From Sendai to the World: Monkey Majik’s New Album Released for the 1st Time in 3 Years

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From left: Dick, Maynard, Blaise and Tax

Sendai-based twin-vocal band Monkey Majik packaged three years’ worth of pent-up creative energy in their new album “curtain call,” which clearly expresses the band’s determination to “go forward again.”

Monkey Majik brings together Canadian brothers Maynard and Blaise on vocals and Japanese musicians Tax on drums and Dick on bass.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monkey Majik was forced to cancel their 20th anniversary performances in 2020. “The world suddenly stopped,” Blaise said in Japanese.

In the cocooning lifestyle that was forced upon the world, the veteran pop band continued to make music at its own pace, with Blaise also making wine and Maynard and Tax tending to their beekeeping.

Monkey Majik’s first new album in three years begins with an intro reminiscent of 1950s movie music, followed by dance music, hard rock and a variety of other musical styles that fans have come to count on.

“We’ve been making music with no rules, but this time was extremely so,” Blaise said. “It opened a new door.”

“Hey Mama” is an up-tempo lead track about mom and dad friends having a party after their kids go to bed. “Twilight” is a traditional pop number about a fantasy world depicted as “the sky became an ocean,” or “I reached the bottom of the deepest ocean.”

Tax, who wrote the lyrics, said: “I was looking at the clouds one evening from the top of a building, and it looked like a whale. I wrote what I saw, as it was.”

Since 2006, Monkey Majik has remained based in Sendai, even after its single “Around The World” became a smash hit that year.

Asked what they think would be a sound that is uniquely Sendai, the members got into a bit of a debate.

“It would be simple if our music was played on traditional instruments of the region, like in Okinawa’s sanshin string instrument, for example,” Tax said.

Dick responded that Sendai is “like the capital of Tohoku, so there’s a mix of characteristics.”

The debate wandered until morphing into a discussion of what sound is considered uniquely Japan.

Blaise said, “When I hear anime music like ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ or ‘Chainsaw Man’ I think, ‘This is Japan.’”

Maynard, also speaking in Japanese, said: “There are people abroad who copy J-pop music, just like Japanese people who want to compose Western-style music. Some make reggae music popular in Toronto. Music can be made anywhere.”

Blaise capped off the discussion by saying in English that their music brings “Sendai to the world!”