KOBAMETAL has done a few interviews in the past two months regarding the past, present and future of BABYMETAL. In Hedoban Vol. 34 he mostly talked about the mixing of genres with metal. It’s not entirely about BABYMETAL, but the topic delves into talking about BABYMETAL quite a few times. Then comes his interview with PMC in volume 23. Here the topic is mainly THE OTHER ONE and the METALVERSE, why and how they came to be. Though specifics aren’t really shared (we all know Koba likes to keep an air of mystery). Finally, his interview with Gendai Business Magazine which released this week. It hits on most of the same points as the PMC interview, but he does make a few additional statements regarding live shows. Do note this one has not been properly translated as of the posting of this (only machine translation has been used, which is not entirely accurate, as it misses some of the nuance).
From the conversations KOBAMETAL had with the interviewers, we can pick up that he believes that although COVID and the current war in Europe may subside, similar events could repeat in the future, once again jeopardizing the possibility of performing live shows.
Given this, in the interviews he tries to share why it is his opinion that live performances, especially those internationally, are much harder to do now than pre-COVID, and that it’s possible that the live show industry may not return to how strong it was before. Therefore he states that it is smart to think of possible alternatives so that fans can remain connected with their favorite bands. This idea is part of what ended up in the concept of METALVERSE.
He makes it understood that he believes it’s more of a need than a want:
“It’s not that I want to go into NFTs or the metaverse. It’s just a means to an end.“KOBAMETAL (PMC vol. 23)
He was asked specifically about live shows returning, and he replied that BABYMETAL will of course have live performances in the future and that the METALVERSE will help the band be able to achieve that in the future. However, later in the same interview he says something different:
I have a strong sense of crisis that we may not be able to perform in the real world in the future.KOBAMETAL (Gendai Business Magazine)
Live show summary: from my interpretation, it seems that KOBAMETAL would like to have live performances again, but that at this moment due to several factors they aren’t really a possibility. Furthermore, he feels it’s possible that it might remain difficult in the future, so he wants to build an alternative idea, the METALVERSE, to be able to continue to share BABYMETAL with fans worldwide.
THE OTHER ONE & the METALVERSE
As stated before, KOBAMETAL says that the METALVERSE is “a way to keep fans connected”, but he also says that it will allow BABYMETAL to “flexibly do what it wants to do in the future”. It all stems from the fact he wants BABYMETAL to continue to “exist”, even if the world becomes a “dystopia” again (such as during the height of the pandemic).
He doesn’t give an exact idea of what it entails, but we can get a few ideas based on a few things he mentions, such as that it is indeed a virtual concept and that he sees the project as spanning over years, even a decade. He doesn’t think that moving everything into the metaverse all at once would be a good idea, as it could make it hard to use and understand for certain fans.
He even went so far as to say that he believes “a new style of performance will emerge – one that is different from the traditional ‘live’ or ‘online stream’ performance”. “Possibilities from various perspectives such as communities, games, and creators may be found.” What exactly he means regarding this isn’t exactly clear.
Let’s also not forget that around a month ago Amuse announced that KOBAMETAL was the head of company, Kulture. This company is to “incorporate new technological trends, such as Web3 and Metaverse into their existing business, as well as create new services, businesses, and IP.” This will clearly have effects on what the METALVERSE will end up becoming as well.
METALVERSE summary: this one is hard to summarize, as the idea is not clear. It seems that the METALVERSE will be a virtual community which will gradually add things over time.
BABYMETAL and Stagnation
KOBAMETAL reiterates again and again that he doesn’t want BABYMETAL to stay stagnate, that when BABYMETAL starts to become something to expect, to change it up once more.
I’ve spent nearly 10 years with the members to create BABYMETAL, and our attitude has always been one of constant evolution and challenge. That’s something we’d like to continue. I think that can sometimes be hard for fans to come to terms with, if BABYMETAL moves forward too quickly.KOBAMETAL (Hedoban vol. 34)
… over the course of creating a BABYMETAL style over the past decade, there reached a point where the idea of “This is what BABYMETAL should be” had become too firmly established. Our original goal was to challenge something that had never been done before; something that went beyond the norm, and we felt again that such an element remained necessary now.KOBAMETAL (PMC vol. 23)
We want to renew our determined attitude to always challenge things, even as the group grows more established in its career.KOBAMETAL (PMC vol. 23)
Below I include a few snippets from the interviews, though I encourage you to read the linked translations of the full interview, as key context may be missed without reading the entire conversation.
