× Home About Artists Shop AlcoTV News Get in Touch Lemonade Discography


Meaning ‘Stick Man’ in Japanese, BO NINGEN are a London-based four-piece alternative rock band consisting of Taigen Kawabe (bass/ vocals), Yuki Tsujii (guitar), Kohhei Matsuda (guitar) and Monchan Monna (drums). Though they come from Gunma, Tajimi, Nishinomiya, and Tokyo in Japan, they coalesced in London. Taigen and Kohhei met at a gig in 2006 and first formed Bo Ningen as a duo, later joined by Yuki, and then by Monchan.

After three studio albums to date, and a global live schedule that would bring a tear to the eye of even the most seasoned touring acts, February 2018 saw the band start recording sessions for what would become their soon-to-be-released fourth album, Sudden Fictions (Alcopop! Records).

Working with Drew Brown as producer—best known for working on albums such as ‘Amok’ by Atoms For Peace, and ‘Hyperspace’ by Beck—the album sessions took place at Vox Studios, East West Studios and Studio 101, featuring a very special vocal appearance from Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) on album track ‘Minimal’.

Recorded around the world in London, Tokyo, and LA in a constant search for inspiration, and embodying the contemporary art/music scene where crossovers of different cultures are flourishing, the quartet fuse disparate sounds and influences into a fierce, eclectic torrent of grooves that marks Sudden Fictions out as their most ambitious and accomplished work to date.

Very few bands are capable of crossing creative borders and boundaries like BO NINGEN—be it in the world of music, art, fashion, literature, or design, the quartet have never found themselves lacking in conspirators and admirers. Like all the best innovators, they are adept at tying together disparate influences and strands, weaving them into something always exciting, and often revolutionary.

Thanks to a striking image and a thirst for art in all of its forms, their list of collaborators and fans reads like an expansive who’s who of contemporary culture, including huge names like fashion designer Alexander McQueen, for whom the band modelled the McQ 2016 Autumn/Winter Collection, photographed by Harley Weir.

They have also worked with Douglas Hart (The Jesus and Mary Chain), Damo Suzuki (CAN), Jehnny Beth (Savages), Hedi Slimane (Yves Saint Laurent), fashion filmmaker Marie Schuller, writer, musician and performer Roger Robinson, fine art photographer Juergen Teller, electronic musician Matthew Herbert, producer Drew Brown, Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), and Frisian poet Elmar, to cherry pick just a few.

Their iconic look and quest for artistic invention is only surpassed by their intense live performances, which have earned them a place as one of the most captivating live acts in the UK, and saw them voted ‘Best Live Act of 2018’ by festival-goers for their appearance at Green Man Festival that year.

The Guardian, Love Magazine, Nowness, Design Week, NME, The Quietus, DIY magazine, and CRACK Magazine have all hailed them for their chaotic & anarchic onstage performances, often leading to personal injury. Rightly so, as their now-fearsome live reputation has earned them a host of global tour dates alongside such notable artists as Nick Cave, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Kasabian, TV on the Radio, The Fall, Savages, WIRE, The Cult, The Horrors, Temples, KEIJI HAINO and many more.

Over the course of their career the band have featured at some of the world’s biggest festivals—including a personal invitation to Yoko Ono’s Meltdown Festival—appearing at Glastonbury, MIDEM, Coachella, Fuji Rock, Iceland Airwaves, Summer Sonic, Reading & Leeds Festivals, Primavera, Canadian Music Week, End Of The Road, SXSW, CMJ, Big Day Out, The Great Escape, and scores of other events.

Amongst their many and varied other artistic projects, they have established ‘Night of The Stick Men’—a semi-permanent residency at Café Oto in Dalston with a rotating schedule of guest musicians; performed at the 2011 Venice Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum; played a one off event in collaboration with Savages for Boileroom at Oval Space re-creating their 37 minute simultaneous sonic poem ‘Words To The Blind’ inspired by the Dadaist movement; composed a live score performance for animated film ‘Cat Soup’ (Tatsuo Sato) at St Leonards Church in Shoreditch; appeared at ‘Station to Station’, a 30-day project by American artist Doug Aitken at The Barbican; and hosted their own resident monthly radio show on NTS playing an eclectic mix of noise rock, ambient, post punk and electronica, which has become one of the staple shows on the NTS network.

The band were featured at the 2019 Sheffield Documentary Festival for a one off event mixing several short films by Toshio Matsumoto and Bo Ningen’s live show, and teamed up with ‘Deeper into Movies’ to create a unique recreation and performance of the soundtrack to the seminal film ‘The Holy Mountain’ directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. With two sold out screenings at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, a subsequent screening and live performance occurred at Sensoria Festival in Sheffield in October 2019. The project was nominated for ‘Event Cinema Campaign of the Year’ by Screen Daily Magazine.

Most recently, Taigen’s solo project Ill Japonia appeared at Salt Festival in Oslo, Norway in 2019 alongside Foodman, with recent February 2020 tour dates supporting black midi to promote the III EP (out now on Eastern Margins).