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Interviews : “There’s nothing quite like it” – An interview with Kin Etik (Twelve Foot Ninja)

By on February 12, 2019

Melbourne genre-fusing five-piece Twelve Foot Ninja has been around for well over ten years now, and have seen their star rise steadily across the nation an around the globe during that time. So much so that they have played several major national and international festivals in their time, in front of crowds sized northwards of 10,000 punters. They are about to do it all again in their home nation soon too, as they take the stage alongside the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Judas Priest, Alice in Chains, The Amity Affliction and many, many more on the Download Festival lineup. While magnetic frontman Kin Etik still loves playing the headlining shows at smaller venues, he feels there is nothing that quite compares with playing in front of such a massive, heaving mass of bodies…

“There’s nothing quite like it,” he says, “I mean, I love both, playing in small, intimate venues in front of a hundred people or in front of 10,000 people, I love both. But there’s just something about coming out to a crowd that big and hearing that roar, just the adrenaline it gives you, yeah there’s nothing quite like it.”

While the band have been a little on the quiet side of late, as they incubate their third album and follow-up to 2016’s superb Outlier, the festival signals what is shaping up to be a massive year for the Ninja. “Yep, it’s going to be a very ‘busy’ year, to use the Ninja vernacular,” he laughs, referring to the band’s hilarious video for their track One Hand Killing from a few years back, “it’s going to be crazy, I think we’re all ready to jump back on the horse and get back out there again.

“We’ve had a bit of a break for the last year or so, and just writing songs for the third album. We just wanted to really give ourselves some time to devote to the album. But even though it’s been a year, it feels like three years, it feels like we’ve waited a bit too long. Now we’re just chomping at the bit to get back out there and get amongst it.”

Famous for its penchant for throwing myriad musical styles into a big pot and stirring it all around, Kin is happy to give a somewhat guarded insight into what the band has been coming up with for the next Ninja opus. “The only thing I’ll say about it is, everything we do from one release to the next is pretty different,” he says, “from sort of an overview perspective, what we’re doing now is very different to what we’ve done previously.

“We’ve branched out a bit, we’ve experimented a bit. It’s been calculated, but I’d say we’ve taken some risks, it’s many and varied, which I think is a good thing for us. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve got so far.”

As far as what reaction the band’s audience will have to the new material is concerned, he is unsure, but he feels this is only a good thing. “I’m going to be interested to see how other people will take it,” he says, “they might absolutely loathe it, they might absolutely love it, who knows, but I think there’s an excitement to that.

“You can never really be sure, and I think that’s why I’m feeling good about it, because I don’t know.”

So do you think we’ll be looking at a full-blown release this year? “We might be really scrambling to get it out this year,” Kin admits, “I mean, it would be better for us if if we did, because we just want to get back out there into touring. In this world you need a release. And we just want to get it out as an excuse to tour!”

It is that willingness to cross genres, be bold and adventurous and not stay rooted to the one style of music that has been a major factor in the band’s success so far. Kin agrees, although he feels that it is even more about keeping themselves happy, stimulated and interested.

“Not being restricted to one particular style definitely helps,” he explains, “I can’t really speak for the others but, hypothetically, but I think everyone would get bored if we stuck to the same thing. If we were a one trick pony band, like if we played primarily metal I think we’d get tired of it, we might not have stayed together as long as we have.

“I think if the music stays fresh and we’re constantly experimenting with different things, we’re just trying to keep ourselves amused.”

Any parting words for Metal Obsession readers? “Absolutely. I used to give advice, but these days I dish out factoids. One thing I learned the other day which just blew my mind was that the first lunar landing, I know this is contentious and I know there is a lot of people who don’t think there was a moon  landing, but in the first lunar landing, of course you had Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, did you know that Aldrin was the first person to take a piss on the moon? They landed on the moon, he got out of the capsule, and took a piss. I think that’s one of the greatest achievements I’ve ever heard.

“I think there’s something in that for all of us.”

Catch Twelve Foot Ninja on tour with Download Australia, plus select dates across Australia with Perth melodic metal masters, Voyager.

Twelve Foot Ninja and Voyager will be performing at The Rosemount in Perth, then on to the ANU bar in Canberra on Friday 8th March, Saturday 9th March is Download Festival Sydney and Sunday 11th March Download Festival Melbourne, then kick on to Queensland on Friday 15th March at Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast and Saturday 16th March in Brisbane at The Valley Drive Inn and finishing up the Upload tour at The Gov in Adelaide on Saturday 23rd March. Tickets available via twelvefootninja.com.

Tickets to Download Melbourne and Sydney are available now! Don’t miss out. www.downloadfestival.com.au

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.