© MAN WITH A MISSION. All rights reserved.
Updated 13th August 2019.
MAN WITH A MISSION formed in Shibuya during the year 2010. The members are Tokyo Tanaka [Lead Vocals], Jean-Ken Johnny [Guitar and Co-Lead Vocals], Kamikaze Boy [Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals], DJ Santa Monica [D]], and Spear Rib [Drums], who you may have noticed are wolf men. The backstory behind the band is they were created by guitar legend himself Jimmy Hendrix as the ultimate life-forms and were frozen in the Antarctic where they were exposed to a range of different music before they escaped and made their way onto the Japanese music scene. Their songs have been used in a range of media, particularly anime such as Log Horizon, The Seven Deadly Sins, and so on. The bands are at the top of the music scene, signed to Sony Records Japan, and Century Media Records in the UK. In their career the band have released 5 albums and 7 E.P.’s, including a split EP with Zebrahead (an unusual US pop punk band who are most famous in Japan). The band have toured the world, and the UK a few times so be sure to keep an eye out for when they are sure to return.
MAN WITH A MISSION are another prime example of how Japanese artists mash together various genres in their work (look how many tags I had to add), as you probably already gathered from the unusual combination of traditional rock instruments and a DJ. Their Western equivalent would be early Linkin Park but they are more than that. MAN WITH A MISSION use the electronic production a lot more, incorporating dance elements to create a unique sound. Although their earlier albums are more rock focused and the newer releases are not so heavy and more alternative. In terms of production, the instruments are made to sound more metal like, dull gain guitar with a strong drum sound. This is more varied with the electronic music effects added in, providing the consistency across their sound.
MAN WITH A MISSION’s general sound gives them a lot of artistic freedom, allowing them to create a wide variation of music on an album that is still cohesive. Nu-metal is particularly a genre where artists fall flat from creating very similar songs that don’t stand out. However, there is an energy that allows them to branch into a more punk sound, or tone it down to be more alternative, or even branching more electronic emphasising the effects more. This is added to by the dual vocal dynamic, Tokyo Tanaka’s vocal is more clean and provides a nice platform for the chorus or slower songs being more tuneful. Jean-Ken Johnny’s vocals are harsher, mixing being rap and more heavy punk vocals that provide a strong punch for the verses. This difference creates a contrast that works well to separate the verses and choruses, giving the whole song a strong constant energy. The lyrics are also a mixture of Japanese and English, with English used mostly as the hook to make it extra catchy, with some songs completely in English (such as the compilation album Beef Chicken Pork where the whole album is in English). There is essentially at least one song that everyone would love, as they cover all the bases.
These elements are all enhanced by their live shows. I managed to see them when they supported Zebrahead when they toured the UK together. I thought the wolf masks would hinder the performance but they blew me away. If anything the energy was cranked up and was such a fun show to experience, something you won’t want to miss!
My Top 5 Hits
- Database (Feat. TAKUMA)
- Never Fxxkin’ Mind the Rules
- Out of Control (Feat. Zebrahead)
- Raise Your Flag
- Dead End In Tokyo
Their discography is available on iTunes, physical copies have to be imported (or purchased at their gigs as they tend to sell them at their merchandise stand). Their latest album, Chasing the Horizon by Century Media Records, so is avaliable physically at all major retailers.