Original article (in Japanese)

All credit goes to /u/unmei1954 for his lengthy and hard worked translation. I merely edited it to look better here 🙂

Here is an album with just the photos.

Story of a 12-year-old girl who did not know metal finally rock the world – BABYMETAL vocalist, 20 years old decision

2018/1/11 (Thu) 10:03

BABYMETAL is a “Metal Dance Unit” consisting of three members: vocal & dance Su-metal, Scream & Dance Yuimetal and Moametal. They played with legendary bands like Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N ‘Roses.They are continueing to evoke a whirlwind regardless of only five years since their major debutand . I asked Su-metal, who celebrated her twenty-year-old birthday last month, about her past activities and her thoughts on singing. (Writer / Tomonori Shiba / Yahoo! News Feature Editorial Division)

They took along with Red Hot Chili Peppers the UK tour in December 2016. London O2 Arena (Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)

To be able to enjoy even in away locations

  • You became 20 years old on December 20. Although Su-metal-san has spent most of the adolescence as a vocalist of BABYMETAL,do you think you changed your way of thinking with that?

I am thinking “Su-metal” apart from my usual self.

I have been loving to sing since my childhood, but I had nothing but that. I was not good at study nor sports, I did not have anything else.

But, as Su-metal myself, I am confident while singing. So I think that Su-metal wants to be a cool presence, and I have been stepping through the way without roads so far, I think that I am actually getting into such existence now. That also leads to my confidence. I think that I got confidence and a challenging spirits from Su-metal.

Su-metal/vocal of Metal Dance Unit “BABYMETAL”. Formed in 2010 with Yuimetal, Moametal. Major debut in 2013 as a single “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”. They released 1st album “BABYMETAL”in 2014,They attracted attention both in Japan and abroad with Nippon Budokan 2 days which was youngest female artist’s record in the history. And touring as support act of Lady Gaga’s North American Tour that was first world tour. In 2016, 2nd album “METAL RESISTANCE” dominated the world music scene, such as holding the TOP 40 rank-in in the US Billboard chart TOP 40, the first Japanese live at Wembley Arena in the UK (Photo: Kitchen Minoru)
  • Hiroshima performance in December 2days was the first performance in your hometown Hiroshima. Please tell me the feeling when you finished the live.

First of all I was relieved. It is a memorial to be 20 years old, it is also my first performance in local Hiroshima, and as I performed and challenged with a special feelings. I was relieved to be able to finish safely. It was an honest feeling when it ended the live.

Last December 2, Hiroshima Green Arena. It was like a different world. The majestic altar is assembled on the stage, and a wide runway through the center of the arena. Huge fox heads rises above the run way. Every 8000 spectators got masks and black bunches at the entrance and wears themselves.The band dressed in black chest shred roaring metal sound. Piro flames raise one after another.P

December 2017, a scene of Hiroshima performance (Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)

Su-metal sings songs with rich volume and quality voice that echoes straight. At the end of all 16 songs, Su-metal appeared in gold costumes and appeared, and disappeared into the dazzling light as it finished singing. There is no MC. It was “Birthday Live” of BABYMETAL style.

When BABYMETAL was formed in 2010, Su-metal was 12 years old. She was a girl who knew nothing about heavy metal.

  • How do you remember the time of formation?

Since I did not know anything at that time, when I heard the song for the first time (we sing) I thought “WTF?” I remember thatI was shocked as I do not know how to react.

  • I think that the performance of BABYMETAL that a teenage girl singing and dancing on full-scale heavy metal sound was out of common sense of the music group until then.

In the beginning, there were many criticisms like ‘This is not a metal.’ However, I was confident for some reason. “Why do we have to be caught by common sense?” “We only have to do a lot of what we are supposed to do.”P

(Photo: Kitchen Minoru)
  • When did you hooked into a music called heavy metal yourself?

It’s summer sonic in 2013 (when I performed). At that time, I went to see Metallica-san’s live headliner. Then, the sound of the drum sounds directly in my heart instead of my ears. I was wondering if it’s like “shaking my heart with music”. Until then I had a bit scary image for metal, but that was the moment when my mindset changed.

  • Looking back from the major debut in 2013 to the present, do you think what was the turning point?

I think that it was Sonisphere Festival in 2014 that was the biggest.

The Sonisphere Festival is one of the largest metal festivals in Europe with numerous big bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica. BABYMETAL appeared in Sonisphere 2014 held in Nebworth, a suburb of London, England in July 2014. Their live performance knocked over the local heavy metal fans.

In July 2014, the Sonisphere Festival that Su-metal talks as “the first turning point” (photography: Dana Distortion, (C) Amuse Inc.)

I went upstage without knowing that there were lots of audience Then, those scared faced guys were looking at us.

When I thought “There is no choice but to do” and sing it, many people started to raise their arms has increased rapidly. I foundt that the people who were looking at us half in fun like “Wut? Who’s these kids?” turned to serious.

While singing, I can see that the raised hand of the audience spreads like a wave from front to back. It was a moment when I felt that “music has no wall of words, really going beyond the world.”

Since then I got to be able to enjoy it even in the away place. After that time when I played live in the UK, I was able to sing with a smile of scared looking guy wearing metal T – shirt singing along.

Some UK music magazines described reviews like “Lead vocal Su-metal was a small but overwhelming presence, the jumping singing voice was perfect for their metal.” “Su-metal kept rich voices through live while stiring up the audience “make some noise”.

