MAN WITH A MISSION’s music, hope, and memories of France

In the world of music, no one is quite as unique as MAN WITH A MISSION. With their new album Break and Cross the Walls II just around the corner, we were lucky enough to chat with Jean-Ken Johnny, guitarist, rapper, and vocalist for the group, to find out a bit more about this JRock powerhouse. We found out a bit more about the group’s creative process, the inspiration behind one of their upcoming tracks, and an eventful night on the road in Europe.

Our Interview with MAN WITH A MISSION


Rice Digital: It is safe to say that no one in the world looks or sounds quite like MAN WITH A MISSION. Could you briefly summarise your origins for our readers who might be surprised by your appearance? 

Jean-Ken Johnny: Long story short, we’re artificial androids with the head of a wolf and the body of a human being. We were born… well, made this way, so I can’t really explain more.

RD: Break and Cross the Walls I was a massive hit with some really fantastic songs. My personal favourite on the album is evergreen, just because it reminds me of being at the skatepark as a teenager. Do any of you have a personal favourite on that album? Are there any songs on Break and Cross the Walls II that we should keep an ear out for? 

J-KJ: I’m glad you feel that way about the song, ’cause it is a song about the energy, will and beauty that you feel in your youth, and how no one can take that away from you.

I was really excited when I made the song “INTO THE DEEP”, since it kind of opened my mind for a new creative process. It also ended up being a song that evolved from what we’ve been creating, but which also represents the core part of our music. If you like evergreen I guess you’ll like “Blaze” or “The Soldiers From The Start.”

RD: For more than a decade you’ve been playing and touring together. Can you tell us some of your favourite memories from during this time? Any fun moments while on the road or something that happened during a recording session that might surprise your fans? 

J-KJ: It was a really great experience when I was lost… well, left behind in Belgium while everybody was on their way on the bus to France. The departure time for the bus was supposed to be 8 am or something like that. I was outside with some friends drinking and went back to where the bus was supposed to be at 7 am. It wasn’t there. I called the manager on the bus but he was still dizzy, thinking that I was calling him from the same bus, thinking that I was on the bus too. Too sleepy.

He hung up a couple of times so I decided to take a train to France. I’d already had a tough day but after I reached France I went shopping with another member and was pickpocketed. Great day.

RD: For your upcoming album, you put a call out to fans asking them for messages of hope so you could incorporate them into a new song. Where did that idea come from? Were you surprised by the response you got? 

J-KJ: The whole world is confronting a crisis that should have never happened. I don’t know how much music can contribute to the power to make a change but we truly appreciate and thank all the people who shared their voices, their will, and hope for this idea.

RD: I mentioned how some of your songs remind me of being at the skatepark, so when I heard that you were performing at the X Games in Japan it made perfect sense to me. What was it like performing at such an iconic event? 

J-KJ: We ourselves are a big fan of the sports and the culture so it was really an honour and a pleasure for us. Music and sports have a great chemistry with each other and I hope this culture nurtures and grows bigger in Japan.

RD: Finally, does MAN WITH A MISSION have a message for your fans here in the UK? We would definitely love to see you perform live in the near future so if you have any plans to make the trip over here, we would love to hear about it. 

J-KJ: It’s been a while since the last time we’ve met you guys and I’m really hoping, dying to go back to the UK. Many kinds of regulations and thoughts collide but we’re willing to go see you guys as soon as possible. Hope you guys enjoy the album till then. See you all soon!

It’s always great to get to sit down with an amazing act like MAN WITH A MISSION. Their new album, Break and Cross the Walls II, is out on May 27 and available for digital pre-order right now. Until then, be sure to check out their latest single Blaze, which is available to stream today! Hopefully we’ll get to welcome MAN WITH A MISSION to the UK very soon.

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