Purchase Link: Amazon Japan
Released: June 15th, 2022
Full translation by funnytoss and capable-paramedic
In this interview, Koba talks about:
- Enjoying many genres of music simultaneously in his younger days
- His thoughts on different genres of music, and what he appreciates about them
- Music that influenced the creation of “Doki Doki ☆ Morning”
- Walking the fine line of “doing something silly in a serious way”
- Hardcore fans being more likely to dislike change/new things
- What makes a collaboration meaningful
- Why BM has been able to incorporate so many genres into its discography
- Similarities between metal fandom and religion
- What BABYMETAL wants to do with its music moving forward
- and more!
I see, so you have an even larger stock of BABYMETAL songs than we might have expected, though many of them are still in the maturation process (laughs).
KOBAMETAL: Yes (laughs). Some that haven’t become songs yet… still half-completed work-in-progress. There are times when a song is in season, and you have to enjoy it while it’s perfectly ripe. As mentioned earlier, there’s both BABYMETAL’s own sense of timing, as well as that of the world.
Purchase Link: Amazon Japan
Released: June 21st, 2022
Full translation by funnytoss and capable-paramedic
- Why BABYMETAL was sealed (to stop and take a fresh look at what they wanted to do)
- A determined attitude to always challenge things, even as the group has grown more established
- Not being able to take it for granted that they would always be able to perform as desired
- Factors that compelled the transition to digital
- Practical difficulties affecting concerts
- Finding new ways to unite BABYMETAL fans
- Seeing NFTs or a metaverse as tools, not a goal that they desire
- Digital would ideally happen gradually in parallel with real world, not as a replacement
- and more!
…it may not be possible to perform in Russia ever again as the real world has transformed so drastically into a dystopia in just 2 years.
So how can we communicate once more with the BABYMETAL fans who had gathered at the venue in Russia that day? It’s something I think about seriously and practically. A few years from now, some other calamity may occur in a different place. What can we do to keep BABYMETAL and its fans active and connected when that happens? Thinking upon this, we decided on the need to create a utopian alternative to the “real world” and “dystopia” – something like a “BABYMETAL World”. That’s how the concept of the <METALVERSE> came to be.KOBAMETAL
We believe that a new style of performance will emerge – one that is different from the traditional “live” or “online stream” performance. Perhaps something that we wouldn’t have imagined before, that might be thought of in a different way using a different name. I think it’s possible there will be a new entertainment experience that combines technology and imagination, free from physical limitations, taking on a whole new dimension of ideas. Possibilities from various perspectives such as communities, games, and creators may be found. I believe the <METALVERSE> could start as an experimental challenge; something that eventually develops into a more complete metaverse society. It’s not something we’d intend to move into all at once, as we’d hope people like me – analog types – would be able to grow accustomed to it, experiencing it little by little. I think it would be great if we could create a situation where new approaches are accepted into our minds after 5 or 10 years.KOBAMETAL
Gendai Business Magazine
- BABYMETAL’s history
- BABYMETAL and originality
- Changes in music
- THE OTHER ONE, the METALVERSE and the digital world
- Live shows post-pandemic
- and more!
When people hear the word “METALVERSE,” they tend to imagine “activities that make full use of new concepts such as NFT and digital technology,” but it is not necessarily a synonym for “METAVERSE. There are still some aspects that have yet to be clarified, but I hope you will consider it as one “concept” for BABYMETAL to flexibly do what it wants to do in the future.KOBAMETAL
Do you plan to resume live performances in the future?
Of course, we are not saying that we will not do live performances at all in the future. Rather, it is precisely because we have experienced a situation over the past two years where we did not know how long we would be able to continue the kind of entertainment we have been doing that we started the “Metalverse” initiative. We hope that you will see this project as a way to continue the live activities in the real world that we have cherished up to now.KOBAMETAL