Experimental Metal powerhouse, Twelve Foot Ninja, is a band that has a way of getting lodged deep inside your head. Their signature brand of eclectic audio pulls you in so many different directions that, after a 12FN experience, you’re left wondering exactly what just happened. And they’re adored the world over because of it.
The lads have just landed back in the country, still reeling from a massive October tour through Europe and South Asia, and I managed to steal the attention of bass player, Damon McKinnon, for a quick chat about how it all went.
Returning to Cologne in Germany, Twelve Foot Ninja took the stage to headline Euroblast on the Saturday night. It was like a reunion of sorts. “Euroblast festival has managed to create a real sense of community with their festival. So many of the bands continue their relationship / friendship outside of the festival – us included – so it was great to catch up with some of the bands we have gotten to know, like Uneven Structure and Voyager. Plus the band was super pumped to headline Saturday’s proceedings this time around. We had a ball!”
Something that caught my attention was the plan to swing down to India and Nepal, which was an interesting choice for the band, having never played either country before. “When these two countries came up on the radar, we were all pretty excited. We were also pumped about going to Eastern European countries like Russia and the Ukraine. What I didn’t really realise is that, in a lot of these places, they don’t rely heavily on Facebook for their social media. So from back here in Australia, it’s hard for us to gauge what the fan base is like in some of these areas. We were blown away by the response, it was really surprising!”
Listening to the tour’s namesake track, ‘Monsoon,’ I had to know if it was the inspiration for the visit to these South Asian countries, or at least the reason for naming the tour after the song. “Yeah, I think it just seemed an obvious choice, considering the parts of the world we were travelling to. It is also a track we haven’t really played much live, so we really wanted to feature it in the set. It’s also the opening track to the new set and we decided to rewrite the verse parts in rehearsals before the tour to mix things up a bit. People are really digging it.”
Speaking of countries the band hadn’t yet visited, there were several Eastern European cities that had never experienced a Twelve Foot Ninja show. I was curious to know if there were any in particular that the boys had a special interest in. “I have personally wanted to go to Russia for a while. We were just very lucky that everything fell into place on this occasion and we were able to get across to those fans living in Eastern Europe. They absolutely repaid us tenfold with their energy and all the dudes in the band are very keen to return. Those shows were some of the highlights of the Monsoon Tour. Unfortunately, despite what people might think, it’s never as simple as asking Dave [manager] to go and book shows in particular countries. To his credit, though, he made it happen this time around.”
As they tick off places on their world map, I asked whether there were any countries that were markedly louder in their request for a visit. “I would say France and Poland, neither of which we have visited. Funny how it works, really, isn’t it? Did you know we have had a number one single in Poland? It’s our aim to get to these places as soon as it’s viable.”
Europe has always been the true home for all varieties of metal, so it’s no surprise that the band is so openly embraced by the fans from the continent. “There are definitely passionate fans in Europe and they have been pretty eager to get Twelve Foot Ninja over in their neck of the woods for quite some time. However, I wouldn’t say they are more passionate than other places we have been. It is fantastic though to see new fans rocking up in masks and ninja outfits, wholeheartedly getting into the spirit of what Twelve Foot Ninja is all about: having a bloody good time and not taking yourself too seriously.”
Now that they’ve come back home, it’s time for a bit of a break to spend time with family and enjoy the Aussie summer. In the heat of January, though, the lads will take the stage again for their local brethren. “What better way to end a massive overseas tour than with a hometown show? We haven’t played a show in Melbourne for a while and we really know our hometown fans are going to dig this set. There are a bunch of tracks we haven’t played live before so I think Melbourne is in for a real treat.”
They’re playing on Friday 12 January at 170 Russell, supported by Brisbane’s Caligula’s Horse and locals, I Built the Sky. Tickets are on sale now, so get onto it before they’re gone!
GET TICKETS FOR 12 FOOT NINJA’S ONE-OFF MELBOURNE SHOW HERE!