Photo courtesy of MAN WITH A MISSION.
Japanese band MAN WITH A MISSION begins and ends incognito. A quintet of hard-rocking pop artists from Tokyo, the group has remained an anonymously mixed breed, appearing on stage and in photos wearing head-to-toe dress-suits and ties, and the masks of wolves.
“Is it a wolf? Is it a man? With all the intelligence and super-powers, they were used to accomplishing the impossible, and nothing could ever stop them,” the five rockers describe themselves in their bio. “Unfortunately, they were born in the wrong era.”
The group members are distinct as a unit, yet divergent from each other, as each wears his own specific facial façade. Keeping with the look, they similarly don’t like to go by their birth-given aliases, and breakdown their line-up as “Tokyo Tanaka” on lead vocals, “Kamikaze Boy” on bass, “Jean-Ken Johnny” on guitar, “Spear Rib” on drums, and “DJ Santa Monica” on the turntables.
Established in 2010, MAN WITH A MISSION began doing live shows in Japan then forged into American territory with a tour that earned them an audience across the Pacific, and enabled them to see three million copies of their first EP, Welcome to the New World. In July 2011, the band released their first eponymous LP, and on April 4th of this year, they put out a new single, “distance.”
“Years passed, and today the world is still not an easy place to be. Global warming, economic crises, conflicts all over the world,” they continue in their bio. “But who could have imagined? The global warming melted the ice of the Antarctic of which the MAN WITH A MISSION was trapped in. After their long hibernation, they once again returned to the world.”
Some have called the group pop metal, but the bubblegum sensibilities of their music also share the spotlight with both alternative rock and hip-hop elements. Vinyl-scratching, highly-energized, and outlandishly poetic, it’s the Japanese version of the Chili Peppers, with a little more ease and sweetness to the hooks and breakpoints. And like the Beastie Boys or Linkin Park, there’s a rap component to their vocals, and a call to action to bring musical tyranny to the world.
With their latest work, MAN WITH A MISSION adds further depth to their range, fusing elements of harmony to the raw melody, and psychedelic guitar riffs to their all-out bombastic sound.
Played out like a video game experience, they sing in their music video for “distance,” “Cause everyone thinks they’re under control/ When it’s a piece of cake for him just to plunder your soul, ya know it/ It happened in the start with Adam and Eve/ every blunder made in time is as usual on the roll.”
Currently, MAN ON A MISSION is on an international tour in anticipation of their second full-length album, Mash Up the World, which will be released July 18. Though it’s not clear precisely what their mission may be, the assumption is that the creative majesty of surprise and obscurity will be the gateway to finding any sort of answer.
So they say, “Are they the good to the world today? Or are they bad news to us again. We shall know as they have already started their new mission, which nobody could clarify. MAN WITH A MISSION once again strikes the world.”