from the stage and it affected on the audiences. Yes, some somber and difficult audiences must have disliked a concept of Babymetal. But they react like that to anything.

Q : Have you ever had a interest in any Japanese metal band before Babymetal came to you?

D : I’m a big fan of Sigh and Church of Misery. And I like Boredoms, Ruins, Melt-Banana, Zeni Geva and more. Japanese bands give me an impression that they add new and a little crazy interpretation into established ideas on music. It makes music more fun and exotic for eastern listeners including me.

Q : In Japan die-hard Iron Maiden fans are recognized to be a high ranked metal fan and called as Gachi Metarā (true metalheads). And it is true that many in these Gachi Metarā never admit so-called perverted metal. What do you think of that, as one of die-hard Iron Maiden fans?

D : Yes, there are a lot of traditional metal fans in the UK, and they don’t accept anything but conservative and authentic metal sound. Fans of Maiden might support these narrow mindedness in a sense. But most of metal fans in the UK have an open mind about music. It would be because the UK is a major market and we have opportunities to listen to all bands, all kinds of music in the world. So there would be a lot of Maiden fans who also love Babymetal because it’s new, different a little and enjoying music, isn’t it? Not everyone listen to the music all the time along with a rule of what metal should be.

Q : Changing the subject, when and how was your first encounter with Babymetal?

D : Same as the many people I suppose, at first I knew Babymetal from a link which someone posted on Twitter. I clicked the link and watched a video, then I became a fan in a moment.

Q : Which song was it that you listened first?

D : I’m not 100% sure, but I think Megitsune was my first experience. I liked it in a moment. It’s enough heavy to me as a metalhead, its Pop aspect was also good. Good quality Pop music does no harm at all.

Q : So, which is your favorite Babymetal song?

D : I have two, Iine! and Ijime, Dame, Zettai. Iine! is crazy about mixture of different styles of music and has fine composition. Ijime, Dame, Zettai is a gorgeous epic metal song with killer melody!

Q : Hedoban thinks that Babymetal the first album is something that will become one of the best metal albums. What do you think of this album?

D : I think it’s a great album, too. All songs in it are powerful, also performance and production are first class. On top of that, it’s completely different from any other existing songs around us. I feel so refreshed by listening to it. I listen to it many times and my 11 years old daughter says she loves the album.

Q : Was Sonisphire your first time to see them live? I think it sounded different from sound sources or videos…?

D : I have seen Babymetal only at Sonisphire. I think the performance was minimum version of their full lives that they always do in Japan, even so it was the performance that exceeded my expectation enough. It was unexpectedly fun from the beginning to end!

Q : Then, which is your favorite member of Babymetal?

BABYMETAL uk flag

D : It’s a question I can’t answer to be honest. Haha! (wild)

Q : (laugh) So, what’s interesting about Babymetal for you? What’s the major difference from other metal and loud bands?

D : One of the best joys in life is to listen to something new. It should be not just a copy of existing music but fresh ones that surprise everyone. So Babymetal is exciting. The difference between them and other bands in metal scene is that everything they do is a series of joy and surprise. I watch them and think they are great.

Q : In Japan Babymetal is so popular enough to sell out arenas with over 10,000 audiences, but there’s a lot of controversial discussions about it’s metal or not metal. Do you think they are metal? If so, what do you think makes them metal?

D : Babymetal is not authentic metal. I think Babymetal is a hybrid of metal and Japanese Pop music. But they are heavy and enough metal, that makes metal fans enjoy it, including me. Personally it doesn’t matter to me whether Babymetal is metal or not. I can listen to Maiden or King Diamond or Carcass whenever I want some pure heavy metal. But sometimes you want to enjoy another things with more experimental and roguish taste, don’t you?

Q : I see. How about discussions in the UK about Babymetal is metal or not? And did it change after Babymetal’s appearance at Sonisphire and their solo show at the Forum?

D : As I said, there are many metalheads in the UK who don’t want to listen to Babymetal. But it’s not a problem at all! I think it’s not right to want acceptance from everyone because Babymetal is far from standard metal. But there must be a lot of people who find themselves enjoy Babymetal unexpectedly. I think it is just a proof of how good a concept of Babymetal was built.

Q : Then by seeing flat, what results did the Europa tour bring to Babymetal?

D : it’s a great success, I think. Because it had a lot of people change their previous impression on Babymetal. Their London live was sold out and everyone who I talked with said that they had an amazing night. Is it a most important thing, isn’t it?

