‘METALI!!’ With Tom Morello, Lil Uzi Vert Collab – Billboard

BABYMETAL is now back to being a trio since April after MOMOMETAL officially joined longtime members SU-METAL and MOAMETAL. Japan’s metal sensation recently dropped a new song called “METALI!!” featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The latest single celebrates the new lineup with a hyped-up, chaotic track graced with the inimitable presence of the legendary RATM guitarist’s performance.

Since May, the band has toured the U.K. and Europe with Swedish rockers Sabaton, headlined shows in Asia and Australia, and is set to travel to North America for a tour spanning from the end of this month to October. BABYMETAL has also been making headlines for its featured appearance on Lil Uzi Vert’s song “The End” from his new album Pink Tape released in June. In this brand-new interview, the three members of BABYMETAL chatted with Billboard Japan about their new track, tours, collaborations and more.

BABYMETAL just dropped “METALI!! (feat. Tom Morello)” as its first release since becoming a trio again. Tell us what you thought when it was completed.

SU-METAL: I think we’ve created a fun, yet solidly mature, very BABYMETAL number that’s bound to make people go, “What the heck?” I’m sure people will be hyped to hear it at our shows, so right now I’m just looking forward to performing it and seeing how everyone reacts to it.

MOAMETAL: I’m really looking forward to performing this song live. It’s been a while since we’ve had an upbeat track like this, so I’m glad this is our first song under our new lineup. Also, Tom Morello played on this song for us so it’ll always be close to our hearts.

MOMOMETAL, this is your first song as BABYMETAL. How do you feel about it?

MOMOMETAL: I thought this song was awesome from the moment I heard the intro. I’m glad my first song (as BABYMETAL) is one that makes me excited just by hearing it. The choreography also has a lot of interesting moves, so I’m looking forward to performing it.

Tom Morello’s guitar also has a strong presence in this song. What was your impression of his guitar sound?

SU-METAL: I think it really matches the chaotic vibe that “METALI!!” has. BABYMETAL is a group that has surprised people in a “What the heck?” kind of way, and this song is like the good parts of “PA PA YA!!” and “Megitsune” combined. So I’m sure our fans will find it familiar in a way, but the vibe changes drastically in the second half and it’s like the sonic equivalent of a bucket of fluorescent colors being splashed all over the place. We thought we’d updated the BABYMETAL sound in our own way, but the addition of Tom Morello’s guitar draws out a new “What the heck?” element from it. He really is such a legend.

MOAMETAL: I’ve listened to Rage Against the Machine’s albums and always thought his guitar was so cool. I’m really glad to have someone like that involved in our music, and it’s exciting to think how this collaborative circle could keep expanding like this.

You were in charge of the spoken part of the song, MOMOMETAL. What was that like?

MOMOMETAL: I got into character and just ran with it. I focused on the intonation and spent a lot of time on the recording to make it interesting and to enhance the image of the song.

Since May, you’ve toured the U.K. and Europe with Sabaton, then headlined shows in Asia and Australia on a tour that took you to many countries. The itinerary alone must have been grueling, but what was the experience like?

MOAMETAL: This is the hardest tour schedule we’ve had in 13 years of our career. We’ve been so busy since we became a trio again and haven’t had time to be idle, but I’m happy we don’t have to stop and happy there are people out there who want to see us.

SU-METAL: Touring is a lot of work to be honest, but I always wanted to sing (while on hiatus from performing live), so it’s so much fun to be able to sing every day. I’ve been touring with MOAMETAL like we’re family, and MOMOMETAL has been able to fit right in. I think the three of us are great together, and hope we can continue to work like this for a long time to come.

MOMOMETAL: It was a period when I discovered the things I needed to improve on because there were so many shows. It was a tough tour, but the experience of getting through it helped build up my confidence.

Tell us about your tours. First, how was the U.K. and Europe tour with Sabaton?

