Babymetal Talk World Tour, New 'Metal Resistance' Album & Meeting Ariana Grande
Babymetal released their highly anticipated second full album Metal Resistance on Friday (April 1). The new release builds on the band's unique appeal as a "metal dance trio," with members Su-Metal, Yuimetal and Moametal adorably singing and dancing over blasting metal, and further pioneering a whole new genre of music.
The band's fanatical following continues to grow around the world. Babymetal's third world tour kicks off Saturday, as the band headlines Wembley Arena in London and wraps up at the Tokyo Dome (capacity: 55,000) in Tokyo.
We asked the girls how they feel as they embark on their latest adventure.
How do you feel about completing your new album Metal Resistance?
Su-Metal: I think we are able to reveal a new Babymetal with this album.
Moametal: I think the last album was an introductory album which explained who we are as Babymetal. Compared to our previous album, we've challenged ourselves to sing metal music on this album, and every generation from young kids to seniors can enjoy and love Babymetal.
Yuimetal: We tried different music genres and also an English song for the first time. Each song is very deep and powerful this time. We are proud of this album.
"Road of Resistance," which is one of the familiar tunes at Babymetal shows, is finally on this album. Also, I think Metal Resistance is a fruition of your tour experiences.
Su-Metal: We performed "Road of Resistance" at O2 Academy Brixton in London for the first time in the fall of 2014. I still remember how the British audience sang this song with us although it was a world premiere. In other words, the song "Road of Resistance" really propelled us to move forward. We just ran all the way, setting our goal to "pave the way." Experiencing such a world tour enabled us to create our second album, Metal Resistance.
Could you tell us about your experience over these two years since the release of your debut album?
Yuimetal: We truly experienced a lot as artists. We've really learned that music is something that people share all over the world. I think we've grown a lot in these past two years.
Moametal: Looking back, the past two years was surely an accumulation of fun memories, but honestly, it went by so quickly. I think we've grown a lot just in two years -- as if it's something people would normally experience in five years or so.
Su-Metal: There was something we pondered in the process of experiencing the world tours. Babymetal's music is something that no artist has attempted in the past, uniting people as one by crossing language barriers and national boundaries. It was a huge revelation when we realized that our music has such power.
Any memorable stories during the world tour?
Yuimetal: The most memorable moment was our headliner show at O2 Brixton Academy in England. It was such a joy to see the British audience sing along with us.
Su-Metal: I have lots of stories but the most memorable moment for me was when we supported for Lady Gaga. Her music and ours are different, so the audience's response was like, "What in the world is this?" at first. Yet, as we continued to play, more people were wearing Babymetal T-shirts toward the end of the tour, and some audiences even sang the few lines from our Japanese lyrics in "Gimme Chocolate!!" I thought we were able to cross the musical boundaries too.
So did you feel that you were able to connect with your non-metal fans through Babymetal's music?
Su-Metal: Yes. Response, particularly from our American audience, was straightforward and real. We've felt it in a blink of an eye.
You've taken photos with various legendary metal stars when you played at rock festivals overseas. What are those atmospheres like when you meet them?
Su-Metal: In those situations, Moametal is the life and soul of our team. She has the guts to say hi to people like our international staff when we meet for the first time.
Moametal: Actually, they come to us and say, "Let's take photos together." Japanese girls look petite overseas, so maybe they think we are little kids. [Laughs] When we went to Judas Priest backstage, Mr. Rob Halford told us that they were waiting to see us. We've met Mr. Kirk Hammett of Metallica several times, and he is extremely kind to us. No one gives us mean looks, and we are so happy that Babymetal is welcomed warmly.
You were taking photos with Ariana Grande last year at the Summer Sonic [music festival].
Su-Metal: Hahaha... she [Yuimetal] looks so happy! [Laughs]
Yuimetal, what was it like meeting someone you admire?
Yuimetal: I was super happy! We don't know much about metal music, so we often realize how much those metal bands are legendary acts after meeting them in person. However, we listen to Ariana's music in our daily lives, and she represents our goal as an artist. It was such a precious experience for me, and I hope we can continue our success so that we can see her again.
In 2014, Babymetal played at the Reading and Leeds festivals and received awards from the British metal magazines such as Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Do you feel that Babymetal is gaining increasing popularity, particularly in the U.K.?
Su-Metal: Yes. I think the U.K. plays a big part in Babymetal, and we call the U.K. our second home. British fans are very warm-hearted. Playing at Sonisphere Festival U.K. in 2014 was a huge turning point for us, and the U.K. has given us lots of opportunities. I think that British fans' support is making our heart stronger.
Your Wembley show will be another huge turning point. How did you feel when you heard the news that you would be playing there?
Su-Metal: We visited Wembley Arena for the first time last June or July to see a show and said, "It would be great if we can play at big venues like this place." It was like a dream, so when we heard the news that the Babymetal show is confirmed at Wembley, we were flabbergasted. I thought, "This is not a dream!"
Your full-scale U.S. tour is starting this year. What is your impression of the U.S.?
