With the tagline, ‘An Adorable Assault to the Senses’, pop-metal idol group BABYBEARD presented itself a few weeks back. It was already known that Ladybeard, renowned for his work as a pro-wrestler, but also as the cross-dressing kawaiicore metal singer, was working on a new idol group. But it was still a surprise what the group would look like, although it was soon clear that it would be a three-strong group again, now with SUZU and KOTOMI as the two ‘babies’ of the group.
Ladybeard has been spending 15 years onstage, not only as a pro-wrestler and metal singer, but he also has been active as (voice) actor, stunt man in the theatrical, film and TV world. More impressively, he is a speaker of 5 languages, from English, Japanese, to Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and German. After moving to Tokyo in 2013, it only seems that he has become busier with jobs in different corners, but most people might know him from his first group, LADYBABY, or maybe from his work in the world’s physically strongest idol group, DEADLIFT LOLITA, where he teamed up with bodybuilding idol and pro-wrestler Reika. And now with BABYBEARD, he returns to the beginning to bombard everybody (who wants to hear it) with cuteness.
Shortly before the release of the two debut songs, we were able to have a talk with the three members of BABYBEARD to talk about the start of this new idol group, but also the current situation and goals of the group.
AVO Magazine: Ladybeard, finally a new idol unit after working on it for a while now. In the last few years, we have seen you work in a couple of music units already, which caught a lot of attention. Where did the motivation come from to start the new kawaii metal idol unit named BABYBEARD?
Ladybeard: Well, hopefully, you all remember my first song NIPPON MANJU that I did with my first group. That group was going great guns and we were extremely popular all over the world, but then in 2016 my time in that group came to an end, and that group now no longer exists at all. However, every day since that happened, I’ve been asked what went wrong, and asked to return to the formation of that first group: Ladybeard + 2 adorable girls. A return to this formation was not possible for 5 years. But now…. FINALLY!!….. Ladybeard returns to the group formation that made him famous. The whole world has consistently asked for it, and finally it returns.
AVO Magazine: SUZU and KOTOMI, what were your reasons to join a new music unit with Ladybeard? Can you maybe share something about the audition process?
SUZU: I decided to be a member of this group because I think it will change something inside myself. (About the audition process) I quite enjoyed the audition mainly because Bea-chan (Ladybeard) praised me all the time, telling me I was good and adorable.
KOTOMI：I was in another idol group before I became the member of this unit, but that group, unfortunately, came to an end. But I couldn’t give up on my dream so I attended the audition! (About the audition) I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember the lyrics of the song I was singing at the audition. I lost my temper…
AVO Magazine: Reading that you have found out that you have a purpose on this earth, Ladybeard, can you explain to the readers something about that purpose that you want to fulfil?
LB: That’s right. It’s clear to me that the world wants one thing from me: Ladybeard, a big, hairy, Aussie pro-wrestler, screaming and dancing alongside 2 adorable girls, singing and dancing, to the brilliant songs of Takashi Asano and Natsumi Tadano (the musical geniuses who made Nippon Manju). It’s been amazing to see how witnessing this formation lights up even the hardest and roughest of metalheads, and fills audiences everywhere with joy. And that’s what we’re all about: making people smile, even in the most difficult of times. We also feel Japan is an amazing country that had a lot to offer the world in terms of pop culture. However, for outsiders, access to this amazing and colourful world can be hard to attain. We’re hoping to open the door to Japanese pop culture to the world a little bit more.
AVO Magazine: BABYBEARD is presented as a project where you three want to spread hope, smiles and encouragement, especially with the current ongoing situation of the pandemic in mind, this seems to be much needed. Soon you will release the first songs to present yourself as a group, you have been active on TikTok, a great platform to make yourself known to a large audience. What other ways of spreading motivation and positive vibes can we expect from you?
LB: Well, at this exact moment, we are of course limited by world events, that are preventing us from doing many of the things we’d like to be doing. Until further notice, make sure you’re subscribed to the BABYBEARD social media accounts, because that’s where you’ll see updates on our adventures. Our first 2 songs NIPPON KARA KONNICHIWA and PIENNIZER start streaming April 28 on streaming services. Listening to those first 2 tracks a thousand times each should tide you over until we can make further moves.
AVO Magazine: We are becoming more and more aware that the COVID-19 pandemic currently affects a lot of people all over the world. These effects are felt in a lot of ways across all sectors of life, including those working in the cultural sector, such as musicians. How is this for you all as a musician and how have you been dealing with it with the start of BABYBEARD in mind?
