This was the PMC issue released in late September, right before the release of METAL GALAXY. Other parts have already been translated (see below), but we finally have the full Interview with SU-METAL and MOAMETAL now translated thanks to ATMYBABEL!
They talk about METAL GALAXY, their first performances in 2019, their evolution of choreography and singing as well as BABYMETAL itself, and more! Read all of it below.
Amazon Japan (¥1,300)
Released September 30th, 2019
- Latest long interview of BABYMETAL (this one)
- 100 question Q&A (translated here)
- KOBAMETAL interview
- MIKIKOMETAL interview (translated here)
- New York Show Report
Big thanks to ATMYBABEL for translating it.
[Since I translated MIKIKOMETAL’s interview in PMC magazine (vol.15), I thought I should bring you the translation of interview with SU-METAL and MOAMETAL from the same issue. A fairly long interview done several months ago, but I hope you enjoy!]
PMC: It was just before the whole picture of “Metal Resistance: Chapter VIII” was revealed, when we interviewed you two last time [here is the translation of that one, from April 2019]. How was it for you, going through a remarkable turn of events afterward?
SU-METAL: When we were interviewed last time by PMC, we talked to you about how we were going to move on to the next phase with us two, overcoming the exit of YUIMETAL. At that time, we could not see anything in detail as to our future, although we knew we two would keep moving on together. So, for now, we are glad that we could start things again in a proper way.
PMC: That means, it was decided after the last interview, that you would perform live under the “three-member” system from the end of June.
SU-METAL & MOAMETAL: Yes, it was.(laughs)
PMC: It was quite impressive for you to give such high-quality live performances, mesmerizing the entire audience, and even more impressive, considering your short-time preparation and rather irregular way of rotating support dancers stage by stage.
MOAMETAL (looking toward SU-METAL): Was it? Ha-ha-ha.
SU-METAL (laughs): We often prepare things at the very last minute.
PMC: In addition to coordinating with supporting dancers, performing new tunes such as “PA PA YA!! (featuring F. HERO)” and “Shine”, taking a long trip to London, and participating for the first time in one of the world’s largest music festivals “Glastonbury”, etc., etc.; there were so many hurdles for you to clear.
MOAMETAL: Yes, there were.
PMC: Looking from outside, it is easy for us to see that this is all normal, because you seem to take it for granted. Yet if we really think about the situation you were in, it must have put a lot of pressure upon you.
MOAMETAL: We realized later that we actually gave performances at Yokohama Arena, then in England and back in Nagoya, with six live performances in total, covering more than one country within ten days. It is true that we talked about this, like “yeah, looking back ourselves, we did something great”. But it is also true that we rather love and enjoy those impending and chaotic situations as if it is our characteristics to do so. We were therefore having kind of fun at the time.
SU-METAL: It was not really like “OMG, OMG!”[note: original words are “Yabai, Yabai!”] Although we were a little worried about things like “Will this plane land on time?”
MOAMETAL: We were saying “It would be “Yabai” if we get there late”.(laughs)
SU-METAL: Yes. It was like “It would be “Yabai” if we get there late”.(laughs) In a sense, we were worried about things anybody else would be.
MOAMETAL: But, come to think of it again, we did something great, didn’t we?
PMC: After the first show at Yokohama Arena, you said that you were not nervous but surprised like “wow!” when you heard loud cheers from the audience. Before you stepped onto the stage, were you psyched up more like “we’re gonna do this!”, rather than worrying like “Are we going to be OK”?
SU-METAL: Yokohama (Arena) was certainly one goal for us, and we were working toward it “to be fully ready by this date”. So, although we knew it would be a live performance in front of the audience, we were trying so hard to create our own “work”. However, the moment we heard roar of the audience like “wooo!”, we realized that “there are so many people who have been waiting for us!” Until that moment, we had been making a push for ourselves. But then we had this new perception that “there are people here to whom we should convey what we have!”, which in turn urged us to think “we’ve got to give our best!”
PMC: What sort of things did you learn through live performances in Yokohama, England, and Nagoya?
SU-METAL: First, in Yokohama, we experienced a different type of live performance each of the two days by rotating supporting dancers, and it was so interesting, I thought, to find that each one has her own color and character. It was like new breeze coming in, just when we were trying to “break” and update the old BABYMETAL in the latest album “METAL GALAXY”. Having now three supporting dancers with each of them different from the other two, interestingly enough, we now think, after Yokohama, that we can show you many sides of BABYMETAL.
PMC: I am impressed with how you just described the three new dancers being distinctive in their own way as “interesting”, as if this is nothing special.
SU-METAL & MOAMETAL: Ha, ha, ha!
PMC: I mean, think about it, that you have to perform with a different supporting dancer each time.
MOAMETAL: You are right. Going a little more into detail there, each of the dancers has her own way of dancing, like how to synchronize moving patterns to the sound and rhythm. Therefore, I found myself worrying much about whether I should let them dance in sync with me, or I do so with them. At one time, I thought, what we have called BABYMETAL may come apart if I would try to entirely accommodate myself to them. But we are not “BABYMETAL plus Avengers”; rather, we want to keep fighting our battles as “BABYMETAL”. When I came to see things that way, I decided not to simply adjust myself to the supporting dancers, but to still lean toward them without ever changing the essence of ourselves. But to what degree should we all adjust our moves to one another? We have to keep thinking about that while continuing to perform on stage.
PMC: You found about the agenda during Yokohama performances. In our last interview, you told us that you learned from supporting dancers during the (Dark Side) period, about adult-like expression and how to express yourself with fingertip moves. It meant a lot to you, didn’t it?
MOAMETAL: It did mean much to me. It was a day-to-day learning process and so is it now in the “Avenger” series.
PMC: What is it that you are learning from the “Avenger” series?
MOAMETAL: The “Avenger” series is based on a three-member system, and I hope people would look at us and say “you have evolved”, instead of saying “you have gone back to originals”. Now I am thinking about what I should do for all of us to evolve further. As I told you, I feel like I am learning how to dance with flexibility during live stage performance, like adjusting my moves according to who the supporting dancer is.
PMC: Have your awareness to musical sound during live performance changed recently? Like how you listen to your in-ear monitor? [Related: leaked In-ear monitors from LEGEND M and previous shows]
MOAMETAL: Well, let me see. I basically listen only to SU-Metal’s voice. However, since each dancer in the “Avenger” series has her own way of dancing to the rhythm and sound, I may be more aware visually, rather than aurally, of the supporting dancer. Like, “she is now going a little faster (rhythmically), so I would adjust to her”.
PMC: Can you be a little more specific?
MOAMETAL: Mikiko-sensei’s choreography is based more on song lyrics than on its rhythm. Therefore, I would try to dance in such a way that I can express the meaning of lyrics nicely, while being in tempo as accurate as possible.
PMC: How do you keep your balance between singing and dancing, SU-METAL-san?
SU-METAL: Well, if it is a hard and heavy song, I would sing in a certain way so that I can focus more on dancing, like controlling my voice to require less breathing. Or, I may create a moment to hold my breaths on purpose. However, since it would be much difficult to do so when we perform at high-altitude places abroad, I may alter the way of breathing while singing, depending on where you are.
PMC: Can you think of any song which is especially hard for you to sing, or which you are working on recently? You said before that “Megitsune” was that kind of a song.
SU-METAL: “Megitsune” never becomes easy for me no matter how many times I sing. It has always been my most favorite song yet a challenge to me, as well. New songs are also challenging to me, since I am not familiar with them, meaning my body not yet absorbing the combination of singing with doing choreography. That is why when a number of new tunes come up with their choreography in front of me, I go like “Oooh!”(laughs),
PMC: It has become a formula for BABYMETAL to perform a new song several times on live stages and then to record it in studio. What do you think about performing a new song live before recording it?
SU-METAL: I think the music of BABYMETAL transforms through live performances. I look forward eagerly, not only to performing the songs in “METAL GALAXY” in upcoming tours, but also to watching how they would be received by the audience. In the past, we introduced a new song live first, which led to a change in the song’s arrangement before recording it in studio. (Looking toward MOAMETAL) We once performed a song live first and left it untouched for a while. Right?
SU-METAL: Although I do not know where to set a goal for completing BABYMETAL’s songs, we work on them until the very last moment (before we do studio recording). The idea is that, we try to perceive the reaction of audience to our music through live performance before delivering it to listeners on CD, thereby creating better products.
PMC: So, if you throw whatever questions you have at your staff, the content of a song including choreography may change as a result.
SU-METAL: (Looking toward MOAMETAL) The choreography of “YAVA!” changed, didn’t it?
MOAMETAL: It was totally different before the change.
SU-METAL: That kind of things often happen.
PMC: How about songs in “METAL GALAXY”?
MOAMETAL: “Kagerou” changed musically.
SU-METAL: During the “Dark Side” period, I did all chorus parts.
MOAMETAL: In “METAL GALAXY”, I did the chorus too.
