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All I can say is you have to watch this one-cute, alluring and slightly bizarre, but definitely Himeka all the way.
Nakamoto Himeka is a member of Nogizaka46’s 1st Generation.
Name: Nakamoto Himeka (中元日芽香)
Nickname: Himetan (ひめたん)
Birthdate: April 13, 1996 (17)
Birthplace: Hiroshima, Japan
Sibling: she is the sister of Nakamoto Suzuka aka Su-Metal
Nakamoto Himeka know how to rock in this Nogizaka46 track!
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.
Here is a translation from a Japanese interview with Kobametal, the BABYMETAL producer, from the site Nikkel Trendy, please understand we have done our best to translate the text from japanese to english and some mistake may occure. Thank to Thomas Malone and BABYMETAL WORLDWIDE (BMWW)
Trend Focus Why is popular unique metal idol BABYMETAL? Why is this unique Metal Idol band, “Babymetal” so popular? We explore this with its instigator.
Babymetal was formed in 2010 around the concept of “fusing together Idol and Metal”. This unit of 3 main members from the the Idol group, “Sakura Gakuin” have been
carrying out activities under the name of “Juonbu” taking the fight to the warring age taking place in the idol market with their incredible unique presence.
They are acquiring a fan base that lies outside of the typical idol fan by crossing stereotypical expectations with the gap they have created between a heavy metal sound
contrasted with idol-like performances and with their firm grip on points that “Metal fans appreciate” with their music and performance style. Through the introduction
of their music on Youtube they have come to garner support from fans that reside not only in Japan but throughout the world.
We talked with Amuse’s KOBAMETAL, a music consultant for “Juonbu records” and the chief instigator of Babymetal about the background and formation of Babymetal and the
role idols are to play in the music scene.
Q: Babymetal has brought a unique flair to the vast assortment of idol groups such as AKB48 and Momoiro Kuroba. What spurred you to come up with the idea of fusing
together Metal with Idol?
Kobametal: I guess the simple answer is that I like both Metal and Idol.
For example, we are all well aware of the success of Perfume combining Techno with Idol. I felt that if I were to make a new genre there could be nothing better than to
fuse Idol with Metal, and it was at this time that I met Babymetal’s main vocalist, Su-metal (Nakamoto Suzuka of Sakura Gakuin). At this time I was able to listen to her
very unaffected and natural singing voice, and I had the feeling that it would be interesting to have her express her talent based on an image of, “a girl’s chorus group
singing a song in a metalistic fashion”. While I like Idol music I am originally a big fan of Metal, it was the creation of Babymetal that brought about a new type of Idol unit that incorporates a love and passion for Metal. To achieve this I thought of having a “Metal unit that would take on the guise of an Idol group” and that would then go on to grow into a dark heroine type of existence within the Idol world.
With Babymetal I want to emphasize the gap between the cuteness of the 3 members with the excitement and power of Metal. The concept of naming the band Babymetal came
from a divine message it also makes use of the cuteness of “Baby” with the easy to understand roughness of “Metal” while also signifying the “birth of a type of Metal”.
Q: Attempting to fuse together Metal with Idol, what do you take into consideration when actually creating music and songs?
Kobametal: When composing songs and when producing live concerts I would like to pay homage and respect to the predecessors of the past Metal scene and arrange things so
that the members of Babymetal can perform so as not to destroy what has come before. While there have been some Idol songs that have had a Metalistic feel to them before
now, Babymetal is build on the idea of Idol songs that are really based on a full-fledged Metal sound.
Metal is a very diversified genre and it is thus very difficult to sum it up with a simple definition. In common parlance it has an image of long haired musicians
wrapped up in leather attire shouting out “Gyaaa!” with piercing guitar riffs. However, here in Japan there exist a wide variety of Metal types including traditional
metal bands that fall in line with Iron Maiden, bands that mix core metal with originality like Maxim the Hormone, bands the combine punk with hard core Metal such as
Emo Screamo bands and visual bands work to incorporate the visual aspects of Metal.
Since these different approaches all differ in their world view of these various types of metal genres it is not so easy to change the type of music performed once the
band has been formed. In this regard, since Babymetal is going from the concept of approaching Metal from an Idol perspective it is fairly easy to develop a rich basket
of variations. I feel that this also makes it possible to draw out the best aspects of each of the members when creating and performing songs.
Q: Before we go too far, just how were the members selected for Babymetal?
Kobametal: Babymetal is positioned in the Juonbu section of Sakura Gakuin and the planning starting Babymetal itself came about around 2009 when “Karen Girls” of which
the main vocalist, Su-metal (Nakamoto Suzuka), disbanded.