Q : In Japan rock and metal media are rather negative to Babymetal and situation is like Hedoban fights alone. Hedoban thought “We can see the future of metal in Babymetal,” then issued special articles even insanely. What reactions are there from rock and metal media in the UK?

D : I think Metal Hammer is only medium in the UK that really supports Babymetal though some other magazines covered them and wrote positive articles. I think the more underground and extreme these media is, the less they mention about them. But we knew it in advance!

Q : The UK is a mother of metal and people have keen eyes and ears on metal, I believe. How do you think about metalheads in the UK?

D : UK people have an open mind to accept new things in general, and want to make a decision by watching and listening by themselves. So it never happens that everyone has the same opinion. And it’s boring if it happened. But UK metal community is powerful and passionate.

Q : Babymetal is going to come to London in next November. What live do you expect at Brixton Academy?

D : Needless to say I want eye-opening gorgeousness and unbelievable joy!

Q : How much popularity in the UK do you think Babymetal get on future? Do they go farther to O2 Arena?

D : The possibility is high, I think. To become as big enough to be a headliner at O2 Arena, Babymetal needs to bring in both mainstream Pop audiences and metalheads. But it must be possible.

Q : At last, Babymetal is going to play a solo live at an arena for over 20,000 audiences in next January. We want you to be there if you can! Metalheads in Japan who love Babymetal will welcome you!

D : I want to go to Japan because I want to see Babymetal. But I need someone who gives me my expense to Japan! (laugh)

Above is his review of BABYMETAL, the debut album.

Kami Band who’s who – Another god of guitar, drum and programmer

Kami Band is a back band for BABYMETAL – its member is a god (Kami) of music summoned by The Fox God stage by stage. All the Kamis might have their own jobs.

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So members are not fixed. In the previous article, this site explained Takayoshi Ohmura (guitar), Leda (guitar), BOH (bass) and Aoyama Hideki (drum) before. But other Kamis are on board. Let me explain Mikio Fujioka (guitar), Yuya Maeta (drum) and Hidefumi Usami (program)!

Mikio Fujioka – god of guitar

Some fans call him as Ko-gami (a small god) in Japanese with friendly feelings, compared to Ohmura Takayoshi as Oh-gami (a tall god). We can see his boyish outfit in a lot of his lecture books, columns on popular guitar magazine Young Guitar, also in videos of his plays. He’s a fulltime lecturer of a music school MI Japan which a guitar maker ESP runs. He’s rather a jazz and fusion player but plays all genres excellently. He was a student of it and became a lecturer right after he graduated. The Next video shows his various and skillful plays with Babymetal, in some other bands and other performances.

As a god of guitar, he appeared less than other guitarists Leda and Ohmura. So he is like a god of gods of guitar. It is true in a way because he taught Ohmura at the school. (By the way the rest Leda was also from the school.) He was first summoned at Inazuma Rock Festival 2013, and next appearance was BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR in this summer in France, German and the UK including Sonisphere festival. He saved Leda and the band on Sonisphere stage when Leda’s guitar had a trouble and took a few minutes for another one in the middle of the last song Ijime, Dame, Zettai.

Yuya Maeta – god of drum

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He was first summoned to BABYMETAL live in Japan on June 2014. And he played at the LA live and Lady Gaga support acts in this summer in the US, and the return tour in NYC and London. He was a support drummer for Blue Man Group and began to play with Marty Friedman Band from this summer. The following video is Headbangya!! with him in NYC live.

Hidefumi Usami – god of program

He is a programmer, arranger and also a composer who worked with Gospelers and other singers and bands. He was first summoned for BABYMETAL Japan tour on this June and has supported all of their live performances since then.

Kami Band who’s who – Another god of guitar, drum and programmer

Kami Band is a back band for BABYMETAL – its member is a god (Kami) of music summoned by The Fox God stage by stage. All the Kamis might have their own jobs.

1921145_10202540270581288_1614117966_o

So members are not fixed. In the previous article, this site explained Takayoshi Ohmura (guitar), Leda (guitar), BOH (bass) and Aoyama Hideki (drum) before. But other Kamis are on board. Let me explain Mikio Fujioka (guitar), Yuya Maeta (drum) and Hidefumi Usami (program)!

