In a manner similar to DC Comics creation of the Justice League or Marvel’s Fantastic Four, Japanese producer Kobametal — a Tokyo-based, hard rock Simon Cowell, if you will — formed Babymetal in 2010 with three young “idol music” female musicians set to play the parts of sugar-coated heroines who would mashup flashy J-pop and crunchy heavy metal.
Since that time, rather than use their real names or ever speak out of character, Su-metal (Suzuka Nakamoto), Moametal (Moa Kikuchi), and Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) sing in sweet, playful tones, but hammer and pummel their riff-heavy melodies for a scorching sound that is uniquely theirs and theirs alone on two cute, cutting albums; their eponymous 2014 debut and their newly-released “Metal Resistance.”
Note: The band only speaks Japanese (Babymetal’s Su-metal answered these interview questions via email through a translator), and they only respond in character and don’t take personal questions.
What were you listening to as young metal heads before you got to this band?
We didn’t know anything about metal. We thought it was scary music. The first time we listened to metal we were like “What in the world is this?” We learned the greatness of metal when we started as Babymetal.
What drives your specific brand of heavy metal, then?
Under the guise of “metal resistance,” we aim to create a new genre called babymetal and become one-of-a-kind — an only one existence.
You have won some true die-hard fans. How surprised were you when members of Metallica, Bring Me The Horizon and Slayer stated that they were big fans of your group?
We were glad. It builds up our confidence to just be ourselves.
Kobametal claims to be inspired by the mysterious deity called “the fox god.” Who is this god to you and how would you describe your collaboration?
We have never met the fox god in person so we hope to see him someday. The fox god always prophesies things that defy our imagination so there may be surprising collaborations in the future.
Most metal music has the reputation of menace behind it; evil. How does that jive with the role model aspect of idol music? How do you make that connection a positive one?
Babymetal has the originality of making a mixture of intense metal sound and cute, cool dance. Weare aiming to do what the other existing metal bands can’t do.
I read that your producer Kobametal has stated that Babymetal music can unite the world. Was that a big part of making the new album?
During our world tour in 2015, there were moments that we became together with the audience by singing in Japanese and dancing. “The One” is a song that includes that passion the most. We want to cross borders and overcome language barriers and become one, together with Babymetal’s music.
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Do you feel as if you have been accepted by American audiences? How does that differ, so far, from your Japanese audiences who go crazy for the three of you?
The American audience has always, without fail,shown us very real emotions. At festivals, there are people who just see how we perform at first, but as the show goes on they show us their Fox signs and I think most of the audience gets loud when we perform our danceable songs. The American audience sings along Su-metal’ s melody more than the Japanese audience.
Who have you most wanted to take selfies with — and why — during your tour travels?
We haven’t been able to take a photo with Iron Maiden, so we hope we could someday. We look forward to meeting bands that we’ve never met before in our world tour this year.
You three are very young. Thinking of your future, do you hope to be singing metal music as Babymetal as you get older?
We want to establish our genre called babymetal, so until we accomplish that goal we’ll press forward through uncharted roads, but only the fox god knows!
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