"We Love Music So Much We Just Can't Settle On One Thing": The Shinobi Ninja Interview
After the New Music Seminar show at the Roxy last Tuesday, I met with Woody as he had arranged for me an interview with Shinobi Ninja. When the Ninjas had recovered a little bit from their strenuous stage workout, I met them upstairs, in a small room and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the famous rockers who had hung out there after a performance.
I collectively asked them how Shinobi Ninja the band had started, and they gave me the very precise answer of August 18th 2008. At that time they were all working at the same studio, having all kinds of different studio occupations, but always hanging out together, until, one day, they decided to start making music together, They had a 8 days writing sessions during which they put all these tunes together, and they loved it so much, they have been doing it since that day.
With such an exotic name, I had to ask them about the origin of it and it turned out that their DJ, DJ Axis Powers, is half Japanese, but Shinobi Ninja really comes from the video game of the same name. And talking about video games, in February 2010, they released ‘Shinobi Ninja Attacks!’ a video game, and a first for music and gaming iPhone apps. So I asked them to explain a little bit about it and they told me it was an iPhone apps, but also an old school video game, part music video, part game, just like the other ninjas, the teenage ninja turtles. The game allows you to play with anyone in the band, fighting your way from their home in Brooklyn to the club Babylon to… rock! DA added that it was an interesting game, allowing you to hear music, to unlock videos, and rewarding you with freebies. And they said they came up with another one, they basically redesigned the game and made 4 more levels, as they are trying to make another business and test it while on tour just to see how this kind of thing does.
I asked them why there was only one girl in a band of six people, and they began to laugh, trying to get an answer from Baby Girl, who was staying very quiet, still exhausted from her performance. But they declared, still laughing, ‘We knew there would be only one girl! She is the only one to have been doing this!’
Of course, I challenged them to talk about their sound, which mixes reggae, metal and hip-hop, asking them if they wanted to produce a new sound by blending so many genres: ‘That’s a subconscious thing, I guess, that we want to bring to life, we love music so much we can’t settle on one thing,… that’s a very multidimensional band!’
But what kind of music may inspire them? That’s simple, everything! And DA, who was doing the talking at that time of the interview, began to tell me that he basically liked all the genres, ‘All the music that you like,… whatever you like,.. whatever you like Depeche mode, rap music Ace of base,… we like it too!’
So there is nothing they don’t like? DA became a little more hesitant but said that even if there is music that doesn’t necessarily catch him right away when it first comes out, he generally thinks it is not bad when he listens to it later on. Some true music lovers!
I asked them how they write music, if it is a collective process, or if there is a main songwriter in the band. Even if all said that DA is their primary songwriter, they make music together most of the time, the 6 of them! ‘Sometimes I would be with somebody, it’s always different, you know how you make an omelet, it’s always different, it’s how you feel’ DA added.
I don’t know if it was because of the omelet metaphor, but the conversation went back to food when I asked them about their main influences outside of music. ‘We like movies and sushi, not that it can be considered as an influence,… and Waffle House!’ Also being on the road, people human beings are inspirations for them
Their live acts are so high in energy ‘Just a little bit!’, as they commented while joking, I wanted to know how they prepare themselves for this level intensity. Baby Girl, despite being teased by the 5 boys was still very quiet, and they came up with answers that could have been those of athletes: stretching, definitively eating, having a nice place to stay,… but usually they have long rides in the van when touring and by the time they come out they are pretty happy to play!
I ended up the interview by asking about their current projects, and DA announced their upcoming debut album ‘Rock Hood’, to be released on March 15th ,…. ‘It’s gonna be our first album, it’s gonna go down the history, we did our best, we tried our hardest!’
Before leaving the room, I thanked them again to be such a happy and nice group of people, so enthusiastic about music. Some passionate Ninjas.