Category Archives: KOBAMETAL

Hedoban magazine Vol. 6: Interview with Kobametal

The number of things we would like to ask Kobametal are almost unlimited in scope.

The producer of Babymetal who should more properly be called the “Metal command tower” appears in “Hedoban” for the first time in about 1 year!

“Road of Resistance”!
“Live at Budoukan ~ Red night”!
Overseas warrior training journey!

This can not be reduced simply to the genre of “Melodic Speed Metal”.
“Road of Resistance” which should be referred to as the greatest Metal Anthem coming of out Japan in recent years.
The clear and blaring sound of the “Red Night Edition” is knocking people over right and left.
The multitude of Miracles shown during the overseas warrior training journey that followed on the heels of the “Live at Budoukan ~ Red Night”.
Due to the fervent love call of “Hedoban” Kobametal answered our requests with a mail based interview about hints as to where Babymetal is headed following their “Legend 2015 ~ New Spring Festival” performance.

Regarding “Road of Resistance”

When did you begin to start creating “Road of Resistance”? I remember you saying before when we talked with you when you were working on the Babymetal album that “you had a song in the works that had an even higher BPM”. Were you referring to the “Road of Resistance”?

The basic form of the song was ready quite a ways back, but it took on the structure of a song in 2013, I think.

With Babymetal songs made up to this point you have incorporated things from a variety of Metal sub-genres. “Road of Resistance” has a 100% degree of pure so-called “Melodic Speed Metal” to it. Were you, Kobametal, personally pondering doing a “Melodic Speed Metal with Babymetal”?

With the songs of “IDZ” and “Akatsuki” that we have released in the past we already had incorporated Melodic Speed Metal aspects so I was not particularly making an attempt to do so anew with this song.

Is the Metal sub-genre of Melodic Speed Metal one of the types of Metal that you personally like? Also, what facets of Melodic Speed Metal attract you?

Personally, Melodic Speed Metal is a type of music that I have been listening to from a long time ago. With its high speed guitar work and drumming laid over with a melody I am attracted by, and I mean this as a compliment to this type of music, to its various components that are often called somewhat “uncool”.

The first time I heard “Road of Resistance” in London I was truly surprised, but when I heard the finished studio song with all the various sounds packed into it I was once again and further surprised. Were there certain things you were focusing on or any difficulties you may have encountered when working on it?


The point I was really trying to pay attention to was just how “Babymetal” could we make it sound. The difficult part was the high tempo of the song I guess you could say.

In Vol. 1 of “Hedoban”, “Kobametal-san’s selections ,” you selected Dragon Force and so I would assume that they are a band that you like and so I would like to ask you what you find appealing about them from your point of view?

It would be the fact that they do not let you down in your expectations of them and so speaking kind of metaphorically, it is like when you order a dish at a restaurant hoping to get the exact same taste that you got when you ordered and tasted it before. I feel that they have an originality that could be called the “Dragon Force beat” that they provide at just the right place in a song with just the right sound and melody.

P. 3

In having the guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li of Dragon Force collaborate with you on this song was there anything in particular you requested of them? Also, was that excessive “Baka Tech” (term for someone who is possessed with a unique and highly skilled musical technique) high speed guitar play born out of the instructions of a Kobametal who likes that kind of guitar technique perhaps? (laughs)

Since we were envisioning the incorporation of Dragon Force playing from the demo making stage I feel there was not much of a wide ranging change from the initial image. They worked very cooperatively with the requests made to them from the Babymetal side of things. Thanks to this positive attitude we were able to add in this wonderful guitar performance and I feel create music that is even more powerful.

Putting the lyrics of “Road of Resistance” into a massive song progression that could be considered a rather stereotypical has led fans to sometimes referring to this song as an “Anthem”. Were you deliberately trying to make this song into an anthem-like piece?

Regarding the sound of the song, when we were creating the theme of song we wanted it to start off with a lead in that had a strong sense of making an appearance like Judas Priest’s “Hellion/Electric Eye” followed by the appearance of a high speed Melodic Speed Metal sound like that of Dragon Force with a sing along where the audience can cry together with the band. Since we were attempting to make a song with this kind of image I think it was destined to come out as an anthem-like song.


The chorus with “Woa Woa” makes a deep impression on one. At the Saitama Super Arena performance this turned into a huge group chorus with 20,000 members. Said in a favorable meaning, it seems to me that you created this with deliberately with Arena Metal in mind.

Up to now we have intentionally incorporated parts of the songs known as “Ai no Te” and the Death Voices into Babymetal songs so the fans could sing along together with the girls, but in the 2014 overseas tour I realized that “there were many foreign fans who wanted to sing along together from the beginning to the end of the show”. Especially in the overseas performances since the girls sing in Japanese and there is no MC this sing along part symbolically became a trigger for bringing Babymetal together with their fans into a unified, “The One”.

The lyrics of the “Road of Resistance” are of a type that has not been seen in Babymetal songs previously. Simply put, what is the theme of this song?

The theme of the lyrics is the image of the road that Babymetal has traversed so far and the road that they will continue to walk here on out and I feel that this is not limited just to Babymetal but to all who participate in the Metal Resistance with the message to them being one of encouraging them to “Believe in oneself and charge ahead”. This is a song that has an important meaning and serves as a thematic song in the Babymetal Metal Resistance.

“Road of Resistance” has a very strong feel of stately British Metal to it. Did this have anything to do with it being debuted in England?

Since the Live performance at the O2 Academy in London on November 8th last year was the final show in the WORLD TOUR 2014 and was done under the theme of it being both the ???? of Chapter 2 of the Metal Resistance and the introduction of Chapter 3, presenting it at this venue at this time for the first time had significance as being the theme song for the 3rd Chapter. Further, Yuimetal ardently expressed her wish that it performed saying, “It must be so!”. (laughs)

“Live at Budoukan ~ Red Night~”

I feel that the number of artists who can put out Live performance editions is rather limited. Do you, Kobametal-san, personally have any special thoughts regarding Live performance albums?

I think that Live Performance albums are interesting in that they offer a way to express differences in the way a guitar solo can be phrased or in the way the song arrangements can be presented. I may be possible to enjoy music even more by discovering the slight differences that occur in each performance.

“Live at Budoukan ~ Red Night~” is being highly praised by the fans and because of many people have come to be fans or have come to look upon Babymetal in a more favorable light. With this Live album were you aiming to “draw out the core musical essence of Babymetal”?

I was not in particular deliberately attempting to do so, but in that it contains all of the songs on the 1st album, “Babymetal” performed live without break, it could be said that it attempts to be a sort of “Best Live” album.

Idols often release DVDs but one doesn’t often hear of them putting out Live performance editions. Including the opinions of the 3 Babymetal members did you have????

With Babymetal I feel we have already come to the point where they can not be contained in the bracket of being an Idol band, and since in some cases I feel they are putting on Live shows that are richer and heavier than other rock bands I have absolutely no worries regarding this matter.

One of the jewels of this Live album is the involvement of Ted Jensen. Why did you think of asking Ted Jensen to work with you on this Live performance album?

This is also the workings of Fate, or rather the divine instructions of Kitsune-sama, I feel.

Incidentally, could you tell us how Ted Jensen thinks about Babymetal?

He said he feels they are an extremely unique entity.

I felt there were some differences in the way the sound was handled such as the way the sound was recorded and the way some sections were emphasized between “Red Night” and “Black Night”. If that is so, could you tell us why? And were these due to the ideas of Ted Jensen?

We did not deliberately set out to create a difference in the sound and I feel the sound on the day of the recording plays a big part in this.

Following the overseas warrior training journey

And then following upon the heels of the BudouKan shows the band suddenly embarked upon an overseas tour. Did you feel from before that this would develop into an overseas tour based on what came before?

I did think that eventually we would develop into performing overseas, but I thought it would take a bit more time to do so. The speed of things following the release of the album was very fast.

The staff at “Hedoban”’s sense of the outlook regarding Metal changed after experiencing the Metal Festival of Sonisphere with its gathering of everyone from small children to the elderly. Did you, Kobametal-san feel a change in your outlook toward Metal after experiencing Sonisphere from the inside realm of that world?

I discovered many things by experiencing this authentic English Rock festival known as Sonisphere. I actually experienced the fact that the Headlining act, Iron Maiden is a people’s band. I felt the wide range as well as the history and scope of Metal on seeing everyone from grandchildren to elderly grandfathers and grandmothers participating in the festival wearing Iron Maiden T-shirts.

There is an image that more than America that Europe has an enthusiastic fan base regarding Babymetal. How did you yourself feel about this?

Since each country has its own way of reacting to and enjoying Babymetal, it is difficult for me to say which country is the most enthusiastic about Babymetal, but I do have the impression that within even Europe it is especially Germany and England in which there seems to be a bigger ratio of fans excited about Rock and Heavy Metal. Through the tour I heard from various people from many different countries that when Japanese artists perform in Europe it is usually the Asians living in Europe or people who are interested in Japanese culture that come to these shows, but that with Babymetal the fan base is different.

Is there anything that you feel is interesting in the difference between the Japanese fans and the European fans?

P. 5

That would be that they really “sing a lot”.

In England long time standing Metal media sources such as “Hammer” or “Kerrang” have been out and upfront in covering Babymetal. Please let us know your straight, unadulterated feelings regarding this.

I feel it is a great honor.

I am certain that you have received a great deal of foreign media coverage up to this point, and I would like to know if this differs from the Japanese media in any way?

There does not seem to be too much different in the way both the Japanese media and the foreign media cover Babymetal as being a unique presence, but I feel that since the overseas cultures do not have the concept of Idol that the foreign press tends to treat Babymetal more as an artist in their own right or as Metal band. And I feel that the overseas media seems to be more enthusiastic in their coverage.


Along with Sonisphere of course, I feel that Babymetal acting as the opening band for Lady Gaga was an extremely precious experience for the girls. How do you, Kobametal-san yourself feel about this?

Even if they differ in genres I feel it was an extremely important experience for Babymetal to be able to travel on a tour with an artist that is performing on the world stage.

In Japan the number of Metal fans who come to Babymetal shows dressed in Metal T-shirts has increased and because of Babymetal there are many former Metal fans who are returning to the fold so it seems that Babymetal has touched the hearts and minds of many Metal fans. What do you think about this situation?

I feel that this is a sign that the Metal Resistance is moving steadily ahead.

Are you still responsible for the BGM that is played as fans file into Live performances? And if this is so is there something that you are paying attention to in selecting the songs played following the overseas warrior training journey? There are cases of Iron Maiden songs being prevalent and with the recent SSA there were many Judas Priest songs played…

I am pretty sure that the songs selected are according to the whims of Kitsune-sama on that day.

On January 10th at the Saitama Super Arena (SSA) there were about 20,000 fans in attendance. This is something in the Metal world in Japan that has not happened recently for Live performances. What do you, Kobametal-san think of this excitement?

Since I have the impression that we were allowed to appear in the Loud Park event known as the “Big show” I was a bit worried whether we could fill out the arena with just Babymetal fans. And so when we were actually able to fill the entire arena with a sold out show I was filled with excitement.

I am sure that you are looking forward anxiously to the new overseas developments from May. And we here at “Hedoban” are looking forward both mentally and “financially” to this development (laughs). Is there a possibility of Babymetal venturing into unknown foreign countries?

Only the Fox God knows.

An interview with Kobametal

A new interview with Kobametal

Translation courtesy of Dokoiko via Reddit.



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




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




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.




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.


Tower Record President, Minewaki Ikuo speaks passionately about Kikuchi Moa

The President of Tower Records, Minewaki Ikuo-san speaks passionately about Sakura Gakuin’s Kikuchi Moa-chan once again! (Complete article/First section- calling a storm)

Ikuo Minewaki

Ikuo Minewaki

An article that we ran on this site in the early days of 2014 created quite a stir amongst not only ordinary viewers but also ardent fans, “Tower Records president, Minewaki Ikuo-san speaks about Kikuchi Moa-chan for 90 minutes!”. This theme comes back and it is powered up.

Our media coverage team visited the head office of Tower Records to cover the “The Idol Award 2014-Minewaki-Shachou determines the best of Kikuchi Moa award” which is reported in our 2015, February edition of “Monthly Entertainment”. The one we were waiting patiently for was the response from Minewaki-shachou who was waiting for us prepared to the teeth to deal with our coverage.

This year as well, the president’s passionate talk exceeded the time allotted for our media coverage. But, that is OK, We will present the whole version of his talk. So, Mr. President please talk to your heart’s content.

Q: Before we get into the main topic and looking back over last year, how do you feel Kikuchi Moa-chan has grown over the year?

Minewaki- After becoming the student council president she kind of stepped back a bit. Before she took on that position she was the type that liked to go to the front and lead everyone. But, this year, Moa-chan held herself in reserve in live performances and in SG classroom’s as well, and she often lead other members into the more visible positions. The current 3rd year team is very kind and they allow the younger members to perform freely as they want. This is due to the techniques employed by Moa-chan that creates such an atmosphere and that creates an environment that allows them to all carry out activities that they wish to perform. She has taken on a sense of responsibility and has grown immensely.

Q: She is still only 15 though. (laughs)

Minewaki- I think that Moa-chan is at her end as the student council president as she did the most she could do going to the places she needed to go to, but with her overseas excursions with Babymetal she could not carry out completely every task she had been assigned with. Also she could not be present for the Fan club limited performance. She missed about 1 out of every 2 public performances. I was unable to watch the Haiku public class as regrettably I had to attend the Oosaka T-Palette thanksgiving festival that day. At the public classes Moa-chan also did not try to stand out and helped others to carry out their performances.

Q: That ability to create such an atmosphere is also a great thing.

Minewaki- And now in 2015 the real “The Road to Graduation” begins.


Q: Are you ready mentally?

Minewaki- I wonder how 2015 will progress…. I still don’t have a firm grasp on how this year is going, but this spring Berryz Koubou will take an indefinite break and Moa-chan will graduate. With these “2 big things that I love” dropping away I feel a bit empty. Of course even after she graduates Moa-chan will continue to support Sakura Gakuin. And Babymetal is scheduled to perform at the Rock festival “Rock on the the Range 2015” in Ohio in May.