I started looking around for the other two members with Su-metal as the center role of the band. Since Su-metal possesses such a unique presence I thought it would be a
good idea to add a totally new character onto her. I then thought it would be wonderful to have 2 girls who resembled angels to be dancing around her and asked to have
Yuimetal (Mizuno Yui) and Moametal (Kikuchi Moa) join the band.
People talk a lot about Babymetal incorporating death voices and screamo as well as breakdown parts into Idol songs and it is good to know that this is only possible
because of the potential that was there in the girls. There is no way that these kinds of outrageous songs and performances could be carried out smoothly unless the
girls had the vocal ability and stamina needed along with a perfect balance existing between the 3 members.
Q: The song “Headbanga!” which was released in July was composed by Narasaki-san who is of course well known in the Metal world for “Coaltar of the Deepers”. How do you go about creating songs?
Kobametal: With all of our songs I start out first with the concept for the music first and then approach the songwriter in question. When I approach the songwriter and
request a song to be written I have already prepared the song’s concept, the atmosphere for the lyrics, the melody, the choreography, the form of the live performance
and the reaction I expect from the audience. For “Headbanga!” I made a request based on the theme of “Headbanging”.
As for my personal image for this song I felt that I wanted to provide simultaneously a passion for the visual Metal scene together with a sense of strangeness, a kind
of, “What the heck is this?!”. To those ends I deliberately used lingo such as “Saku (bloom)”, “Dosen (center of stage)”, “Gyakudai” and other similar terms used by female fans known as “Bangers” and even paid homage to “the GazettE” by incorporating the “Dogeza Hedoban (kneeling down and bowing to the floor) performed by their fans.
Certainly not limited to “Headbanga!” I am careful to carry out song creating by speaking in detail with with those involved in writing lyrics, creating music, mixing
the music and crafting choreography. With Narasaki-san as well we went through repeated back and forths countless times, I consulted with him about very minute details
such as “I would like to place the cymbals here-what do you think?” and other similar detailed issues.
For the bridge melody I like to lay out a rhythm similar to “PPPF handclapping” (impossible to translate-sorry) that is so familiar to Idol fans. I also consulted with
Narasaki-san about this when we were arranging the music and he advised using a double bass drum to get a more Metalistic feel.
Q: Do you explain in detail the intent lying behind the creation of the songs to the 3 members?
Kobametal: I feel that I want to make the most of the characters of each of the members and so choose to not lay out step by step the process and thinking that lies on
the production side.
For example, in “Headbanga!” I wanted to strongly emphasize that Su-metal would be turning 15 that year and used the motif of “Banger”. Showing this concisely is the
lyrics of “15 (Ichigo) no yoru”, which is overlaid with the overall tone of the lyrics reflecting the sense possessed and shared by people of this age that “just want to
plow ahead into the future without thinking about the consequences” with the figure of Bangers who are totally into and devoted to the band they are following. However,
I did not explain all of this to the girls.
I am often talking about placing great importance on the individuality and freedom of thought of each of the members with Mikiko-san who is in charge of choreography.
There are times when the girls are moving their bodies as they listen to and practice the movements for a new song that Mikiko will say to herself, “this movement is
really interesting” and incorporate it into the song’s choreography. The movement in the chorus of “Headbanga!” where Yuimetal and Moametal raise up their ponytails with
both (twin tails) was incorporated when she saw them doing this movement spontaneously when practicing.
Q: Do you play Heavy Metal music to the girls, or teach them about Heavy Metal?
Kobametal: Basically speaking, I do not. Previously for media events the girls were often asked “What is your favorite Metal band?” so I taught them the names of a
number of bands but it appears they did their own research on this anyway.
“Death Voice” is mixed with an idol song.
The Kitsune sign that is so associated with Babymetal came about when I was teaching the Devil’s sign to the members and they started playing around making shadow
figures on the wall in form of foxes. I thought it was really funny and interesting and decided to keep it. When all is said, the girls take whatever songs we provide
them with and they take them and think about what new aspect they can draw out even as they ponder, “what is the world is Metal anyway?”.
Q: There are many “Homages that are appreciated by Metal fans” such as the Kitsune sign. What are some examples of similar items?
Kobametal: In “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” to be released in January of next year, there is the “Dame Jump” where the girls jump with their arms crossed over and there is the
“Wall of Death” where Yuimetal and Moametal run past each other right to left in the intro section of this song.
The provision of a corsette with the first limited edition of “Headbanga!” and the performance of the release event for that song being held at the Mecca of Japanese
Metal, a live house in known as Meguro Rockmaykan were homages to the Japanese Metal scene.
