Interview

Headbanging with BABYMETAL at Rock In Japan 2013

August 26, 2013

On stage, BABYMETAL are pure, headbang-inducing energy.

The teenage trio merge the seemingly disparate sounds of heavy metal and idol pop, creating music anchored both by throat-mauling screeches and cuddly choruses. Live, they jump all around the stage, joined by a band of people wearing skeleton costumes. And there is a lot of headbanging, natch.

Yet when MTV 81 meets up with BABYMETAL (consisting of SU-METAL, MOAMETAL and YUIMETAL) an hour before they were set to perform at Rock In Japan, they are far more kid-like. They are at times nervous, and also geeked to talk about their favorite musical artists.

How are you enjoying the fest so far?

SU-METAL: We haven’t been able to see any artists yet. It’s our first time at Rock In Japan, so the whole atmosphere is really exciting. And the food is really good!

MOAMETAL: It would be nice after our show if we could see some of the other bands playing here.

What music did you like when you were growing up?

SU-METAL: I started off listening to ballads when I was younger, lots of female singers. But in junior high school, I started learning English and began listening to more international artists. That’s also when I started checking out metal music. I’ve been receiving lots of metal CDs from fans, too!

MOAMETAL: I listen mostly to kawaii groups. I really like the group ℃-ute!

YUIMETAL: In my free time, I listen to Funky Monkey Babys, like on the bus or on the train.

We hear that you were recruited by the “Fox God” to form BABYMETAL. Who, or what, is a Fox God?

MOAMETAL: We’ve actually never met the Fox God, but because of his blessing, we were able to become BABYMETAL.

SU-METAL: Up until our first single “Toki-Doki Morning,” we did not know that much about heavy metal music. The first time we heard the idea for BABYMETAL, we were like “What the?!” But then we’ve grown excited seeing where this would go, and to learn new things.

How are you guys feeling before your set today?

YUIMETAL: Last year, Funky Monkey Babys played this festival, so this year I’m going to harness Funky Monkey Babys’ power for our show. We are really looking forward to performing.

What are the challenges – and tricks! – for performing for a large audience?

SU-METAL: Right now what we are saying to one another is “be relaxed.” And to put on a good show! At the same time, we are trying to not get too excited, because then the crowd becomes too excited and we lose balance. That said, when everyone gets into the music and is reacting well, it becomes really fun to perform to a larger crowd.

What’s the best way, in your opinion, to enjoy a BABYMETAL show?

YUIMETAL: Headbanging! Since it’s heavy metal, headbanging is only natural. Also, chants and lots of call-and-response between the artists and the audience.

Which do you like better – playing solo shows, or playing big festivals like this?

MOAMETAL: Both are fun, and each sort of show has plusses. At a one-man show, everyone becomes one – the fans know us well, the energy level is high. At fest though, there are lots of new listeners. It’s fun and challenging to perform to a new audience. It’s especially great to see people who don’t know BABYMETAL’s music that well starting to move along to our songs by the end of the set.

Next month, you will go to Jakarta to play at the Anime Festival Asia 2013. How are you preparing for that…and what do you want to do while you are there?

MOAMETAL: Last autumn, we went to Singapore. It was the first time we met our overseas fans. So now, we are looking forward to meeting even more people. That, and we’re excited about eating lots of good food and seeing the sights!

Lastly, where else do you want BABYMETAL to travel to?

All: Ehhh, that’s really hard! (turning to each other to think about it) We want to go to America, for sure! And France too!