PMC Vol. 13 – Interview
Volume 13 of the PMC magazine released in April 2019 in Japan featured an interview with Su-Metal and Moametal. The interview was highly anticipated by Babymetal Fans, as it was the first interview after a long time, and a troublesome year for the Band and Fans. Su-Metal and Moametal talked about the year 2018, how they managed the changes happening on stage and how they feel about the future of Babymetal.
I have only translated the Su-Metal part by myself. You can read the full translation on babymetalnews540025402.wordpress.com, with the Moametal part translated by OFM from the Babymetal Discord. The original can be bought on amazon.co.jp, cdjapan.co.jp or asmart.jp.
Introduction and SU-METAL Part
The Year 2018 for Babymetal had an 8 performance American tour including “Rock on the Range 2018” in May, also German “Rock am Ring” and “Rock im Park” in June, “Download Festival UK 2018” in the UK and a Europe tour including 5 performances. On the stage are SU-METAL and MOAMETAL leading the setup of a 4 to 7 dancer configuration, opening the curtains to the story of “Metal resistance episode 7” and the two “light” and “dark” sides.
There is no appearance of YUIMETAL on stage, who, because of poor conditions, stopped on any physical activities at this point. October. YUIMETAL announces her official withdrawal, leaving SU-METAL and MOAMETAL as the core of BABYMETAL. After that BABYMETAL approach the 5 performances in Japan and finish off a year of non-stop trials in Australia. This time PMC asks about the two facing the start of a new chapter, looking back on 2018, a year which wasn’t talked about until now, take a look at BABYMETAL and their existence and hear about their decisions for the future. Learn about their various emotions and experiences of both the “light” and “dark” side, and get a fresh look on the story of BABYMETAL approaching a new chapter. First we deliver you the solo interview of Vocalist SU-METAL.
PMC: After the Yahoo! interview on January 11th with SU-METAL this is your first interview after 1 year and 4 months. With the email interview answering questions about Tokyo Dome in September of 2016 and the interview about the album release of “METAL RESISTANCE” this is your first interview with PMC in about 3 years. First of all, we would like to hear about the reason for this interview and how you feel to be in the spot you are right now.
SU-METAL: BABYMETAL doesn’t do interviews very often, we don’t talk about “This show was this way” after a liveshow, but this is with pressure of a good sense. For example, if we had equipment problems and I wasn’t able to sing. I think that speaking about it somewhat feels like an excuse towards fans and in my case, no matter the circumstances, for every lives how we do there is absolutely no excuse to be made.
PMC: I see.
SU-METAL: But this time, with YUIMETAL’s withdrawal, fans are going to be worried what BABYMETAL will become from now on and may have angry thoughts and I think this can’t be part of it. Since we are advancing as a new set-up from now on, we want to communicate properly which decisions we took for ourselves.
PMC: Now, let’s look back to the activity of 2018, in other words the “Metal Resistance Episode 7”. When you look back on last year, what kind of year was it for SU-METAL?
SU-METAL: Last year was a really different one, which made me think in various ways about myself. I had various feelings in this one year. I became 20 and thought about being an adult and taking objective views on BABYMETAL, and I think it was a year of reflecting on my situation.
PMC: As a result, what kind of thing have you seen?
SU-METAL: Umm …. until now if I told people around me “I went out at this overseas festival” they started to say things like “great!” and I felt like “aah, is it great?”. (lol) I was so desperate to do the things right in front of me that I didn’t have the time to think about what we actually did. But when I look back, I think “oh, I was on so many stages, I gained so much, and as a result I am standing where I am now, together with BABYMETAL.” I have left behind something serious.
PMC: Saying “if you think about it, we have walked a great way”
SU-METAL: Yes, it feels like it huh? (lol)
PMC: Last year you released the new song “Distortion” on the start of the America tour on the 8th of May. It was the first time for BABYMETAL to release music in the form of a delivery single (Note: online distribution) but there was no promotion associated with it and with the tour starting soon I think it was difficult to grasp the world wide reactions. What were your thoughts having a new song after such a long time?
SU-METAL: Going on tour with this song last year, I thought about ways to do this song together with the audience on the tour. One point of BABYMETAL songs are the “chantings” and until now, we made chorus parts for Japanese people to understand, but for this song we added more easy parts to sing like “wow wow” to make it easier for foreigners. After a lot of review I think it is easier for the audience to sing along and get into BABYMETAL with this song. It also increased the amount of call and response for a live show. “Distortion” was often the first song of a show so I think singing it together with the audience was a good entry to a BABYMETAL live show.
PMC: Starting the America tour with presenting this song, what were your feelings about the tour?