Q: In 2014 Babymetal performed on March 1st and 2nd at the Nippon BudouKan.

Minewaki- I went to both day’s performances. I was really surprised on the first day when Yui-chan (Mizuno) fell off the stage. And then in “IDZ” Moa-chan fell down. “Live performances are the best!” but I get so worried about those two. After the first day’s performance I went to eat with my wife, and we were talking excitedly saying, “Will Yui-chan be able to perform tomorrow?” and “Do you think she injured her leg?”. I am so happy that she was not seriously injured.

P. 2

Q: Let’s get in to the main topic. Let’s start with the 5th place entry.

Minewaki- I was thinking about this until 2 O’clock yesterday.

Q: Thank you for staying up so late for us.

Minewaki- 5th place is Moa-chan’s February 15th diary.

Minewaki- On this day there was a Sakura Gakuin live performance at EX Theater Roppongi, and it was the date of Moa-chan’s 100th diary entry. In it she wrote 100 items about herself and it being February and the fans are cold waiting in line to buy merchandise so she wrote this diary entry so the fans would not have too much free time on their hands. And so the title was, “Please read this as you wait”. This is truly an exceptional demonstration of caring for her fans. In the first column where her name is introduced she puts a circle around “Chi-地-land” so it will not be mistaken for “Ike-池-pond” in the Kikuchi part of her name. In the 3rd column she has a picture showing her height with it written as 157 cm. In column 4 she says, “when I entered SG my weight was equal to 2 koalas but now it is that of 4. In other areas of the diary she says she is an only child, that she wants to become “Super Moa-chan” and that she love anime. I think writing 100 items was quite a chore.

Moa Kikuchi aka MoaMetal

Moa Kikuchi aka MoaMetal

Q: Just thinking about writing so many items is quite an exhausting chore.

Minewaki- As I said last year, you can really see that she thinks about her readers when she writes her diary. And moreover, this was written specifically for fans who were waiting. The contents are quite detailed so reading it is quite a task as well. This really shows us Moa-chan’s character, she really has her stuff together. Hey! Look here! She has two less bottom teeth than ordinary people!


Q: Shachou, please settle down (laughs)

Minewaki- Sorry. But, when you read this you can understand that she has a small jaw because she is short 2 lower teeth. It is because she writes things that you would ordinarily not be able to understand at all that her fans are so pleased with her diaries. And following this diary entry we had planned with “Monthly Entertaiment” to do a “100 questions for Moa-chan (2014 August), right? When you read this together with that it is fantastic!

Q: Those questions were thought up by several adult writers and they apparently had quite a hard time coming up with 100 questions.

Minewaki- If you read both of these even if you are just getting interested in Moametal, you will be able to understand Moa-chan very well.

Q: Thank you for slipping in a bit of advertising for us.

P. 3

Q: So what is 4th?

Minewaki- Moa-chan and Yui-chan were not present at the 2014 TIF, right?

Q: Yes, they couldn’t attend because they were touring as Babymetal with Lady Gaga on her live tour.

Minewaki- However, they appeared on the screen for “Yume ni Mukatte”. And so, Yui/Moa who were not expected to be in attendance seemed to be singing together with the other members.

Q: Their sense of presence increased even though they were not there.

Minewaki- True, their sense of presence stood out due to not actually being there. It was that sort of stage. I felt like I was standing in the presence of a truly great people. (laughs)

Q: What great people do you mean (laughs).

Minewaki- The Moa-chan in my brain was supremely cute when they synchronized with the other members! I thought how can she be so cute even though it is 2-dimensional. I burned the 2-dimension Moa-chan into my brain, and in front of all of us were the 8 actual members plus the 2 graduates of Iida Raura-chan and Horiuchi Marina-chan acting as assistants performing “Yume ni Mukatte”. And without doubt Yui/Moa were there as well.

In the July 30th diary entry of Moa-chan, she wrote that she was “not present at TIF”.

Minewaki- This was where Moa-chan debuted so the TIF events are of great importance to her. Every year, the members of TIF get into fights amongst themselves and then they reform into new units. For Sakura Gakuin it is kind of like a ritual that the members must pass through. It is interesting to think that they could not attend because they were opening for Lady Gaga.

Q: And a 15 year old girl feels bad about that (laughs)

Minewaki- Speaking of Lady Gaga, you know she is a global pop icon (laughs). In this diary entry she writes passionately about her feelings for TIF, and there are pair photographs with everyone in the end of it. I think this is one of her great entries. Any Fukei who reads this and then gets angry that “Yui/Moa are not present at TIF” is not a real Fukei!

slide (10)

Q: Yes, like, “Don’t say such an absurd thing” (laughs)

Minewaki- Even though they are not there you can see them (laughs). And remember, more than anything else, the student council president is saying, “Even if we are apart our hearts are one”. Of course since we have to support them the same as the previous year, the 2014 TIF was a Sakura composition. The performances by Sakura Gakuin were a bit less than usual but I was able to able to watch each stage that the members performed on.

Q: But of all those “Yume ni Mukatte” was the best.

Minewaki- Yes, I was so excited. It goes without saying that Idols are cute, that is a given, but in my thinking the songs also have to be good. This song was a trigger to change that way of thinking for me. “Kawaii” can at times surpass the song.

Q: So, you were reverted back to the basics of liking Idols, right?

Minewaki- Composers can be broken easily! For a long time I also used to say, “I can’t like a performance if the song is no good”. Sorry for thinking like that. There is no need for me to make excuses!

P. 3

Q: So what is 4th?

Minewaki- Moa-chan and Yui-chan were not present at the 2014 TIF, right?

Q: Yes, they couldn’t attend because they were touring as Babymetal with Lady Gaga on her live tour.

Minewaki- However, they appeared on the screen for “Yume ni Mukatte”. And so, Yui/Moa who were not expected to be in attendance seemed to be singing together with the other members.

Q: Their sense of presence increased even though they were not there.

Minewaki- True, their sense of presence stood out due to not actually being there. It was that sort of stage. I felt like I was standing in the presence of a truly great people. (laughs)

Q: What great people do you mean (laughs).

Minewaki- The Moa-chan in my brain was supremely cute when they synchronized with the other members! I thought how can she be so cute even though it is 2-dimensional. I burned the 2-dimension Moa-chan into my brain, and in front of all of us were the 8 actual members plus the 2 graduates of Iida Raura-chan and Horiuchi Marina-chan acting as assistants performing “Yume ni Mukatte”. And without doubt Yui/Moa were there as well.
In the July 30th diary entry of Moa-chan, she wrote that she was “not present at TIF”.

Minewaki- This was where Moa-chan debuted so the TIF events are of great importance to her. Every year, the members of TIF get into fights amongst themselves and then they reform into new units. For Sakura Gakuin it is kind of like a ritual that the members must pass through. It is interesting to think that they could not attend because they were opening for Lady Gaga.