Mikio Fujioka – god of guitar

Some fans call him as Ko-gami (a small god) in Japanese with friendly feelings, compared to Ohmura Takayoshi as Oh-gami (a tall god). We can see his boyish outfit in a lot of his lecture books, columns on popular guitar magazine Young Guitar, also in videos of his plays. He’s a fulltime lecturer of a music school MI Japan which a guitar maker ESP runs. He’s rather a jazz and fusion player but plays all genres excellently. He was a student of it and became a lecturer right after he graduated. The Next video shows his various and skillful plays with Babymetal, in some other bands and other performances.

As a god of guitar, he appeared less than other guitarists Leda and Ohmura. So he is like a god of gods of guitar. It is true in a way because he taught Ohmura at the school. (By the way the rest Leda was also from the school.) He was first summoned at Inazuma Rock Festival 2013, and next appearance was BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR in this summer in France, German and the UK including Sonisphere festival. He saved Leda and the band on Sonisphere stage when Leda’s guitar had a trouble and took a few minutes for another one in the middle of the last song Ijime, Dame, Zettai.

Yuya Maeta – god of drum

doko_maeta

He was first summoned to BABYMETAL live in Japan on June 2014. And he played at the LA live and Lady Gaga support acts in this summer in the US, and the return tour in NYC and London. He was a support drummer for Blue Man Group and began to play with Marty Friedman Band from this summer. The following video is Headbangya!! with him in NYC live.

Hidefumi Usami – god of program

He is a programmer, arranger and also a composer who worked with Gospelers and other singers and bands. He was first summoned for BABYMETAL Japan tour on this June and has supported all of their live performances since then.

Five moments that differentiated BABYMETAL as what it is today

Prologue: To the Metal Resistance

Many reactions, reviews and news have been issued about BABYMETAL. Many of those referred to their forming as an Idol unit, their ignorance of Heavy Metal before the beginning, their going viral with Gimme Chocolate MV, and their successful performance at a main stage of Sonisphere festival.

But how many people know what happened between these moments? Everything has a chain of cause-and-result cycles. The same does to BABYMETAL. Here reviews a series of five critical moments from its birth to date that became causes/results made them what they are now.

1. Kobametal the producer found the way to shine Suzuka Nakamoto aka Su-metal, the talented lead vocalist most

Suzuka Nakamoto has been in show biz over 10 years even she’s 16 now. She’s said to have been always recognized as special talent and had already proved her powerful and distinctive voice and live performance skill when she was ten as a member of Karen Girl’s, one-year-only idol group act. They fired up an arena with 10,000 audiences by their performance. When the group disbanded as planned in 2009, her bright future was promised as an idol singer in Japan.

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But her voice and dance was just out of standard from Japanese idol, even too powerful and straight. The fact that her office Amuse didn’t promote her like that was the proof of it. Here was the one who worked at the office. His name was Key Kobayashi – future Kobametal the producer.

Key was decades-long fan of Heavy Metal, had experience on PR and an administrative job of some rock bands back then. He thought carefully about the best way for Suzuka to make full potential of her unique talent of singing and dancing out to the world. He saw her as a limitless type of performer. She said by herself that she didn’t remember anything when she’s in the zone on stage. And everyone saw her hit unexpected quality in singing and dancing.

An idea finally hit the man that a speed and loudness of Heavy Metal was the answer that could bring chemistry with Suzuka’s full power. At the same time he went to Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, US to see Japanese Metal band X Japan performing. He saw many people there finally jumping around here and there along with its Japanese-lyrics song with their X-shaped arms high up to the sky, even hard-looking reggae guy.

He felt confident in these jumping clouds that Japanese heavy music could transcend a border of languages, nationalities and music preferences to touch and move people who even didn’t understand Japanese at all.
So he was sure he could make it by blending two powerful weapons together – one was Suzuka Nakamoto the quality-proven performer and the other was heavy music, his lifetime devotion and profession.

2. BABYMETAL was formed with twins-like enchanting girls Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi with Suzuka

Suzuka was a powerful asset but she’s so distinctive by any means. Also in Japan a solo idol became out of fashion. So he thought to add partners to her but at the same time standard girls’ group format didn’t seem to work. In the recruiting period, he wanted a feel of little twins dancing around of Suzuka like former famous twins idol The Peanuts signing for Mothra, and finally Yui and Moa caught his eye.

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Both of them were eleven years old, almost identical outfit like twins also had years of experience of CMs, fashion shows and stages at the time. The miracle was that those twins-like two girls were in the same office along with Suzuka. The two are becoming less identical now but they kept almost identical like twins in years.
Both of them easily cleared average qualities in performing, but each of them have different strong points. Yui is good at dancing and more modest and Moa is good at charming and communicative type. And Suzuka is also well known as gno-brainerh type of person at her own pace. They are capable also professional, synchronized also complementary like a stable triangle.