Q: Not only do you pay attention to small performance details, I also get the feeling that you place a great deal of importance on producing a world view at the live
Kobametal: In contrast with the current trend in the Idol world of Idols being just kind of an extension of one’s daily life, with Babymetal we really want to provide a
“sense of the uncommon”. For that reason I aim to create a world that is as removed from one’s daily space and time as is possible at the live performances. An example
of this is that we attempt to spin a story that runs from the opening to the closing by not including MC talk and by effectively combining together movies, songs and
However, I think the thing that really provides a sense of the uncommon is the incredible energy that the girls blast out in the live shows. This energy transfers to the
audience and brings life to the Mosshushu and call and response actions so familiar at Babymetal performances.
Babymetal has the concept ingrained in it that “Kami flows into and transforms into the shape of Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal” and in actuality the girls say that
they have almost no memory of the events of the live performances. It is true that the girls carry out very active performances and probably get something like a
runner’s high inducing something like a trance state. I think perhaps the audience takes in a lot of that passion and heat and brings about a real sense of unity,
bordering on a type of possession between the girls and the audience.
Q: What kind of numbers do you get for live performances? Also, what is the core composition of Babymetal’s fan base?
Kobametal: At the October 6, Shibuya O-East show we had an total audience of 2,600 spread over 2 shows. Our next live show is at Akasaka Blitz which has a capacity of
1,500. Generally speaking, Babymetal has a policy of putting on “all standing” concerts. It will be a joy to see how far the popularity of Babymetal spreads here on out
into the future.
The core makeup of the fans who actually come to live performances is composed mainly of male Idol fans in their 20s to 40s. However, the atmosphere of the concerts
differs slightly from those of Sakura Gakuin in that with Babymetal there seems to be more people who are looking for a more unifying and exciting experience more in
line with a major band’s live performance.
Additionally, some of the fans are people who appreciate sub-culture and/or Metal. Recently, we have seen the emergence of more and more female fans, and there are now
numerous “Odottemita” (I danced it myself) videos featuring girls and women dressed up in Babymetal cosplay appearing on the internet made by fans of Visual bands from
both within and outside of Japan.
Q: Preceding “Headbanga!”, “Doki Doki Morning” was released in 2011 and “iine!” was released in March of 2012. “Doki Doki Morning” seemed to have the most pronounced
Idol feel to it.
Kobametal: If you take just the chorus section of “Doki Doki Morning” you could definitely listen to it as an Idol song and it is surely Babymetal’s most pop sounding
song. This debut song was first performed at a Sakura Gakuin live show and this was probably behind why we chose such a catchy, pop sounding song. I’m sure Metal fans
would say to themselves that it is too popish and that “it is not really Metal at all”, but I am perfectly fine with that.
From the git-go many Babymetal songs are created using a sort of mash-up like technique. This means we take the different melody lines from various songs, extract
certain parts and then mix them all together. Because of this there are several composers taking part in creating “Doki Doki Morning”.
Q: Isn’t it rather unusual to put so much time into creating an Idol song?
Kobametal: Myself personally I have never heard of anyone making an Idol song in a similar fashion. When involved in creating the sound source it is not like we have
just one composer sit down and work on it alone, rather it is much more like we get everyone in the studio where everyone is allowed to express their opinion and so
there is a bit of a different mental energy involved than the usual approach. That said, since it takes so much time to create a single song that results in us have a
more limited number of songs.
For “iine!” we worked with a Metal sound that belongs to the genre known as “Screamo Pikorimo”. And since we used a mash-up approach with it as well it features a Death
Metal feel mixed in with a Hip Hop taste in the middle.
Q: “iine!” was released as a split CD with “Kiba of Akiba”. Could you fill us in on the background surrounding this?
Kobametal: To begin with, since Babymetal belongs to the indies record label of “Juonbu records” we felt that it would be appropriate to implement the indies culture and
tradition of new bands or bands that work well together releasing a split CD.
Once we decided this approach and we were looking around for a new band we came upon Kiba of Akiba. Babymetal felt a sense of kinship with them in their similar stance
of approaching the Otaku culture from the Metal scene side of things and felt certain that a joint work would result in something interesting.
Q: I understand that you are working to implement a wide variety of Metal aspects in Babymetal, but I would like to hear more about the favorable responses you have
gotten from Metal fans.
Kobametal: I get either extreme-either a big “Yes”, or a big “No”. Having been a major Metal fan in the past I know that people who really love Metal may see them as a
very annoying presence. From the outset we can not say that Babymetal was ever an authentic Metal band and have rather suddenly introduced a totally new style of Metal
and so there is nothing I can say about that and so feel that it will take a great deal of time to really reach deeply into their sphere of interest.