Su-Metal: Our first show in the U.S. was in Los Angeles and then in New York City. The audience in each city has its own character with how they get excited with our songs. Feedback from our American audience is different from Japanese fans and European fans. I have an impression that many American fans are fond of dance music tunes like "Iine!" Overall, the response from American audiences during our shows is so real.
Yuimetal: Also, when we play at rock festivals, American fans tend to show their reactions right away. I experienced many moments when we were able to overcome language barriers. When they like something during our shows, American audiences would tend to show our fox signs or move their bodies.
Moametal: I can't imagine how our American audience will be like because we'll be visiting some areas for the first time. In our next U.S. tour, we'd like to grow more so that we can make Team Babymetal even bigger!
Now about new songs on the Metal Resistance album: Lead track "Karate" was recently unveiled. This is such an aggressive tune.
Su-Metal: This song has not only Babymetal vibes, but also has Japanese elements. Our song "Megitsune" is popular among international fans, and I have a feeling that "Karate" will be something close to "Megitsune." Its lyrics portray a strong will to go on, no matter what happens in your life. We play shows with strong wills so we can relate with the lyrics in "Karate." We'll be delighted if listeners can feel positive energy by listening to this song.
Moametal: This is my personal favorite song. I was told that karate has a courtesy: "Start with a bow and end with a bow." This is something important we value in our lives, because we never forget courtesy and a feeling of gratitude wherever we go. We would like to show those elements through this song. There's nothing to be afraid of, and we can go anywhere with the Babymetal team. With that strong feeling, I hope to keep singing this song.
"Meta Taro" sounds like a song to expand the possibilities of metal music since it seems like even young children can easily sing along to its melody. How do you feel about this tune?
Su-Metal: I was struck when I first heard this song. [Laughs] Also, this song doesn't really leave your head after listening to it. Even after recording the song, I couldn't stop singing this song.
Moametal: That's right... It doesn't go away. [Laughs]
Su-Metal: Recently, our fanbase has grown wider. We've gained increasing numbers of young female fans. Girls who are younger than us now emulate our dance moves, and they visit our shows cosplaying in Babymetal outfits. I think we were able to create a metal song for those fans.
Yuimetal: Dance routines for "Meta Taro" are easy to remember, so this is a song for every generation from little kids to seniors to enjoy our shows by dancing together. I hope the song will be a gateway into metal music for the non-metal audience.
There are two songs recorded by Black Babymetal, a duo comprised of Yuimetal and Moametal. First, could you tell us about the song "Sis. Anger"?
Moametal: "Sis. Anger" is such a fun song. [Laughs] We couldn't stop laughing during our studio recording. The genre of this song is black metal, and its lyrics contain black humor. I think the song was born only because of Black Babymetal. Its lyrics are scary, but if you listen to the song, it makes you laugh and get energized.
How about another Black Babymetal song, "GJ!"?
Yuimetal: It's a reward song and sounds cuter than "Sis. Anger." Personally, I get motivated by listening to "Sis. Anger" and tell myself, "OK, I did a good job." I hope our audience listen to these two songs in sequence.
Su-Metal, two of your solo tunes -- "Amore-Aoboshi-" and "No Rain, No Rainbow" -- are recorded in the new album. "No Rain, No Rainbow" is a song you've been singing at Babymetal shows since long ago.
Su-Metal: Yes. In fact, "No Rain, No Rainbow" has been around for about three years. It could have been recoded for our first album, but I didn't really understand the content of its lyrics when I first sang this song three years ago. However, by performing this song at our shows, I found myself developing not only its vocal techniques, but also ways to express my emotions through this song in the process of my growth. I think "No Rain, No Rainbow" has grown into what it is now because of my experience performing the song at our shows.
And the last song on the album is "The One." You have an English version too.
Su-Metal: Many people from different countries have asked us if we ever plan to sing an English song. We're extremely happy that we now have an English song that we can all sing together.
This song may be an important song in Babymetal's next world tour.
Su-Metal: Yes. Next tour's theme is "The One." Live shows are really tough and rigorous, but there is another world you can see when you overcome hardships. With the power of music, people can unite as one. This is where our tour theme "The One" came from. I hope the song "The One" unites all of us as one.
Lastly, could you tell us things that you would like to achieve with the upcoming world tour as Babymetal?
Moametal: I believe Babymetal's music can transcend everything from national boundaries, genders and ages. I hope everyone can appreciate the wonderful aspects of metal music.
Yuimetal: We've absorbed numerous things in the past two world tours, so we'd like to be someone sending out the message to the world. Our final show is at the Tokyo Dome, which is still surreal, and we have anxieties too. However, we wish to grow as a bigger band by experiencing this upcoming world tour so that we can come back to Japan and play at a huge venue as Tokyo Dome!
Su-Metal: We have visited places we've never been before, and enjoyed local foods we've never had in Japan, and met so many new people and created wonderful live shows with them … It is becoming like a pleasure by stepping into an unforeseen world. [Laughs] We would like to develop our new songs in Metal Resistance at the upcoming shows. To achieve this, we need support from everyone. By making our shows that unite the entire audience as one, we hope to show our culmination of our world tour experiences at the Tokyo Dome.
This interview was translated into English by Keiko Yuyama.