Monkey Majik (stylised as MONKEY MAJIK) is a pop rock band formed in 2000 in Sendai, Japan. The band consists of Canadian brothers, Maynard Plant and Blaise Plant, each acting as lead vocalists and guitarists, and two Japanese members: Tax on drums, and Dick on bass. Monkey Majik is signed to Binyl Records, a subsidiary of Avex Records.
Monkey Majik at Webster Hall, New York City, in November 2012
|Origin||Sendai, Miyagi, Japan|
|Genres||Pop rock, alternative rock, rap rock|
|Labels||Under Horse Records (2000 - 2005)|
Binyl Records (2006 - present)
|Associated acts||blanc., The Alphabet Project, Chemistry, m-flo, Anna Tsuchiya|
|Past members||Misao Urushizaka|
The band rose to mainstream success after the 2006 success of their singles "Fly", and "Around the World" from the album Thank You, eventually reaching the top Oricon charts and collaborating with major Japanese sensations such as m-flo and SEAMO. As of 2012, they have released seven studio albums, four EP's, three physical live albums, three digital live albums, and three compilation albums, and have certified five singles through the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Since the debut of Monkey Majik, Maynard and Blaise have both simultaneously worked solo ventures into the music industry to much acclaim.
Formation (2000 - 2002)Edit
Monkey Majik was formed by Maynard Plant, Tom Pritchard, Chad Ivany, and Misao Urushikaka as a way to pass the times with friends in Aomori prefecture, Japan while serving as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in the JET Programme, 1998-2001. They were named by Pritchard, an English drummer, in tribute to the song "Monkey Magic" performed by Godiego (later recorded and performed by the band as a tribute single, Monkey Majik x Monkey Magic, in 2007), which was the theme song to Saiyūki, which was dubbed into English for broadcast in Great Britain as Monkey. The former drummer had watched the series as a child growing up in Britain and was a fan of the show and its theme song.
Debut: Tired, Spade, and Eastview (2002 - 2005)Edit
With a line-up consisting of Urushikaka, Kuypers, and the Plant brothers, Monkey Majik released 1000 copies of their first EP, Tired, through Tower Records in Sendai in a personally-financed venture. Tired became the best-selling release at Tower Records for six consecutive weeks, cuing Monkey Majik to record their first full-length album.
A full-length debut album, Spade, was released through Tower Records in 2004. It stayed at the number 1 position on Tower’s sales charts for 13 weeks straight, and then was released nationwide in 2004. Shortly thereafter, Kuyper and Urushikaka left the group, and were replaced by current band members, ex-dental technician and salaryman, drummer Tax (Takuya Kikuchi) and bassist Dick (Hideki Mori). In 2005, their second full-length studio album, Eastview, depicting a life in Japan from a westerner’s view, was released. Eastview sold 14,000 units. The group was then picked up by avex in the latter half of that same year, propped up for a mainstream debut.
Mainstream success: Thank You, Sora wa Maru de.., and Time (2006 - 2010)Edit
In 2006, Monkey Majik’s first major label album, Thank You was released, with two leading singles paving the way to success: “Fly” (typeset as “fly”), and smash hit “Around the World”. The album hit gold standards with 97,000 albums sold during its initial run. “Around the World” reached No. 4 on the Oricon charts and became the theme song to the Japanese television drama, Seiyūki, or Journey to the West. It sold a total of 164,299 copies in Japan, becoming the 62nd most-purchased single of 2006 in the country.
Their fourth studio album, Sora wa Maru de.. (2007), had a slickly-produced pop-rock sound, with hip-hop artists m-flo and SEAMO participating. The title track quickly became a double-platinum download track.
In 2008, the band followed up with Time, which went gold, selling 116,000 units nationwide during its initial sales push. Later, in 2009, the band members were ushered in as Canadian-Japanese Kizuna, or Goodwill, Ambassadors in honor of the 80th Anniversary of Friendship between Canada and Japan, and had the honor of joining Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Stephen Harper, and Laureen Teskey at the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa, Ontario.
Finally, in 2010, the band released their second compilation album, Monkey Majik Best ~10 Years & Forever~, to commemorate their 10th anniversary. An independent single, "Aishiteru", also rose to popularity during this time, reaching No. 12 on the Oricon charts, and reaching No. 7 on Japan’s Billboard Hot 100.
Westview, the Tōhoku earthquake, and Somewhere Out There (2010 - present)Edit
In 2010, Monkey Majik produced and in 2011 released their sixth studio album, "Westview", a spiritual counterpart to "Eastview" reflecting the views of a Japanese in western society. The majority of the album was produced in Greece, where the band also had all promo pictures for the album taken. The lead single, "Sunshine", was used as the opening theme of Weekly Shōnen Jump's anime adaptation of its popular manga, Nurarihyon no Mago.
Somewhere Out There was released on March 7, 2012. Both leading singles, "Headlight" and "HERO", were inspired by the Tōhoku disasters. On March 26, 2012, the band's official MTV Unplugged concert aired on television for the first time.
- Maynard Plant (2000–present) [born August 6, 1975 from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]: Vocals and guitar
- Blaise Plant (2001–present) [born March 18, 1980 from Vanier, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]: Songwriter, Singer, Lead guitar, and Producer.
- Tax (Takuya Kikuchi, 菊池拓哉) [2004–present] [born August 31, 1975 from Sendai, Miyagi, Japan]: drums.
- Dick (2004–present) [born March 10, 1978 from Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan]: bass.
- Misao Urushizaka (漆坂ミサオ) [2000 - 2004], bassist
- Jan Kuypers (2001–2004), drummer
- Tom Prichard (2000), drummer
RIAJ certified songsEdit
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2013-12-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Monkey Majik Westview Exclusion Interview Translation
- Monkey Majik's Devotion to Sendai (Audio