3. BABYMETAL came with a unique and quality coupling of Heavy Metal sound, J-pop melody, dynamic dance and Idol appearance by their debut song Doki Doki Morning

Doki Doki Morning was released on 2011/10/24 from Juuonbu Records label that was just built for BABYMETAL only. Juuonbu means a heavy music club that is a name of a subsidiary of Sakura Gakuin that is an idol academy in their office, Amuse Inc. The song is catchy J-Pop number with cute choreography of three little girls, but once you listen to its instrumental version you’ll find how heavy its sound really is. It uses some of PANTERA drum sounds (how many other girls’ groups use sounds from PANTERA?)

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It didn’t become a big hit but it could make BABYMETAL survive, and it set the tone of its sound since then – brutality of Heavy Metal and catchiness of J-Music with complexity of Idol song. Japanese Idol song is even chaotic. It can allow almost anything under the name of Kawaii girls. Many music talents from other genres have come to the genre and create vast range of songs, and it became like a meta-genre that holds a lot of genres underneath because it would be said that music industry has been shrunken much in Japan and Idol is now the only genre that generates enough sales to be able to sustain Japanese music industry.

In fact, there have been a lot of songs of Idols with heavy taste and Heavy Metal bands with cute girls in Japan. But the genius of Key and greatness of the girls are that they never accept BABYMETAL to stay just a taste but challenge to be a real thing. Their Heavy Metal sound is real. So is their Pop melody, choreography, Idol charisma, Suzuka’s voice and Yui and Moa’s cuteness, too. That makes the difference. You can tell by yourselves and those who came to see them live left their comments that even metalheads in decades really enjoyed their performance, held their breaths away by Su-metal’s voice and melt their hearts by Yui and Moa’s cuteness. And to our surprise their performances seem to keep improving from comments and reviews.

4. BABYMETAL made a successful first appearance to a big rock festival, Summer Sonic with the youngest performer record

Summer Sonic is a big rock festival in Japan with a long history since 2000 which now hosts over 120,000 audiences in two days. Its headliners were big names like Green Day, Marilyn Manson, Guns N’ Roses, Oasis, Linkin Park, Metallica, Stevie Wonder and more.
BABYMETAL appeared there in 2012 by invitation from its host which saw BABYMETAL as something new with potential though they had only 5 songs, released only 3 singles and no album and little appearance on TV and magazine back then. They played at sub stage rather small. But it was their first exposure to many non-Idol fans, musicians and persons in music industry and media of broader music genres.

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The band got into the second level from the performance. They didn’t play at small event space anymore, held first solo live with 1,300 audiences and did first performance abroad in Singapore. And these lead them to their major debut and to their back band, Kami Band.

5. BABYMETAL acquired authentic Heavy Metal feel with their major debut song Ijime, Dame, Zettai and introduced Kami Band as a back band in their live

And early in 2013 their major debut came with Ijime, Dame, Zettai. It was actually their second song, but it was their fourth single. It might be that Kobametal kept waiting for the release until the time came. It was a straight and strong power metal number with well-structured melody line that could maximize power of Su-metal’s power with impressive shredding guitar solo and endless twin bass drum roams.

Kobametal said that he “thought it’s time for a fast ball hard enough to surprise metalheads,” and they won the bet. He “finally got some credit to talk with metalheads,” and it earned “pretty good sales figure. The CD sales kept its moment long in the front of stores.”

And at the same time, he made a decision to introduce live back band into their stage performances. BABYMETAL had played with pre-recorded track till the period. Despite of financial and temporal cost, the back band could improve their live performance a lot. And it needs mentioning to the quality of these band players.

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It’s named as Kami Band. Kami is a word that refers to god. All the member deserve the name because every one of them is regarded as top notch musician in Japan. But why these best of the best join to this three-piece idol girls’ unit? They are the ones who never be pressed for good offers. More money? Maybe. A pressure of big music agency? Maybe.
But some of them said playing in BABYMETAL behind of these hard-working talented girls and trying different types of well-produced music are just so much fun also challenging. Also they said they felt confident that BABYMETAL was going to be something before it became as it is now. They even said these girls were so professional enough to respect as a musician. They are all top notch performers. Both the girls and the band. And here would be chemistry between them. So is there any reason that BABYMETAL is NOT going to be a real thing in the world?

