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BABYMETAL is officially the winner of the "Excellence Award" in the "Digital Contents Of The Year 2016" in the 22nd Annual AMD Awards! As previously posted last
week (read here please), BABYMETAL was announced as one of the
winners. Today March 13 was announced the official winner of the "Excellence Award". In addition their choreographer Mikiko was also awarded! Find more
BABYMETAL & choreographer Mikiko awarded in the 22nd Annual AMD Awards!
BABYMETAL won the "Excellence Award" in the "Digital Contents Of The Year 2016" in the 22nd Annual AMD Awards which praises producers and digital creators.
The Ceremony was held at the Meiji Memorial Fuji Museum in Tokyo. BABYMETAL made the first appearance for a Japanese artist at the SSE Arena Wembley in United Kingdom, having
great success "exporting the entertainment business", such live performances all around the world were highly appreciated.
Producer Kobametal appeared in place of BABYMETAL which were not able to appear at the awards ceremony due schedule. After Kobametal received
the award, the MC shared a message from BABYMETAL: "Thank you for chossing BABYMETAL for such prize today, BABYMETAL will continue to exceed this generation under the
name of "Metal Resistance". We will continue our activities aiming to connect the world through BABYMETAL and become the one."
In addition, BABYMETAL's (Perfume, Sakura Gakuin) choreographer Mikiko Mizuno thanks to the live performance at the closing ceremony of the "Rio Olympics
Games 2016" held in August 2016 made the "Jury Special Award". Mikiko said: "I feel blessed to be part of staff of Perfume and also
BABYMETAL that push forward to face the world with their bodies."
“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.
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?
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?
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.
This is a dive term that makes its appearance in the middle of “Hedobangya!!”. Bending at the elbow with one arm, and then at the determined point in time in the song and while making a fist with the hand of this arm the fan makes his or her body fall forward from the chest in unison with the other fans. This is known as “Gyakudai”. Placing one’s body so it rides on a barrier or partition in the concert hall, the fan then does a “Gyakudai”. This is known as “Sakudai”. Being lifted up by the surrounding fans and then rolling on top of them toward the stage is what is called, “Korodai”. It is an ironclad rule of manners that when doing the “Korodai” one first removes their shoes, and since many concert halls prohibit such dive actions, one must honor these rules of manners and have fun in the concert without causing injuries to oneself nor others. Not doing so is “Dame, Zettai”.
Kurenai no Kishi
The Crimson Knight
In order to return the Metal souls of Yuimetal and Moametal who have fallen into the dark side by transforming into Black Babymetal, Su-metal transforms herself into the Crimson Knight by engulfing herself in Dark Crimson flames. At many performances Su-metal saves the 2 girls by singing “Akatsuki”.
Kobametal is the producer of Babymetal and the successor of the records of Apocalypse of Kitsune-sama. The divine instructions of Kitsune-sama are passed on to the members through Kobametal. In other words, he performs the function of what could be called a psychic medium.
（さ） （Sa） Line
Sakura Gakuin is the venue in which the 3 girls carry out their activities of “Metal Resistance in the Idol world in their guises of stealth. “Juonbu” (Heavy sound club) was established so these club activities could be carried out in a manner differing from “Keionbu” (Light sound club). When Juonbu was first established there were incessant complaints from the other clubs about the explosive sounds coming from their performances, and so when Su-metal graduated from Sakura Gakuin in March of 2013, Juonbu was abolished and Babymetal went on to carry out its activities independent from the school.
Basically speaking in theses live performances carried out without MC, the only words coming from the stage are this phrase “See you!!” said at the end of each show. The closing greetings the girls use when transmitting messages through the media is also this phrase of, “See you!!”.
This is a very important role that has been issued by Kitsune-sama to Yuimetal and Moametal. For Babymetal, the scream is an amazing and unexpected “Ai no Te” (an interjected chant) performed in instrumental sections of songs. At times they are also in charge of the Death Voice parts.
（た） （Ta） Line
Not good! Jump
In chorus section of “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”, when Su-metal vocalizes “Ijime!”, in unison Yuimetal and Moametal scream out, “Dame!” while at the same time cross their arms about the height of their faces in the Fox sign and jump up performing one of Babymetal’s ceremonial movements.
The members of Babymetal often say “Death!!” at the end of conversations. Doing so they bite their tongue, not so so hard as to cause pain, in order to properly make the “TH” sound.
A wide variety of both high pitched sounds and low pitched Death voices such as “Gya-!!” and “??” make their appearance in Babymetal songs and are utilized as a form of interjected chant signalling the fans to raise their voices. Some parts are handled by Yuimetal and Moametal. These Death voices were introduced into early songs such as, “Doki Doki Morning” and “iine” and are pioneering developments that were the first Death Voices to be utilized in a full fledged manner in the Idol world.
Hedoban done from a kneeling position
This appears in the middle of the song, “Hedobangya-!!”. This is a form of Hedobanging where one kneels on the ground and bows in manner that one’s head rubs on the ground. It also appears to be a ritual for summoning the Hedoban kami. This is also a symbolic Hedoban ceremonial homage to Headbanging carried on throughout the Visual band world.
The front and center seat
This is term about seating that appears in the middle of “Hedobangya-!!”. This means the very center, or in other words, the center seat of the front row. This is a term that is used often in the Visual band world.
