A year and a half ago, Babymetal was barely a blip on the radar in America, even though they were headlining festivals in Japan. Fast forward to earlier this month, when the trio of girls and their backing band played at Rock on the Range, one of the largest rock festivals in the country. In between then and now, they’ve played sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles, been hand-selected by Lady Gaga to open for them, and had their debut album, which sold over 20,000 copies in America without being physically available, finally be released in the States. Yuimetal, Su-metal and Moametal didn’t grant many interviews at Rock on the Range, but answering questions via a translator, they did take some time to talk about learning to appreciate metal, even if their personal playlists might not reflect it.
Your album has been out for just over a year. how has the reception been?
It has been a year. The only place I was able to see the fan response is at the concerts. So definitely when we are in Japan we do see people reacting to the music, singing along and dancing. The album is not even released in America yet and we still see people singing along when they don’t even know how to speak Japanese. It feels that the response is very good. The album will be out soon and hope more people will listen to Babymetal. We are looking forward to see the people who don’t really know Babymetal and how they react.
Babymetal has basically formed a brand new genre in the metal world by mixing J-Pop and metal. You call it Cute-Metal. What is it like to be pioneers of a new sound?
We are very happy to have been the first to do this. We do see people copying what we are doing and maybe even trying out this new genre we have created. Seeing this happen gives us inspiration and allows us to think we are maybe doing the right thing.
Starting with Idol Festivals in Japan and now playing the largest metal festivals in the world, how does the American metal scene differ from others that you’ve seen?
When we first started doing Idol festivals we had no idea what metal was. It was from that time until now doing shows after shows and discovering ourselves and forming Babymetal. Now coming over here and doing festivals on a big scale, we are still learning and absorbing everything that we are experiencing right now. If not for what we have done, we would not be here, outside of Japan, meeting our fans here in America.
With most of the lyrics being in Japanese, with exception of bits here and there, are you worried that your message is not understood by English speaking listeners?
We feel that when we perform we see a lot of people singing along. We feel that fans are actually studying Japanese or even memorizing the music. We go online and see comments on our YouTube channel, so there are a lot of people outside of Japan paying attention to Babymetal. The way they react they are even dancing along. It doesn’t seem like there is a language barrier. We feel like music is universal. No matter what language we are singing in, we somehow connect through our music.
The writing style for the songs often includes positive messages to your listeners. How does it make you feel knowing that you provide advice to your fanbase?
We receive fan letters from people who say your music has given me hope to do certain things and positive messages that they can use in their everyday things in life. Knowing people are being inspired by our music is a great thing. Before we began as Babymetal we had no idea what “metal” was. The first time we listened to Babymetal’s music, we found the music to be very simple and easy to get into. We want to use what we are doing right now to get people into metal music because we easily got into it through Babymetal’s music.
Seeing that you are doing world tours now, and not staying solely in Japan, will we be seeing an English song/album soon?
(All three together) ONLY THE FOX GOD KNOWS!
If you come out after the show, and the tour bus was gone. You have to walk to the next city, listening to only one album on an iPod. What would that album be?
Yuimetal: Ariana Grande on repeat.
Su-Metal: Babymetal’s song “Road of Resistance” because it is all about paving a new way into the future. So if I listen to that, even if I get lost it will give me hope to find my way again.
Moametal: One Direction, Midnight Memories. This will make me be able to work to get to my next destination.
Do you have anything you would like to shamelessly plug or talk about?
The most important part of Babymetal is our performances. We are excited to be in Ohio for the first time. We can’t wait to see our fans from the stage on our next world tour.