Q: And a 15 year old girl feels bad about that (laughs)

Minewaki- Speaking of Lady Gaga, you know she is a global pop icon (laughs). In this diary entry she writes passionately about her feelings for TIF, and there are pair photographs with everyone in the end of it. I think this is one of her great entries. Any Fukei who reads this and then gets angry that “Yui/Moa are not present at TIF” is not a real Fukei!

Q: Yes, like, “Don’t say such an absurd thing” (laughs)

Minewaki- Even though they are not there you can see them (laughs). And remember, more than anything else, the student council president is saying, “Even if we are apart our hearts are one”. Of course since we have to support them the same as the previous year, the 2014 TIF was a Sakura composition. The performances by Sakura Gakuin were a bit less than usual but I was able to able to watch each stage that the members performed on.

Q: But of all those “Yume ni Mukatte” was the best.

Minewaki- Yes, I was so excited. It goes without saying that Idols are cute, that is a given, but in my thinking the songs also have to be good. This song was a trigger to change that way of thinking for me. “Kawaii” can at times surpass the song.

Q: So, you were reverted back to the basics of liking Idols, right?

Minewaki- Composers can be broken easily! For a long time I also used to say, “I can’t like a performance if the song is no good”. Sorry for thinking like that. There is no need for me to make excuses!


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.


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.


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?)


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.


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.


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.


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.


In-depth interview with Kobametal, the key person behind BABYMETAL


Now Babymetal is ongoing sensation. With authentic heavy metal sound, mind-blowing but celestial stage performance without chattering to audience and manic merch items (from idol perspective), fans are increasing in both Japan and the world. We interviewed with Kobametal (Key Kobayashi), the key person.

Thank to Dokoiko on Babymetal on Facebook for the translation.
Official PDF file here:

Q : We heard you loved metal from your junior high age.
Koba : Yes I liked vast range of musics but my main and ironclad concern was metal.

Q : What did you do in your early days in Amuse?
Koba : It was an era of Visual-kei so I worked on media promotion for Siam Shade and Cascade in two years, then did production and promotion of hardcore and related bands in in-house indie labels.


Q : Did you explain how you began Babymetal, please?
Koba : I wanted to produce from scratch, find the talented, train and promote them. So I looked around from high point of view, I noticed any successor next Perfume didn’t appear. Then I started to find someone. I happened to hear there was someone with something worth in our kids division – for kids model and kids actress. So I went to their recitals and did some auditions, where one of current member of Babymetal applied. I made a business plan, made presentations, managements showed some interest, and it began.

Q : Did you have a vision at the beginning about its direction and characteristics?
Koba : A sort of, general draft in a good and bad sense. It is that when a movement comes, fan base goes big rapidly. It allows the less talented even in a indie scene – like “Even this terrible disks can be sold this much!” So does in idol scene. Now is the time when anyone can become some sort of an idol. Anything can happen. So when I began Babymetal, I thought, cuteness was necessary as an idol but it won’t last long only with cuteness. All long-time survivors do have something special – a solid backbone as an example. Something legit must have been essential, I thought at the time, so in addition to appearance, singing and dancing quality were must-have.

Q : How about songs? There had been no reference at all, so you must have endless trials and errors?
Koba : Yes. Some songs took half a year to be completed…

Q : An approach of Babymetal is completely different from other idol groups. The Babymetal world is extraordinarily well built as a package. Was promotional strategy fixed in the early days?
Koba : Not particularly. What I did was only made a video and upload to YouTube. So feed response came from worldwide fans. Then Japanese idol fans saw it and came to be hyped as “something interesting appeared.” Seeing these we came to think that this might be something unexpected and should work on it more seriously. So we had had no TV spot appearance, no tied-up with Anime, no CM. Just did make MVs and stage performances.

Q : And no handshake event.
Koba : Handshake events may boost sales figures… But simply I don’t like handshake. Maybe it is the reason. I want ask you, what did you think about no handshake?

Q (A?) : I thought it’s a strategy. Like “No obsequence at all”
Koba : I see. As Babymetal, (Koba) the primitive aspect of these girls are rather cute than cool, so if promotion insists heavier on their cuteness, Babymetal might be something expected, and something interesting, valuable in Babymetal might be erased. So, this is also only my taste, it would be better for Babymetal to be something devine, the opposite to what the girls are, like no chatting at all on stage.


Q: what is the reason of no chatting of the girls on stage?
Koba : All the girls are so serious person. So they are not so good at responding with humorous answers like stage presenters. It doesn’t show their true value. So to make them shine as they should, better to concentrate on their strong points, singing and dancing.

Q : You should concentrate on what you good at to deliver the real thing.
Koba : Yes. I might be just extreme person… If you would do anything, everything you do is just mediocre, especially in show biz.

Q : nowadays Rock fans might be going to accept idol thing more and more. What do you think about it?
Koba : one thing might be that Rock gonna be boring? That’s my regret as a producer and also as a fan, Rock bands getting tamed… Less extreme enough to be a legend.

Q : the scene might have been more matured, in a good sense. But getting more difficult to break it through. Even if something appeared, it goes bad spiral – can’t generate healthy profit. What do you think about Rock scene nowadays?
Koba : there are few bands remained with huge influence, same bands appears at every Rock festivals. In this stagnation the idol boom came, people like me moved from Rock to idol industry, a Rock culture flood into – Idol scene with talented people.


Q : In this context, as people like Koba-San began to migrate Rock culture into idol scene, there is possibility that someone does idol culture into Rock scene?
Koba : Might be. Rock is a genre to be cool I think. A life style as an example. But I think it is essential for Rock to keep bringing something new into it. Rock fans are most severe person to make judgement. If you show something mediocre without hardworking, they never give any consideration. So there is no excuse for us to say “because we’re just a band (or an idol),” we have to try hard – really really hard to deliver something.

Q : Where is Babymetal going to go next and the future?
Koba : Honestly we are not going to… (Laugh) trial and error everyday… The feeling at the time… once feel something interesting, do it ASAP. Main portion of idol scene now is, like Reality shows, something making a story of some idol setting an objective, working on it hard, and sharing their activities of struggling forward and making dream come true with their fans. In their voyage there are some happiness and sadness. But Babymetal is not about Reality show but about like Disneyland. Once customer put on Mickey’s ears, they live in the wonderland. When audience go to Babymetal live, enjoy our story with devoting into our world. They come back to reality when they exit a venue. But want another chance to enjoy it. I might somewhat want that – make Babymetal as a container – to ride people between reality and unreality.

Q : So are you going to sharpen the Babymetal world more solid?
Koba : Yes. I care less about others. One of Babymetal keyword is to be the only one, I want to go to the end of it. Rather I want anyone to copy Babymetal. Lately in idol scene there seem to increase someone called as “Babymetal like.” I feel deep about it… And say myself, “So shameful, do it more!” (Laugh).

BABYMETAL in Metal Hammer magazine Sept. 2014 issue

The september 2014 issue of Metal Hammer magazine is featuring a Dom Lawson interview with BABYMETAL and an in dept intewview with the mind behind the band KOBAMETAL.


