A few weeks ago the internet, as it is prone to do in 2015, blew up. This time it was thanks to Ladybaby, a… er… unique fusion of J-pop and metal. Yeah, not unlike Babymetal, well spotted. Except, in this instance, the band are fronted, not by your usual bog-standard cutesy teen girl, but by a massive wrestler DRESSED as a cutesy teen girl! See what they did there? If it’s too much to take, don’t worry, frontman Lady Beard (yes, really) is flanked by two typical J-pop stars. OTHERWISE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO WEIRD, RIGHT?!
Still, we’re nothing if not open minded here at Hammer. We’ve fully welcomed Babymetal into our world, so it seemed only right to see if Ladybaby were a similar proposition. We spoke to Lady Beard, Rie Kaneko and Rei Kuromiya to see if they thought they had a place in the world of heavy metal…
“In comparison to Babymetal we’re very different,” says Rie. “What they did was take heavy metal tracks and put pop melodies over the top. So it was a switch up on the vocals, it was very, very cool. What we have done is create a more pop heavy sound – we are just a straight mixture of pop and metal. Babymetal is much more metal, Lady Baby is more like a celebration of Japanese culture. Especially our pop culture. Babymetal are much more heavy metal oriented than we are.”
“Our lyrical focus is in other areas,” says Rei. “Lady Baby does put together J-pop culture, Kawaii culture, Japanese culture and metal culture. We aren’t really one thing.”
Hmm… less metal than Babymetal. Shall we get our coats?
“Well the other obvious difference is that we have a caucasian in the band!” says Lady Beard. “That gives us a much more international dynamic. It’s a particular point for us, we’ve ended up being a bridge between pop culture and Japanese culture and metal culture and the culture of the rest of the world!”
Wow! That’s a serious manifesto.
“Well it is serious!” insists Lady Beard. “I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun, and this is a lot of fun, but metal challenges the status quo doesn’t it? Are we not doing that? It comes from so many angles that, depending on the way you look at it, it could be seen as nonsense… but we’ve invested a lot into this and I’m confident that we can win tough crowds over.”
Okay, fine. The jury’s still out a bit, but let’s get down to the nitty gritty now. What’s the real difference between you guys and Babymetal?
“Well the obvious answer,” laughs Lady Beard, “is that none of the girls in Babymetal have a beard! Surely, for that reason alone, we are much more metal than them!”
He’s got us there. Well played, Ladybaby. The metal scene isn’t getting any less weird anytime soon.
Ladybaby are performing live at the Hyper Japan Christmas Market in London from 27-29 November.