Glastonbury may be known for its huge array of diverse and unusual acts, but a female Japanese metal band is still a pretty leftfield choice to play one of the festival’s prime slots.
Babymetal are Su-metal and Moametal and they rock hard but cute – their music is described as kawaii metal, with kawaii literally meaning the culture of cuteness in Japan.
Combing their heavy sound with soaring J-pop choruses, plus some serious costumes and dance moves, they bring the fun to metal. No novelty act, the band has won support spanning across genres, having shared stages with everyone from Metallica to Lady Gaga, and counting the likes of Ariana Grande and Marilyn Manson among their fans.
For the uninitiated, they have created a “new genre”, says Su-metal. “Our sound is really hard metal but looks cute, and in some parts of the song the lyrics are really cute.”
Fresh from their performance on the Other Stage at Glastonbury – which has made them the first J-pop band to play one of the festival’s main stages – they told Sky News they were pleased to help bring metal to the masses.
“We already knew that Glastonbury is one of the largest music festivals,” says Su-metal. “We always wanted to perform here, and it’s like a dream. It’s really amazing.
“At first, it looked like [the crowd] was like ‘oh, what?’ Because we usually perform at metal and rock festivals. But after a few songs the audience had their hands in the air and were screaming. It looked really good.”
Formed in 2010 when they were still in their early teens, and originally a trio, the band released their self-titled debut album in 2014 and the follow-up, Metal Resistance, in 2016, while third album Metal Galaxy is in the works. They have a growing army of fans, with more than 300,000 followers apiece on both Twitter and Instagram.
Having last year played Download Festival, known as the UK’s spiritual home of rock, for the third time, Su-metal says they realise Glastonbury isn’t your traditional home the genre.
“But I hope through us people are able to take interest in our music.”
After flying in from Japan the night before, the duo had not had much time to see other acts at the festival. However, they made sure to catch rockers Bring Me The Horizon, who followed them on the Other Stage, and said they were also hoping to watch teen pop sensation Billie Eilish.
And when it comes to rider requests, the answer is simple. “Chocolate,” says Moametal. “We love chocolate.”
After Glastonbury, they stay in the UK for a gig at London’s Brixton Academy, which means they get some time to see the sights.
“We always enjoy the shopping and sightseeing,” says Su-metal. “And I always look forward to seeing our UK crew and our UK fans.”
:: Babymetal play Brixton Academy on Tuesday