Epilogue: The Metal Resistance is going on

So these are critical moments that BABYMETAL has had until it became the Internet viral with Gimme Chocolate. Maybe many of you know what happened after the song. And I want to say. The song IS – or was – viral. It is watched over 17,000,000 times from last April on YouTube. Some said it’s another WTF thing from Japan. Yes it’s very different from American or Europian Pop, Heavy Metal or any other music. It might have surprised tons of people in the world in various senses.

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But is BABYMETAL itself just a viral in the Internet? Three months later when BABYMETAL appeared into curios eyes from 60,000 people and left from a main stage of Sonisphere with great amount of applause under the opening-up UK sky on July 5, audiences there and so many other people in the world who watched it via YouTube later would have felt that BABYMETAL was something in the real world. Or anything different with potential to the future.
Now they just closed the Metal Resistance Episode II with live performances in Japan, Germany, France, UK and US. Audiences and media people from various countries felt their performance live by their own eyes, ears and hearts. They must have felt BABYMETAL was not another WTF from Japan but something new that can deliver quality experiences that  can trancend borders of languages, nationalities and music preferences to touch and move people who even didn’t understand Japanese at all. And BABYMETAL declared the beginning of Metal Resistance Episode III from O2 Academy, Brixton in UK.
We don’t know what it is yet. But whatever it will be we already know this will come next year with quality. It will come. We will see it before long.

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Rumor of the Internet : BABYMETAL, DragonForce and Attack on Titan collaboration

The moment BABYMETAL played the bland-new song «The One», a rumor started to fly over the Internet. It says that the song indecates future collaboration of BABYMETAL with Attack on Titan, an Anime which went to the Internet phenomena last year.

Nothing has been confirmed at the point, but what makes people talking about the rumor? I am going to pick up some “coincidences” said in the Internet.

1. Coincidence of riding a horse
In the biginning of the song, Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal do choreography of riding a horse running fast with whipping. And in Attack on Titan, horses are main carrier and main characters ride their horses.

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2. Coincidence of salute posing
In the middle of the song, the three girls do saluting pose with putting their right hands on their chest. In Attack on Titan, the same saluting is using a lot of times as a sign of royality and bravery to their army against titans.

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3. Coincidence of motive and characteristics
From its early days BABYMETAL describes their lives and other activities as The Metal Resistance. They have a mission to save Heavy Metal and the world by introducing the new style of Heavy Metal. That mission started from nothing, has a lot of obstacles and difficulties. So it is called as resistance.
As for Attack on Titan, the story began from massive attack of titans with countless casualties, and almost no hope left with human race. The main characters faced a lot of obstacles and difficulties. The main character never give up and keep his heart burning, pushing him and his friends forward as he can.

The new song is a straight power metal number with shredding guitar and J-Rock melody. Lyrics of BABYMETAL brand-new song describes a resistance from solidarity to unity as one with keeping their inner fire burning up, overcoming obstacles and difficulties. In a word they have same storyline, motive and feeling.

4. Coincidence of release dates
The song had its debut last week. The first movie version of Attack on Titan is going to release next week in Japan. It is not likely to use the song in the movie as an image song with considering no official comment has done a week early of the release. But what if they would use the song as a secret collaboration BGM? All audience must be so hyped.
And the second Attack on Titan movie will come next year, furthemore a live-action version in two episodes is under production aiming to next year release. This new song would be a signal for future collaboration if it would not be this time.

5. Win-Win effect
BABYMETAL gets wide attention from this April with the Internet viral song Gimme Chocolate and got recognition from metalheads and little monsters through its first World Tour in France, UK, US and Canada including its performance on a main stage of Sonisphere, a big Metal festival  in UK and support acts for Lady Gaga’s US tour, artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball. They would be able to get another big attention from new audience by a collaboration with movie business.
Also as for Attack on Titan, a collaboration with the Internet sensation would be able to get wider interests from non-Anime fans.

Some BABYMETAL fans are favorable about this rumor, others are not. Critical responses say such collaboration with Anime would ruin BABYMETAL’s core value as authentic “one and only” live unit that surprised the world by its quality of songs, voices, dances and sounds.

For the Dragonforce and BABYMETAL collaboration well, Herman Li have these on Facebook earlier this week.

I've been summoned by the Fox God along with Sam Totman of Dragonforce to join the Metal Resistance with BABYMETAL. 😉

Posted by Herman Li on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So what do you think about that?