PMC: At any rate, about this new album!
MOAMETAL: What about it!(laughs)
PMC: SU-METAL-san said in our last interview that “BABYMETAL can do things much more exciting”, and now I understand your words more deeply after I listened to the album. For you two, what would be the first impression of it?
SU-METAL: (Looking toward MOAMETAL) What is it? (laughs)
MOAMETAL: I thought “Is this really metal?” Listening to the new album, particularly after going through the “Dark Side” period, I realized that we had created too much of this particular BABYMETAL image ourselves, and that we were bound by the idea of “this is what BABYMETAL should be”. “METAL GALAXY” reminded me of the fact that “BABYMETAL originally was a group which can create amusing things”. It is not about whether the album is “not metal” or “not BABTMETAL”. We see it as such a fun product that “we genuinely want to deliver this kind of music!”, and that we want many people to listen to it.
SU-METAL: I think the new album represents “the new BABYMETAL”. Although we have been presenting “kawaii metal” performed by little girls, we ourselves have grown up and evolved to deliver something different in the new album. Still, you can pretty much get the feel of BABYMETAL-ness you already know, and many of the songs are approachable and can be an introduction to metal music for young kids, which is one of our purposes in the album.
MOAMETAL: Yeah, you are right.
SU-METAL: So, this album is the first step towards what we will do in the future.
PMC: I like the new album so much.
MOAMETAL: Oh, really!?
SU-METAL: Arigatou gozaimasu!
MOAMETAL: Which song is your favorite?
PMC: In spite of what you have told us so far, it is still comfortable for me to listen to the melodic-speed-metal song “Arkadia”.
MOAMETAL: “Arkadia” is a popular tune!
PMC: But after I listen to the song which is the last one in the album, I always want to go back to the beginning and listen to the euro-beat-metal “DA DA DANCE(featuring Tak Matsumoto)”.
SU-METAL & MOAMETAL: Aah!
MOAMETAL: “DA DA DANCE(featuring Tak Matsumoto)” is popular, too. Hmmm.
SU-METAL: The song has a punching power in it!
PMC: I almost lost my presence of mind when I first listened to it.
MOAMETAL: Plus, the album (virtually) begins with the song.
PMC: BABYMETAL have been breaking down the wall surrounding heavy metal, but this time broke down the wall surrounding themselves with this album. As MOAMETAL-san said a moment ago, the album runs the risk of being rejected like “this is not BABYMETAL at all”. After seeking for the ultimate musical diversity in making this album, what would be the core essence of BABYMETAL as you see now?
MOAMETAL: I think BABYMETAL is a unit which makes no compromise. As I told you, we persevere, persevere more, and still persevere, until the very last moment in producing any songs. We worked so hard until the last moment in recording “BxMxC”, so much so that the actual CD album came out only two days after we completed its recording. Even after the album was released, we would not mind altering any song after live performances, making no compromise. Every once in a while, I feel like saying “it’s time for compromise”(laughs). That is the strength of BABYMETAL, to me.
PMC: Whatever kind of music you create, it would become BABYMETAL’s sound by pursuing the ultimate ideal without compromise.
SU-METAL: I think we are always a challenger. In the beginning, we were challenging against the genre of metal music, and the name of BABYMETAL gradually came to be known. We were in obscurity at first, but now, thankfully, we are recognized like “that’s BABYMETAL!” even abroad.
PMC: You are right.
SU-METAL: Although we are glad to be recognized, it would not look much like BABYMETAL if we see that as our goal in itself. That is why we broke down something called “BABYMETAL” ourselves in this album. This is us, keeping the challenge alive by even breaking through what had been known as BABYMETAL. We have been talking about “going forward in pathless route” since we started performing “Road of Resistance”(its first performance was in November 2014). We still keep that spirit within ourselves. Even if the time comes when we see our goal, another big wall may appear in front of us. Or, we may never get there, after all.
PMC: By the way, what would be the reason for you, in this album, to tackle with music that crosses over genres and countries.
SU-METAL: One of the things we learned by touring all over the world was that a song can be perceived differently depending on the audience and the place. We really felt like, “it is the same song, but what a different perception!” Then, we decided this time to let our album tour worldwide.
PMC: That is interesting.
SU-METAL: When BABYMETAL delivered abroad what the band learned musically, one of the effective spices was to add a bit of Japanese flavor. Now, when we thought we wanted to be a newly evolved BABYMETAL, we searched for a new spice and found varieties of music in the world.
PMC: I see.
