BABYMETAL was interviewed on Repubblica from Italy, one of the biggest news sites of the country, to talk about their music genre, learning from Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer, their choreographies how they conquered fans around the world and much more. Full interview translated below.
BABYMETAL about learning from Metal Masters: Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer
The debut album of the Japanese trio, successful on Youtube, has conquered the West. From Metallica to Lady Gaga, they all want to meet them. In concert in Italy, in Bologna on June 5 the combination of heavy metal and J-pop invented by Moa, Yui and Suzuka are a gold mine. The legend says that the Fox God, sovereign of the metal world, has identified these three girls to resurrect the genre, now corrupted by the establishment. The three predestined, Su-Metal (Suzuka Nakamoto 17 years old), Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno 15 years old) and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi 15 years old), have embarked on the mission to become BABYMETAL. The Japanese band is sweeping the West with shots of Gothic lolitas skirts, sugary choreography and shrill voices. All topped off with a pounding metal sound with variations of pop, they have baptized it "Kawaii Metal", where "kawaii" means "cute".
Now, imagine these three little girls with pigtails, manga style, performing in the best heavy metal festival in front of an audience thirsty for distorted guitars. It would have been a massacre. Instead everyone is crazy for them. At Summer Sonic Festival 2013, in Japan, Metallica went especially to attend their show. At Sonisphere 2014 in Great Britain, they performed on the same stage of Deftones and Iron Maiden. Since then their fame has crossed the borders of Japan, they went to Lady Gaga, who wanted them for some concerts, and has dug the internet. The video of the song Gimme Chocolate!! (A pop/metal of frenzied and contagious rhythm) had 25 millions views in a very short time. Their debut album, BABYMETAL, came out with two bonus tracks, the inevitable Gimme Chocolate!! and Road Of Resistance written with Dragonforce, and this time their World Tour will also touch our country, on June 5 at Estragon in Bologna.
What is the Fox God in this? According to its manufacturer Kobametal (Key Koabayashi), the group has a divine inspiration and is pushed by the Fox God for this mission. Reading between lines it is easy to identify a classic marketing operation. BABYMETAL were built by a talent agency Amuse, selected from among many who aspired to be a pop star who jostle in the crowded industry of the Japanese Idol Pop, composed of young girls who have to appear sugary, cute and innocent at all costs. Kobametal was a visionary when, five years ago, has selected the three girls (Yuimetal and Moametal were just 10 years old and Su-Metal was 12) that they had never heard of metal music before. Today they are a gold mine. International stars that go courted for an interview. In the end they accepted our request only via email. The answer come a few weeks later, and half of our questions, the most uncomfortable and critical, were ignored (perhaps at the request of the Fox God). That is what we have agreed.
You have created a new genre of music?
Su-Metal: "I think so, our combination is idol music and metal. But there are still many people who don't know BABYMETAL and i hope we will able to conquer them all."
When you started you had no idea what metal was. How did you learn about it? Has it been difficult?
Moametal: "We studied a bit. And sometimes Kobametal instructed us with some lessons. We also were fortunate because we played at the same festival where the metal masters like Metallica and Anthrax performed and we had a chance to watch them on stage. It was that, more than anything else, to teach us what is really kind of music this is. When we saw Slayer pull out their tongue while they were playing we thought it was cool. And maybe we will imitate them. But at the beginning it was hard. I remember i had a sore neck because of headbanging (violent movement of head in time with music) because everything was new for us. But now i really like metal."
Yours is not a traditional metal, but like you also the purists and as well those who are not fans of the genre. How did you conquered all?
Yuimetal: "I think our live performances are something very different from what you normally see. We go all the way, as if we were fighting for our survival, and we have fun doing it, a lot. Our power comes from the people. I wish and hope that this spirit of metal, that only we can create, be able to enthuse even more people around the world."
On June 5 you will be performing in Bologna. It's your first time in Italy, what do you expect from the fans?
Moametal: "Yes, it will be our first Italian concert and cannot wait! We want everyone to have tons of fun! As a musician i want the viewers of the show to listen to our songs, enjoy our performance and have fun. It's all i hope."
Your choreography is always engaging and very energetic. You collaborate with the choreographer?
Yuimetal: "When we are on a break, we dance listening to the music that we like and sometimes copy a few steps of choreography to add it to our routine."
The songs are in Japanese. How do your foreign fans react?
Su-Metal: "It's amazing when we see the crowd singing with us in Japanese and dancing with Yuimetal and Moametal. People move their head violently, and do moshing, they are out of their minds! In each city the audience reacts differently and each time we cannot wait to know what happens in the audience. But one thing is certain: everyone has fun."
After this World tour, what are your plans?
Moametal: "Only the Fox God knows!"
Translation by: Maik Gianino
Edits by: Aldo Guerra