SU-METAL: With the theme of “Metal Resistance Episode 7” being announced, we have always been with three people, so of course for the audience I had to substitute for YUIMETAL in a proper way. I wanted to create a place where she could come home to but also showing a perfect BABYMETAL on stage.
PMC: With adding two dancers to attend BABYMETAL I think you made a new life form of it, but in which way did it change the performance?
SU-METAL: Until now we made everything with 3 people at the core, so by adding the dancers we said “let’s make the stage together” and got into shape together, showing of the same dances in a different manner. While continuing a tour, we looked back every time like “the show today was like this”, but this time we got different viewpoints from the members as the dancers were entering the spots, “aah, there is this way of showing it or that way”. There was really a lot to learn.
PMC: You got a more objective look on BABYMETAL.
SU-METAL: We received various thoughts like “The same dance can be done in a different style” or “This Babymetal song can be presented like this”.
PMC: You had the possibility to look at the music that you continuously sung until now from a different point of view. Can you give me some specific examples?
SU-METAL: This time for example, we got a presentation for the adult part of “Megitsune” from the various people that were added as dancers, that all had a career for themselves. Also, “Gimme Chocolate!!” is a cute song, isn’t it? The song was always danced by small children until now making it a cute song but I got the thought that this song can be presented as a “cute adult” song if adults danced to it. I always thought “let’s not change it” but now it came to my mind to “show how this dance can grow up”.
PMC: So far a lot of your shows on an American tour were in big cities, but this time being Kansas City, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville centered around relatively medium-sized cities.
SU-METAL: Until now we were in big cities where tourists would go and many Japanese people came to live shows, and I got the impression that the people know about the Japanese culture, but this time we were going to a town where people only briefly heard about the name BABYMETAL. Because of that, people that come to a headline show for the first time to take a look may feel like “What is this group?” and don’t understand what’s going on, so we thought that would be a good place to start a live show that feels fresh.
PMC: Was the atmosphere like that throughout the whole American tour?
SU-METAL: Let’s see. I had this thought when we went to Nashville. I later heard stories how Nashville is famous for its country music and at the time felt like the audience mood was like that. How should I say it … it felt kind of the same, but it didn’t feel like a metal mood … anyways … (NOTE: Su uses the terms vertical- and horizontal-“nori” to explain it, which can’t be translated into english properly. I used “mood” to convey the feel what she said). I of course understand that we make a more extreme kind of music but in its nature it also feels bit calm, but it was a very fresh atmosphere. There was a unique feel to this city.
PMC: Despite not going to a big city where many people know about Babymetal or Japanese culture, I’m surprised the performance was sold out, so I think the mobilization (to smaller cities) had a good result. With those circumstances, what kind of feelings did you had standing on the stage?
SU-METAL: During this tour we felt show after show that the fans were upset about the fact that YUIMETAL wasn’t present. We tried to put 100% power into the tour but, honestly, I think we weren’t able to deliver it on the first day at the Kansas City concert. For the first time I had the impression of “solo shows are scary”. Festivals are a scary thing because there are a lot of people who don’t understand us well but then I have the feeling like “let’s do it!”. Doing a solo show however, most people do know us and in this case it was the first time that it felt scary, for the first time I was perplexed like “What should I do?”. Despite that, as I said earlier, we had a relatively big amount of people coming who only knew of the name Babymetal and I slowly got the feeling to be accepted. The reaction from people not knowing about the three people Babymetal was also mostly “this unit is good”. So I felt relieved as we proceeded with the tour.
PMC: I guess you talked a lot about it on the tour, but was there something specific that you remember?
SU-METAL: In the past, 1+1+1 always resulted in 100 but no matter how hard we try, two people will be two, no matter what. Of course, as I said earlier, I was giving 100% but I was worried that it might not reach the audience. It was the same way with MOAMETAL and we said to ourselves “if we have to give it more, we give it more” but my head was always full of thoughts that we can’t rely on each other. At first we didn’t talk about it. I guess it was because of the lack of my own power that I thought I should not rely on my partner.
PMC: At first you didn’t feel secure about yourself. But you were quite driven. You overcome that situation.
SU-METAL: We are always in that situation. (lol) We were always able to overcome difficult situations. So this tour I was searching for a solution to “be able to do it”. If you see problems in front of your goal, it’s a great feeling if you actually reach that goal. So I was quite driven. I was able to get out of this situation because I knew it and felt it.
PMC: Surely, you cleared a lot of unexpected revelations to get here.
SU-METAL: That’s right. (lol) But I got the real feeling that we were able to overcome them by being three people.