SU-METAL: There are lots of sub genres within metal music, and, before anything else, there is freedom of music. Since BABYMETAL is a flexible group, we think we can transform ourselves in variety of ways. When BABYMETAL perform a song with ethnic taste like “Shanti Shanti Shanti”, it somehow fits with us despite the feeling of “what the hell is this!”(note: original phrase SU-METAL uses is “Nanja korya!”) Therefore, we are now thrilled to think about the possible evolution of ourselves, when we embark on a world tour with this “worldwide-traveling album”.
PMC: It would not have been possible to produce “METAL GALAXY” without you two having grown up. What do you think about that yourself?
SU-METAL: Talking about the music of BABYMETAL so far, the band and its music have been formulated basically on my vocal, I think. In the new album, I myself challenged to create different types of SU-METAL’s voicing and vocal expression, which I was not able to do in the previous album.
PMC: What do you mean by different types of voicing and vocal expression?
SU-METAL: For example, I moved my entire body physically in accordance with the ambience of the tune, while recording “PA PA YA!!(featuring F. HERO)”. I sang the verse part of this song with my body moves. But when I put myself too much into the song itself, it would not be SU-METAL anymore.
PMC: What do you mean by that?
SU-METAL: For example, after I am informed that “this song is inspired from such and such artists and their music”, I would say “let’s sing with these styles, then,” and try in more than one way of singing. But when I get too close to the sources, it would not be SU-METAL singing anymore. Therefore, I always thought about creating a vocal sound of SU-METAL, the evolved SU-METAL, while recording the album.
PMC: I see.
SU-METAL: So, it is not that my voice range grew wider or anything. However, whereas I always sang with straight tone and no vibrato in the past, I tried to incorporate various types of techniques into my vocalization.
PMC: Which song in the album did you enjoy singing?
SU-METAL: I enjoyed singing “Brand New Day” since it was a type of song that I had not tried before. I thought it was cool to sing, kind of being relaxed. I mean, not just being relaxed but creating the sense of resonance at the same time. Although it was a forward-thrusting type of songs that I always felt cool about, this song taught me the coolness of not being overly aggressive.
PMC: Is it like controlling your voice more than usual?
SU-METAL: Even by singing the same note, you can create a different sound. If you sing in a “kawaii” way, the note sounds a little higher to you. Or, if you sing like bravely, it sounds louder to you. But, how did I sing “Brand New Day”? I just don’t know how to express that in words.
PMC: It is a feeling that you cannot verbalize. But I kind of see what you mean. How about your favorite song, MOAMETAL-san?
MOAMETAL: I really cannot make up my mind on that. Plus, we still have songs with no choreography yet. As far as I can tell by listening to the album, I like “Brand New Day”, too. But, I would say this to the reader of PMC magazine, you should really listen to “B×M×C”.
PMC: Ah, ha, ha, ha!
MOAMETAL: I wanted to say this more than anything today.(laughs)
PMC: You prepared that joke.(laughs)
MOAMETAL: Yep, I think both titles sound similar.(laughs) I absolutely want people who are reading this to love the song “B×M×C”.
PMC: All right.(laughs) As far as your dancing is concerned, you challenged to do contemporary dance–BABYMETAL’s first–by performing the song “Shine” at Portmesse Nagoya. You have now stepped into a new area as a performer.
MOAMETAL: Yes, I have. This is the first time for me to perform contemporary dance. When we decided to keep going with a new formation centered around SU-METAL and MOAMETAL, we were talking like “we want to do something that we two can show to the audience”. Since “Shine” is the song embodying the determination, or bond between us two in what we are aiming for from now, I hope people would enjoy the song in that way.
PMC: How did it go with your challenge?
MOAMETAL: It was difficult. During the “Dark Side” series last year, I had more opportunity to face with my own dancing. Like, how is my dancing? Or, what is lacking in me? Add to those, how shall I perform contemporary dance? I practiced a lot, since you have to carefully put into practice the flexibility and stretch of your body in order to reach the audience far behind. Plus, since I really had not have any opportunity to dance all by myself, it was difficult in that sense, as well.
PMC: Plus, we still have songs with no choreography yet.
MOAMETAL: Here is what I learned during the “Dark Side” series. For each of the dance routines in songs like “Starlight” and “Elevator Girl”, there are quite a few feminine-like moves such as a careful hand maneuver. Since these songs contain full of “adult-like coolness”, rather than “kawaii” factor, I have not yet found the right way to dance while performing them on stage. That is what I have to figure out by myself as I grow up, and the answer may change as I absorb many things in different places.
PMC: Talking about “Shine” as an example, I get a feeling that your dancing is going to evolve further.