SU-METAL: I was really happy to be able to see Sabaton live every day. I think their music is meant to be seen live, in that it’s a kind of composite art. That aspect is similar to BABYMETAL, so I learned a lot from them and it was really fun touring with them.

What about Asia and Australia? What stood out from those shows?

SU-METAL: Indonesia was especially amazing. The crowd was so enthusiastic, it was hard to believe it was our first headlining show there. Everyone sang all my parts. They were so loud I was sure they’d go hoarse and I could tell from their intense gazes that they didn’t want to miss a single moment of the show. They were trying to enjoy the space with all of their senses. They gave us so much energy, and even the members of our crew, who were a bit tired after the tour with Sabaton, were invigorated afterwards. It was amazing.

MOAMETAL: I was surprised that those big venues in Australia were packed. We hadn’t been able to visit before and the fact that there were so many people waiting for us to come made me think we’ll be able to meet even more people in other parts of the world. I definitely want to tour Asia and Australia again.

MOMOMETAL: I had a lot of fun performing with F.HERO in Thailand. It was so cool seeing him rap live. Everyone had such a great time and the song was over too soon. It was a memorable moment.

From the end of this month to October, you’ll be touring North America for THE BABYKLOK TOUR 2023 with DETHKLOK, and have a few festival appearances lined up. What are your thoughts on these upcoming shows?

SU-METAL: This is the year we go and meet our fans around the world as the new BABYMETAL. We’re so happy to be able to perform in larger venues than the ones in our previous North American tour, and look forward to seeing everyone there. Also, the timing coincides with our collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert and it feels like that expanded our fanbase again. I hope this tour will be a great opportunity for people who see us for the first time to get to know what BABYMETAL is all about.

That collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert came as a surprise. How did you feel when you were first asked to do it?

SU-METAL: I couldn’t believe it and was like, “This can’t be true.” Apparently he really likes BABYMETAL and told us he wanted to introduce his favorite music so we could do whatever we wanted. It was a new challenge for us and we went wild with it.

MOAMETAL: He also collaborated with Bring Me the Horizon on that album, and I thought, “Wow, he really does like metal.” I want to hang out with him.

You also collaborated with Bring Me the Horizon on “Kingslayer feat. BABYMETAL” from their 2020 project Post Human: Survival Horror. To reiterate, you’ve collaborated with the likes of Tom Morello, Lil Uzi Vert, and Bring Me the Horizon, meaning you’re linked to such top artists from around the world in various genres. It’s a fascinating situation from an objective standpoint, but what do you make of it all?

MOAMETAL: Maybe because we’ve collaborated with artists from various genres, more people outside the metal world have heard of us now. I had the opportunity to see Backstreet Boys live overseas and they knew about us. Our collaborations have gradually been giving us confidence that BABYMETAL is helping to connect metal and other genres, if only just a little.

SU-METAL: Up until recently, BABYMETAL aimed for recognition from metal fans. We respect metal music, but were trying to create a new movement within the genre. Having done that for a decade, it now feels like BABYMETAL is exploring a new genre of music. We want to keep expanding our collaborative ties with various different artists.

It does look like the metal genre has become revitalized lately. A lot of artists are starting to do things that aren’t bound by conventional concepts. BABYMETAL is in sync with this trend. Any thoughts on this phenomenon?

MOAMETAL: It’s true that there’s been a big generational shift and the people who were considered young are now leading the way, and I find that interesting. And I’m also awed by the open-mindedness of the legends who recognize these young artists. The way metal is accepting of various other genres makes me love it even more.

SU-METAL: When we toured Asia and Australia, we noticed that our fans were really young. A lot of them seemed to be enjoying the music more casually. When we started BABYMETAL, we wanted people to enjoy metal music in a more pop, casual way and to be a gateway to the genre, so I hope that our existence has been a bit influential in that respect.

This interview by Tomonori Shiba first appeared on Billboard Japan

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