Transcription: jabberwokk Babymetal reddit



If we hadn’t witnessed it with our own eyes, we would never have believed it. It’s July 5, 2014 and thousands of metal fans are gathered on the hallowed grounds of Knebworth, Hertfordshire, for the first UK Sonisphere festival since 2011. And there they are, on the festival’s main stage… three teenage Japanese girls, dancing and singing their way through the catchiest of pop melodies, with big grins plastered across their faces and fingers bent into what we soon discover is “the sign of the fox”. Behind them are a band of virtuoso metal musicians, clad in white and faces painted similarly, letting rip with a pinpoint precise and laudably modern barrage of scything riffs and pummeling rhythms. The crowd – sizeable as the girls hit the stage, fucking enormous by the time they leave it – is going righteously and thrillingly bonkers. Is it metal? Is it pop? It’s both and neither. It’s Babymetal, and within 30 minutes they have not only won over a supposedly hardcore crowd of Maiden and Metallica fans, but, even more enjoyably, briskly shut the mewing gobs of a great number of tiresome cynics and online try-hards. Joyful, triumphant, and utterly bizarre, Babymetal have arrived and the UK is plainly digging it.


Although they have been building up a head of steam in their native Japan for the last couple of years, Babymetal only began to make inroads on these shores earlier this year, when YouTube links and bewildered blog posts started popping up across social networks and rock and metal media outlets. Understandably, not everyone was immediately impressed by the band’s unashamed blending of J-Pop (Japanese pop music, obviously) and thunderous metal. In stark contrast to Japan, where manufactured pop is widely accepted as a legitimate part of a wider pop culture that seems largely bereft of embittered whining, the UK’s rock and metal scenes are innately suspicious of anything that seems to have been conjured from the hellish mind of a record label mogul, rather than built from the ground up in a more earnest and “real” fashion. We hate Simon Cowell and we love Motörhead. The divide is clear. But part of Babymetal’s irresistible charm is that, whether for cultural reasons or not, they don’t seem to acknowledge that divide at all. Musically, they are as heavy and sharp as any modern metal band. Vocally? Well, yes, the squeaky and undeniably pop-orientated voices of Su-Metal, Moametal, and Yuimetal remain wholly untouched by, say, Slayer’s back catalogue, but the final product itself is so deliciously alien and peculiar, not to mention delivered with with joyous enthusiasm, that griping about Babymetal not being “proper metal” just comes across as pointless posturing.

OK, we admit it – we’re intrigued. And so Metal Hammer caught up with Babymetal at The Forum in London a few days later to have a chat with Key “Kobametal” Kobayashi, and to ask whether people’s cynicism about the self- evidently manufactured nature of the band is anywhere near accurate or just a knee-jerk reaction to something beyond our usual frame of reference. Softly spoken and unfailingly polite, Key certainly looks like a metalhead and, via the interpretive skills of tour manager Nora, is quite happy to explain how Babymetal came to be.
“I have been a huge metal fan for 30 years,” he states. “But of course metal is only getting older and older and the scene isn’t getting bigger anymore. I started thinking that I wanted to come up with something new, something that no one has ever done before, and that’s where Babymetal came from. The idea really just fell from the heavens.”

At some point, Key may grow weary of being asked whether his band are a cynical exercise in pop exploitation, but for now he seems perfectly happy to address the issue.
“I understand that people outside of Japan don’t really understand the pop scene in Japan and they perceive it differently from how the Japanese would,” he nods, thoughtfully. “As a longtime metal fan, I always used to say ‘That’s not real metal so I’m not listening to it!’ I’m a metal purist too, to be honest. But I realized that the scene isn’t really getting any bigger. All the old-school metal bands are still around and there’s still a fanbase, but it’s all getting smaller. So to bring Japanese metal around the world, it has to be something different and original. It’s like sushi! Sushi came from Japan and people had never eaten it before, and now everyone eats sushi all over the world. If I just started another metal band like any other, like Iron Maiden or Metallica or whoever, then no one is going to listen to it or be excited by it. Right now, Japan is known for the Idol scene and the J-pop, and I just thought that this amalgam of J-Pop and metal would be a good way to represent Japanese metal and Japanese music. And people seem to be enjoying what we do. It’s the power of the Fox!”


Ah yes, the Fox. If you were at Sonisphere, you may have seen Babymetal’s into video, which recounted the daft but endearing fictional tale of how the band came together in answer to a request from the metal-loving Fox God to start something called the ‘Metal Resistance’. As preposterous as it sounds, there is something very clever and lovable about Babymetal’s back-story and the mystique that surrounds those who put the music together. While the metal media speculate about whether the band’s eponymous debut album was put together by members of much-loved noughties’ crossover crew Mad Capsule Markets or just some terrible Machiavellian producer with a hotline to the best session musicians, the reality is that in Babymetal’s world it really doesn’t matter a shiny shit. In fact, the whole thing works so brilliantly because it has side-stepped all the usual considerations in favour of the wholesale creation of a unique and fully formed world of its own.
“I was always interested in metal bands that had some mystery to them,” says Key. “I wanted to create something that was different from normal everyday life and people will be guessing about what’s going on in the band. It’s like Disneyland… it’s not reality and you’re transported to a different place. That’s what I wanted to create. The three girls were chosen because they’re suitable and they represent the band really well. They’re great singers and great performers. that’s why I created the story about the Fox and the Metal Resistance. The girls are like prophets, speaking for the Fox God. It just makes it different from everything else… and it’s fun!

What really comes across when speaking to Key is that he never expected Babymetal to be received so well overseas. The band have already exceeded expectations at home, becoming a huge deal very quickly and selling out two nights in the legendary Budokan in Tokyo – that’s 20,000 people per night – back in March. But conquering the rest of the world wasn’t supposed to be easy, not least due to the aforementioned cultural differences that make places like the UK so susceptible to a sneering, cynical outlook on anything that makes up its own rules as it goes along. As a result, Babymetal’s Sonisphere experience – not to mention the small matter of a show at The Forum that sold out in a matter of hours, after it had already been up-scaled from a much smaller venue – amounts to an unexpected but very welcome triumph for Key and the band and a very good omen for their collective future.


“When this began I was just experimenting and it was a challenge,” says Key. “I didn’t know what was going to happen and I never expected it to become so big, so fast. We’d never played a big festival like Sonisphere before and we really didn’t know what to expect at a big festival full of real metal fans. In the end, it’s just trial and error. We’re always moving forward but we never really never know what to expect. Right now we’re getting a lot of offers from all over the world. We’re opening for Lady Gaga in the US and we’re doing a festival in Canada and more headline shows, so we want to travel more next year and just see where it takes us.

Key smiles the broad smile of a man who simply can’t believe his luck. He may yet end up making tons of money from Babymetal but it’s obvious that the music and the experience are what have driven this project from the start. And then, of course, there are the girls themselves. Metal Hammer is invited up for a quick chat with Su-Metal and her diminutive comrades before they take to the stage at The Forum and they greet us with excited grins but plenty of the extreme, disarming politeness for which the Japanese are famed.
“Sonisphere was an amazing experience, because it was the first time we’d played in front of such a huge audience!” beams Su-Metal, every bit the professional but very much a wide-eyed teenager too. “When I walked out I thought ‘Oh no, what am I going to do?’ but it was such a great experience. With Japanese fans, because we understand each other, they join in with the chanting and the call and response. What’s amazing with the UK fans is that even though they don’t understand the language, they still sing along with everything! And they also did the Fox sign which was wonderful to see!”