LB: Oh, it’s been a challenge. Basically all the things that are my usual activities have been shut down. And from a group standpoint, we’re not allowed to do most things outside, and we have to be masked all the time. So, challenges abound. And, as I write this, Tokyo is entering yet another state of emergency, right after they lifted the last one. This pandemic really is the gift that just keeps on giving….
AVO Magazine: The first reactions on the internet after unveiling the new idol group seemed to be very positive. How did that feel for you three?
LB: Excellent! I mean, I’ve known this is what people want from me for the past 5 years, and I’ve met obstacle after obstacle in trying to make it happen. To finally get to do it, and get confirmation of what I was telling everyone here in Japan, is very gratifying.
SUZU: I’ve come to realize the reaction as I check my SNS every day. I’m very happy that many people are interested in our activities.
KOTOMI: I’m very happy! Now I have many followers from all over the world, so I can’t wait to go to perform overseas! I’ll work hard so please keep your eyes on us!
AVO Magazine: SUZU and KOTOMI, were you already familiar with Ladybeard and his former activities? What was your first impression of Ladybeard?
SUZU：Yes! I knew him, and also I’ve listened to the songs from his former groups. (about his first impression) He was extremely delightful and a man of happiness.
KOTOMI: I didn’t know he did pro-wrestling and DJ activities, but I knew his idol activities! My mother also knows about Bea-chan, so when I told her that I passed the audition, she was very happy too! (about his first impression) We met each other for the first time at the audition, and he was very kind!
AVO Magazine: The first songs (created by Takashi Asano and Natsumi Tadano) will be released on the 28th of April, titled NIPPON KARA KONNICHIWA and PIENNIZER? What can the readers expect from these two debut songs?
LB: I’ll let the girls tell you about the first 2 songs.
SUZU: NIPPON KARA KONNICHIWA is a song that is themed on the Japanese word Konnichiwa, which means hello. Through this song, we want to bring everyone our energy and happy power! I like the lyrics “I wanna hug you when we meet in person”. It somehow reflects the current situation.
KOTOMI: The origin of PIENNIZER is the word Pien, which is trending now in Japan. We use this word when something sad or painful happens. The message of the song is “If you feel sad or painful, don’t worry, tomorrow is another day!” so it’s a very positive song!!
AVO Magazine: SUZU and KOTOMI, you have been practising English since you have been part of BABYBEARD. How is it going with that?
SUZU: I’m trying hard. I study English from watching English movies, by slowing them down to read English subtitles.
KOTOMI: I study English with an English-learning app on my phone! My English is about elementary-school kids level, but I’m still trying!
AVO Magazine: You have stated that every goal or dream is achievable, how unlikely or unattainable it might seem, what is the biggest goal or dream for you three and BABYBEARD?
LB: Well, WORLD DOMINATION, of course. What else?
SUZU: I want to become my favourite anime character and be in the story! As BABYBEARD, I want to have a world tour!!
KOTOMI: World tour!!! I want to go to literally every place where our fans live!
AVO Magazine: Since we are talking about goals and we hope things will get better for everyone later in 2021: What are your goals for the first year of BABYBEARD?
LB: For me it’s just really important to get on some stages, both here and overseas. As an entertainer, the value you create for people is subjective and emotional, so you don’t really know if you are actually creating value at all unless you interact with the fans. And online interactions are great, but a different level of contact is of course reached meeting people face to face. So the live interaction with the fans has always been extremely important to me, in all its forms, and I’m just really eager to get back to it.
AVO Magazine: Thank you for participating in this introductory interview. Do you have a final message for the readers?
LB: AVO Magazine readers, get yourselves prepared, BABYBEARD is coming at you right now!! The fans and the public have asked for this for such a long time and now finally it’s happening! I’m extremely excited, I’m really thrilled to be working with these girls, and I hope that you will love the work. Songs start streaming April 28, and our social media accounts are all listed below. Get involved!! And let the adorable assault on the senses begin!!
SUZU: BABYBEARD will make you happy with our songs, as well as spread Japanese kawaii culture to the world! Please listen to them as many as you can and love them!! We look forward to meeting you in the future! Until then, we will do whatever we can!
KOTOMI: Now the situation is hard for everyone in the world, but I hope our songs will give you some energy until we can meet face to face! I’ll do my best, so thank you in advance for your support!!
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