Dom Lawson interview with Hedoban magazine (vol. 5)

The man who runs column on a major paper The Guardian, who is one of main writers of one of the top metal magazines Metal Hammer and who recognized Babymetal earliest and highest in the UK, finally came to Hedoban which pushes Babymetal as hard as can in Japan!

Dom Lawson
Dom Lawson

He was interviewed with Japanese metal magazine Hedoban before the second UK live at O2 Academy and its translation as follows:

Q : First, please tell us your metal experience as a listener and metal fan.

D : I spend almost of my life with listening to metal! Metal has taken my heart since I knew Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Twisted Sisters at ten years old. I devoted to thrash metal in my teenage years, and have listened to all sub genres of extreme metal from death metal to grind core to black metal, and underground music. I also like commercial and modern ones, but my true passion wants traditional metal and its descendants. I have listened to music of countless genres since then, my passion for metal is beyond ones for other genres. And I feel myself belong to it. Now I got a job to write about metal and drown in music with best circumstances. It’s so great!

Q : I went to see performance at Sonisphire and solo show at The Forum, I was surprised by an amount of metalheads there even more than those in Japan. Especially audiences in a solo show at The Forum was unexpectedly hyped, and it was one of the best hype of all. What in Babymetal do you think moved metalheads in UK?

D : Really? The impression might not be 100% precise. To be honest I was surprised to the fact that Babymetal got a big applause at Sonisphire. UK metal fans are so varied so we don’t tell what goes big and what not. But it was true that their appearance in Sonisphire this time gained tons of recognition all of a sudden. Fans who saw their stage got to know that Kami Band was real metallers and have superb talent. Also passionate performance of the trio of Babymetal had enough power of conviction. A power of making audiences enjoy flourished from the stage and it affected on the audiences. Yes, some somber and difficult audiences must have disliked a concept of Babymetal. But they react like that to anything.

Q : Have you ever had a interest in any Japanese metal band before Babymetal came to you?

D : I’m a big fan of Sigh and Church of Misery. And I like Boredoms, Ruins, Melt-Banana, Zeni Geva and more. Japanese bands give me an impression that they add new and a little crazy interpretation into established ideas on music. It makes music more fun and exotic for eastern listeners including me.

Q : In Japan die-hard Iron Maiden fans are recognized to be a high ranked metal fan and called as Gachi Metarā (true metalheads). And it is true that many in these Gachi Metarā never admit so-called perverted metal. What do you think of that, as one of die-hard Iron Maiden fans?

D : Yes, there are a lot of traditional metal fans in the UK, and they don’t accept anything but conservative and authentic metal sound. Fans of Maiden might support these narrow mindedness in a sense. But most of metal fans in the UK have an open mind about music. It would be because the UK is a major market and we have opportunities to listen to all bands, all kinds of music in the world. So there would be a lot of Maiden fans who also love Babymetal because it’s new, different a little and enjoying music, isn’t it? Not everyone listen to the music all the time along with a rule of what metal should be.

Q : Changing the subject, when and how was your first encounter with Babymetal?

D : Same as the many people I suppose, at first I knew Babymetal from a link which someone posted on Twitter. I clicked the link and watched a video, then I became a fan in a moment.

Q : Which song was it that you listened first?

D : I’m not 100% sure, but I think Megitsune was my first experience. I liked it in a moment. It’s enough heavy to me as a metalhead, its Pop aspect was also good. Good quality Pop music does no harm at all.

Q : So, which is your favorite Babymetal song?

D : I have two, Iine! and Ijime, Dame, Zettai. Iine! is crazy about mixture of different styles of music and has fine composition. Ijime, Dame, Zettai is a gorgeous epic metal song with killer melody!

Q : Hedoban thinks that Babymetal the first album is something that will become one of the best metal albums. What do you think of this album?

