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.