Imagine starting a heavy metal band using well-known musicians (from established groups) and fronting the band with a 12 year old, and two ten year old girls who are known for singing cute pop songs. As bizarre of a blend as this sounds, that’s exactly what producer Key Kobayashi was determined to do when he decided to create a band that blended his two favourite music styles, JPop and heavy metal in 2010 with a new band called BabyMetal.
He started with 12 year old Suzuka Nakamoto and asked Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi to join as her back ups. One problem was that none of the girls were familiar with heavy metal, the next problem was that they weren’t sure what to make of his idea. Nakamoto even told a Singapore magazine that the girls initial reaction was ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me’.
However they did still agree to the project and began creating music for the group, releasing an independent video on YouTube a short time later.
For the next year the band wrote, recorded and performed around Japan. During this time their independent video hit over one million views. While every one had doubted Kobayshi’s idea at first, it began looking as though his concept had merit.
In 2013 BabyMetal signed to a major label, bringing their independent catalogue with them. Not only has the music sold well world wide, but their videos have been viewed so many times that a few songs even have have numbers going past 25 million.
The three girls, (now assuming the names SuMetal now 17, YuMetal andf MoaMetal both now 15) wear stage outfits similar to Japanese pop idols, smile and perform choreographed dances while singing in a pop music style. The band wears skeleton costumes, face paint, masks and robes while playing tight aggressive heavy metal.
Recently BabyMetal began playing in the west, and so far have found a great deal of acceptance for their look and sound. While many heavy metal fans don’t know what to make of them when they first see and hear BabyMetal, concert videos from performances in Paris, London and Germany show that they maintain their high energy and a tight performance during their shows; and western fans are eating it up. Forming mosh pits, cheering and singing the lyrics when prompted by SuMetal; which is impressive when you consider that BabyMetal sings in Japanese.
BabyMetal is currently on a worldwide tour, selling out shows wherever they go with strong album sales, and their YouTube videos continuing to rack up millions of views.
Is it good, is it crap, or is it a passing novelty? That will really be for fans to decide in the coming years.
But one thing’s for certain, everything mentioned in this article is the truth. There is no editing facts, spin or rumour. All the details come right form the band themselves.
Personally when I first saw BabyMetal’s video ‘Gimme Chocolate’ I didn’t know what to make of it and watched it several times over a few days trying to process what I was watching. I’ll let you decide what you think of BabyMetal with this video: (and if you had any doubts as to how popular they have gotten that really is a live crowd in the video)
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight