Babymetal’s self-titled debut was the best-selling Japanese album in America last year, and the viral sensations (whose “Gimme Chocolate!!” music video has racked up over 26 million views on YouTube) continue to blaze their unique path in 2015 with an official Stateside reissue, which is available digitally now and will be released physically on June 16th. When they’re not in school, the group — Su-metal (the group’s 17-year-old lead singer) along with Yuimetal and Moametal (15-year-olds who handle most of the intense choreography of the group’s live show) — are hard at work solidifying their brand of “kawaii” (“cute”) metal with a world tour that’s taking them to U.K.’s Reading Festival, America’s Rock on the Range and their first concert in Mexico City. The group talked to Rolling Stone during a brief stay in New York before jetting off to Toronto.
How was performing in Mexico?
Su-Metal: We did not expect them to be that crazy — it was really hot, on all levels. It was our first time meeting the fans in Mexico but, even then, people were singing along, reacting to us and they really knew our songs.
What differences have you seen among international fans?
Moametal: It feels like the fan demographics are very different when we’re in Europe, America and Japan. One big thing that I’ve noticed between the Japanese fans and the overseas fans is that the people outside of Japan always sing along — the whole crowd sings along with Su-Metal — instead of people in Japan, who are more connected to Yuimetal and me.
Before your shows start, you play Metallica over the P.A. What do you like so much about them?
Su-Metal: It’s not only something for us, but the fans get excited when they listen to Metallica and, with Babymetal, it keeps with the rhythm. Before we joined Babymetal, we weren’t that familiar with metal, but we learned a lot from Metallica. Watching their shows and even meeting them, they were really nice to us.
Did you get any advice from Metallica when you met them?
Moametal: We never got any advice, but just watching their stage we learned so much. They separate who they are onstage and who they are backstage. That’s something we learned from them and we hope one day we’ll be able to reach that kind of level onstage that Metallica has onstage. It feels like they do receive power from the metal gods when they’re on because it’s amazing.
How much do you prepare for a tour?
Su-Metal: For this tour, we had about two weeks of rehearsal, but that’s probably not enough. Just being onstage, looking at the fans reacting to us and looking at each other, we kind of support each other onstage. That’s where we get our energy to go on. We see each other, we look at the fans, the fans are enjoying themselves and that’s enough for us.
What’s a typical day of rehearsal like?
Su-Metal: As you know, we have to go to school, so we can only practice after school. So, we do about four hours after.