（な） （Na） Line
Nanba-wan jyanakute onri-wan
Not number one, but rather, the only one
This is one of the missions assigned to Babymetal by Kitsune-sama. Based on the concept of “Fusing together Idol with Heavy Metal”, Babymetal is to carry out the Metal resistance as a presence in the world of both Idol and Heavy Metal that is completely unique and without peer.
（は） （Ha） Line
The Fox sign
When the members of Babymetal were being taught the Maloik sign which is a symbolic and ritualistic sign in the world of Heavy Metal, the girls mistook it for a shadow picture hand formation of the Fox. This is what led to the creation of the Kitsune sign, or Babymetal’s style of the Maloik sign. The shape of Kitsune-sama can be envisioned by the form of the fingertips.
This is the unit name of Yuimeta and Moametal when they transform in their incursions into the entertainment world of various conspiracies of the gigantic and powerful “Idol”. When they go through their transformation, they say, “This isn’t Metal, is it?” as they begin to disrespect Metal for violating the true meaning of Metal. When Yuimetal and Moametal transform into Black Babymetal in “Onedari Daisakusen” they chant the sounds of “Yo! Yo!”.
Listen up! …. The “Red night-Black night” are truly Japan’s cutting edge Metal — Babymetal!!
The first chapter of the Metal resistance is compiled right here.
Our report chock full of emotions spanning 10,000 characters (referring to the number of Kanji)
Are you holding on tightly to the Neck Brace that was handed out to you at the opening day at the Budoukan venue?
Are you daily watching the “Live at Budokan” trailer?
The Metallers, no, all of the fans who witnessed the “Red night/Black night” are certainly proud of what they saw and are filled with excitement everyt ime they remember every detail they experienced that night that has become etched into their minds. I would like to talk about the “Red night/Black night”. Over and over and endlessly I would like to talk about it. I dedicate this 10,000 character report to all those fans who shared these nights with me and with all those true Babymetal fans who have been so fascinated with Babymetal. It is the hope of us at “Hedoban” that this report will serve as a source of reference for “talking about the Red night/Black night experience. Our true feeling is that this can not be captured even with 10,000 characters. So, we have entrusted out intent with the 3 girls of Babymetal, with Kobametal and as well with the entire staff that supports Babymetal!
We hope we will be able to see unapologetically and in all its glory the “True Metal” of Babymetal at the Mecca of Metal as was shown to us at the “Red night/Black night”.
On February 25th BABYMETAL’s first album went on sale. The night before this albums were first released for sale at Shinjuku’s Tower records. Toy Factory twitted on its official twitter site that a “Stupendous line of people” had formed outside Tower records. I couldn’t take my eyes off my Smartphone screen. I became so concerned with each passing second of the current state of affairs of Babymetal that I was unable to concentrate on my work. In a fortunate turn of events “Hedoban” Vol. 3 was scheduled to go on sale this same day. I received a mail from the editor on the day it was to go on sale which said, “It is amazing! Everyone standing in line at the cash registers are holding their hands the Babymetal CD and “Hedoban!”.
So apparently he had gone to Tower records to check on how things were going. I am quite certain that he wrote that mail with his eyes tearing up.
At the end of last year’s December 21st Babymetal solo concert, “Legend 1997 Su-metal’s Seitansai” held at Makuhari Messe it was announced by way of a video presentation that Babymetal would be performing 2 days at the Nippon Budoukan. For a large number of fans this meant they would have to wait patiently until March 1st until they would be able to experience once again (or for the first time) a Babymetal live performance. Of course some lucky fans would be able to see them before that at a joint show with Kinniku Shoujo Tai, or at their Singapore or Taiwan performances, but this is obviously only a very narrow segment of their fan base. Considering their rapidly expanding number of fans this scarcity of live performances is kind of weird.
For the ordinary fan the pace of Babymetal’s activities that they are aware of appear to be rather uneventful. It goes without saying that this pace is not anything like the 8-year intervals between albums that we saw with AC/DC but it does feel to one that the metal resistance that has been carried out up to now has been slow and kind of inching steadily along. That is why it is very interesting that in spite of this there has been this sudden increase in the number of fans.
There is very little information about Babymetal. They have no blog and even the official Twitter account only announces the bare minimum of information deemed necessary. It does seem kind of weird. However, that said, one can also be of the point of view that having a smaller amount of information makes things easier to organize and handle in your head. Having too much information can in some cases bring on fatigue or cause you to lose interest. It also may make it easier for new fans to get on the boat so to speak. It is not a simple of case of more is better when it comes to information. Fans who are starving for information tend to listen to the music and watch available video material over and over. That goes for the writer as well and I find myself repeatedly viewing “LIVE ~ LEGEND I, D, Z APOCALYPSE”. I don’t think that it was a purposeful intent to create a state of starvation in their fans, but I would say that most certainly the lack of information has served as a side effect playing around in the background of this rapid increase in the fan base.
And now we come to the long awaited date of March 1st. Due to the large number of fans perched on the edge of starvation the tickets sold out almost immediatelyThe fate of these 3 girls will be decided one the first day of this 2-day event, the “Red night Legend, Giant Neck Brace festival, the Tenka metal Budoukan Final”.
I was planning to get to the venue early to stand in line to buy goods, but since I was unable to sleep well the night before I ended up arriving after 3 O’clock. I really wanted to buy the legendary Budoukan version of the “Corset Festival” T-shirt but one look at the monstrous line of people made me give up on that idea. I decided to wait for a while outside the venue.
When I looked over the line of people waiting to buy goods I was delighted to see that there were people holding copies of “Hedoban” and even some reading it as they stood in line – a favorable scene to see. It appears that the publication side of the metal resistance is gradually making inroads as well. I had heard all this through mails from my editor before but seeing it with my own eyes actually caused them to well up with tears of happiness.
Had the octogonal center stage really been changed on purpose to make the “most superior metal stage on earth-the Budoukan” into a fighting arena, or colosseum?
OK, here we go-entrance time! My spirit of excitement has been building up to incredible heights.
As I approach the entrance I am handed a corset and told, “Please put this on as you enter the arena”. It is an obligation possessed by all who enter to wear their corset. When I entered the Budoukan with the corset wrapped around my neck I let out a expression of surprise as I had done when I saw Babymetal at Makuhari Messe.
There was a great octogonal stage positioned right in the center of the Budoukan, and there was a monitor hanging down from the ceiling. Surrounding the octogonal stage there were 4 circular stages in place which connected to the main stage by with aisles. The stage which was all done out beautifully in red and black was embellished with magic squares (Mahoujin). This is truly a work of excellence.
A center stage, and what is more, at a standing only style of concert, at an arena of the class of the Budoukan is an extremely rare occurrence. A long time ago ARB set up a boxing ring in the Korakuen hall upon which they performed and in more recent times Brahman put on a standing only performance at Makuhari Messe. However this may in fact be the first time that a concert has been put on with a stage set-up like this at the Budoukan.
The octogonal center stage deliberately draws out the elite status of the “most superior metal stage” and further helps to portray it as a fighting arena, or colosseum. When I reflected that this Budoukan performance would be a part of a story that began with last spring’s “Babymetal Death Match” and continuing through 2013 Summer Sonic a wave of emotions rose up in my chest.
The stage set-up was a true spectacle and then when I looked around the entirety of the arena an even more mysterious scene met my eyes. The periphery of the stage seemed to my perception like a scene that had been recorded and shown to me in black and white. This was due to everyone in the audience wearing a black T-shirt or a black jacket thrown over their shoulders which were in contrast to the white corsets they were wearing. While I do not know how many people were in attendance, the vast majority were all dressed more or less the same. This also I can only express as being truly spectacular. This type of scenery is also one of the factors that goes into to constructing the world of Babymetal. By the way, if you were to come into the arena without a corset around your neck, one of the “Bonesman” patrolling the areana would point and gesture to you to quickly put it on.
These “Bonesmen” really carried out good work in the arena. Before the concert began they were walking around the arena carrying flags bearing the logo mark of Babymetal on them raised high in the air. They would lead people who had entered the arena to their seats and help them out. At times they would call out “Oi, Oi!” in a loud voice. From time to time their actions would appear on the monitor hanging from the central ceiling. This being seen by the fans in the stands helped greatly in building up their excitement and involvement with the event unravelling before them. This great attention paid to the fine details of putting a first class show is truly a wonderful thing. The result of all this attention to details helps to create a world that separate and removed from ordinary reality.
Somewhere along the way the arena has morphed from a concert venue into a sort of underworld theme park.
The concert has yet to start. I wonder what will things be like when it has finished.
The arena goes dark. A “Boneman” appears on the monitor and in a deep voice he says, “Kobametal Death” (I am Kobametal) Kobametal is a figure well known to our readers and who is best known as the porducer of Babymetal. However, Kobametal appearing on a large screen monitor at a performance is indeed a rare event. I do not know if he is someone who likes to be the center of attention or not but the fact that he has chosen to appear in form of a character is itself a really interesting idea. He goes on to announce that the “Neck Brace festival” that was in the past held at the Meguro Rockmaykan would now have its venue changed to the Budoukan where it would be called the “Giant Neck Brace festival”.
Next, we are informed through an oracle from Kitsune-sama that, “When the pitch black darkness transforms into a crimson red color, Babymetal is challenged with a further test conveyed by Kitsune-sama”. The Fox god continues, “There will be no stories or commentaries between songs, no encore and that from the time one puts the corset on your neck the battle will begin. Indeed we are already headed toward destruction…”. When I heard the word destruction I felt myself shake. The countdown to destruction…Wait a minute sometime in the past I bought a CD that had that as its title.
“Have you made preparations for your neck?” Is the switch about to pressed?
“I will ask you once again, have you made preparations for your neck?”
The audience growls back loudly, “Guoooooooo!”
“The Giant Corset festival begins now!”
With that the excitement building visual presentation of Kobametal came to a close and the countdown switch was pressed. Here the breakdown part of THAT song was played over and over in a loop. Ki—Tsu—Ne—Ki—Tsu—Ne—Ki—Tsu—Ne…….. That’s right, “Megitsune”.
No mistake about it, the most fitting song to be performed as the opening piece is none other than “Megitsune”. The circular stages rise up in a mysterious red light with the three girls posed theatrically. When the “Soiya, Soiya”, “Sore, Sore, Sore” begins the audience is in a festive frenzy.
For many of the fans here this is the first time to meet the girls since the Seitansai held at the end of last year. And there must be many for whom this is their first time to encounter Babymetal-their, “At last I am able to see them in person” moment. So how is it?! Just how incredibly cool is this?! Just how cute are they?! Look! Look at the way they move! All of it including of course the performance of the Kami band is of the highest quality found in Japan at the present time, isn’t it!