PMC: After reaching the 8th performance, the American tour was over and you changed to European stages. Besides playing your first appearance on the German festival “Rock am Ring” (Note: and “Rock im Park”), Austrian Innsbruck and visiting Utrecht in the Netherlands, you finished the tour in your second home town, the UK, which hosts the “Download Festival UK” (from now on referred to as “Download”). Unlike your first time visits in a lot of American cities, you stepped foot in a lot of European countries you were in the past, making it a more festival centered tour. How was it to be back at “Download” after a long time?
SU-METAL: It was a live show accompanied by the confidence that it seems like we couldn’t do anything wrong. We got a huge reaction from the local audience. “Download” was the peak for this tour and we were able to enjoy the live show a lot at this point.
PMC: You worked hard for a positive experience on the American tour. What were your feelings after that, standing on the stage of “Download” for the first time after 2 years?
SU-METAL: As I told earlier, this tour had the scariest thing with the first day at the Kansas City show. So with “Download” being this big festival, it may be wrong to say it, but I just felt like saying “everything is alright now!” (lol) I was already relieved at the time we played on “Download”.
PMC: You got over it.
SU-METAL: Correct. So in that sense, the America tour left a bigger impression than the Europe tour.
PMC: So Kansas City is a very different story.
SU-METAL: Looking back on that show we were prepared for various things. I couldn’t help but think about being showered by booing from the audience or things being thrown at us. I think that MOAMETAL probably had the same thoughts. This time I would be at the front or MOAMETAL be at the front, we had various formations progression through the show. If there was something with MOAMETAL when she’s in the front, I had to protect her. The situation felt more like fighting than playing live. I think we felt the same way as the time we were standing on our first UK stage at “Sonisphere Festival”, but this time it would be a solo show.
PMC: The atmosphere standing on the Kansas City stage, was it something you never felt before?
SU-METAL: As we were standing there as two people on the stage without any further notice, we felt a disturbance from the audience. I was prepared for that to some extent but, for a moment I thought “we may not be accepted if YUIMETAL is not with us”. It was the first day of the tour so we asked ourselves “Will it be all right if we continue the tour in this state?”. I got the impression that a different BABYMETAL would be rejected by the audience.
PMC: But this impression changed throughout the tour, right?
SU-METAL: Throughout the America and Europe tour, because we searched for a solution so this form of BABYMETAL would be accepted until the very end at “Download”, we said to us to give 100% more than the other shows we played until now, which I honestly don’t know how we have done it. Because MOAMETAL and I were standing in a vertical formation, we didn’t feel each others range. Until now, we felt each others mood while doing live shows and we could see our partner and understood how she felt, but this time with a lot of the live formations, it was hard to get this feeling and it seemed like there wouldn’t be a tour final. However, it started at the Kansas City show but then it got rapidly better after that.
PMC: So as the end result, you can look back on a positive feeling at “Download” but the story that’s being told is that you two faced difficulties that one don’t just overcome by doing their best. How do you think you reached that point?
SU-METAL: First part of the feeling was that the different people at all the live shows started to accept what it was and that brought our self confidence back. After that, I realized that I had already put out all my power that I got out, so I started to relax a little bit more and enjoy the live shows and thought this isn’t a bad thing. So I increased eye contact with MOAMETAL more and we two tried to share the atmosphere of the audience feeling like “it is like this now”.
PMC: With the Europe tour ending, the October shows in Japan were next. You have done shows at the Makuhari Messe, Saitama Super Arena and the Kobe City World Memorial Hall with SABATON and GALACTIC EMPIRE as guests and hosting the “Dark Night Carnival” over 5 busy days. At the same time, it was the first live show since the official withdrawal of YUIMETAL got announced, so I guess your feelings were a different thing this time on stage.
SU-METAL: The fact that YUIMETAL wasn’t on stage of the first day on the US tour made its way to Japan and I think the Japanese fans were the most upset about it. At the tour I got the feeling that we won’t be accepted as two people, honestly, and that was a bad feeling. I joked around telling MOAMETAL “what if no one is coming to the live show”. But I not just “joked” about it, this was what I really thought. But although I was anxious, I was well prepared for the people that want to see BABYMETAL even with just 2 people and I thought I had to perform the best I can do.
PMC: From the Makuhari Messe performance on, you showed the feeling that you two will advance in to the future and it felt like it had some great results. How was it actually to try to go up that stage?
SU-METAL: I had the big feeling of “thank you” to everyone coming. So I performed with the feeling that I wanted to express my gratitude. Also, with this show going by, we were now prepared to perform as two again.
PMC: This day felt like a compilation of the 2018 live shows, but did you feel the same about it?
