For the second half of 2017, the mad scientists of heavy, aka Twelve Foot Ninja, have been making it rain on a global scale, taking their 'Monsoon' tour across Eastern Europe, India and Nepal - but in news to delight Melbourneites and bring a tear to other parts of Australia, everyone's favourite fusion act will be closing out their huge international tour with a one-night-only special hometown gig at 170 Russell on January 12th alongside beloved Queenslanders Caligula's Horse and local legends I Built The Sky.
If you trip back in time just twelve months ago, Twelve Foot Ninja were touring their ARIA nominated release 'Outlier' both home and abroad and since then this preternatural quintet have continued at a blistering pace, taking their explosive live shows on the road almost non-stop in 2017. Not ones to mince words or time signatures, the group's notorious tongue-in-cheek tendencies and unorthodox tunes have endeared them to a whole new audience beyond the typical metal subculture, and in true Aussie spirit they certainly aren't afraid to frequently take the piss out of themselves.
But as the year quickly draws to a close, what on earth will come next for this lot? Unable to get to the phone as they are either hitch-hiking their way back from overseas or they've taken a detour to finally sneak Stevic onto the Game of Thrones set, the gentlemen from Twelve Foot Ninja instead used up some precious international data to answer twelve very important questions about themselves and the insane year they've had (and yes, there's new music on its way).
TIANA: Please if you'd be so kind, describe Twelve Foot Ninja in three words?
TWELVE FOOT NINJA: Twelve Foot Ninja
T: Over time the band's been labelled heavy fusion/prog metal/fusion metal/genre-mashers/schizophrenic...but once and for all, what genre would you officially label Twelve Foot Ninja?
TFN: Heavy Fusion
TIANA: It seems like you've all had a pretty cracking 2017 - has if been a good year for the band from an insider's perspective? Any particular highlights so far?
TFN: Yep! It's been a corker. Highlights have probably been the international tours and having 'Invincible' feature in an XboxOne/PS4 game ('Invincible' was featured in Flat Out 4 - you can watch a snippet of Stevic's gameplay here)
TIANA: Twelve Foot Ninja have officially survived the so-called "curse of the second album" with 'Outlier'...and it's an evolution in a few notable ways, both musically and creatively, but how was the process overall, and how much expectation did you feel riding on this one (if any)?
TFN: Nah it was all good. We went in with what we liked and strived to reach a level where we couldn't improve on what we had - you can only do what you can do at the end of the day. Like every other recording we've made: we learned a lot we will take with us into the next recording.
TIANA: One of the literal definitions of the word 'Outlier' is: "a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system". If you had to detach a limb, which would it be and why?
TFN: If I had to lose a limb: I'd go with a leg. There's some pretty bad ass prosthetics and my toes do f*ck all anyway.
TIANA: Earlier this year Stevic covered Centrelink's On-Hold song to rousing acclaim - has the band got any secret covers up your sleeves you might busy out sometime soon? Or any potential songs you'd love to give the Twelve Foot treatment?
TFN: Yes and yes.
TIANA: And having now toured pretty extensively overseas and locally, is there a notable difference between the opportunities and crowds when you're overseas as opposed to trekking around Australia?
TFN: Absolutely. Australia is a massive country with a comparatively small population. You can play every night of the week in Europe and the U.S all year round. it's a hell of a lot harder to do that in Australia - it's a simple function of population.
TIANA: So you'll be in Australia next year in January for one night only in Melbourne - what are you most looking forward to about going back and getting onstage in your hometown after being on the road for so long?
TFN We'll be playing a bunch of 'Outlier' tracks we haven't played in Australia before and having just come off the European/Indian/Nepal tour - we'll be playing at our best!
TIANA: Melbourne's definitely got a bit of a corner on the market for heavier music it seems at the moment - what's Twelve Foot Nina's take on the heavy scene in Australia right now compared to this time a few years ago? Are there any up-and-coming bands you've been digging?
TFN: Is there a "scene"? How do we get in? Is there an invite or something? What's the dress code. We get put in the "prog" category, but I dunno, ya know!? What a lot of people call "prog" sounds like the "I wish we were Karnivool" genre. Re: new bands - not really. That's not to imply there aren't great up and comers; I just don't have a lot of time to dig deep into Melbourne's heavy bands. Got any recommendations?
TIANA: What is one song or band you guys listen to on the road that might surprise your fans?
TFN: Michael McDonald and Huey Lewis turn up a bit. I wish there was more music like that being made :)
TIANA: When the time comes to cast for the official Twelve Foot Ninja motion picture, which actor/actress will play each of you in the movie?
TFN: Kin - Kevin Dillon, Russ - Sylvester Stallone Stevic - Ben Kingsley Damon - James Buckley Rohan - Grumpy Cat.
TIANA: And finally, if you had to release a brand new album tomorrow what would you name it? (But more importantly - is there potential for new music in the near future?)
TFN: "It Can't All Be Cocaine and Kebabs" Absolutely to new music. After the 'Monsoon' tour that becomes top priority. That's why our show on 12th January in Melbourne might be our last for a while.
Twelve Foot Ninja will be busting out for one night only in Melbourne on 12th January, 2018 alongside local legends I Built The Sky and Queenslander heavyweights Caligula's Horse.
For more information, go to twelvefootninja.com
BY TIANA SPETER