Exclusive: The Very First Ever American Interview with Babymetal!
Meeting the girls in Babymetal up close reveals one important truth: they were obviously grown in Japan’s cuteness vats, right next to Pikachu and Totoro and those flying squirrels with the huge eyes. They are almost preternaturally adorable. Therein lies a lot of the appeal, of course. The contrast of their wide-eyed innocence with the unexpectedly intricate metal assault makes for an appealing dynamic. It’s a great shtick, and their personas are carefully crafted in videos and on stage. In person, though, Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal seem like three teenage girls excited and nervous for their first ever American performance (read our review of the show).
They are also, by now, experienced industry professionals. Surrounded by their retinue, armed with preapproved questions filtered through their tour manager/translator, and with the imminent need to run to practice for the evening’s show, there was very little room for spontaneity or in-depth analysis. On the other hand, it’s not really like that was expected. Instead, Babymetal’s first American interview presents a snapshot of young women experiencing the world for the first time through the lens of a genre they didn’t even know existed before joining the band.
[Note: All three girls answered the questions, but individual responses are noted where appropriate.]
Are there any big differences between the audiences in the different countries you’ve performed in?
We’ve only ever played in Asia before. Two or three weeks ago we were touring Europe, and it was the first time we saw an audience that wasn’t Asian. So for us, it’s very cool. It’s a lot of different types of people at the show. For example, what we noticed in Paris when we played there was that it looked like the people were interested in Japanese culture, but when we were in Germany it felt like it was full of metalheads. So now we’re really looking forward to what the crowd here tonight is going to be like.
What has your favorite touring experience been?
Moametal: Going to different places and experiencing a lot of things and meeting the fans is always very fun for us — seeing how people react — but in Germany it was my birthday concert. It was the first time I felt how music connects the world. It was a very good experience, but everything to us is great because it’s a learning process.
How much practice do you have to put in for the dance routines?
When we have a new dance move, we will learn and study it in one day. Before we go on tour, we’ll take a week to just do the whole rehearsal. We do a lot of practice before we go on tour.
What was your reaction when you learned that you were going to be in a metal band?
Su-metal: Before we started being in metal, we never listened to metal music before. We have a song called “Doki Doki ☆Morning” and when I first heard the music, I was very impressed by the guitar sounds. It was the first time we were exposed to metal riffs and stuff. It was a little bit shocking but at the same time it was something that we were learning. We receive a lot of CDs and DVDs from fans introducing us to new metal music. We played Sonisphere in the UK and we watched other artists play and are learning more about metal.
Do any particular bands jump out at you as ones that you liked?
Moametal: When we were at Sonisphere, in the dressing room we were talking to a lot of people. We met the guys from Slayer, so when we first met them it was a different impression from watching them onstage – they were like totally different people. That was very cool for me. We saw Slayer and Metallica perform. I think that they are very cool live and very different from who they are backstage, but very cool.
What do your friends and family think of the band?
When we are not being metal, we are also different people. So of course our friends are like, “Oh, you guys are totally different from when you’re on stage!” But we go to karaoke together and our friends will sing metal songs with us. Everyone is really supportive.
Are you surprised of your popularity outside of Japan?
Very, very surprised.
Why do you think people have responded so well to your band?
Su-metal: I feel that it’s probably because we’re doing something so different, something that has never been done before in the metal scene. This is probably the reason why people have responded very well to our music and what we’re doing right now.