Sunday, 24 March 2013

Interview with Kin from Twelve Foot Ninja

Twelve Foot Ninja, how can you explain this band!?! How can you put into words who they and what they are about, you might aswell just watch this link (, it's kind of self explanatory.
The Melbourne metal group consists of Kin - lead vocals, Steve "Stevic" McKay - lead guitar, Damon McKinnon - bass guitar, Shane "Russ" Russell - drums/percussion and Rohan Hayes - rhythm guitar/backing vocals. Having formed in 2007, they have been working their way through the local scene to bring their unique style to bigger and bigger audiences.
We recently got a chance to catch up with Kin.

First of all thank-you for taking the time to talk.
No worries.

Ok, usually I start off my interviews by asking a band how they formed and got their name, but I'm sure a name like Twelve Foot Ninja speaks for itself in a lot of ways.
It does. The story that the themes are based on, is about a Ninja who can become 12 foot at will, so it's kind of self explanatory.

How would you describe your music, on your Facebook page it's listed as "heavy fusion"?
I think that's the closest 'genre-based' term we've come up with, in regards to our sound.

Who would you cite as your main influences/inspiration for the music you create?
The inspiration comes from a myriad of sources. The musical concept was conceived by Stevic, who was inspired by the juxtaposition of soundtrack and visual content inherent in Quentin Tarantino films. It also draws its influence from each member of the band, and our own musical influences.

Who is the main songwriter in the band, what sort of topics do you like to tackle in your songs?
I don't feel we have a main song-writer in the band. We all work differently, and employ various methods to complete our songs. I've been working on complete songs recently, whereas Stevic will usually work on sections, or Damon will bring in some parts, or Russ will come up with some grooves. If it sounds good, I'll lay a vocal on it, and that will usually inform what comes next.
The story of the Twelve Foot Ninja is the underlying theme, which is a story of freedom from tyranny. So the songs tackle issues of War, Peace, Violence, Love, Fear, Tyranny, Corruption, Darkness, Light, Atonement, and list a few.

What do you think of the local scene in Aus, who's your favourite to come out of our country?
I think it's magnificent, however I am biased. It's a long list, but at the moment, I've been getting into Northlane. We had the pleasure of meeting them and catching a set at the Breath Of Life Festival in Launceston just recently. I was thoroughly impressed, to say the least. Cant wait for their new album.

I caught your set at Push Over Festival on the 11th, safe to say I was impressed. What was the experience like for you guys, was there any other bands you got a chance to check out?
Push Over was awesome. It was great to finally play for a younger audience, who all seemed to be having a ball, making it a pleasurable experience for us. I caught bits from a few different bands. The stand-out for me was Thy Art Is Murder. They were amazingly brutal, tight, technical, and just how I like it.

Late last year you put out a video for your track "Coming for You". I think it's great when bands inject a bit of humor in. In my opinion there's too much of that over-seriousness in metal these days. What was it like filming that video?
It was a great experience! It was a long shoot, but we had a great crew helping us out and overall, was a heap of fun. Fortunately we were all 'hopped up' on energy drinks and caffeine, so it was seemingly over in a blink of an eye.

You guys recently put out your debut album "Silent Machine" there are some killer tracks off of that, anything you'd like to say about the recording process.
It was a long 2 years from conception to completion. We focused primarily on songs this time, as opposed to tracks of riffs stapled together. I think I speak for the band when I say that we are content with the result.

Now, you did something interesting with the release of the album, putting out 1 song along with 1 comic book over 12 weeks, can you tell 
me a bit more about that?
The idea came about after throwing around some ideas as to how we would go about releasing the album. We wanted to do something different, a little left-of-centre.
The original fable of the Twelve Foot Ninja was co-written by Stevic and his partner, Fiona Permezel. The artwork for the comics was created solely by Keith Draws from the UK, who did an amazing job. The lyrics for the album are based on the fable, and the comics are based on the lyrics.

Do you think that a band can ever truly sell out if they're still enjoying what they do? 
Depends on what you mean by 'selling out'. I personally don't think so. My motto is 'To thine own self be true', so I think that first and foremost you have to write material that you enjoy. If you don't, then what's the point? There are some who think that 'selling out' has to do with corporate sponsorship, or when a band starts making a heap of money. The thing is, money doesn't grow on trees, and it costs a small fortune to run a band. I believe it has less to do with where the money is coming from, and more to do with changing your music to suit a demographic, only because it's popular or profitable.

With a lot of revolving door bands around in the local scene I personally find it quite impressive you've kept the same line-up for your career.
Thank you! It's probably the hardest thing about being in a band. It took us a while to find a chemistry and balance between all of our personalities, but I think we found it.

Having originally formed in 2007, what has the build up been like to finally get to where you guys are now?
The short answer is, it's been a roller-coaster ride. Never a dull moment.

What do you think about under-age gigs around Australia, having played Push Over, is it something you would like to see more of?
Well, I believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way. Haha!
Under-age gigs are integral to the musical fabric in this country. They are a means for up-and-coming bands to cut their teeth, and hone their skills. It also breeds the punters of the future who will go out to venues and keep them, and the local music scene alive. There should be a lot more investment injected into it!

Any funny stories to share from the road or even just a band prac?
When we rehearse, Stevic likes to invent new ways of playing his guitar, and it usually involves some sort of bodily contortion. Cracks me up every time!

If the band were superheroes, who would you be and why?
This will sound cliché, but we'd be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as they probably best reflect our personalities.
Steve would be Leonardo, Russ would be Michelangelo, Damon would be Donatello, I would be Raphael, and Rohan would be Casey Jones.

What has been your favourite experience performing over the years, any shows that stick in your mind for a particular reason?
Whenever I'm asked this question, I can't go past our first Hi Fi Bar (Melbourne) show, supporting Tesseract and Periphery. It was the first time that I felt like we'd 'arrived' as a band, and for me, it was the best show we've done.

What do you guys like to do on your time off in-between playing shows or touring?
Make the most of it!

If a movie was made about your band in 10 years, who would you like to play the main roles?

There are no young actors that I feel would truly do a great job, so I’d resurrect actors from the past, in holographic or CGI form. Particularly the 'Rat Pack. I'd cast Dean Martin as Stevic, Sammy Davis Jr. as Damon, Peter Lawford as Russ, Joey Bishop as Rohan, and Frank Sinatra would play me.

I always make sure to ask this question, what advice can you give to musicians first starting out?

Write and play the music that you yourself would like to hear, and surround yourself with a band who share a similar vision, and sense of humour. And more importantly, be prepared to accept the fact that it probably won't turn out the quite the same way you may have envisioned, but it will be the ride of your life. Just remember to enjoy it while it lasts.

How can fans and fans-to-be find your music?, Facebook, YouTube...etc

And finally, any last words?
Anatidaephobia. The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to the Uproar, much appreciated.
Thank you!

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