However, I do not think that it is bad to have controversy about the merits and demerits of Babymetal’s presence. In the Metal scene everytime a new style appears it
gets criticized but inevitably leads to the formation of new genres. Even when the infamous band of Metalicalla appeared on the scene it was showered with criticism at
first. This was the same with Slipknot in the 90s. So I feel that the more a band is hammered down the more it actually proves to have a great potential for change and
greatness and thus the “Strangeness factor” that can not fit within the Metal nor the Idol sphere is actually something that I constantly treat as a great treasure.
Q: Since “Doki Doki Morning” was released on YouTube in October of 2011 to the present time it has had over 1 million views. It appears that there are an inordinate amount of comments from overseas viewers. Did you have the overseas market in your scopes from the outset?
Kobametal: I had a hunch that it might stir up some interest but I honestly had no inkling that it would become the object of so much attention.
Because we made the video on a very low budget we had to have our staff play all the performance roles. Considering that I am quite surprised with the result. That said,
the comments reflect both favorable as well as not so favorable impressions.
Q: What region of the world seems to be responding most strongly. Are you planning any overseas events for Babymetal in the future?
Kobametal: We are definitely seeing more and more interest coming from the countries of Northern Europe and America that possess a heavy core Metal culture influence but
are also seeing this happening in South Asia and the rest of Europe as well. We received an offer from a Metal Festival in America this year but were unable to attend
due to scheduling conflicts. But we certainly want to pursue overseas activities herein out.
The girls are deeply moved when they see that fans overseas are vigorously watching their videos and offering supportive comments and are looking forward to performing
live in front of their fans outside of Japan.
There are quite a lot of people overseas uploading videos featuring dance cover performances. On Facebook about 80 to 90% of the “likes” we get come from people outside
of Japan, and these come from a wide variety of nationalities. I seems that Babymetal is most probably being seen as a “uniquely Japanese style of entertainment” much in
the manner of Visual bands, Idols, Hatsune Miku and Anime.
Q: Bringing the talk back to the domestic scene, at Summer Sonic in August where Babymetal appeared as the youngest band the twitter and other similar SNS mediums were buzzing with news and reactions from listeners other than the usual Idol fan base. What led up to their out of the blue appearance there?
Kobametal: The sponsors of the event evaluated Babymetal as being an epoch making band and approached me about a booking at quite an early stage.
It was quite difficult to juggle the scheduling because it conflicted with a Sakura Gakuin event but the person in charge had also come to see the July 21st Meguro Rockmaykan performance and I guess he was impressed because he repeatedly
pressured me asking, “there must be some slot of timing that would make a booking possible”, and in the end we ended up with kind of a rush job with a kind of, “it’s alright you can just show up once the Sakura Gakuin event is over and do the show without going through rehearsals”.
There are a lot of people in the music world who are very interested in Babymetal. The other day a member of some Visual band twitted the word “Headbanga!” on Twitter which led one of there fans to do a google search which ended up
leading her to Babymetal.
Q: It has become common scene these days to see anything new on the Idol scene being propagated over a variety of SNS such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like and it seems quite unusual to people who lie outside of the standard Idol fan base. Are there any other things that come to mind when you take a look at the listeners of Babymetal?
Kobametal: At this point in time amongst those people who would be considered to be Idol fans there seems to be an increase in the number of people who originally enjoyed going to concerts but who have now come to like Idols and Idol
concerts as well. We are even seeing people show up to Babymetal concerts wearing Metallica or Las Vegas band T-shirts.
In this current era called in Japan the “Idol Sengoku Jidai” (Era of the warring Idol bands), many Idols and Idol bands are playing with any and all kinds of ideas in the quest for a stroke of originality and uniqueness. What we once saw
in the Rock band scene where a vast variety of bands were popping up and fighting for popularity we are now seeing with a bubbling sense of excitement taking place in the current Idol world.
In the recent Rock band world there seems to be a lack in the heat or power necessary to take something uncommon and change it into something that can be appreciated by a large number of people. In one way of looking at it, I would say that the Rock scene is now largely populated by “honor students” (kind of boring, but proficient). With people in the music business world I often get into conversations where we are all convinced that the current Idol scene is just starting to heat up with a power that we “can’t put a finger on, but feel things are getting exciting” much like the Indies boom in the Rock band world of the 80s and 90s. I really feel this at Babymetal live performances as well, and many people who were involved in the Rock band boom of that era, myself included, are now working in the Idol scene.
