After 15 years on stage and on camera in various forms of entertainment all over the world, Australian cross-dressing Kawaiicore metal singer and pro-wrestler Ladybeard has joined with Japanese pop idols Kotomi and Suzu to form the Japanese pop-metal idol group Babybeard.
The group`s up-tempo music fuses cute female voices with the guttural screams of heavy metal. The debut songs “Nippon Kara Konnichiwa” and “Piennizer” were written by Takashi Asano and Natsumi Tadano, the songwriters behind the 2015 hit “Nippon Manju” that rocketed Ladybeard to fame around the world and has over 30 million views. Kotomi and Suzu were chosen from a pool of candidates from all over Japan to join Ladybeard in the group, through an audition process.
The trio met with TW to discuss five songs that inspired them to pursue their respective music careers.
What is the first song that turned you on to metal?
Ladybeard: The song that turned me on to metal was undoubtedly “Licking Cream” by Sevendust featuring Skin from Skunk Anansie. Sevendust is kind of a numetal/metalcore-style band from the year 2000. Skin, the singer from Skunk Anansie, did a collaboration with Sevendust. Lajon Witherspoon from Sevendust – beautiful clean male vocals. Skin from Skunk Anansie – beautiful clean female vocals. Both very powerful, and of course paired with the screaming. Fantastic song. “Licking Cream” Sevendust, you should check it out.
Suzu: The first song that turned me on to metal was Babymetal’s “Papaya.” The first time I heard that, I realized how fun metal can be, and since then I’ve been listening to more metal and grown to it.
What is the song that you loved, that drove your parents crazy?
Ladybeard: Actually, my parents were fine; it was my big sister who was driven crazy by my music. She was most driven crazy by a song called “Down Again” by an Aussie band called The Superjesus. Coincidentally they’re from the same city as me. I was a teenager when this song came out – I think it was number one in Australia. I was a huge fan and played it lots, and my sister did not like it.
Kotomi: I loved the group Kamiyado since I was in middle school, and my favorite song is “Zenkai! Kamiyado World.” My mother didn’t like idol music, so sadly she didn’t really like hearing me play it.
Suzu: My parents actually liked most of the songs I listened to. When we were at home or in the car they would listen to older Japanese music such as Southern Allstars. When I was little, I really liked the anime Kirarin Revolution, and the song “Koi Hanabi” from it in particular. My parents didn’t mind that song, and even would play it in the car for me.
What is the song that convinced you to launch a music career?
Ladybeard: The song that convinced me to launch a music career – honestly there’s about a million songs that I could list as the answer to this question. I’m going to go with “Love Trap” by Alan Tam. He’s an artist from Hong Kong, and, when I started my career, I was singing heavy metal covers of Cantonese pop songs. His song “Love Trap” was the first cover that I sang. It turns out that he happens to be a good friend’s uncle as well. So I sung uncle Alan’s song “Love Trap” and it was my first ever song, and I actually sung it in the pro wrestling ring, and that’s how my music career began.
Kotomi: The song that convinced me to launch a career in music must be Yumemiru Adolecense’s “Maijene.” It sticks in your mind and has fun choreography. I love that song and you should definitely listen to it.
Suzu: “Girls Rule” by Nogizaka46. When I first saw the music video, I was amazed at how cute the video was and how much fun the members were having. I knew from that day on that I wanted to be in this industry too.
What is your go-to song when you want to feel genki?
Ladybeard: My go-to song when I want to feel genki is definitely “What You Deserve” by Ill Niño. Ill Niño are a Latino metal band, they put a lot of percussion in their songs. The singer, Christian Machado, I’m a massive fan of his voice, and he was very inspirational to me. “What You Deserve” is a single of their third album. Three albums in and they really figured it out and got it right. It’s an amazing song and it makes me feel fantastic every time I hear it. You should listen to that song too.
Kotomi: There’s a song in the anime Shimajiro called “Happy Jam Jam,” which is very fun. You should listen and dance to it when you’re feeling down.
Suzu: When I feel down, I listen to “You” by Hollywood Ending. The rhythm is light and refreshing, and when I listen to it, I start singing along, bringing me back up.
What is the Babybeard song that you’re most excited to share with the fans?
Ladybeard: Well, the songs [emphasis on it being plural] that I’m most excited to share with fans right now are from my brand-new group Babybeard – that’s babies plus Ladybeard equals Babybeard – is undoubtedly “Nippon Kara Konnichiwa” and “Piennizer.” “What are those songs,” I hear you ask – I’ll let the girls explain.
Kotomi: I’m most excited about our song “Piennizer.” “Piennizer” comes from the Japanese word pien which you say when you’re sad or feeling hardship. The song’s lyrics are uplifting and talk about how even if you’re feeling down that tomorrow is another day. So definitely listen to “Piennizer” when you’re feeling pien.
Suzu: I’m most excited about “Nippon Kara Konnichiwa.” The title means “hello” and the song beams our happiness and power to you, so definitely take a listen.
Interview and translation by Alex Shapiro