Such growth mirrors the personal change that SU-METAL and MOAMETAL have seen in themselves in recent years. Growing up in the public eye could have seen them draw away from a life spent under a spotlight, but if anything it seems to have imbued them with resilience. SU-METAL in particular feels that she’s drawn strength from her adopted BABYMETAL persona.
“To meet my new inner self, which is SU-METAL, has been the high point in my career,” she says. “If I was just an ordinary person, I wouldn’t have been able to experience what I’ve experienced through BABYMETAL.”
She gives an example of what she means, recalling one of her earliest performances with the group in Japan, where those in the audience weren’t trying hard to hide their laughter at the three girls onstage, confused by their unusual blend of harsh metal and cutesy J-pop. But SU-METAL describes how it filled her with nothing but steely determination.
“Usually people would shy away from that,” she says. “But when I was onstage as SU-METAL, I felt actually motivated when the audience was laughing at me – it was something that I wanted to pursue, so that I would be more well-accepted. I’ve been able to gain more confidence through my experiences as SU-METAL. To be able to do that has added more depth into BABYMETAL’s music.”
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There’s an added sense from the pair that, as they’ve grown older, this confidence has also allowed them to become more comfortable with their roles as people others look up to – both as individuals, and as ambassadors for heavy music.
“At first I had an image that metal music was a little bit on the scarier side, because we were so young,” says MOAMETAL. “But over the course of nine years and through BABYMETAL I’ve been able to really understand and realise how beautiful and amazing metal music is. It’s just so cool. For future generations and younger generations, I want to be that role model to communicate that.”
“We want to create a genre called ‘BABYMETAL’,” adds SU-METAL. “I hope that through our music we can be the bridge that can connect and allow more people to take interest in both Japanese music culture and metal music.”
Is that something that she’s already seen happening?
“I hope so,” she replies.