During the performance of “Doki Doki Morning” and following through “Gimme Choco” a vortex is formed in the Mosshu Pit. Since the arena is separated into differing blocks each block has formed it’s own respective Mosshu circle all of which are spinning around with incredible momentum. Babymetal fans refer to each other as Mosshu mates. And so Mosshing with this kind of intense energy is just a matter of course. “Zukyun!” “Dokyun!”
The cuteness of Yuimetal and Moametal has in an instant pierced the hearts of 10,000 fans. And this number shall most surely increase as time goes on. In “iine!” a laser beam was used which added a further feeling of theatre to the arena and immediately following “Kitsune Da O” one saw the incredible sight of 10,000 fans all together doing a Dogeza Hedoban. A true masterpiece of performance.
The girls got to take a brief break before diving into “Catch me if you can”. The long version intro provided the 4 members of the Kami band each ample opportunity to show their mind boggling musical skills. The sounds they were drawing out from their vast pool of abilities resonated deeply in the hearts of the audience propelling on the excitement the show. The 3 girls made their reappearance as the entire arena was thoroughly grooved into the heavy sound of the Kami band which served to further heat up the excitement. One could almost feel the Mosshu pit heating up tangibly on one’s skin.
After “Uki Uki * Midnight” it was time to unveil Su-metal’s solo, “Akumu no Rondo”. Once again I have to ask myself, “Just what is this aura, or presence that this teenage girl possesses”? As usual her standing posture is the embodiment of cool strength, but at this moment I felt she was attempting to reach an even higher level. She is truly in possession of a deep well of talent and at this point in time we yet unable to see how far she will go. This chaotic song rolls along with a viciously modulating tempo which she masters perfectly even while engaging and fixating the entire arena. She performed this very difficult piece with smooth ease. I have listened to this song since then repeatedly on CD but it is certainly quite a different animal from the one I heard performed with the blasting sounds of the live performance.
Black Babymetal composed of Yuimetal and Moametal then performed “Onedari Daisakusen” followed by the incredibly lighthearted and fun yet extremely wild “Yon no Uta” which was unveiled at this venue on this day. Ever since I heard this song for the first time“Yon Yon Yoyoyoyon” has been playing in my head virtually non-stop. And I truly appreciate the Metal reggae section that reminds one of the way the Scorpions did this many years ago. This too is metal. I once again recognized the fact that metal is a genre of music that is able to swallow up any type of music it encounters.
The split second that Su-metal screamed out, “Now, Akatsuki!”, fire flared up from locations around the stage. Akatsuki”. When Su-metal’s voice rides on the Speed, on the Metal everything heats up to a fervent pitch. I feel that I will fly up infinitely high riding on this accelerated vocal myself. Akatsuki has totally recharged me with vitality and I even have a heightened sense of courage surging through my chest. “Babymetal Death”. A low bass sound that seems to lead one into the very depths of hell resounds eerily throughout the entire arena as the audience responds with chants of, “Death!, Death!”.
“Headbanga!” We must be coming close to the end of the show. I was already filled to the brim by this time. Just as Kobametal had declared, this show had proceeded as a non-stop, no MC heavy metal onslaught. In the interval before “Headbanga!” Yuimetal and Moametal were running around the periphery of the stage calling out “Hedoban, Hedoban!” stirring up the audience.
It was at this time that a problem occurred. There were only two girls on the stage. I didn’t at first realize that Yuimetal had disappeared from the stage. Some of the people around me were also starting sense something was wrong tilting their heads in confusion. Where did Yuimetal go?
The performance went on unheeded but there was some kind of commotion going on amongst the fans located near the stage. At this time I was still unable to get a grasp on what was happening. What I heard later was that during the pre “Headbanga!” interval Yuimetal had slipped and fallen off the stage. I was unable however to verify what had happened at that time from where I was sitting.
Su-metal and Moametal performed “Headbanga!” to the end without Yuimetal. The lights in the arena went out and stayed out for some time. I was thinking there is probably one more song to go.
From my perspective I knew there was some sort of accident but it was still unclear to me. My mind went blank-was the show just going to end with things the way they were? Throughout the audience people were yelling out, “Yuimetal!” here and there. These individual calls gathered up naturally into one big Yuimetal call that enveloped the entire arena.
After a few minutes had gone by the lead in for “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” started up. Even with this the audience was still all worked up. On the other side of the darkness appeared the three figures of the girls. The whole erupted in an unbelievable roar of, “Guooooooooooo!!!!” As I stood there overwhelmed and in a state of stunned amazement right in front of me the preparations for IDZ were moving ahead without fail. Yuimetal and Moametal were crouched down in runner’s starting positions. Wall of Death followed by the “Dame” jump-this all feels like a dream. This whole flow of confusion pressed upon me. I was all confused and upset with the excitement of Yuimetal’s accident and I felt for some reason like Moametal had also fell down with all of this seemingly impressed on my memory in a lump sum of detail.
The narration from the Metal master went on to state that the “3 girls had conquered the Tenka Ichi Budoukan” had achieved the status of “Real Metal” bringing this narration to a conclusion.
I was unable to believe all the events that had occurred right before my eyes. I remember thinking this is what is meant by having one’s mind go completely blank almost like being in a trance. I think there must have been a large number of others fans who felt the same way as I did. With that the countdown to the “final chapter of the metal resistance” had begun. I was unable in my state of mind to follow what the narration went on to say however.
While the length of the concert was just about exactly 1-hour, in consideration of all that had happened it certainly didn’t feel like just 1-hour. I have read what has happened with this accident as being part of the great power that has become part of the Babymetal legend when I reflect upon it now.
Even when the lights went on in the arena, I was unable to return to ordinary reality.
2. Doki Doki Morning
3. Gimee Choco
5. Catch me if you can
6. Uki Uki Midnight
7. Rondo no Akumu
8. Onedari Daisakusen
9. 4 no Uta
11. BABYMETAL DEATH
13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
A conclusive ceremony that spreads out to the final and a thorough homage to X Japan.
The first chapter in Metal resistance opens the door to a new form of metal beauty.
Justice of summation
March 2, 2014
Every seat in the arena is filled. Everyone here is hoping to become a witness to history.
The night before March 2nd I was filled with an incomprehensible excitement and ended up drinking too much. There was no way I could get through this night without drinking.
As you can imagine I was completely concerned with the situation surrounding Yuimetal every since my encounter with it at the first performance. However, I had received a twitter saying, “yesterday we are sure you were really surprised but Yuimetal is now completely fine and healthy” which even included a picture verifying this claim. Twitter is certainly useful in these situations. With my feelings of uncertainty being wiped away from my mind I went drinking with a friend. With that and a feeling of being one of the chosen ones I made my way to the arena. I was once again unable to buy a T-shirt.
In the same manner as yesterday, the stage was a center stage layout. But there was one part that was different. A barrier had been set up alongside the runway leading up to the stage. All of the fans felt a feeling of relief knowing that safety measures had been taken. All that is left is to wait for the start of the show.
This is the second day of the Budoukan performances so I am wondering what will be the ceremony prepared for this Black night Legend “Doomsday”Justice of summation show. Every seat is filled. Every fan here is here with the intention of becoming a witness to Babymetal history.
While waiting for the show to begin I was pondering on the hidden meaning of “Doomsday” that had been inserted into the subtitle. From before I had been concerned about the homage to X Japan that had been repeatedly introduced into the Babymetal world. “Crimson night” and “Black night” were certainly created based on the “Blue night” and “White night” concerts held on Dec 30 and 31, 1994 and the roots for the Neck Brace definitely came from Yoshiki. And I certainly can not be without remembering Toshi’s scream when considering “Akatsuki”. However, I keep getting the feeling that there is something more hidden and contained in this term Doomsday. And I am sure this will be revealed in tonight’s performance. I may in fact have missed something from yesterday’s show.
I knew from reading an interview in a magazine that Kobametal is a big fan of X Japan. Even before become a producer I got the feeling that he had the quality of being a big fan of X Japan. He expresses his love of music very openly without playing down his deep appreciation of heavy metal. This is actually a very big point. This gives him a very unobtrusive almost air like quality in his approach to producing Babymetal that is not just one of producing them as a product. Metallers are extremely sensitive to this air like quality of producing. The Metal music market when looked upon world wide is a very big market and yet each band that has succeeded has done so with a production quality similar to the one possessed by Kobametal. The atmosphere surrounding big bands such as Iron Maiden or Metallica all very much feature this quality. The reason we Babymetal fans are able to trust the entertainment provided by Babymetal is perhaps found in this quality.
One performance is already finished and from today this vast Babymetal story will begin once again. And that is absolutely the way things must be.
“Doomsday-From the gigantic magic circle the sound of gong emanates out announcing the final stage of the Metal resistance”
The lights go out in the arena and the narration begins. Yesterday’s “Crimson night” performance, excepting for the accident that happened, was a simple and straightforward stage without excessive dramatic touches. Today’s performance looks like it will develop into theatrical one flavored with movies.
“The Metal soul burning in the dark of the night turns into the crimson flames and all is consumed in flames”.
The picture story theatre begins. Today is one period in time. One story ends and from today once again a vast story begins. It must be this way.
“The time remaining has become very scarce…”
From before I had a thorough premonition that today something would be coming to an end, but when I actually heard it coming through the narration my chest was hit with emotion.
The first song was “Babymetal Death!”. The arena immediately turned into “Hell”. My mind and body shook with the fact that today’s setlist differed from the day before. In the next song, “iine” Su-metal nonchalantly threw out the ominous word of, “Doomsday”. By the way, yesterday the word was “Budoukan!”. This is one of my favorite moments, when one can peer into the extremely scarce moments of “essential” Su-metal.
Not appearing in the set list yesterday, “Answer for Animation with you”, was performed today with the 3 girls flying all over the gigantic stage in every direction. While I would love to be able to more closely observe each girl’s expressions and movements, the speediness with which they move makes this impossible. There is just so much information that enters into one’s field of vision at a Babymetal performance. Even though there are just the 3 girls on stage it feels like an unlimited space spreads out before one on the stage. So, I often feel like I may perhaps be missing something that I should have seen. I think this is one of the reasons all of us tend to repeat over and over some scenes when watching a recorded video format. The number of view counts on Youtube for “Gimme Choco!” is an amazing phenomena but much of that is probably due to this natural desire to re-watch parts of the performance. The picture story theatre portrays the pair of Yuimetal and Moametal extremely excited watching the most recent version of their favorite Anime, “The happy grape man” in the Cyber city of A-Ki-Ba.
