the AU interview: Kin Etik of Twelve Foot Ninja (Melbourne)

Having just broken the world record for the highest crowd funded stand-alone music video Australian fun-loving hard rockers, Twelve Foot Ninja, have announced their nationwide ‘Shuriken’ tour as well as some overseas dates. Lead singer, Kin Etik, chats to about the video, his name and ‘very’ devoted fans.

Hey Kin, what’s happening?

Ahh, you know, a bit of this and a bit of that.

Firstly congratulations on achieving your funding goal for your upcoming music video.

Thank you very much; it’s been an incredible response.

It would have been a big day when you hit your goal?

Absolutely, it was a bit touch and go there. Towards the last week we were a little worried we wouldn’t get the target but then we had a donation from a guy from Singapore who put ten grand towards it and then from there we received a lot of donations. Luckily we got over the target actually, we were asking for 45k but I think we reached $53000.

If it’s not too forward to ask, when will we be seeing it?

It should be soon, we’re still in the process of making it. We’ll be releasing details pretty soon on Facebook.

And there will be the new album following it?

Well we’re constantly writing – we’re in the process of working on some new material – but this particular clip is for a song off Silent Machine.

500 people pledged to support your campaign. In this age of music is crowdfunding the best way to work with your audience to produce music?

I think it is because it basically cuts out the middle man. It becomes a collaboration between the audience and the band; it’s a lot more interactive. They get to directly support the band and therefore they are a part of it. It draws them closer to the band because they are part of the process and that’s really important to us. From my position I think it’s the future of the music industry, definitely.

Over the course of the project you have received offers to hang out with fans from all across Australia, as well as New York and as you said Singapore, have you had a chance to meet up with any of them yet?

Not yet but we’re in the process of organising the backyard barbecues [a reward for people who pledged large amounts of money to the campaign] where we’ll do some performances. The guy in Singapore wants us to play his birthday party, so we’re sort of negotiating the logistics of that as well.

On your “Coming For You” video a fan has offered the band their rectal virginity; I don’t suppose you’ve planned on meeting up with that particular fan yet?

Haha, yes that’s pretty insane actually. I’m not sure whether we’ll take him up on the offer but it’s certainly umm… flattering that they would offer themselves in such a way.

Now, if I may get personal for a second – assuming that anal sex wasn’t personal to begin with – would I be amiss in thinking that Kin Etik isn’t your birth name?

No, it isn’t. Basically my name is actually Nick Barker and there’s already another Nick Barker in there in the industry and I just thought it would be best to take my own nom de plume, so to speak, to avoid any conflicts of interest industry-wise.

Is it a big step choosing your own name?

No, not really. Kin is Ni[c]k backwards. I’ve been using it as an email handle for quite some time. It also means family too, and I consider all humans to be my family so there’s kind of another side of it as well.

Twelve Foot Ninja has a well-documented, close friendship with Periphery; does a band friendship function differently to a regular friendship?

It does, it does, because first and foremost it’s from a point of view of mutual admiration of each other’s music. It kind of starts of as an artistic relationship – a mutual respect for each other’s work – but from there on we get on really well with the boys on a personal level. When they were down in Melbourne last time we had them shoot a couple of scenes for the new clip. It’s kind of blossomed from an artistic relationship into a personal relationship on an interpersonal level.

Who is the better band?

Who’s the better band? Haha. Oh god! I don’t know if I can answer that, we’re both unique in our own way. I hope that its equal footing haha, but we absolutely love what they do and we admire them as people in the way that they conduct their business and the way they are with their fans. I think we’re very similar in that way as well. I hope it’s mutual but that’s a loaded question there!

Later this year you are heading over to Europe to play some shows in Germany and the UK; are you expecting it to be very different from performing in Australia?

In Germany prog and hard rock is a lot more part of their musical upbringing than Australia. From what we’ve heard German audiences are more open minded towards music at the heavier end of the spectrum. We’re hoping to make some connections over there and hopefully the German people appreciate what we do.

Twelve Foot Ninja are by no means a ‘not serious’ band but you seem to make a conscious effort to keep your music fun; do you think that metal as a genre is often too serious?

I do, a lot of bands are serious about what they do – I mean we’re serious about our music and what we put into it – I think we have a natural sense of humour anyway though. We have some very strong personalities in the band and we’ve just sort of realised that we can take our music seriously, and we can take our performances somewhat seriously, but we think it’s important to demonstrate that personable attitude. We’re not above our audience, we’re part of our audience, so we think it’s a good idea to keep it light so people can have a bit of a laugh and leave shows with a smile on their face. I think it’s important to not separate yourself from the human aspect of your band and who you are.

Thank you, it’s been great talking, see you when you come to Brisbane.

No worries mate, catch you there.


Grab the tour dates here: