Metalheads know it better than anyone: screams and growls require skills. But when self-learning isn’t enough, “Who you gonna call?”, scream specialist MAHONE! His motto? “Anyone can scream”!
Today, I will share my amazing and unique experience of taking a scream lesson at “MyScream”, the first and only legitimate studio in Japan to teach you scream vocals.
Even if you’ve never heard the name before, MAHONE is a prominent figure within the visual kei metal scene who worked with artists such as “lynch.”, Ryo (ex-girugamesh), Leda (ex-DELUHI, FAR EAST DIZAIN, BABYMETAL), and Katsuya (SLOTHREAT). His presence might however be more renowned among musicians as he tends to work behind the scenes.
A funny fact before getting into the meat, in Japan, when referring to scream vocals, you would use the term “death voice” (デスボイス) rather than “scream vocals”. Now that you know that, let’s begin!
Who is MAHONE, “Death no Oniisan”?
Known as the older brother of death vocals—“Death no Oniisan” as he calls himself—MAHONE is a great figure in the visual kei world. He is not only a vocalist but also a professional vocal coach and a scream and growl expert. Through his company MyScream, he trained more than 800 people of various levels from every field.
He is also running his own YouTube channel with more than 50,000 subscribers to date! You will find many vocal lesson videos, vocal covers, talks with well-known faces, and even collaborations with famous artists like Ray from DEVILOOF, or Jay (ex-MATENROU OPERA) and Nao (ARLEQUIN).
You might actually have heard his voice previously without even knowing it in lynch.’s latest album ULTIMA, where he participated as a backing vocalist. But better than just words, let’s give his video a watch where MAHONE showcases his abilities through an amazing cover of DIR EN GREY’s OBSCURE.
MAHONE explained that he started screaming during his university years after being fascinated by his senior who was performing at a concert using scream vocals. That senior introduced him to screaming and taught him the basics after which MAHONE started learning by himself through countless research about the throat with the help of several medical experts in the field.
A few years later, he noticed that the recognition of the art of screaming was far too small in Japan compared to overseas. With no proper scream vocal coach in Japan, MAHONE decided to change that situation and became the self-proclaimed “first official screaming teacher” in his country.
When I asked him why he didn’t choose to create his own band instead, he laughingly told me that he is unable to compose songs—despite his desire to form a band. MAHONE added that he could potentially do it in the future—if he met the right people.
The scream vocal lesson
As I’ve personally opted for a face-to-face lesson, I was invited to a small yet very cozy studio where MAHONE-sensei welcomed me. Before things got serious, he asked me about my experience and my goals as an amateur screamer, as well as my favorite artists in order to adapt the lesson to my needs.
Just to set the scene so you can understand the situation, I’ve been screaming for four years as a hobby, without any kind of teaching. I noticed that my throat sometimes hurt and that my stamina was quite poor. MAHONE realized the problem in no time and guided me through various vocal exercises to make me understand the theory and the practical part of producing sound, at the same time, fixing my bad habits.
After spending an hour with MAHONE, he managed to set me in the right direction. Notably, knowing the theory behind a safe scream technique really helped me to understand what I was doing right and wrong this whole time.
As the safety of your throat is his top priority, he patiently corrected me until I got the trick.
Despite how I felt I was back to square one, it will only be a matter of time before I take an even bigger leap. Thanks to MAHONE’s teaching, I’ve realized what I should do next to improve myself!
Unfortunately, I’ve been asked to not reveal the specifics of the lesson. MAHONE’s way of teaching is strictly confidential and sharing that content out in the open would understandably be harmful to his business.
The good news here is that he agreed to answer our questions regarding scream vocals while sharing some exclusive tips!
Can I potentially harm my throat while screaming?
If you don’t scream the right way, it is likely that you will unfortunately damage your throat. When you are practicing by yourself, take your time and be very careful. But if you do it perfectly right, your throat won’t hurt the slightest.
Do you think that mastering screams could help one become a better clean vocalist too?
Yes, without a doubt. It would greatly help you to use your throat skillfully. However, the way to use the throat is totally different between growls and clean vocal singing, so it is essential to distinguish them. Mixing them together would be counterproductive.
Is it easier to master screams than regular singing?
It’s more or less the same in terms of difficulty, after all, both of them are about the voice. Some people will pretend it’s easy to scream, but it’s definitely not.
What are your tips for beginners?
If you have any kind of uncomfortable feeling in your throat while practicing, please change your way of practice immediately. No matter how restlessly you can scream, you won’t let out beautiful shouts without good technique. However, you will definitely succeed if you keep practicing while searching for the proper method.
How to book a lesson?
The reservation can be done by filling out a form found on MyScream’s website. I’ve personally contacted MAHONE directly through LINE—Japan’s most popular mobile chat application—and a few messages later, the lesson was booked!
There are three types of courses to choose from:
- A face-to-face lesson in a private studio (this is what I picked!)
- An online lesson through Skype
- 40 minutes, 5,500 yen (~55 dollars).
- 60 minutes, 7,500 yen (~75 dollars).
- 80 minutes, 11,000 yen (~110 dollars).
- The program “SubScream”
- Access to round the clock online support i.e. via LINE to ask questions, receive feedback, and other various benefits depending on which specific course you choose.
Please note that the pricing above is according to what is currently stated on the website as of writing, but it may change in the future.
On average, MAHONE provides about 200 lessons per month, the demand is very high and some patience will be necessary to get your personal lesson!
Also, please note that while booking an online lesson from abroad is technically possible, I highly suggest before you do, get your Japanese to a conversational level to fully enjoy the lesson without losing time due to the language barrier.
Through my experience, it is clear that MAHONE shows genuine commitment and is very knowledgeable in this field. This is greatly reflected through his professional lessons and crystal clear explanations.
If you have always been interested in letting your raging voice out, and your Japanese level allows it, I can only recommend you to give it a go!