Grapeman challenges the girls to show him real reggae and he will reward them by teaching them the real way to arrange the number 4. With this, the two transform into Black Babymetal and go on to perform “Onedari Daisakusen” and then “4 no Uta”. Happy 4! The cuteness of Yuimetal and Moametal was so outstanding that even today I felt a rush of infatuation. The picture story theatre begins again. Both screens show a story of a young girl carrying a cross of despair with a soft yet strong ballad playing in the background. It would appear that this is a new song.
Su-metal’s voice completely blends her heart with the song. The emotions that bubble up from within her build up to their limit and expresses this song straight and honestly as a 16-year old girl would. While it still might not yet be a 100% perfect performance, her emotional posture strikes right to the core of the hearts of all who hear it. When she was singing “Akatsuki” I could swear that there were huge streams of fire shooting up behind her. I promise I am not lying.
As we enter the second half, they fly right through “Catch me if you can” and into “IDZ”. This rich and dense stage show leaves one bored for not one single second. This style of performance reminded me of Yoshiki’s famous quote of, “the aesthetics of a moment”.
In this completed stage we find a rich and dense style of beauty that has been fostered over nearly 40 years of Heavy Metal history. When I first saw Babymetal exactly 1 year ago they were already in possession of the ability to transmit a very powerful and attractive charm. Babymetal has progressed this far due to a strong belief in themselves. The result of that is that they are able to fire up and entrance 10,000 fans in a live show. Now the scale of their stage shows are 10 times or more greater than they were then. We believed for a long time that this would be the case.
“We are ! …Babymetal!”
When I came to my senses I realized that we are almost at the end of the show. I seems I always feel this way. The girls pleasantly sing out, “See you!” and make their lightfooted exit from the stage. I was happy beyond measure. I want to express my appreciation for having met Babymetal. Kitsune-sama, thank you!
One of the factors of attractiveness of Babymetal is their “style of beauty”. This is not a “Style of beauty Metal”. That is to say it contains the essence of Metallica’s theme of the destruction of the goddess and X JAPAN’s Speed Metal sound and many of the other great parts of the Metal movement that have so excited the world. This so magnificently completed stage is built on the foundation of a style of beauty that has been fostered over almost 40 years of Heavy Metal history. It can be said that the world of Babymetal is a form of entertainment that is built based deeply on the past history of Heavy Metal. And that is why they are able to engross and entrance us to this degree.
And further, today is a special day. Everyone in attendance today knows that this is not the end of things. The narration begins again. “The crimson flame burns up everything, and when this land is completely engulfed in a pitch black darkness at last the moment of fate shall come to us…we are heading to the final chapter of the Metal Resistance”.
As soon as the narration began, the entire arena became completely silent. “Kitsune-sama said, ” With that the Gong is rung making a divine oracle like statement that the curtains have risen on a new legend.
This brought on an uproar from the audience. This eruption of cheers from the fans came at the moment when it was announced that the Legend would be starting up again. On both of the screens a new character was seen and this is the mother of Kitsune-sama-”Godmother”. “You are the one who banged the Gong”. With this the crowd erupted into laughter and a very pleasant mood spread throughout the arena. Amidst this aura of new hope that filled the arena the audience began the calls for an Encore.
“Doki Doki Midnight” started. Isn’t it a heart warming gesture that the song that commemorates the start of Babymetal is selected for the initial Encore song? And now we know that the group will continue to exist. I felt like I would cry. They continued with one more song. The last song of the first chapter of Babymetal and their first major debut song, “Headbangya!”. That’s right, the 3 girls sent out a wolf smoke signal of the metal resistance with this song.
“Hedoban, Hedoban, Banbanbaban!”
The performances of the first period of Babymetal continued to this point. The audience had their eyes riveted on the form of this performance. The shows have now completed transformed into a ritual. Every single fan was watching quietly over this pattern of events in an atmosphere of dignified seriousness. Even with the conclusion of the 2nd song of the Encore the lights in the arena stayed off. “Shall we now talk about the totality of the Metal Resistance?” After a short span of time began the “History of the fierce fighting of the Metal Resistance”, or, a history of the activities of Babymetal. “The media, politics, economy and indeed everything in this land was under the control an enormous entity known as “Idol” and its dark and overwhelming power. Everything other than Idol songs were considered to be harmful and Metal was no exception.
I read this over and over and could recite this narration from memory even now. “The prayer of the messenger requesting the reinstatement of the rights of Metal reached the ears of the god residing over all Metal matters, Kitsune-sama, who went on to give the name of Babymetal to Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal a unit given birth on the theme of fusing together Idol and Metal and brought them in to this land. Kitsune-sama provided Babymetal with numerous trials to make it possible for them to take possession of true Metal”.
10,000 fans were gazing at the monitor in the center of the stage in silence. The narration goes on passionately as scene after scene of momentous episodes in Babymetal history reeled by on the screen. “Traveling down this pathless path, the girls changed ever single challenge they faced into Legends and the sight of actions struck deeply into the hearts of all witnessed them”.