The Babymetal girls have all had a degree of experience within Japan’s pop and Idol industry through singing and modelling, but the metal scene is a very different world and one that they are clearly enjoying immensely. Su- Metal excitedly recalls meeting Kirk Hammett backstage at Sonisphere and not knowing who he was – “He just seemed like an ordinary guy and a very kind gentleman!” she says – and points out, with some bemusement, that the European crowds that have come to see Babymetal have been predominantly made up of diehard metal fans, as opposed to the Japanese crowds that are often as passionate about pop as they are about heavier music. Most of all, it’s obvious that their European adventure has gone way better than any of the three girls could ever have dreamed and that being a part of Babymetal is just about as much fun as any human being could realistically withstand. So yes, you can be cynical about Babymetal if you want. meanwhile, the band, their manager and an increasing number of metalheads are enjoying every second of this unprecedented and wonderfully demented phenomenon.

“We’ve received so many comments online from the UK and lots of people have been mimicking our dance routines and putting them on YouTube, so we’re getting such a great response and we never expected it.” Su-Metal concludes, eyes twinkling. “The response we’re getting makes us think we’re being accepted. It feels like a dream!”

KOBAMETAL: interview with the man behind BABYMETAL

Here is a translation from a Japanese interview with Kobametal, the BABYMETAL producer, from the site Nikkel Trendy, please understand we have done our best to translate the text from japanese to english and some mistake may occure. Thank to Thomas Malone and BABYMETAL WORLDWIDE (BMWW)



Trend Focus Why is popular unique metal idol BABYMETAL? Why is this unique Metal Idol band, “Babymetal” so popular? We explore this with its instigator.

Babymetal was formed in 2010 around the concept of “fusing together Idol and Metal”. This unit of 3 main members from the the Idol group, “Sakura Gakuin” have been
carrying out activities under the name of “Juonbu” taking the fight to the warring age taking place in the idol market with their incredible unique presence.
They are acquiring a fan base that lies outside of the typical idol fan by crossing stereotypical expectations with the gap they have created between a heavy metal sound
contrasted with idol-like performances and with their firm grip on points that “Metal fans appreciate” with their music and performance style. Through the introduction
of their music on Youtube they have come to garner support from fans that reside not only in Japan but throughout the world.

We talked with Amuse’s KOBAMETAL, a music consultant for “Juonbu records” and the chief instigator of Babymetal about the background and formation of Babymetal and the
role idols are to play in the music scene.

Q: Babymetal has brought a unique flair to the vast assortment of idol groups such as AKB48 and Momoiro Kuroba. What spurred you to come up with the idea of fusing
together Metal with Idol?

Kobametal: I guess the simple answer is that I like both Metal and Idol.
For example, we are all well aware of the success of Perfume combining Techno with Idol. I felt that if I were to make a new genre there could be nothing better than to
fuse Idol with Metal, and it was at this time that I met Babymetal’s main vocalist, Su-metal (Nakamoto Suzuka of Sakura Gakuin). At this time I was able to listen to her
very unaffected and natural singing voice, and I had the feeling that it would be interesting to have her express her talent based on an image of, “a girl’s chorus group
singing a song in a metalistic fashion”. While I like Idol music I am originally a big fan of Metal, it was the creation of Babymetal that brought about a new type of Idol unit that incorporates a love and passion for Metal. To achieve this I thought of having a “Metal unit that would take on the guise of an Idol group” and that would then go on to grow into a dark heroine type of existence within the Idol world.

With Babymetal I want to emphasize the gap between the cuteness of the 3 members with the excitement and power of Metal. The concept of naming the band Babymetal came
from a divine message it also makes use of the cuteness of “Baby” with the easy to understand roughness of “Metal” while also signifying the “birth of a type of Metal”.

Q: Attempting to fuse together Metal with Idol, what do you take into consideration when actually creating music and songs?

Kobametal: When composing songs and when producing live concerts I would like to pay homage and respect to the predecessors of the past Metal scene and arrange things so
that the members of Babymetal can perform so as not to destroy what has come before. While there have been some Idol songs that have had a Metalistic feel to them before
now, Babymetal is build on the idea of Idol songs that are really based on a full-fledged Metal sound.

Metal is a very diversified genre and it is thus very difficult to sum it up with a simple definition. In common parlance it has an image of long haired musicians
wrapped up in leather attire shouting out “Gyaaa!” with piercing guitar riffs. However, here in Japan there exist a wide variety of Metal types including traditional
metal bands that fall in line with Iron Maiden, bands that mix core metal with originality like Maxim the Hormone, bands the combine punk with hard core Metal such as
Emo Screamo bands and visual bands work to incorporate the visual aspects of Metal.

Since these different approaches all differ in their world view of these various types of metal genres it is not so easy to change the type of music performed once the
band has been formed. In this regard, since Babymetal is going from the concept of approaching Metal from an Idol perspective it is fairly easy to develop a rich basket
of variations. I feel that this also makes it possible to draw out the best aspects of each of the members when creating and performing songs.

Q: Before we go too far, just how were the members selected for Babymetal?

Kobametal: Babymetal is positioned in the Juonbu section of Sakura Gakuin and the planning starting Babymetal itself came about around 2009 when “Karen Girls” of which
the main vocalist, Su-metal (Nakamoto Suzuka), disbanded.

I started looking around for the other two members with Su-metal as the center role of the band. Since Su-metal possesses such a unique presence I thought it would be a
good idea to add a totally new character onto her. I then thought it would be wonderful to have 2 girls who resembled angels to be dancing around her and asked to have
Yuimetal (Mizuno Yui) and Moametal (Kikuchi Moa) join the band.

People talk a lot about Babymetal incorporating death voices and screamo as well as breakdown parts into Idol songs and it is good to know that this is only possible
because of the potential that was there in the girls. There is no way that these kinds of outrageous songs and performances could be carried out smoothly unless the
girls had the vocal ability and stamina needed along with a perfect balance existing between the 3 members.

Q: The song “Headbanga!” which was released in July was composed by Narasaki-san who is of course well known in the Metal world for “Coaltar of the Deepers”. How do you go about creating songs?

Kobametal: With all of our songs I start out first with the concept for the music first and then approach the songwriter in question. When I approach the songwriter and
request a song to be written I have already prepared the song’s concept, the atmosphere for the lyrics, the melody, the choreography, the form of the live performance
and the reaction I expect from the audience. For “Headbanga!” I made a request based on the theme of “Headbanging”.

