Here is the translation of a portuguese article coming from the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
Thank to allo_ver on Reddit for this translation.
It’s metal day, baby
After Godzilla, a little metal monster from Japan advances over the world…
A few weeks ago, a special bus, painted red and black, stood out while going through Tokyo streets. On one side was the magnified image of three teenagers, dressed as schoolgirls and featuring an innocent appearance. On the other side of the vehicle, the same girls had their faces partially covered by Kabuki-style masks, giving them a mysterious and even frightening aspect. On the top, in large font, the curious name that brought the two pictures together: Babymetal.
An amalgamation of two Japanese passions – the Jpop, with its manufactured idols and sugar-coated music, and Heavy Metal, with all its musical weight and masculine aesthetics -, the group is stopping traffic in Japan and also starting to cause a jam of concepts, ideas and references in other parts of the globe. Formed by three girls with ages varying from 15 to 17 years old – the singer Suzuka Nakamoto, the Su-Metal, and the backing vocalists Yui Mizuno, the Yuimetal, and Moa Kikuchi, the Moametal -, Babymetal is the creation of a local talent agency, as it’s usual in the country of the so-called idol groups. Everything surrounding the girls – their clothes, their appearance, their choreography, the lyrics – was forged for success in the avid and peculiar Japanese market. However, something worked just too well, and Babymetal spread over the world.
Released in the first semester in Japan, and then in Europe and USA, their eponymous debut album has appeared in the top of iTunes metal charts, also gaining the spotlight in the Billboard rankings, something rare for a group that sings in Japanese. The music video for the song “Gimme Chocolate!!” has almost 20 million views on YouTube. And in November, the first Babymetal concerts in London and New York sold out. On top of that, Lady Gaga invited the “metal babies” – praised by publications as varied as the newspaper “USA Today” and the Heavy Metal magazine “Metal Hammer” – to participate in five concerts of her “ArtRave” tour.
-Before the first concert, we weren’t thinking so much about the fact that we were opening for Lady Gaga, but, when we went on the stage and I realized that, I was very nervous – confessed Su-Metal, that belonged to the idols Karen Girl’s and Sakura Gakuin. – Afterwards, on backstage, she calmed us, saying that she loved our music and we should just be ourselves.
Daughters of the Fox God.
But it’s hard (and fun) to try to discern what is real and what is fiction inside of Babymetal, that at times looks like it came out of the pages of a Manga. In the mythology created for the band, it was made by the Fox God, reason why the three girls have their own version of the notorious horned sign of metal fans. In the interviews, the girls usually describe their sound as kawaii metal – kawaii in Japanese means something like “cute”.
-It’s what they are, three sweet girls rocking an aggressive sound. It’s this contrast that makes Babymetal so unique and special – explains the producer and mastermind of the group, Key Kobayashi, the Kobametal.
Their first concerts happened in teenager festivals in Japan, as it was predictable, moving on later to concerts in the genre that gave them their name. As a result, their audience nowadays is a curious mix of idol group and matal fans, that meet but don’t clash in the moshpit.
-Whenever we start singing, people seem to look at us with a huge questionmark over their heads – says Su-Metal. – But, as we go on, it’s common to see people jumping and doing the fox sign.
As expected, Su-Metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal – that can only rehearse until 8PM when they are at home and have their education overlooked by a team – had never listened to Heavy Metal before joining the group.
-I must say that watching so many concerts made me like the genre – admits Su-Metal. – We also get a lot of metal CDs from fans around the world, what helps a lot.
The fact that the three present themselves on stage joined by a band formed of extremely competent stage musicians from Japan, called Full Metal Band, with the members wearing skeleton costumes, contributed for another surprise surrounding Babymetal. Veteran groups such as Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Metallica not only embraced the idea in a cheerful way, but they also praised the band live performance, with whom they already shared stages.
-They all came talk tio us on backstage. It was also incredible to see the audience reaction at Sonisphere festival, in the UK, with everyone applauding in the end – tells Su-Metal, that summarized, in a very kawaii way, the impact of her experience with the group in her own life. – Now, when I have some free time and go to karaoke with friends, I sing heavy metal as well.