MOAMETAL: Even the song “Shine” itself is not in a final format yet. We are still in the process of trial and error, and I do not think we will make any compromise here either.
PMC: By the way, I came up with an advertising slogan for “METAL GALAXY”.
MOAMETAL: Oh, what would that be?
PMC: “Nanja Korya!? Strikes Back”.
SU-METAL: Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha!
MOAMETAL: “Nanja Korya!? Strikes Back”.(laughs) We are going to use that one.(laughs)
PMC: Although “METAL GALAXY” is definitely an evolving work from the past, it still makes me feel that sense of “Nanja Korya!?”, again.
SU-METAL: “Nanja Korya!?”, again. (laughs)
MOAMETAL: I am glad to hear that.
PMC: Even though we got sort of familiar with what BABYMETAL do by listening to the first and second albums, the new one still gives us the sense of “Nanja Korya!?”. True I am using the same expression here, but the degree of “Nanja Korya!?” is different this time.
MOAMETAL: We were not concerned with whether the new album would be better than the previous ones. Because it was so different. We created this album as a truly new type of work, and I surely get the sense of “Nanja Korya!?” from it myself.
PMC: When I first listened to the album, I did not understand it thoroughly, like “what? what was I listening to?”
SU-METAL: Ah, ha, ha!
PMC: But when I listened to it the second time, it got to my heart profoundly. I had not had that kind of feeling for quite a while. It is not the feeling that you can give it to your regular listeners easily, I think. Because they already have their own hopes and expectations about the BABYMETAL sound.
MOAMETAL: That is right.
PMC: Talking about the order of songs in the album, Disc 1 could have started with “IN THE NAME OF” and ended with “Arkadia”, instead of “FUTURE METAL” at the top followed by “DA DA DANCE(feat. Tak Matsumoto)”, if you consider the history of BABYMETAL.
PMC: And it was hell of a thing to betray that expectation.
SU-METAL: It is true that if you listen to the previous albums following the track order, you may be able to expect what type of song is coming next. Yet in this album, we were recording something like six songs at the same time, and we could not see any connection among those songs at first, because they were so different from each other. It was like, “are they all going to fit musically in one album?” I have always thought from the beginning that BABYMETAL’s album is like a toy box. But this album makes me think like that even more.
PMC: Well, US tour is going to start in September, and European tour will start in February next year. There will be a lot of countries and cities included in the tour, that you have never visited before.
MOAMETAL: First of all, we have never done a tour right after releasing a new album.
PMC: Ah, come to think of it, you are right.
MOAMETAL: Plus, in spite of us stating that “we base our lives on giving live performances”, we have done so few live performances as to make ourselves feel sorry for making such a statement.(laughs) Therefore, we are so glad to visit quite a few places for the tour. We think that our task is to elevate our songs to a higher level, and that we have to keep improving ourselves during the twenty or so performances until the show at the Forum (Los Angeles, USA) on October 11.
PMC: So, the first goal of the coming tour would be the show at the Forum. Well, next year is going to be the tenth anniversary of BABYMETAL.
SU-METAL: Time flies, doesn’t it.(laughs)
MOAMETAL: It does.
PMC: BABYMETAL have come to be mid-career artists.
MOAMETAL: Yes, you’re right.
PMC: Thus far, BABYMETAL have become more popular by getting encouragement and support from major bands like Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now are you two thinking of guiding a younger generation?
SU-METAL: We talked a little bit about this moment ago. We have always wanted youths or the younger generations who do not listen to metal music to think that “metal is fun”. Although in the beginning we felt ourselves a little uncomfortable performing metal music, we still want people to find the good of this genre. Recently, I found something very interesting. When we started BABYMETAL, I thought more bands like us, I mean, female bands playing hard and heavy music, would come out. On the contrary, however, some metal bands are now becoming pop-ish or employing dance performance, which was very interesting to me. I was like, “Yeah, that is one way of doing!” I hope we could influence others like that, as we ourselves evolve with influence from others. With this kind of interaction repeating itself, I hope music in general becomes more entertaining.
PMC: Well, although you are spending these days with a feeling of tension, are you able to relax yourselves?
MOAMETAL: Are we? Are we okay?(laughs) I do not mind being together with SU-METAL, I mean, I am rather happy to be with her. Since we take it easy by talking to each other while touring, we are all right.
PMC: Talking to each other as such is a breather for you two.
MOAMETAL: We can be our regular selves to each other when we are together, right?
SU-METAL: Yes, you’re right!
(End of Interview)