Oh, that’s right, this is reality. This all really happened. This was not a work of fiction. “Kitsune-sama spoke divinely to Babymetal. The first chapter of Babymetal in this land has come to a conclusion” and with that 3 coffins began to descend slowly from the ceiling of the BudouKan. It appears that the girls are being summoned to a new land. “Doomsday-time has come”, it seems the time has arrived. For whatever reason, the narration now continues in English.
“Screaming and Dance-Moametal”
“Screaming and Dance-Yuimetal”
“Vocal and Dance-Su-metal”
Dressed in new costumes each member is introduced. When the 3 girls have entered into the coffins they are raised up high. This is now nothing other than a ritual. In the background orchestral music is playing. Every fan, every single one of them was watching this in solemn silence. In conclusion the narration goes on to say, “Babymetal, say Goodbye”. The crowd moaned in awe, “Eh..!”
“to Japan, Japan, Japan…..”What is this?! What in the world is happening!? This seemed to be the mood in the arena and my head was thrown into confusion. On both of the screens appeared the words, “Babymetal Japan”. Next the words of “Legend “Y” Yuimetal Seitansai (Birthday festival) and “Legend “M” Moametal Seitansai”. Next on the screen appeared a world map moving away from Japan and on to…Europe. While my mind was in a state of confusion to the end and I don’t remember clearly what took place, it seems that the Seitansai were going to be held in the countries of Europe. Babymetal’s Metal resistance on this land has come to a conclusion and it is now time for them to continue their warrior training in foreign lands.
When I looked up I saw the the Hi no Maru flag of Japan. Alright this is not bad, Europe is great idea!With this the curtain came down on 2 days of performances in the BudouKan. Even though a few months have passed since then the incredibleness of the event stays with me. I have no idea how I am going to be able to convey this in writing. Anyway, we have once again been witnesses to the creation of a Legend. Of that I have no doubt. “Japan, Japan, Japan…” for quite some time this “Japan” echoed in my head. I am sure that those of you who are familiar with X JAPAN will understand this. That is this reverberation of “Japan”. Their live performances begin with a narration. The orchestra that was playing in the background was an homage to “Amethyst”!
At the 2 days concerts “Blue night” and “White night” held at the end of December 1994 at the Tokyo Dome, X JAPAN used this “Amethyst” as their opening song. This song was released in 1993 and was included in YOSHIKI’s solo album and was also released as a single. While this song was playing each member of the band was introduced with a female voice narration as they made their entrance onto the stage. And then the narration went on to echo, “X JAPAN, Japan, Japan…” followed by the performance of their first song in the Set List. And then, one more thing. In yesterday’s narration the phrase, “heading toward destruction” was used. In January of 1992 at their 3 days of concerts at the Tokyo Dome and when X JAPAN was still going by the name of X they used exactly this phrase as the title of the concerts. Not Mega Death. Babymetal’s final concert in this chapter can also be considered to be one performed under the name of X and of “heading toward destruction”.
Now, I see, all is connected. The lights in the arena went on and if one looks up one can see the Japanese flag, the Hi no Maru. Not bad. Not bad. Europe, sure Europe is an excellent choice. Show the entire world this new type of Metal that was born in Japan! Show them this incredible entertainment packed full of Heavy Metal history! Babymetal is a group with whom it is possible to draw a straight line right into the history of Metal. As a form of Metal renaissance this will become a movement that totally envelops the entire world. There is no doubt about this and it is coming soon. The age of Babymetal will come into existence without fail.
1. Babymetal Death
3. Answer for Animation With You
4. Onedari Daisakusen
5. 4 no Uta
6. New song
8. Catch me if you can
9. Uki Uki Midnight
10. Gimme Choco!
11. Akumu no Rhondo
13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
14. Doki Doki Morning
The summoning ritual
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-brainerh 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.
“Hedoban” or “Head Bang” magazine is a heavy metal music magazine published in Japan. It is well-known among BABYMETAL fans especially in Japan that, in the past issues, Hedoban provided EXCELLENT interviews and reports of BABYMETAL.
So far, regular issue was published 4 times, a special issue once. This talk show was held in commemoration of the special one. In the past, I posted on FB partial translation a couple of times to introduce some of awesome interviews and articles from the magazine. Vol. 1 of Hedoban was sold out, got some premium, and is sold at very “good” price on internet lately. The reason why they are extremely knowledgeable with BABYMETAL is simple and crystal clear – editor in chief is a huge fan of BABYMETAL. So are editors and writers. In this panel discussion, they discussed mainly what was not written in the special issue.
The writer who was one of the panelists said he always tries his best in writing, and is always crying when writing article. Of course, nobody knows if he is actually crying, but we can feel his emotion and high spirit between the lines of what he writes. When BABYMETAL went to Europe in July, Hedoban formed a team of as many as seven guys that was composed of editors, writers, and photographer. Usually, to report festival in overseas, they team up with local staff externally, but, for BABYMETAL, they sent the whole team to Europe from Japan. Photographer mentioned that, usually, there are some best angles with any artist, which means the pictures taken from other angles than the best ones should go to trash bin.
However, in case of BABYMETAL, he could use any pictures that were taken from any angle. The girls were genuinely photogenic. I strongly agreed with the photographer, because when I capture screen shot of BABYMETAL from DVD or YouTube, they look always brilliant regardless of angle at any moment Chief editor and writer witnessed the show at Sonisphere. When the girls appeared on stage while Kami Band was playing “BABYMETAL Death”, they saw that Su looked over the crowd and then quietly smiled. That was the smile like the one when martial arts fighter encounters his opponent on the ring, according to them. Photographer teased chief editor and the writer, and asked if that actually happened or not, because he could not confirm it by any fancam video. The guys strongly insisted that it was a true story.
