The divine mystery of Japanese metal-pop band Babymetal



The world of Babymetal is bizarre. Esoteric. An anime fight scene come to life with pyrotechnics.

With their over-the-top stage show and blasphemous co-mingling of J-pop and heavy metal, Babymetal are completely unlike anything else that exists in modern music. The singing pair of Su-Metal and Maometal front a blast of fury engineered by producer Kobametal. Their lyrics, which are sung almost entirely in the band’s native Japanese, are said to be divine transmissions from the Fox God—a mysterious deity, who much like Zordon from Power Rangers, enlisted the girls to deliver his message.

All of this is covered in the volumes and volumes of dogma surrounding the band’s two-LP career, but through it all, Babymetal have maintained a shroud of mystery. Though the nuances of the kawaii culture and sexual exploitation are evident to Japanese listeners, the Western brain struggles to see more than the theatrics. Very rarely do they drop the speedmetal herald act to let people in, not even to discuss personal matters like the death of backing band member Ko-Gami or the departure of founding member Yuimetal last year.

This interview is no different. In an attempt to get to the core of Babymetal and their impending new album Metal Galaxy ahead of their Saturday show at the Myth, City Pages reached out to Su-metal and Maometal to try and gain some insight into what the band’s true face and how the record adds to their mounting mythos. What was returned is the below: a metaphysical and matter-of-fact correspondence that only adds another layer to their carefully constructed shell of obscurity.

Responses have been edited for clarity.

City Pages: How would you describe Babymetal to a Minnesotan who's never heard your music?

Maometal: Our music is a hybrid between metal and kawaii music and we believe that Babymetal’s music is a genre in itself. I would describe our concerts as pretty intense. During our performances, fans mosh and create a wall of death and all together it's intense but in a positive way.

CP: It's been rumored that Metal Galaxy will showcase Babymetal as less of a kawaii band and more as a mature metal musicians. How has the band changed since your debut in 2014?

Su-Metal: The biggest change is that we grew up. As we continue to grow into adulthood, Babymetal’s music and cuteness has shifted into a more mature way.

CP: In the time Babymetal has been together, how has the Fox God changed? How have its messages to you changed?

Su-Metal and Moametal: The Fox God gave us a chance to experience hurdles and challenges. We are excited to overcome any challenges in our new adventure.

CP: This is the first Babymetal record without Yuimetal. How has it been recording and touring without her?

Maometal: Three avengers are summoned to each show and they support Babymetal’s stage. We cannot appreciate them enough. Originally, Babymetal started with the formation of three, so we are excited to show dance performance with a triangle formation again. Su-Metal and Maometal will overcome anything to bring best performance, so hopefully fans keep supporting Babymetal.

CP: "Pa Pa Ya!!" features rapper F.Hero, and it's the first time your music has ever featured a rap element. What made you want to go in that direction?

Su-Metal: There was a song that has elements of rap music, but “Pa Pa Ya!!” is the first song featuring a guest rapper. The theme for the song is tropical islands such as Thailand, and we wanted to add a tropical sound to it, so we invited F.Hero to rap for the song.

CP: Traditional metal fans in America are very serious. Harsh, even. Has it been difficult to win them over?

Maometal: American fans are similar to our Japanese fans in that everyone memorizes our Japanese lyrics and sings along with us. But depending on the places we visit, the way fans find the rhythm to our music and the way they enjoy it differs greatly, and I find that very interesting.

Su-Metal: Even in America, the way people accept our music is different and varies with cities. We found it interesting and look forward to seeing the different reactions in every city.

CP: Your fans are incredibly passionate. Why do you think Babymetal attracts such dedicated fans?

Maometal: We don’t know why. I wish fans would tell us why. We are happy that fans love Babymetal, and we appreciate their continued support.

With: Avatar
Where: Myth Live
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
Tickets: $49-$300; more info here