As for my personal image for this song I felt that I wanted to provide simultaneously a passion for the visual Metal scene together with a sense of strangeness, a kind
of, “What the heck is this?!”. To those ends I deliberately used lingo such as “Saku (bloom)”, “Dosen (center of stage)”, “Gyakudai” and other similar terms used by female fans known as “Bangers” and even paid homage to “the GazettE” by incorporating the “Dogeza Hedoban (kneeling down and bowing to the floor) performed by their fans.

the GazettE

the GazettE

Certainly not limited to “Headbanga!” I am careful to carry out song creating by speaking in detail with with those involved in writing lyrics, creating music, mixing
the music and crafting choreography. With Narasaki-san as well we went through repeated back and forths countless times, I consulted with him about very minute details
such as “I would like to place the cymbals here-what do you think?” and other similar detailed issues.
For the bridge melody I like to lay out a rhythm similar to “PPPF handclapping” (impossible to translate-sorry) that is so familiar to Idol fans. I also consulted with
Narasaki-san about this when we were arranging the music and he advised using a double bass drum to get a more Metalistic feel.

Q: Do you explain in detail the intent lying behind the creation of the songs to the 3 members?

Kobametal: I feel that I want to make the most of the characters of each of the members and so choose to not lay out step by step the process and thinking that lies on
the production side.
For example, in “Headbanga!” I wanted to strongly emphasize that Su-metal would be turning 15 that year and used the motif of “Banger”. Showing this concisely is the
lyrics of “15 (Ichigo) no yoru”, which is overlaid with the overall tone of the lyrics reflecting the sense possessed and shared by people of this age that “just want to
plow ahead into the future without thinking about the consequences” with the figure of Bangers who are totally into and devoted to the band they are following. However,
I did not explain all of this to the girls.

I am often talking about placing great importance on the individuality and freedom of thought of each of the members with Mikiko-san who is in charge of choreography.
There are times when the girls are moving their bodies as they listen to and practice the movements for a new song that Mikiko will say to herself, “this movement is
really interesting” and incorporate it into the song’s choreography. The movement in the chorus of “Headbanga!” where Yuimetal and Moametal raise up their ponytails with
both (twin tails) was incorporated when she saw them doing this movement spontaneously when practicing.

Q: Do you play Heavy Metal music to the girls, or teach them about Heavy Metal?

Kobametal: Basically speaking, I do not. Previously for media events the girls were often asked “What is your favorite Metal band?” so I taught them the names of a
number of bands but it appears they did their own research on this anyway.

“Death Voice” is mixed with an idol song.

The Kitsune sign that is so associated with Babymetal came about when I was teaching the Devil’s sign to the members and they started playing around making shadow
figures on the wall in form of foxes. I thought it was really funny and interesting and decided to keep it. When all is said, the girls take whatever songs we provide
them with and they take them and think about what new aspect they can draw out even as they ponder, “what is the world is Metal anyway?”.

Q: There are many “Homages that are appreciated by Metal fans” such as the Kitsune sign. What are some examples of similar items?

Kobametal: In “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” to be released in January of next year, there is the “Dame Jump” where the girls jump with their arms crossed over and there is the
“Wall of Death” where Yuimetal and Moametal run past each other right to left in the intro section of this song.
The provision of a corsette with the first limited edition of “Headbanga!” and the performance of the release event for that song being held at the Mecca of Japanese
Metal, a live house in known as Meguro Rockmaykan were homages to the Japanese Metal scene.

Q: Not only do you pay attention to small performance details, I also get the feeling that you place a great deal of importance on producing a world view at the live

Kobametal: In contrast with the current trend in the Idol world of Idols being just kind of an extension of one’s daily life, with Babymetal we really want to provide a
“sense of the uncommon”. For that reason I aim to create a world that is as removed from one’s daily space and time as is possible at the live performances. An example
of this is that we attempt to spin a story that runs from the opening to the closing by not including MC talk and by effectively combining together movies, songs and
stage art.

However, I think the thing that really provides a sense of the uncommon is the incredible energy that the girls blast out in the live shows. This energy transfers to the
audience and brings life to the Mosshushu and call and response actions so familiar at Babymetal performances.

Babymetal has the concept ingrained in it that “Kami flows into and transforms into the shape of Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal” and in actuality the girls say that
they have almost no memory of the events of the live performances. It is true that the girls carry out very active performances and probably get something like a
runner’s high inducing something like a trance state. I think perhaps the audience takes in a lot of that passion and heat and brings about a real sense of unity,
bordering on a type of possession between the girls and the audience.

Q: What kind of numbers do you get for live performances? Also, what is the core composition of Babymetal’s fan base?

Kobametal: At the October 6, Shibuya O-East show we had an total audience of 2,600 spread over 2 shows. Our next live show is at Akasaka Blitz which has a capacity of
1,500. Generally speaking, Babymetal has a policy of putting on “all standing” concerts. It will be a joy to see how far the popularity of Babymetal spreads here on out
into the future.

The core makeup of the fans who actually come to live performances is composed mainly of male Idol fans in their 20s to 40s. However, the atmosphere of the concerts
differs slightly from those of Sakura Gakuin in that with Babymetal there seems to be more people who are looking for a more unifying and exciting experience more in
line with a major band’s live performance.

Additionally, some of the fans are people who appreciate sub-culture and/or Metal. Recently, we have seen the emergence of more and more female fans, and there are now
numerous “Odottemita” (I danced it myself) videos featuring girls and women dressed up in Babymetal cosplay appearing on the internet made by fans of Visual bands from
both within and outside of Japan.

Q: Preceding “Headbanga!”, “Doki Doki Morning” was released in 2011 and “iine!” was released in March of 2012. “Doki Doki Morning” seemed to have the most pronounced
Idol feel to it.

Kobametal: If you take just the chorus section of “Doki Doki Morning” you could definitely listen to it as an Idol song and it is surely Babymetal’s most pop sounding
song. This debut song was first performed at a Sakura Gakuin live show and this was probably behind why we chose such a catchy, pop sounding song. I’m sure Metal fans
would say to themselves that it is too popish and that “it is not really Metal at all”, but I am perfectly fine with that.

From the git-go many Babymetal songs are created using a sort of mash-up like technique. This means we take the different melody lines from various songs, extract
certain parts and then mix them all together. Because of this there are several composers taking part in creating “Doki Doki Morning”.

Q: Isn’t it rather unusual to put so much time into creating an Idol song?

Kobametal: Myself personally I have never heard of anyone making an Idol song in a similar fashion. When involved in creating the sound source it is not like we have
just one composer sit down and work on it alone, rather it is much more like we get everyone in the studio where everyone is allowed to express their opinion and so
there is a bit of a different mental energy involved than the usual approach. That said, since it takes so much time to create a single song that results in us have a
more limited number of songs.

For “iine!” we worked with a Metal sound that belongs to the genre known as “Screamo Pikorimo”. And since we used a mash-up approach with it as well it features a Death
Metal feel mixed in with a Hip Hop taste in the middle.

Q: “iine!” was released as a split CD with “Kiba of Akiba”. Could you fill us in on the background surrounding this?

Kobametal: To begin with, since Babymetal belongs to the indies record label of “Juonbu records” we felt that it would be appropriate to implement the indies culture and
tradition of new bands or bands that work well together releasing a split CD.

Once we decided this approach and we were looking around for a new band we came upon Kiba of Akiba. Babymetal felt a sense of kinship with them in their similar stance
of approaching the Otaku culture from the Metal scene side of things and felt certain that a joint work would result in something interesting.

