After a whirlwind 2016, TWELVE FOOT NINJA are right back in the swing of things.
As the Melbourne metal fusion kings embark on a 15 date Australian tour, Rogue Inc's front man Matt Bartolo caught up with fellow front man Kin Etik for a chat about all things happening in the world of The Ninja.
2016 will forever be dubbed "The Year of the Ninja" here at Rogue Inc. You guys had a massive year. Have you had the chance to sit back and reflect on all our achievements?
Oh man, thats awesome! Thank you!
Reflecting, not really. We released the album then did a couple of shows over here and then pretty much straight away went over to the States. Aw soon as we got back we jumped straight into a 4-date tour with Disturbed, and now we are starting the new tour, so, we've been busy. and of course Christmas and New Years in between that, so I don't think we have collectively sat down as a group and reflect on it. Yet.
Outlier has been met with outstanding reviews since it's release (even making the #1 slot on Rogue's Top 10 Albums of 2016!). Did you expect it to be so well received when you were all writing the album?
Well, it is very difficult to have that objective view of it. When you are creating new music, you are flying blind. You know what sounds good to you, and the band certainly know what they align on, but how other people receive it is completely out of your control. And it's best not entertaining that anyway I think. We really had little to no idea how it would be received. It took us three and a half years, so it was a pretty long process. Those three and a half years were broken up by a few U.S tours as well, so it was kind of staggered , not one long writing/recording stint. The reviews we got were so much more positive that I expected, because personally, I wasn't sure on how people were going to receive it. Would they receive it as well as they did Silent Machine? Whether or not they would think of it as Silent Machine : Part II? (which we weren't really going for)
So yeah, you pretty much just roll the dice. We just hoped the pre existing fans dig it. And it looks as though they do.
Was the writing process different to Silent Machine?
It was a little bit yeah. We had the added benefit of another member, Rohan Hayes. And he wrote a lot of material for the album, which was great. He contributed so much to the new material. He went above and beyond really. So having that added dimension, It brought some new flavors to the table, which is why I think Outlier kind of stands alone as opposed to being the Silent Machine : Part II that a lot of people were expecting. Also, this time around we wrote in different ways, there was a little bit more of a collaboration with the lyrics. We kind of put the lyrics under the microscope a bit. The first album they were quite ambiguous because they were attached to a fictional story about a twelve foot ninja, where as this one we wanted it to be relatable.
Now I personally am at ease writing ambiguous lyrics, but we needed them to be a bit more succinct.
So I had to learn a lot. Fortunately I had Rohan and Stevic contributing a lot. We were bouncing a lot of each other until we found something that worked. So yeah, that was a bit different, that was cool. It was all hands on, every one played a part in shaping the songs.
Who comes up with the concepts of your music videos? They are hands down the best clips out there
That would be Stevic!! The Mad Genius!
I don't necessarily think he has missed his calling, but I definitely think that there is a calling there to get into television or film or animation or something like that further on down the road for him because he is just naturally gifted at it. And his humor is perfect for that stuff.
So I lay the blame solely on Stevic.
You guys are just about to tear around the country on your massive Australian "Sick" tour, what can fans expect from a live Ninja show?
Well, they can expect a lot of energy. We certainly put a lot of energy into what we do. It's also one of the best set lists that we've had in recent memory as well. We did a show at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on the 7th Jan, and the set list just flowed really well. It felt really good and a lot of people commented afterwards saying it "man that was an awesome" set so we will continue that.
What else can people expect...maybe a full laser light show...probably not.
Maybe a holographic Stevic....probably not.
We light Russ on fire when he does his drum solo...it's wherever the wind takes us on the night
Can we look forward to your tour diaries on this tour?
Yeah....I kind of don't do them for Australia, but maybe thats a good idea. I will contemplate that actually.
They were compelling reading on the last U.S tour.
Thanks so much man!
It was almost like being there.
Oh man, that's great. That's the intention. That's awesome.
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Twelve Foot Ninja?
Probably figuring out what the next actual step is. I would dare say that there will be more touring. We have only just started the touring cycle for Outlier, it's only been out five months or so since it's release. So yeah, more touring involved. Whether or not thats the U.S again, or Europe might be on the cards. At the moment all the ideas are kind of being thrown around, but we will see what happens.
And there will be some writing taking place this year as well. I think after the three and a half year wait we put everyone through last time, this time around we want to follow up fairly quickly, so we will be looking at a few new songs before the years out.
Now, no interview on Rogue Inc is ever complete until you have answered the famous 'Quick Six'. Buckle Up!
THE QUICK SIX
What was your last "Holy Fuck" moment?
Probably doing the tour with Disturbed. Standing there on Margaret Court Arena. Coming out on stage with all those people in the crowd. The biggest indoor show we have played to that date. So yeah, that was "Holy Fuck"!
What was the first album you ever owned?
KISS Alive II. They were my first love. I was besotted by them. I had the the KISS make-up kit and I used to get done up as Gene Simmons as he was my favorite. I also had KISS guitar. I'd give the playlist to my Mum and she'd sit by the record player play the songs that I would shout out at her and I would jump up and down on the couch pretending to be Gene
If you had to get your knuckles tattooed today, what would they say?
Probably something completely superfluous like "Fucking" but spelled F.U.K.N, then SICK on the other hand.
What's your favorite four letter word?
It just comes! Actually, our drummer Russ has made an art out of its usage. He can use it in any scenario. He is probably the best fuck slinger I have ever met in my life!
If you were on Death Row, what is your final meal?
A packet of Mint Slice biscuits and a Matso's Ginger Beer
Describe Twelve Foot Ninja in one word
TWELVE FOOT NINJA
'SICK' TOUR - JANUARY - MARCH 2017
Thursday 2 February - Commercial Hotel, South Morang VIC
Friday 3 February - Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights VIC
Saturday 4 February - Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave VIC
Thursday 16 February - Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD
Friday 17 February - V-Room, Noosaville QLD
Saturday 18 February - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Friday 24 February - Newport Hotel, Fremantle WA
Saturday 25 February - Amplifier Hotel, Perth WA
Sunday 26 February - Dunsborough Hotel, Dunsborough WA
Saturday 4 March - The Gov, Adelaide SA
Wednesday 8 March - The Basement, Canberra ACT
Thursday 09 March - Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
Friday 10 March - Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
Saturday 11 March - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
For more information: www.twelvefootninja.com