We caught up with these talented canines before their show last December at The Roxy in Hollywood. To our surprise, Sid Wilson from Slipknot was also hanging out backstage…
HV: First of all, thank you for meeting with us.
Jean-Ken Johnny: No, not at all.
HV: Please introduce yourself and the band.
JKJ: I am a member of Man with a Mission. We are a rock band, five members, who have the head of a wolf and the body of a human being. We were created by Professor Jimi Hendrix. Right now we’re here in America to do some shows as a rock band.
HV: So what is the mission?
JKJ: Everybody questions about that. We’re not really allowed to tell you the whole mission. Maybe if you have a chance to listen to our cd’s, our music, maybe come to our showcase, you will find out what our mission is.
HV: How long has the band been together?
JKJ: Actually, this band has been going for three and a half years. We started doing shows in 2010.
HV: What has the response been like to your music and appearance?
JKJ: In Japan, our biggest show was in Yokohama Arena. 15,000 people came to our show. I don’t know if that’s good or not but I believe we are doing pretty good in Japan.
HV: How are you doing in America?
JKJ: It’s only our second time here and it’s a great honor for us to play such a famous venue like the Roxy. The last time we came, we played at Whisky-a-Go-Go. It’s great but we’re gonna have to work to do what we did in Japan to the whole wide world.
HV: So you’re aiming to go big. Are we talking Tokyo Dome size?
JKJ: Ah, no. Tokyo Dome is too big for us still. We’ve always dreamed of playing our music around the world though so this is one big step for us.
HV: How would you describe your music?
JKJ: It’s totally a mixture. Each member has their own influences. For me, it’s 90’s alternative music, the punk rock scene. We just gather along all the members’ tastes and mix it up, do what we gotta do. We don’t care about the genre, we just assemble what we like and make it cool.
HV: What’s your songwriting process like?
JKJ: The main songwriters are me and our bass player, Kamikaze Boy. I just grab a guitar and hum a little. First comes the melody comes up then after that, I bring in the lyrics. When it comes to each part, the drums, bass, I totally give it to the other members.
HV: Your songs are in a mixture of English and Japanese. How do you decide which parts are in which language?
JKJ: It doesn’t really matter but sometimes English is better than Japanese intonation because English flows a lot better. It depends on what we’re trying to express.
HV: Do the other members speak both languages as well?
JKJ: Actually, they can’t speak. I’m the only member who speaks. Our vocalist sings though so I don’t know.
HV: Maybe he can sing his answers.
JKJ: Haha, yeah.
HV: You mentioned you had played in the US before. What’s different this time around?
JKJ: We’re prepared. We’ve got Sid here.
Sid: Yeah, they’re great.
JKJ: That’s totally different from what we’ve done.
HV: So Sid, what is your function in the show?
Sid: Me? I did a remix with them. We’ve been doing a couple of shows now.
JKJ: Yeah, in Japan too.
Sid: I come out during the song and scratch with them live. It just seemed like a good idea since we’ve worked on music together already, and we have the opportunity to be in the same place, at the same time to give a little extra to people.
HV: How did you end up getting involved in this project?
Sid: It was in a bar.
JKJ: Yeah, haha.
Sid: Hanging out in a bar. I go to Japan a lot and work with a lot of different musicians there. And I don’t like staying in the hotel, shacked up and hidden from everything. I try to go hang out and meet people, to experience the people there who are involved in the same culture I’m involved in. Then, of course when there’s a wolf hanging out in a bar-
HV: You gotta say hello.
Sid: Who else am I gonna fucking talk to in the place? I’m like, well I’m not gonna talk to anyone else. He’s got a wolf for a head. He’s the most interesting guy there.
HV: You weren’t scared he’d bite?
Sid: He’s bit me before. But he got his rabies shot so I’m not worried about it. He’s a wolf so he may bite me again but at least he’s got his shots now so I’m not worried.
HV: Do you speak Japanese?
Sid: Hardly anything. I say like “niku motto koi.” [Editor’s note: “More meat!”]
JKJ: Haha, “niku motto koi.”
Sid: And “umai.” “Dou itashimashita.” Is that right? [Editor’s note: “Delicious. You’re welcome.”]
JKJ: Yeah, “do itashimashita.”
Sid: Don’t touch my mustache.
HV: What other Japanese musicians have you worked with?
Sid: What was the last one… they just released something.
Sid: No, I forgot the guy’s name. I don’t think that one’s out yet. The last one that was released was with these guys.
HV: What song was that?
Sid: And that’s out in English?
Sid: So it’s available. What else… I used to do a lot of jungle stuff out there [Japan] too. I’d come over and DJ at clubs and stuff the last few years. Mostly jungle and drum n’ bass in Toyko while playing shows there. Someone like me gets to come over there frequently and play stuff. It’s nice to be able to expose the American style. My family’s from the UK so I grew up with a lot of UK style stuff when DJing. DJ. So with the jungle it was perfect thing for me.
HV: Are you going to be able to check out LA when you’re done here?
JKJ: We don’t have much time. We’re leaving the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re going to shoot a music video.
HV: For what song?
JKJ: The new song that’s not available yet.
Sid: Oh, Uzumaki. I did a remix with them. And Suga Shikao? I can’t say it. We made it more aggressive. And Wagdug with Kyono from Mad Capsule Markets
HV: I know them. You played on Vamps yesterday too right?
Sid: Yeah, just at the show, I haven’t done any music with them yet.
HV: Very cool. What is your favorite song to play live?
JKJ: Each song is great to play, that’s why we write the music. Like the song [Sid] remixed, “Distance.” That’s one song that really makes me move.
HV: What are your plans for next year?
JKJ: We are right now recording for a new album. The music video we’re making is for that. It’s probably going to be released in March. We might have the chance to release an English version in America, maybe.
HV: What do you want people to take away when they hear your music?
Sid: A cd.
HV: And a tshirt.
HV: One random fact about each member:
JKJ: What do you mean?
Sid: Like, a secret.
JKJ: Oh! A secret. Well, Tokyo Tanaka eats a lot and jumps a lot. He can move that big body. Kamikaze Boy, he gets drunk every day. DJ Santa Monica…
Sid: He’s party people.
JKJ: Yeah, he’s party people… but he can’t speak.
HV: What about you?
JKJ: I am the only member who speaks. Yeah, you can ask me anything you want. Like my favorite food?
JKJ: That’d be meat. Give me some meat.
HV: That’s not a secret.
Sid: I told you he bit me, right?
HV: So is [Sid] your favorite food?
HV: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers and your fans?
JKJ: This is our first time meeting you guys so please, if you have any time, check out a show and have some fun.
HV: Thank you!