SU-METAL: That’s right. Thinking about 2018 and the lessons I got from the overseas tour, we feel like we are prepared to advance from here on as two and that we want to show this intention live.
PMC: After the Japan performances followed the Judas Priest support in Singapore and then, in December, you had your first Australia visit ever participating in the “Good Things Festival” in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
SU-METAL: Australia was interesting. It was so dry and dusty! There was so much sand from all the dancing in the mosh pit. From the stage it looked like a little hurricane and we all said “this is great”. (lol) The region was also interesting.
PMC: I wonder when I hear that story, if you were able to feel a difference between the live performances in this country, despite what looked like a pretty hard schedule.
SU-METAL: I did. Even doing the same show and singing the same songs it feels completely different. That’s why I remember it so detailed. But also there were 40 degrees in Australia, a situation I hadn’t had for a long time. And because it was winter in Japan, I wasn’t used to the heat at all.
PMC: Performing with a temperature of 40 degrees is difficult.
SU-METAL: We haven’t had that for a long time.
PMC: In 2015 you went to a performance in Bologna Italy and it felt burning hot.
SU-METAL: In Italy it felt like steamy in the venue but in Australia the heat from the direct sunlight gave a different type of feel.
PMC: Going over all these activities from last year, what do you think about the existence of Babymetal from now on after?
SU-METAL: Until now I felt like BABYMETAL was created and that I moved along with the story. Like I said in the beginning, I just stood on these big stages. I think there were parts that I just didn’t understand or was aware of. But now I am standing on the stage with intention, I am able to have an effect on people, BABYMETAL has a strong force and I’m in it. There were parts that I thought were good only because we were three people so far but I feel that I am strong and have the power of singing and that I can convey that to the people. Also these scary parts of the tour were because I thought “we aren’t three”. BABYMETAL is this thing that got created by three people, so to become something new, we have to advance further from now on and from YUIMETAL’s wish to proceed on her own.
PMC: Now, what do you feel your role is in this new structure?
SU-METAL: I have to take care of the communication that SU-METAL exists, I have to stand in the center as a vocalist. I think different about doing a performance, and not “do your best on your own!”, the power gets released because everyone is there. I feel that I can influence BABYMETAL as a member.
PMC: You are 21 years old now and it’s time to grow up as an adult. Does this part affect your way of thinking?
SU-METAL: Over the last year I became able to think like “an adult”. I got influenced and learned from my surroundings, I was in the position of learning, but now I feel that I am able to give to people. So for last years tour I had meetings with various people, I talked a lot with MOAMETAL while touring, and think that I really learned about emotions over that year.
PMC: I think a lot of different developments start from here on for you, but what do you feel about it?
SU-METAL: I guess there are various ways of thinking about the new structure, and thoughts how it will be accepted. But I also guess that BABYMETAL will be more interesting now. This isn’t a first for this group right? We are able to do much more, that’s why I believe that there are more ways of thinking about it. BABYMETAL is not a simple approach to the metal genre and I don’t think it’s just unique because it comes from a different place. Honestly, we have always been doing the same thing and I think there was a part that had always been decided to some extent. We broke that last year and we may continue to do so going forward. We want to be able to try new shapes and want to challenge the way of thinking about us. I have forgotten but noticed now how we are accepted by the world. I think that’s why we will be able to present a new BABYMETAL, even more from now on.
PMC: BABYMETAL is not even an existence that has to be mentioned, you can do anything.
SU-METAL: It seems like “anything is OK!” (lol) So in that sense I often look back on the past. It’s like “I have done this kind of fun thing before” (lol)
PMC: But you can say these words only because you cleared the way up until now. I think it isn’t possible to say this if you are a person who didn’t acquire a lot of experience. In this way, BABYMETAL strengthened its position enough to challenge things once again.
SU-METAL: I have traveled to different countries, and I think the world is interesting. There are various ways of thinking and viewpoints in the world. The countries also have different views on BABYMETAL. There are countries that treat us as adults, and there are countries that see us as children. I learned a lot of different things about the world. I look forward to show off what we absorbed around the world.
PMC: Well, what do you feel looking forward on the live shows you announced for June?
SU-METAL: From now on we create a reborn BABYMETAL. The shows in October last year were the summary of 2018, there was this strong implication of “let’s advance from here on”. This time, we feel like “let’s start from here”. I think it is similar but also different in meaning. In that regard I want the audience to be prepared, and I believe that they will also see that we are prepared.
PMC: The preparedness from you two is already there.
SU-METAL: That’s correct. No matter what, we two have the feeling that BABYMETAL will be able to move forward.