Q: I understand that you are working to implement a wide variety of Metal aspects in Babymetal, but I would like to hear more about the favorable responses you have
gotten from Metal fans.

Kobametal: I get either extreme-either a big “Yes”, or a big “No”. Having been a major Metal fan in the past I know that people who really love Metal may see them as a
very annoying presence. From the outset we can not say that Babymetal was ever an authentic Metal band and have rather suddenly introduced a totally new style of Metal
and so there is nothing I can say about that and so feel that it will take a great deal of time to really reach deeply into their sphere of interest.

However, I do not think that it is bad to have controversy about the merits and demerits of Babymetal’s presence. In the Metal scene everytime a new style appears it
gets criticized but inevitably leads to the formation of new genres. Even when the infamous band of Metalicalla appeared on the scene it was showered with criticism at
first. This was the same with Slipknot in the 90s. So I feel that the more a band is hammered down the more it actually proves to have a great potential for change and
greatness and thus the “Strangeness factor” that can not fit within the Metal nor the Idol sphere is actually something that I constantly treat as a great treasure.

Q: Since “Doki Doki Morning” was released on YouTube in October of 2011 to the present time it has had over 1 million views. It appears that there are an inordinate amount of comments from overseas viewers. Did you have the overseas market in your scopes from the outset?

Kobametal: I had a hunch that it might stir up some interest but I honestly had no inkling that it would become the object of so much attention.
Because we made the video on a very low budget we had to have our staff play all the performance roles. Considering that I am quite surprised with the result. That said,
the comments reflect both favorable as well as not so favorable impressions.

Q: What region of the world seems to be responding most strongly. Are you planning any overseas events for Babymetal in the future?

Kobametal: We are definitely seeing more and more interest coming from the countries of Northern Europe and America that possess a heavy core Metal culture influence but
are also seeing this happening in South Asia and the rest of Europe as well. We received an offer from a Metal Festival in America this year but were unable to attend
due to scheduling conflicts. But we certainly want to pursue overseas activities herein out.

The girls are deeply moved when they see that fans overseas are vigorously watching their videos and offering supportive comments and are looking forward to performing
live in front of their fans outside of Japan.

There are quite a lot of people overseas uploading videos featuring dance cover performances. On Facebook about 80 to 90% of the “likes” we get come from people outside
of Japan, and these come from a wide variety of nationalities. I seems that Babymetal is most probably being seen as a “uniquely Japanese style of entertainment” much in
the manner of Visual bands, Idols, Hatsune Miku and Anime.

Q: Bringing the talk back to the domestic scene, at Summer Sonic in August where Babymetal appeared as the youngest band the twitter and other similar SNS mediums were buzzing with news and reactions from listeners other than the usual Idol fan base. What led up to their out of the blue appearance there?

Kobametal: The sponsors of the event evaluated Babymetal as being an epoch making band and approached me about a booking at quite an early stage.
It was quite difficult to juggle the scheduling because it conflicted with a Sakura Gakuin event but the person in charge had also come to see the July 21st Meguro Rockmaykan performance and I guess he was impressed because he repeatedly

pressured me asking, “there must be some slot of timing that would make a booking possible”, and in the end we ended up with kind of a rush job with a kind of, “it’s alright you can just show up once the Sakura Gakuin event is over and do the show without going through rehearsals”.

There are a lot of people in the music world who are very interested in Babymetal. The other day a member of some Visual band twitted the word “Headbanga!” on Twitter which led one of there fans to do a google search which ended up
leading her to Babymetal.

Q: It has become common scene these days to see anything new on the Idol scene being propagated over a variety of SNS such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like and it seems quite unusual to people who lie outside of the standard Idol fan base. Are there any other things that come to mind when you take a look at the listeners of Babymetal?

Kobametal: At this point in time amongst those people who would be considered to be Idol fans there seems to be an increase in the number of people who originally enjoyed going to concerts but who have now come to like Idols and Idol

concerts as well. We are even seeing people show up to Babymetal concerts wearing Metallica or Las Vegas band T-shirts.
In this current era called in Japan the “Idol Sengoku Jidai” (Era of the warring Idol bands), many Idols and Idol bands are playing with any and all kinds of ideas in the quest for a stroke of originality and uniqueness. What we once saw

in the Rock band scene where a vast variety of bands were popping up and fighting for popularity we are now seeing with a bubbling sense of excitement taking place in the current Idol world.
In the recent Rock band world there seems to be a lack in the heat or power necessary to take something uncommon and change it into something that can be appreciated by a large number of people. In one way of looking at it, I would say that the Rock scene is now largely populated by “honor students” (kind of boring, but proficient). With people in the music business world I often get into conversations where we are all convinced that the current Idol scene is just starting to heat up with a power that we “can’t put a finger on, but feel things are getting exciting” much like the Indies boom in the Rock band world of the 80s and 90s. I really feel this at Babymetal live performances as well, and many people who were involved in the Rock band boom of that era, myself included, are now working in the Idol scene.

Q: It could be that Idols and Idol bands are a presence that is revolutionizing the music scene. Amidst this backdrop, how to you plan to develop Babymetal from here on out into the future?

Kobametal: The only way to go is to pierce ahead in just the way we have so far without going off track. We may have done some rather “pointy” things early on and most likely as Babymetal gathers more and more attention to itself there may be a realistic tendency to mellow out a bit, but I feel that the 3 girls will continue to sing and dance to a full fledged Metal sound and that we will continue on full speed ahead without losing our way.

Throughout the height of the R&B dance music scene in Japan with such artists as Amuro Namie and Speed I am quite struck by Perfume carving out a corner in this scene where they continued to hold fast to their style of Techno Pop Idol music. Now this may be just my personal opinion but I feel that-and there may have been some twists and turns on the way until they reached their current position in the music world- due precisely to the fact that they did not just go with the flow of the times that they were able to lead the way to a totally new era in music.
Now, while I can not honestly say just how big Babymetal may become, I do feel that if we just pursue the existing form of Idol marketing then Babymetal will develop into nothing much more than a rehashed, lukewarm band. If that is the case, I feel it is much more interesting to go for broke and continue to embark on a totally untraveled path. I’m referring to the potential of the girls, the passion and love the staff has for Metal, the idea of positively making the most of this sense of “strangeness”…..From these factors a new style will be created and I feel we will be able to become an “Only One” existence as a band that no one else can create.

Q: Su-metal will be graduating from Sakura Gakuin in March of 2013. What will become of Babymetal post graduation?

Kobametal: I can’t comment on that at this time, but I can say that how Babymetal may develop will all start to become clear with the “I, D, Z Legend” series of live performances that started in October. No matter how things go I strongly hope that the activities of Babymetal will prove to be a very good experience for the girls.

With Babymetal we approach each and every live show with a great deal of care and I think we will be able to change this small movement into a big one. This will then prove to be a great stimulus to the music industry and I will be happy if it spurs even a few people to “pull their old Metal T-shirt out of the closet”, or cause them to say, “Babymetal was the trigger that got me into listening to Metal”.