D : I think it’s a great album, too. All songs in it are powerful, also performance and production are first class. On top of that, it’s completely different from any other existing songs around us. I feel so refreshed by listening to it. I listen to it many times and my 11 years old daughter says she loves the album.

Q : Was Sonisphire your first time to see them live? I think it sounded different from sound sources or videos…?

D : I have seen Babymetal only at Sonisphire. I think the performance was minimum version of their full lives that they always do in Japan, even so it was the performance that exceeded my expectation enough. It was unexpectedly fun from the beginning to end!

Q : Then, which is your favorite member of Babymetal?


D : It’s a question I can’t answer to be honest. Haha! (wild)

Q : (laugh) So, what’s interesting about Babymetal for you? What’s the major difference from other metal and loud bands?

D : One of the best joys in life is to listen to something new. It should be not just a copy of existing music but fresh ones that surprise everyone. So Babymetal is exciting. The difference between them and other bands in metal scene is that everything they do is a series of joy and surprise. I watch them and think they are great.

Q : In Japan Babymetal is so popular enough to sell out arenas with over 10,000 audiences, but there’s a lot of controversial discussions about it’s metal or not metal. Do you think they are metal? If so, what do you think makes them metal?

D : Babymetal is not authentic metal. I think Babymetal is a hybrid of metal and Japanese Pop music. But they are heavy and enough metal, that makes metal fans enjoy it, including me. Personally it doesn’t matter to me whether Babymetal is metal or not. I can listen to Maiden or King Diamond or Carcass whenever I want some pure heavy metal. But sometimes you want to enjoy another things with more experimental and roguish taste, don’t you?

Q : I see. How about discussions in the UK about Babymetal is metal or not? And did it change after Babymetal’s appearance at Sonisphire and their solo show at the Forum?

D : As I said, there are many metalheads in the UK who don’t want to listen to Babymetal. But it’s not a problem at all! I think it’s not right to want acceptance from everyone because Babymetal is far from standard metal. But there must be a lot of people who find themselves enjoy Babymetal unexpectedly. I think it is just a proof of how good a concept of Babymetal was built.

Q : Then by seeing flat, what results did the Europa tour bring to Babymetal?

D : it’s a great success, I think. Because it had a lot of people change their previous impression on Babymetal. Their London live was sold out and everyone who I talked with said that they had an amazing night. Is it a most important thing, isn’t it?

Q : In Japan rock and metal media are rather negative to Babymetal and situation is like Hedoban fights alone. Hedoban thought “We can see the future of metal in Babymetal,” then issued special articles even insanely. What reactions are there from rock and metal media in the UK?

D : I think Metal Hammer is only medium in the UK that really supports Babymetal though some other magazines covered them and wrote positive articles. I think the more underground and extreme these media is, the less they mention about them. But we knew it in advance!

Q : The UK is a mother of metal and people have keen eyes and ears on metal, I believe. How do you think about metalheads in the UK?

D : UK people have an open mind to accept new things in general, and want to make a decision by watching and listening by themselves. So it never happens that everyone has the same opinion. And it’s boring if it happened. But UK metal community is powerful and passionate.

Q : Babymetal is going to come to London in next November. What live do you expect at Brixton Academy?

D : Needless to say I want eye-opening gorgeousness and unbelievable joy!

Q : How much popularity in the UK do you think Babymetal get on future? Do they go farther to O2 Arena?

D : The possibility is high, I think. To become as big enough to be a headliner at O2 Arena, Babymetal needs to bring in both mainstream Pop audiences and metalheads. But it must be possible.

Q : At last, Babymetal is going to play a solo live at an arena for over 20,000 audiences in next January. We want you to be there if you can! Metalheads in Japan who love Babymetal will welcome you!

D : I want to go to Japan because I want to see Babymetal. But I need someone who gives me my expense to Japan! (laugh)

Above is his review of BABYMETAL, the debut album.

PassCode: a new music video for the song『Nextage』
The BABYMETAL Lightsaber!
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