Babymetal Songs Self Review : Megitsune

It tells something little but cute, vivid also important behind-the-scene stories of Babymetal. This is a translation from Babymetal All Songs Self Review, Hedoban magazine (vol.1) published in Jul 2013, first appeared here in r/BABYMETAL in Reddit.

Q : Voices of you three were impressively improved, right?

Moametal : Thank you! This song has a series of saying “Soiya Soiya Soiya Soiya!,” doesn’t it? And “Kon Kon Kon Ko Kon Kon Ko Kon!,” like that. I couldn’t say these at all but only slurred badly. As an original plan, this song was to get recorded in one shot but the recording went terrible because of slurring of both Moametal and Yuimetal. And Su-metal giggled at us (laugh).

Q : Hard to take breaths on those lines?

Moametal : No time to take a breath!

Su-metal : There are many lines singing through in a breath.

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Q : Was this song made a while ago?

Su-metal : It was, right after IDZ? It was a different song back then. We had sang tentative version of this song for a while. On every recording sessions I was told “Please sing like this, we made a change bit.” It kept evolving little by little! At first it was rather a cute song like “Doki Doki” or “Iine!”, but next time Su-metal listened, it had drumming of Taiko and I said “What!?” (laugh) while lyrics were cute still. I had seen it evolving by side wondering what it would be like at last, and here it is.

Q : What is your recommendation in “Megitsune”?

Yuimetal : Nothing to say, “Nametara Ikanzeyo!” By Su-metal! I didn’t know the line came in at a recording session. Two of us were waiting our “Soiya Soiya”moment listening her singing with headphones on. Then unexpected silence came in and Su-metal said the line, it surprised us so hard to forget “Soiya” completely (laugh). We had to do another recording.

Q : It is such a surprise, in a good sense.

Yuimetal : It is so cool. Once hearing it you can easily visualize how she sings. I want to listen repeatedly.

Q : Yuimetal, can you imagine yourself saying “Nametara Ikanzeyo! (You should never underestimate me!)”?

Yuimetal : No, I can’t. But I want to try. Yuimetal version. It seems funny to have various versions.

Moametal : this song is… so sexy at first. And when I heard words “Actress” and “Megitsune”, I knew it a kind of foxes but… I had no idea what it was really about then. It was new to me. Also the line “Soiya Soiya” seemed so much fun because I imagined we and audiences would be at imaginary festival doing Wasshoi Wasshoi (putting on something to the sky over and over saying the word along) together.

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Q : So, how about you, Su-metal? You seemed mature a lot as a vocalist.

Su-metal : I hadn’t had any suggestion about how to sing before. This was my first time to have it as “Let’s sing like Enka song”. Especially the line “Ah, Ahhhhh,” it was.

Q : We hear melisma in your voice a bit!

Su-metal : I worked very hard with it. And this song was recorded on April 2nd. Su-metal… NAKAMOTO Suzuka in my masquerading form in daily life, had just graduated Sakura Gakuin at the end of that March. And when I was working on the line “Smiling at face, crying at heart,” I was told “Remembering how you kept yourself calm at commencement and it may help you to sing it great?” I said “Yes indeed!” from bottom of my heart. It would have never came to me if it weren’t the day! So it is my recommendation!

Notes :
1. Megitsune : A female fox in literally translation. But it is mostly a figure of speech. See this page in BABYMETAL TRANSLATIONS UNOFFICIAL

2. Kon Kon : A fox barks in this way in Japan.

3 : “Nametara Ikanzeyo!” is a dialect in Tosa region in Japan, also a famous script of a steal-hearted woman played by a legendary actress MATSUME Masako in “A Life of KIRYUIN Hanako] a movie. Or reminds of ASAMIYA Saki, in TV series Delinquent Girl Detective II : Legend of a Girl with an Iron Mask, played by MINAMINO Yoko), a historical idle in Japan back then.

4. Soiya is a shout-along for cheering, recently famous as a shout in Yosakoi dance.
In J-Pop history, Soiya and Sore were impressively used in a smash hit song 前略、道の上より Zenryaku, Michi no Ue Yori (Dear friends, from on the Road) by Issei Fubi Sepia in 1986 in Japan.

5. Moa saying “sexy” : She did use the word which implies deferent from English as Japanese-English “Sekusii.” Japanese often use it without, or less sexual.

6. Sing like Enka songs : Get an idea from a famous Pop/modern-Enka singer NAGAYAMA Yoko.