Kawaii So Serious: Talking to the mastermind behind Babymetal

Babymetal were already an million-view-smashing YouTube sensation before they even made it over to the UK and before you know it they sold out The Forum in London to 2,500 people and played the main stage of Sonisphere to tens of thousands of festival-goers. To get a better idea of what the hell is going on we caught up with the man behind Babymetal, Key 'Kobametal' Kobayashi, and the frontwoman Su-Metal.

Hey Key, were you surprised by the response at Sonisphere and The Forum?

Key ‘Kobametal’ Kobayashi:_ _“To tell you the truth, when I was first speaking to the agent I just asked them to go for a 400 or 500 capacity venue in London. I didn’t want to try for too much. But the agent said ‘No, we can sell 1,000!’ so we booked the Electric Ballroom and then it sold out in a day. Then the promoter said we should move the show to a bigger venue, with a 2,500 capacity and I really didn’t think we could do it. They said it would sell out and it did! It was the same in Germany. The metal scene is so big there and the crowd really looked like diehard metal fans, but it was a big success too. It’s been overwhelming in so many ways!”

Will you release the album in the UK soon?

Key: “If there’s a label interested in releasing the Babymetal album then we’re definitely interested! Right now the album’s only available on Spotify and iTunes, but I’m shopping for a label and it could happen soon.”

How you respond to the online trolls who think Babymetal ‘aren’t metal’?

**Key: **“Actually it’s good! It was the same for Slipknot when they started, it was the same for Korn. A lot of people said those bands were shit when they started but look where they are today. You always have the haters and it’s all part of what you need to get to the next level.”

What are the plans for the future?

**Key: **“I will pray to the Fox God again! I got it all from him. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. Right now we’re getting a lot of offers from all over the world. We’re opening for Lady Gaga and we’re doing a festival in Canada and more headline shows, so we want to travel more next year and just see where it takes us. I hope that one day through Babymetal, metal will become big around the world again.”

So Su-Metal, what has the experience of touring Europe been like so far?

**Su-Metal: **“We’ve played in other Asian countries, but this is the first time for us to go to any Western countries. When I look at the audience the first thing I thought was ‘There are no Asian looking people here!’ so that was the first time I really felt like I was somewhere completely new. Also, with Japanese fans, many of them also like the whole Idol culture, but at Sonisphere it was just metal fans and that was the first time we’ve experienced that. It was amazing.”

You seem to have met a lot of famous metal musicians, and they all seem genuinely excited to meet you…

**Su-Metal: **“Before we started this I didn’t know anything about metal at all, so when I met Kirk from Metallica I just thought he was an ordinary guy and a very kind gentleman. When I saw them play live and I realised that he’s an incredible musician, I was so impressed. And because we’ve been doing this we’ve been learning about metal music and people have been sending us metal music to listen to, so meeting all these great artists is like a dream because it doesn’t feel like we deserve to be on the same stage as these amazing musicians.”

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.