Nathan spoke to Twelve Foot Ninja’ Rohan to discuss the band, the tour and a lot more!!
N: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today Rohan, we’re big fans of Twelve Foot Ninja and what you guys have been doing so this is a great honour. We’re not going to do the obvious joke and ask if you guys have been busy…
R: I expected it!
N: Oh no, we’re doing our best to avoid that one as we think you’ve had it about a thousand times and we’re sure you’re sick of it! We do know that you have been busy, you’ve dropped Outlier in August which has been an awesome album to listen to, it was about a four year wait between that and Silent Machine but it was worth the wait! Straight after that you went into headline tour then supporting some huge names like Sevendust and Disturbed on their tours. That must have been pretty exciting, was it weird to interact with some of your biggest influences there?
R: Oh man, we ticked a lot of boxes on that tour. In fact this year has been pretty crazy, been a big box ticking machine.
N: For sure, what are some of those boxes?
R: Where do I start? We did a few shows in Australia before we headed over to the states, as we were a little cold, as you mentioned we hadn’t released anything since Silent Machine which had been four years. Those shows helped warm us up. We went over to the States and dude, too many stories. The big ones would be mingling with Sevendust and having Morgan Rose come on for a drink or two. Morgan Rose is a beast at story telling and he came on and told us a whole heaps of stories to do with Tommy Lee and his past with Sevendust, telling us about the making of Home and Animosity. A lot of us had grown up with Sevendust, absolutely crazy!
N: It would’ve been a very surreal experience, one day you’re at home making music and putting stuff on YouTube and the next day you’re sitting there chatting to one of your biggest influences in the flesh and they’re telling you things you know not many people would have heard.
R: It’s a crazy juxtaposition isn’t it? From one to the other. We got to spend some time with Vinnie Paul and Hellyeah. I think we were only on their bus for 15 to 20 minutes and we left there absolutely annihilated!
N: As in drinking-annihilated or story-annihilated?
R: Drinking! They’ve got experience, Tom was mixing these drinks that had vodka…tequila…I don’t even know what he was doing, doing these hybrid drinks. All of us left absolutely pickled.
N: You’ve got to be careful of those hybrid drinks, they’re the best and worst drinks ever!
R: Yeah we woke up a little sore headed the next day…some of these festivals we were playing I just couldn’t believe it. The names that we were playing with. There was a particular moment where we were setting up at this festival called Revolution Rock and I call it the “Anthrax-Killswitch Engage Sandwich” where we were setting up and Anthrax were playing on a stage across from us and we had about 15 minutes to set up our stuff, Anthrax finished and it was like “GO” so we played our 30 minute set and then Killswitch Engage played directly after us and…yeah it was just bizarre!
N: Definitely would’ve been a weird experience playing between those two!
R: They’re names that we grew up listening to; they come up in my news feed all the time you know?
N: It definitely would’ve been good to see and interact with big names like them! You would’ve also had a lot of people who came to see Twelve Foot Ninja and from what we can see you’ve got heaps of fans in America and all around the world, was it cool to see people coming all that way to see you perform?
R: Definitely, America it’s a lot more spread out and a lot more places to play in America but at the same time people aren’t shy about travelling 6+ hours to come and see you play you know? It really is a bit of a buzz. That part of it actually one of the most rewarding parts, getting to speak to our supporters who go a long way out of their way. We actually have one our fans who’s actually in hospice who was diagnosed with cancer, Jenny Cooper.
N: Yes, we heard about Jenny’s story. Stevic was chatting to her on Facebook after hearing about what she was going through and knowing she was a fan of Twelve Foot Ninja, one of her biggest desires was to see you guys live and to meet you and the band was very accommodating and gracious in doing that, it’s a great thing to see a band do that. You don’t hear that often and it’s really great, well done guys.
R: Thank you, yeah it was a pretty emotional day. It was the last thing on her bucket list to hang out with Twelve Foot Ninja and to get some pictures for the kids. We had her on the bus and we had the Xbox set up and spent all of our spare time hanging out with her and smashing each other on Mortal Kombat and Halo but yeah, we spent the day with her and it was pretty great.
N: I’m sure it meant the world to her and to be able to do that and be in that position where you can make people happy like that and then doing that is a great thing. Good stuff. So, we were at the show at the Corner Hotel back in late August and from what we can see being there, is it a fair assessment to say the music you guys play is quite fun? You yourself play guitar along with providing backup vocals, it definitely looks like you enjoy playing the music you’re playing.
R: Yeah I’ve always had trouble locking myself into a genre and think “What do I want to do?” because I want to do it all! So this is the best alternative, playing in this band where we have heavy roots which is what we grew up on, but also have that opportunity to bring in those other quirky styles like latin, bossa nova, reggae and so on.
N: It’s amazing, I try to explain to people what genre you guys fit in to and it’s difficult in a good way! The term used is Heavy Fusion which is really fitting one, to make all those elements work is very impressive.