Q: It could be that Idols and Idol bands are a presence that is revolutionizing the music scene. Amidst this backdrop, how to you plan to develop Babymetal from here on out into the future?
Kobametal: The only way to go is to pierce ahead in just the way we have so far without going off track. We may have done some rather “pointy” things early on and most likely as Babymetal gathers more and more attention to itself there may be a realistic tendency to mellow out a bit, but I feel that the 3 girls will continue to sing and dance to a full fledged Metal sound and that we will continue on full speed ahead without losing our way.
Throughout the height of the R&B dance music scene in Japan with such artists as Amuro Namie and Speed I am quite struck by Perfume carving out a corner in this scene where they continued to hold fast to their style of Techno Pop Idol music. Now this may be just my personal opinion but I feel that-and there may have been some twists and turns on the way until they reached their current position in the music world- due precisely to the fact that they did not just go with the flow of the times that they were able to lead the way to a totally new era in music.
Now, while I can not honestly say just how big Babymetal may become, I do feel that if we just pursue the existing form of Idol marketing then Babymetal will develop into nothing much more than a rehashed, lukewarm band. If that is the case, I feel it is much more interesting to go for broke and continue to embark on a totally untraveled path. I’m referring to the potential of the girls, the passion and love the staff has for Metal, the idea of positively making the most of this sense of “strangeness”…..From these factors a new style will be created and I feel we will be able to become an “Only One” existence as a band that no one else can create.
Q: Su-metal will be graduating from Sakura Gakuin in March of 2013. What will become of Babymetal post graduation?
Kobametal: I can’t comment on that at this time, but I can say that how Babymetal may develop will all start to become clear with the “I, D, Z Legend” series of live performances that started in October. No matter how things go I strongly hope that the activities of Babymetal will prove to be a very good experience for the girls.
With Babymetal we approach each and every live show with a great deal of care and I think we will be able to change this small movement into a big one. This will then prove to be a great stimulus to the music industry and I will be happy if it spurs even a few people to “pull their old Metal T-shirt out of the closet”, or cause them to say, “Babymetal was the trigger that got me into listening to Metal”.
Here’s Su-Metal performing in Karen Girl’s in front of a MASSIVE crowd in case anybody didn’t know that she is actually a very seasoned veteran in the idol scene. Already part of a huge group and performing in front of huge crowds since the age of 11!
Karen Girl’s (可憐Girl’s) was a Japanese pop idol group from 2008 to 2009 under the label Geneon and the agency Amuse. The group was formed as a teen idol group that featured three elementary students. The group released their first single, entitled “Over The Future”, in 2008; the title song was used as the opening theme for the anime Zettai Karen Children. After the show ended in March 2009, the group dissolved and each girl went their own way in their career.
Karen Girl’s were Ayami Mutō, Yuika Shima and Suzuka Nakamoto
Thank to Paulmetal from BABYMETAL on Reddit for this translation entitled: Suzuka Nakamoto 2011 japan earthquake and tsunami disaster blog post.
This a Sakura Gakuin Suzuka Nakamoto blog post after the 11 March 2011 japan earthquake and tsunami disaster:
“What I think now April 1, 2011 Suzuka Nakamoto March 11, there was unbelievable big earthquake occurred in Japan. There are many sufferers in Eastern Japan and still live in difficulties that are painful for all people in Japan and in the world.
On that day, I was in Japan. I worried so much because trains had stopped and cell phones did not work. But many people protected me and I was OK. While I was in Tokyo, there were still many small earthquakes and blackouts. Exchanging mails with Sakura Gakuin members and Airi chan being with me all the time made me feeling safe. Airi chan could not make a contact with her family for a long time, but she hided her anxiousness for me. I found Airi chan is very strong and I respect her from my heart.
Four days later, while I was not what was happening in detail, I came back to Hiroshima. I finally found how it was serious by watching TV. I was very scared because everything was unbelievable and it did not seem like Japan. I felt shame that I did not know anything and I did not do anything. All people in Japan are doing what they can do. I though very much what I can do as a girl living in Hiroshima. I do not have so much money, but I decided to donate my saved 1 yen coins for four years. I heard that it may take more than ten years to be recovered. What I can do now may not be a lot, but every time I found something that I can do, I will do it.
Thousands of small power can be a big power I believe. My town Hiroshima lost everything in the past and recovered. It was the time before I born, current town has rebuild from nothing which I still cannot believe from the old photos. So I believe that current situations cannot be believed by future people. I pray that sad things will not happen any more. I think there are many people including Sakura Gakuin members and fans supporting us still are working in the difficult situations. I hope the day soon comes that we can sing together with laughter.”