I personally would like to trust those guys. Photographer said that he could tell if the artist on stage was in tense or not based on his experiences. He told that the girls did not seem to be nervous at all, rather, they looked totally relaxed at the opening. At Sonisphere, he was allowed to photograph basically during the first 3 songs. That was the case with all the bands there including Iron Maden, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, etc. But, for some reason, in case of BABYMETAL, all the photographers were allowed to take pictures only for the first 2 songs. At The Forum in London, chief editor thought BABYMETAL were excellent as always, and he was strongly impressed that the crowd there was awesome, and said he was really happy to be there. Seeing the girls in Japan and in UK are different because the audiences are different, according to him.
Yoshiki who is a leader of a very famous Japanese rock band, X-Japan, was in the crowd at The Forum. BABYMETAL’s producer, Kobametal was greatly influenced by X-Japan, and it is said that so-called “dame-jump” during “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” is an homage to X-Japan. While BABYMETAL was performing on stage at The Forum, the photographer was watching Yoshiki carefully and found that he was smiling grimly at “dame jump”. Chief editor strongly felt that the shows at Sonisphere and The Forum would be the legendary shows in BABYMETAL’s history, and be a point of departure for them to go to the world, which I thought was totally right, together with the shows in Paris and Cologne.
Overall, it was a very good panel discussion in a sense that it was informative, stimulating, interesting, and funny sometimes. I just want to thank all the panelists there. There has been a rumor that there is something “sensitive” in relationship with heavy metal magazine “B” that is published by the same company as Hedoban. Actually, during the discussion, I felt that once, but, it’s irrelevant here, so let me put it aside.
I love Hedoban magaziine, anyway. For me personally, photographer’s comment “The girls were photogenic from any angle” was most impressive and 200 + % agreeable
Volume 5 of Hedoban is now in progress according to chief editor. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be awesome.
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.
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).
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!”
Good MorningNight. This is Moa. This year was the first time Moa could not be with her family, during my birthday. Instead I became 15 in Europe, and I was able to celebrate a special birthday!
Every time, on the days I go on stage or when I am away from my family traveling overseas, mama always says “Be careful, No matter what happens come back alive!!!”. I feel like she may be over exaggerating… but Moa, for the longest time, due to good or bad luck has been involved in strange accidents, that getting hurt is something that happens often. (sweat)
When I was a child I was in the hospital for pneumonia, I fell between the space between the bed and the wall backwards. I got my hand stuck in an automatic door and caused a commotion… I know I told this before, but during home ec I cut off the skin in my left index finger along the 2nd joint. During the earthquake, the water from the fish tank -that class all took care of- splashed on me, and I got all sticky… In the playground balls come flying towards Moa, causing bruises. Really, a lot of things happen around me. So I understand why my mama is worried, so taking her kind thoughts and feelings, I reply “Yes, No matter what I will come home alive.”
The first stop in the European tour was France!!! It was YUIMETALS Seitansai. The fans were fired up from the beginning!! During the encore, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and celebrated. I know it wasn’t for me but I was so happy, tears came running down.
Next came Germany!!! We did my, MOAMETAL’s Seitansai. The impression I got in Germany was there were a lot of metaller’s. Are they scary?… is what I was thinking, but they were very warm and kind (heart). Every time a song ended there was a loud applause, I felt it the warmth in my heart. I was so happy.
We left the fortunate Germany, and went to England. We went to famous Sonisphere to perform. Here I ran into the issue where I could not hear from my ear monitor (sweat). At first we were waiting in our position in standby, calming myself and waiting to start, but I heard nothing. Listening carefully, I noticed I can hear the drums right behind me, barely.
Huh? Oh am I in trouble?! Is my ear monitor broken?!! ran trough my mind and I thought about going off stage to get it fixed, but I can feel SU-METAL and YUIMETAL moving. So I thought I’ll just have to move with what faint drumming I can hear, so I quickly assessed what was going on and somehow managed to move. Since we could not do a sound check being at a foreign festival, I heard this kind of stuff happens. The staff noticed what was going on with Moa and quickly addressed the issue, and I was saved. I was so relived when I heard sound coming in through the ear monitor. Thank You! I have been able to participate in many festivals, I felt everything I learned has been useful. And I will never forget the enormous view from the stage!!
Lastly, the Headliner in London!! I heard there was going to be a live streaming to Japan, with fans cheering us on in Japan, was very encouraging! Everyone was so hyped during the show, I felt everyone is enjoying BABYMETAL! I wanted to reply back to that feeling, by giving all of MOAMETAL’s to show. But there was something that happened to MOAMETAL in London. I stepped on something and and lost my footing (sweat) We don’t know what is going to happen, so we have to prepared for anything, is what I took to heart and learned from during the shows this time around!!
One year ago, right after a BABYMETAL show, we were so tired we had to rest for a while. This time all 3 of us were not tired. We were so full of energy that we had to careful not to cause trouble with KOBAMETAL and the Kami band members. (LOL)
Lastly thank you for the European Tour!! and pray for me that no “happenings” will happen in America.