“There were 35,000 people going, ‘What the hell is happening?!’”: 13 Questions with Jean-Ken Johnny

He hates eating coriander but he loves Smashing Pumpkins: MAN WITH A MISSION’s Jean-Ken Johnny faces our 13 Questions...

“There were 35,000 people going, ‘What the hell is happening?!’”: 13 Questions with Jean-Ken Johnny
Nick Ruskell

Ahead of their stint in the UK, Kerrang! sits down with MAN WITH A MISSION's lupine leader Jean-Ken Johnny for another round of 13 Questions. Have you ever wondered what scares an anonymous wolf-human hybrid the most? Or why he loves Keanu Reeves? Well wonder no longer!

1What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

“Coriander. Well, not now because I’ve got used to it, but the first time I had coriander. I remember I was like, ‘Whoa, why do these guys eat this?!’ The first time I had it it was in some Thai food. Everyone was like, ‘You’ve gotta try this, it’s great.’ Immediately I was like, ‘Eurgh, no!’ I’m used to it now, but that first time was awful.”

2What’s the best place you've ever visited?

“That's a hard one... I'd say Italy. I went to Capri on vacation and it was beautiful. I’d watched all those Italian movies that were made there and stuff like that, so I just decided to visit there and it was really beautiful. It looks just like the movies.”

3Have you ever been arrested?

“No! Never have.”

4Who’s the biggest hero you’ve ever met?

Dave Grohl. First of all we had a conversation on the internet because he was promoting Sonic Highways in Japan. After that, we went to Fuji Rock festival to say hi to the band, and he remembered me: ‘Oh, you're the wolf guy that was on the internet!’ That was great. I've been a fan from the days of Nirvana, and even before that, when he was the drummer of Scream. He invited us to come onstage during Breakout, to do some dancing. I said, ‘Okay, as long as you introduce us.’ When it came to it, I think he forgot our names, so we just had to go out there without getting a proper introduction. There were 35,000 people going, ‘What the hell is happening?!’”

5What is the most nerdy thing that you own?

“I'm a big fan of the Gundam series from Japan animation, and I have those figures from it. It’s a model kit and they’re not put together yet – I’m not very good at putting them together, so I still just have them all in the boxes, unopened. That’s pretty nerdy, right?”

6What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

“Whenever you try to have fun with your cellphone in the bathtub; that's really scary because when you drop it, that’s very bad. They say it's waterproof, but I don't believe that.”

7What’s your biggest ambition?

“I want to see the finals of the World Cup in football. One day I’ll do it. I’m a big fan of football; it's a really big part of my life. As far as British football goes, I like Manchester United – they’re a great team. Liverpool as well.”

8What’s your secret talent?

“I'm really good at memorising things, you know? That's probably the key thing that I'm more superior at than other people. I remember a lot things. Photographic memory.”

9What’s your favourite movie?

“These days? John Wick, man. I love those movies. I haven’t seen the new one yet, but I can’t wait to. It’s amazing how much they’ve done with Keanu Reeves just running around in gunfights. And, you know, the less lines he gets, the better actor he is.”

10What is your biggest fear?

“Maybe losing my memory. I find that scary because I'll probably never notice it. Oh, and I'm really scared of heights. People often want us to take pictures on high things. They’ll suggest, like, a skyscraper, but you’re not gonna get me up there!”

11What’s the best show you’ve ever played?

“We played in front of, like, 40,000 people, which was amazing. But above all, that there was one festival in 2011 that we took part in, in Kyoto, Japan, that was just incredible. It was a festival held by another band, and we were just starting our career. There was a buzz from people going, ‘Whoa, what this wolf band playing rock’n’roll?’ We were just expecting 600 people because the capacity was 2,000 people or something for the stage, and that was enough for us. We never expected more. But when we got onstage, there were so many people. People just couldn't get in. I was totally stoked about that, because it was only one year since we'd started. That was probably the most beautiful moment of our career.”

12Who are your favourite band?

Smashing Pumpkins were a huge influence to me. I was a big fan of what was going on in the ’90s – especially the grunge movement. Probably the first big impact was Nirvana, and after that I dug into bands who were getting mentioned like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and especially Smashing Pumpkins. Their music is beautiful, and like very offensive and mental at the same time, and cinematic as well. It was so beautiful. I just hoped that one day I could write music like that, that makes others feel what I felt.”

13How would you like to be remembered as a musician?

“I mean, people will definitely remember the appearance! That might be enough, but I don't know. I mean, all I want them to remember, as a musician, is the songs. The songs are what matters.”

MAN WITH A MISSION tour the UK from June 16 – get your tickets now

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