R: Thanks man, it can be a hard pill for people to swallow sometimes so when people appreciate it it’s a really cool thing.
N: It shows a lot of mastery of music and knowing how to make music work. Coming from a viewer’s perspective, keep it up. We hope to hear of many more albums to come in the future. With that, what’s one of your favourite songs to play live?
R: I think Collateral is the crowd favourite at the moment and because of that energy it’s making it to be one of my favourites!
N: That song goes off!
R: It was actually a song that nearly didn’t quite make the cut for Outlier to be honest.
N: Oh really, what’s the story there? It’s great track!
R: Well now we all agree but at the time, the process can get quite microscopic and paying a lot of attention to detail with our music and we started to overthink it. Musicians would definitely get what I’m talking about here, you start to overthink things but Russ our drummer was a massive advocate for the song and pushed it and got his way.
N: Good judgement call.
R: Exactly! With the Sick tour kicking off in January we’ll be playing most of Outlier so Collateral will definitely be played.
N: Fantastic, we’ll come back to the tour in just a bit. Another big we’ve noticed and love about Twelve Foot Ninja, as do most of your fans, is the humour of the band. It’s something that’s set you apart from other bands and it’s kind of trademark of Twelve Foot Ninja. 3 or so weeks ago the video clip for Sick dropped on your Facebook and since then the views have pumped up on YouTube which has been great to see. Two important questions there: Firstly, is that your first experience wearing a dress?
N: That’s OK, you don’t have to answer that one.
R: Yeah actually I won’t answer that one!
N: The second question, is this going to become a bit of a theme? We’ve got the video clip for Coming For You which has Kin cross-dressing for a brief bit. Is this something we’re going to see in later video clips?
R: I think everyone’s going to get their turn, unfortunately it was my turn with this one! *laughs*
N: Cool, three more to go then!
R: I think getting Stevic to wear a dress might be a big of a challenge though.
N: He likes to dress up in the costumes doesn’t he?
R: Yeah we all have to have a crack I think! My character’s name was Susan in that actually and it was a dark, weird weekend! We didn’t sleep much and we tried to smash that whole video clip out, we started on Saturday morning while it was still dark at 4 a.m. and finished late Sunday. We filmed it out at a place called Strathbogie out in the middle of nowhere. I remember just being in a dress, it was cold…it was the worst feeling of my life but I think it was worth the trouble.
N: Definitely worth the trouble, it’s a great video clip! It made us laugh, and again it’s a big trademark of Twelve Foot Ninja, you guys just having fun in your music and that just flows through everything and really adds to the energy you provide so it’s been cool to see you’ve kept true to that through Outlier. Going back to the Sick headline tour, starts off at the Corner Hotel in Richmond then there’s dates all the through to March all around Australia which is awesome, as it’s the Sick headline tour what can we expect? Anything particularly sick?
R: Well you mentioned it before and it’s sparked something in my head…it’s been 4 years since Silent Machine and 2 years since a headline tour for us, that’s crazy saying that out loud actually…but we’re all really excited to lead a tour again, coming off a lot of momentum and energy having been refuelled by everything that’s been happening lately since dropping Outlier. Did those Aussie shows in August then went to the States, came back and did huge sold out record breaking shows, got nominated for the ARIA which was great to see the acknowledgement in our backyard…combining all of this together we’ve just got a huge energy and drive within us along with a lot of confidence which you’ll see in the shows.
N: Great to see the energy has been reinvigorated, we do hope there’s not another 4 years until the next album but we understand these things take time, especially with the type of music Twelve Foot Ninja create which is very intricate and has a lot of depth you don’t really see in a lot of other bands. It’ll be a great few shows and we’re looking forward to it. Finally, any hints as to who the support acts will be?
R: We’re getting closer to announcing that, we’ll be announcing something in the next.
N: We’ll stay tuned! The support acts were unique and awesome so we’re excited. At the Richmond show in August there was a guy playing didgeridoo and beat boxing! Again, we’re personally looking forward to seeing the shows in Melbourne. We have the details up on our sit on how people can get tickets if they haven’t already, in which case they need to re-evaluate their decision making skills…but look Rohan thanks for chatting to us it’s been a pleasure.
R: Cheers dude, thanks!
Twelve Foot Ninja are touring around the country.. Be sure to catch the guys in action!!
JAN 7SATThe Corner
FEB 2THUCOMMERCIAL HOTEL
FEB 3FRIChelsea Heights Hotel
FEB 4SATVillage Green Hotel
FEB 16THUMiani Shark Bar
FEB 17FRIVilla Noosa Hotel V-Room
FEB 18SATThe Zoo
FEB 26SUNDunsborough Hotel
MAR 4SATThe Gov
MAR 8WEDThe Basement
MAR 9THUWollongong Uni Bar
MAR 10FRIManning Bar (Sydney)
MAR 11SATCambridge Hotel