"I'd cover Metallica's St. Anger": Babymetal talk touring, collaborations and opening the door for Japanese metal

(Image credit: Press)

Closing in on a decade since the release of their debut album, Babymetal have evolved from a WTF curio to a crucial part of the metal firmament. Across their four records, the band have moved away from their original ‘J-pop meets speed metal’ pitch to incorporate everything from nu metal and hip hop to folk, symphonic and power metal, earning them millions of fans around the world. 

The addition of Momometal in 2023 brought the band back up to a trio, and November’s sold-out UK shows showed just how potent this new era is set to be for Babymetal. With Download on the horizon, Hammer took your questions for the trio and prayed to the Fox God that we’d get answers…

Metal Hammer line break

Why do you think your music appeals to so many different generations and demographics?
Exbuk, Instagram 

Su-metal: “We are professionals, not bound by boundaries. We strive to perform to the best of our ability. Because so many different people are involved, I believe that no matter what angle you look at what we produce, it works, and that the reactions of people who grew up in different [creative] fields create something new and interesting. We are OK with changing and being criticised. This is how we’ve grown as a group, so I think a lot of people find us interesting.” 

Momometal: “If I were to listen to Babymetal for the first time without knowing anything about us, I’d think that it’s the kind of music that would immediately catch your ears. This is especially true for people who are listening to metal for the first time. I was like that! Because there are so many catchy phrases and melodies, I feel like getting more and more addicted to it, wanting to listen to other songs as well.”

Hammer: Do you think Babymetal opened the door for more Japanese metal bands? 

Su-metal: “Some people say that Babymetal’s music inspired them to become interested in Japanese culture and listen to other Japanese bands’ music, so I’d be happy if I could be a bridge between all kinds of music.” 

If you could put your music into a videogame, what type of game would it be? Face Time Police, Facebook 

Moametal:Megitsune and METALI!! are full of Japanese elements. How about a game in which a ninja who escapes from the land of ninjas becomes an ordinary citizen, and goes on a quest to become an office worker or a teacher or something, and aims to be the best in various professions? Gimme Chocolate!! is perfect for the pastry chef scene!” 

Momometal: “I’m sure that the combat type game would definitely suit us. Please have Divine Attack at the climax! Also, I don’t know if this could be a videogame, but maybe one where you could create your own favourite band village. We could make a big metal village, Babymetal village! And sometimes there could be events, like festivals [in the village]. I’d love to play a game where you could customise your own costumes and stage sets.” 

What’s the best day you’ve ever had on tour, and what made it special?
Leon DT, Facebook 

Su-metal: “It’s hard to choose just one day because I have so much fun every day, but the most memorable day this year was the first show in January after the sealing of our live activities. When I heard the cheers of the audience for the first time in two years, I realised, ‘I’m back, I can stay here. How precious this place is to me.’ 

Before that, we had rehearsed a lot, but even if we sang and danced to the same song, the enjoyment was completely different. I realised how much fun live performances are, and how irreplaceable they are. I feel like it led me to value our everyday shows even more.”

Momometal: “The shows in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada [in October 2023 with Dethklok], were amazing! Our fans were waiting and the excitement we felt was incredible. The Toronto show was outdoors, so during Monochrome the phone lights really worked well. It was so beautiful, like stars, that I clearly remember the view.”

How many hours do you practise choreography?
Ronan B, Facebook 

Moametal: “We don’t actually practise every day, but maybe six days a week! Ha ha! The three of us work on our choreography of new songs, and prepare and check the other songs together. Momometal and I work on mastering them. Other than that, I try to expand my range of dances by doing dances other than Babymetal – our dancing is very important. I would be very happy if everyone who supports Babymetal thought our dancing was also special [to the art we create].” 

What’s your favourite song to perform?
Caballero_official98, Instagram 

Su-metal: “Oh! MAJINAI is fun to perform. It’s really tiring, but we often dance in a circle and look at everyone’s faces in the crowd, and it’s fun to hold hands and go around.” 

Momometal: “Lately, it’s been METALI!! It’s our first song since becoming the newly reborn Babymetal, and even people who don’t know this song get excited at our live shows, both in Japan and overseas, so it’s really exciting to perform. I forget how tired I am during this song. I can’t help but have fun!” 

If you could cover any metal song, what would you choose?
George A, Facebook 

Su-metal:Nightwish’s Storytime.” 

Moametal: “I can’t choose just one! Metallica’s St. Anger… Ah! Bring Me The Horizon’s Mother Tongue is also good. Slipknot’s Psychosocial too! But Electric Callboy’s We Got The Moves also seems to be suitable for Babymetal. It’d be fun to do Måneskin’s Mammamia. I can’t stop dreaming. This kind of delusion is a reward.” 

Momometal:Lost by Bring Me The Horizon! I got to see BMTH live for the first time at NEX_FEST; I couldn’t take my eyes off the performance during this song. There is a contemporary [dance] movement in the music video, so I’d like to combine that kind of choreography with the song.” 

How has the touring experience changed for you over the years?
The_zafari_zone, Instagram 

Moametal: “The tour schedule, which became harder as I grew older, is quite demanding. I have to take care of my body and mental health every day, especially while travelling. But I’m so happy that there are people who are asking and waiting for us, and every time [we play somewhere] the venue gets bigger. There are many different things happening out there [globally], but I just hope for a world where everyone can enjoy music.” 

If you were hosting a Babymetal festival, what bands would you invite? Maya1zm, Instagram 

Su-metal: “I have a dream of holding a festival that brings together female vocalists such as those in Evanescence, Nightwish and Arch Enemy.” 

Moametal: “Metallica! They are on a world tour, so I’d like to invite them to Japan and welcome them with our omotenashi – Japanese hospitality. I’d also love to meet Rob Halford again, so Judas Priest. I want to invite Red Hot Chili Peppers, going across genres, and I want to meet Dragonforce for the first time in a while! I definitely want Bring Me The Horizon, who invited us to their festival too.”

Momometal: “Yungblud, Willow Smith and [Japanese girl-group] Atarashii Gakko!”

What’s been your favourite country to visit, and why?
Sudasu23, Instagram 

Su-metal: “I love all countries and each has its own good points, so I can’t choose the best. I’m in Germany right now, and the live audience is so enthusiastic and I feel so happy to be able to eat my favourite schnitzel.” 

Moametal: “It’s hard to choose – the people in every region are so kind and you fall in love with them right away. We’ve performed a lot in the UK and Germany, so they feel like a second home. I feel relaxed in those countries.” 

Momometal: “Oslo, Norway! We kicked off our EU and UK tour there, so we were able to do a little sightseeing, and the cityscape was beautiful, stylish and wonderful. Of course, it was extremely cold and there wasn’t much sunlight even during the day, but the air was strangely warm. The cute decorations as it was Christmas season warmed my heart. I was impressed by how fluffy and delicious the potatoes were, and how thick and fresh the salmon was. I definitely want to go again!”

The Other One is out now via Cooking VInyl. Babymetal play Download Festival 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.