Monkey Majik Biography
Monkey Majik is a Japanese band composed of two Canadian brothers, Maynard and Blaise Plant, who both perform vocals and guitar, drummer Tax and bassist DICK. The band is sometimes referred to as a "hybrid-band", as half of the members are foreigners and the lyrics are sung in both English and Japanese.
Much of the band's music has been cross-promoted via television programs, commercials, and movies. The band has been chosen as “Goodwill Ambassadors” for the 80th anniversary of Japanese-Canadian relations.
Monkey Majik is managed by Edward Limited and are signed to binyl records, an avex subsidiary. Their live recordings are handled by Under Horse Records, a record company the band was signed on to before their major label debut.
The band, even after mainstream success, is still based in Sendai, located roughly 350 km from Tokyo. This is contrary to the majority of musicians in Japan, who often move to Tokyo after mainstream success.
Maynard Plant moved to Japan in 1997 to teach English after graduating from Queen's University where he was president of the Alma Mater Society. He was able to learn Japanese while working as an Assistant Language Teacher. Blaise moved to Japan in 2001 to continue the band, after studying Drama at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and spending some time as a solo-artist. His Japanese came quickly as a result of memorizing Japanese songs. The band started off as a hobby but quickly turned serious when in 2001 they released their first EP called TIRED, a self-financed release limited to 1,000 copies available at Tower Records in Sendai. The EP attained the number one sales position for the store for six straight weeks. In 2002, they signed with the record label UNDER HORSE RECORDS. In 2003 the band released the first full-length album "SPADE", once again only available at Tower Records in Sendai. The album retained the number one in-store sales position for 13 consecutive weeks. "SPADE" was released nation-wide in 2004. The band's second full-length album, "eastview", was released in 2005. In the fall of the same year the band signed on to major label avex.
Their first major release single through avex was "fly" in 2006. The single was commercially successful, reaching #19 on the Oricon charts. "Fly" was quickly followed by the release of their second single, "Around the World", which was used as the drama Seiyuuki's theme song. "Around the World" became their break out single, reaching #4 on Oricon charts and charting for 13 weeks. "Around the World" sold 164,299 copies in 2006, becoming the 62nd most selling single of the year in Japan.
In 2007 Monkey Majik released their fourth full-length album "Sora wa maru de", where the titled song "Sora wa maru de" became the first song in Japanese History to reach #1 on USEN Request Chart before being released. Since "Tired" the band has sold out every venue across Japan, and is often seen signing autographs after the shows.
Their most recent album "TIME" opened its first week at #2 on the Oricon Chart.
The band was named by a former band member Tom Pritchard, an English drummer, who was a part of Monkey Majik before their debut. The name is a tribute to the song "Monkey Magic" performed by Godiego, which was the theme song to Monkey, the English language voice-over version of the Japanese television series Saiyuki. 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.