Then, in April 2016, They played at the prestigious London, Wembley Arena, for the first one-man performance of a Japanese artist.

Even in Wembley it was away at the start. “I know their name, but who are they actually like?” Many people felt like seeing something. But as the set go by, audience steadily got caught. When I performed the last song called “THE ONE” I realized that the venue was one.

In April 2016, a single performance at the Wembley Arena, the first Japanese artist (photo: Taku Fujii)

Tokyo Dome was a warm place

  • What do you think how the live performances progressed and improved over the course of overseas tours?

BABYMETAL songs are physically stiff. Besides, because Me and two of Yuimetal and Moametal were small, at the beginning I was Frantically desperate and I could not afford at all. It was about goal to finish the live properly. However, from the time we are going around the world tour (22 performances in eight countries) by issuing “METAL RESISTANCE” (2016) (2nd album), three of us started to talk like “Let’s make this song like this” to make a live.

(Photo: Kitchen Minoru)
  • In 2016 the live performance of Tokyo Dome 2days which gathered 110,000 people was also done. How did you feel when you were in front of huge crowd?

It was before the world tour began that it was decided to play live at the Tokyo Dome. At that time, “We wondered whether we may go on the (big stage of Tokyo Dome)?”

But when I came on that day, I could feel “I am standing on the stage of the Tokyo Dome properly.” I thought it will be scary, but I felt it in a very warm place.

There was also a joy that studying overseas and getting bigger and coming back. At the same time, I also felt the kind of responsibility that “I need to bring everyone else here and go further”.

September 2016, the final tour of the world tour ・ Performance at Tokyo Dome (Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)
At Tokyo Dome performance they sang all 25 songs in 2 days (Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)

My mission is to shine on the stage

From the end of 2016 to 2017, BABYMETAL played with the big bands abroad such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Guns N ‘Roses etc. Particularly with Red Hot Chili Peppers, they held a long tour around Britain (8 acts in 4 cities) and the United States (10 acts in 10 cities).

Everything was a valuable experience, and there were many things to learn. Everything I thought was amazing, people who are called big names, but each one of their live were fresh every time. It’s supposed to be doing live hundreds on a very hard schedule, but I do not think so. The feeling that life is dedicated to one live concert has come to pass. I respected them once again.

(Photo: Kitchen Minoru)
  • What was particularly impressive?

It is “Gimme choco !!” that we collaborated with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

At the beginning of the tour, they said “Let’s play together! What kind of song would you like?” I asked “Well then, please do our songs!” since then They practiced that song so hard throughout the tour. That was truly delightful. On the last day I felt a lump in my throat.

They appeared as a special guest on the tour of Red Hot Chili Peppers. London ・ O2 Arena December 2016,(Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)

BABYMETAL ‘s live shows not only singing, dancing, playing but also making it a stage like a musical with BABYMETAL’ s history itself as a magnificent story.

It is a Dark Fantasy of three girls carrying the mission of “making the world as one” under the revelation of “Fox God” the metal God, and they travel over the territory. The fiction story and reality of 3 girls actually going on are like a pair of opposit mirror.

Su-metal who says”I am thinking Su-metal apart from my usual self.” How does she face the group called BABYMETAL?

(Photo: Kitchen Minoru)
  • How were you eager at the Hiroshima triumphant performance?

After coming to Tokyo (in order to do musical activities), I decided on my own that “I will not return to Hiroshima until I can say” I am cheat “by now. I thought that I can finally return home after six years. As a hometown performance, it was also that many of you who came to junior and who took care of me came to see a lot. So there was a thought that I should show proper performance, and there was also a thought that I wish I could report on “I got to shine so far at the stage”.

  • Why did you think that “I came to be able to return home?”

Of course, there are also things that have passed through many difficulties abroad, but at first I think that I could able to enjoy music obediently.

I have become able to enjoy each and every single live from the bottom of my heart. I noticed something can be conveyed by singing. I began to feel like singing for someone and I liked singing more.

The Hiroshima performance in December 2017 became the lastlive of her teens (Photo: Tsukasa Miyoshi <Showcase>)
  • There are many audiences with parents and children in the live of BABYMETAL. It’s impressive that the little girls who did the cosplay watching the stage with the eyes of admire.

I am really happy that I could be the girls’ admiration. That’s why I think I’d like to “make myself as Su-metal” to shine properly.

  • Through the activities of BABYMETAL, have you also grown yourself in reality?

Yes. At first I did not think about anything.

There is a sense that I am raising the existence of Su-metal, but on the contrary, I feel that I have been taught various things from Su-metal. Perhaps because I think that the existence of Su-metal is important to me.

“BABYMETAL” is a world of fiction, but it is also what actually happens. I think that in order to make fiction interesting, I have to make fun of what is going on in reality. I hope to keep trying each single live so that we can make the story BABYMETAL more interesting.

(Photo: Kitchen Minoru)

(Honorifics abbreviated in sentence)

※ This interview was held in December 2017.

柴那典 (Shiba・Tomonori)
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1976. Writer, editor, music journalist. Independent after Rocking On company. Interview a wide range of music and subculture fields, and write articles. In his book “Why Hatsune Miku changed the world?” “Collapse of Hit”, co-author “Shibuya Music Encyclopedia” etc.


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