Kobametal has been interviewed on Nexus Bimonthly Magazine Vol.60 to answer questions about BABYMETAL's concept, how he came up with the idea, how he created the group, why they don't talk too much onstage, similar projects to BABYMETAL and more! Interview translated below.
BABYMETAL producer Kobametal interviewed on Nexus Magazine Vol.60
Now BABYMETAL is the new sensation. With authentic heavy metal sound, mind-blowing but heavenly stage performances without talking to audience and crazy merch items, their fans are increasing in both Japan and the World. We interviewed Kobametal, the key person.
We heard you loved Metal since very young.
Kobametal: "Yes I like a vast of genres but my main concern was metal."
What did you do in your early days in Amuse?
Kobametal: "I was in the area of Visual-kei, I worked on media promotion for Siam Shade and Cascade for two years, then did production and promotion for hardcore bands for indie labels."
Could you please explain how BABYMETAL started?
Kobametal: "I wanted to produce from the scratch, find the talent, train them and promote them. So I looked around from a high point of view, then I noticed any successor of the next Perfume. I heard there was someone with something worth in our kids division, for kids model and kids actress. So I went to their lives and did some auditions, where one of current BABYMETAL members applied. I made a business plan, made presentations, the management looked interested, so it began."
Did you have a vision at the beginning about its direction and characteristics?
Kobametal: "Sort of, a big picture in a good and bad sense. This is when a movement comes, fan base grew fast. It allows the less talented even in an indie scene to be like 'even with this terrible disc can be sold!' So does in idol scene. Now is the time when anyone can become Idol. Anything can happen. So when I began BABYMETAL, I thought, cuteness was necessary for an Idol but it won't last long only with cuteness. All long-time survivors do have something special, like a solid hook as an example. Something that must have been essential, I thought, so in addition to appearance, the quality of singing and dancing is a must have."
How about the songs? There is no clear references at all, so you must have endless trials and errors?
Kobametal: "Yes. Some songs took more than a half a year to be finished."
The goal of BABYMETAL is completely different from other idol groups. The world of BABYMETAL is extraordinarily well built as a package. The strategy was previously pictured?
Kobametal:: "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 lookd excited going like 'something interesting appeared.' After this we thought that maybe this had something unexpected that might work with serious dedication. So we didn't have TV spot appearances, no relationships with Anime, no commercials. Just videos with performances"
And no handshake event.
Kobametal: "Handshake events may boost sales. But simply I don't like handshake. Maybe it is the reason. I would like to ask, what do you think about no handshake?"
I think it's just a strategy.
Kobametal: "I see. As BABYMETAL their primary look is rather than just cute than cool, so if promotion insists about their cuteness, BABYMETAL might become in something expected, and something not so interesting, the value in BABYMETAL might be erased. So, this is only how I look at it, it would be better for BABYMETAL to be something devine, all the opposite to what the girls are, like no interacting onstage."
What is the reason why the girls never talk on stage?
Kobametal: "The girls are so serious. So they are not good at responding with funny responses like a stage presenter (MC). This doesn't show their real value. So in order to make them shine, it's better to make focus in their strong points, then singing and dancing."
You should concentrate on what you good at to deliver the real thing.
Kobametal: "Yes. Maybe I'm too extreme."
Nowadays Rock fans are accepting Idol thing more and more. What do you think about it?
Kobametal: "One thing is probably that Rock is getting boring? That's my regret as a producer and also as a fan, Rock bands are getting stuck. No enough efforts to become a legend."
What do you think about Rock scene nowadays?
Kobametal: "There are few bands that remain with huge influence, same bands appears at every Rock festivals. In this boom of Idol generation, people like me are moved from Rock to Idol industry, Rock culture getting into Idol culture scene with talented people."
Based on this context, as people like Koba-San began to migrate from Rock culture into Idol scene, there is possibility that people from Idol scene moves into Rock scene?
Kobametal: "Might be. Rock is a genre made to be cool I think. But I think it is essential for Rock to keep bringing something new. Rock fans the are most severe people to make a judgement. If you show something mediocre without hardworking, they are going to take it into account. So there is no excuse for us to say "we because we're just a band (or an idol)," we have to try hard, to make a great delivery."
Where is going BABYMETAL in the future?
Kobametal: "Honestly we are just going (Laugh) trial and error everyday... The feeling time to time, once feel something interesting, do it as soon as special. A big part of the Idol scene now is dedicated to Reality Shows, it's something to make the Idol get the goal, working on it hard, and sharing their activities going forward and making their dreams come true along with their fans. In this journey there are some happiness and sadness. But BABYMETAL is not a Reality Show but about like Disneyland. Once customer put on Mickey's ears, they are now living in the wonderland. When the audience goes to a BABYMETAL show, enjoy the story as devote into our world. Then they come back to reality exiting the venue. But they want another chance to enjoy it. I want to make BABYMETAL a carriage somehow to let people to travel between the real and the unreal."
So are you going to make BABYMETAL's world more solid?
Kobametal: "Yes. I care less about others. One of BABYMETAL motto is be the only one, I want to go until the end with it. I see someone copying BABYMETAL. Lately in the Idol scene there seem to be increasing the "BABYMETAL like." And say myself, "Such a pity, do it better!" (Laugh)."
Interview by: Nexus Magazine Vol.60 (PDF edition)
Translation by: Hitoshi Sugioka.