Shinobi Ninja Talk About Their Eclectic Sound, Touring and Video Games
Shinobi Ninja make no apologies for their eclectic sound. The New York based sextet fuse rock, funk, R&B, hip hop, ska, punk, and metal, into a sound that they can undoubtedly call their own. The band has been spending a lot of time in their tour bus as of late. Since late 2010, they've been out on the road in support of their debut album, 'Rock Hood.'
Drummer Terminator Dave and vocalist Duke Sims (aka DA) spoke to Noisecreep while on a recent tour about their varied musical backgrounds, their love of video games and touring. As a bonus, the band also also gave us the exclusive premiere of 'Super Are You,' one of Shinobi Ninja's previously unreleased tracks.
How's the tour going?
Terminator Dave: It's so much fun. We've never been out on the road for this long before. It's exhilarating playing every single night. But for two months I've died and went to heaven. We've played to big crowds and also some smaller ones. It doesn't matter – we just rock the show.
How far out into the US has Shinobi Ninja has played before this?
TD: We played South By Southwest in 2010. We also played in Los Angeles before. The furthest we've driven West is Minneapolis. We just finished driving from San Antonio to Iowa, and scattered around the Midwest on our way back to Brooklyn. This is the furthest we've ever driven! I think we've put about 12,000 miles into this one in the last couple of months.
What are some of the highlights from the tour so far?
Duke Sims (DA): We played at Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, NC and some dude came from New Jersey. He had driven 7 hours with super amazing video equipment and recorded a lot of stuff at the venue and then the afterparty at the hotel. They're making a live DVD out of that. That was an amazing experience. We played at the Roxy Theatre in LA. That was a dream-come true. We said what's up to Moby. We said what's up to Ru Paul. When we were in LA, we got nominated for some Artist on the Verge thing with New Music Seminar. I saw Lisa Loeb. It was cool. It was a trip.
All six of you come from varied musical backgrounds. How did you manage to fuse it all into one comprehensive sound?
TD: It happened over the course of the years. We all met at a recording studio and rehearsal space called Progressive Studios over 2005 to 2007. We're all friends or were working together or partied together. One day me and Mike [guitarist Maniac Mike] and DJ Axis [Powers, turntables], our band went on sabbatical. DA's project was taking a hiatus. All of a sudden we were writing a song together. It just happened.
DA: I don't think it's a planned thing. We were having fun. We just like a lot of music. We live in the age where everyone has iPods and you have different genres of music. I don't think it's something we think about too much. It's about having fun.
Listen to 'Super Are You'
Does being from New York have an influence on how your sound came about?
DA: Yeah, NYC definitely influences what we do. It's a melting pot there. It's a city that never sleeps. That affects you. 4am looks exactly the same as 4pm. There are so many people. That's another thing about New York. I feel like New York is like some kind of All-Star team. We have the coolest dudes from New Hampshire who will come to New York and then not necessarily will be the coolest dudes any more. Those are the people you become friends with. They are people who are there to be as great as they can.
The name Shinobi Ninja – was anyone into anime or video games?
TD: DA is a big fan of video games. His favorite game growing up was 'Shinobi.' He thought his mom's house, where we recorded our demo, looked like a ninja house. he came up with the name of the band from that.
DA: This kid who lives across the street from me when I was growing up in Brooklyn had 'Shinobi' for the Sega Master system. It stuck got stuck in my head forever.
I read about a Shinobi Ninja Fan App. Could you talk about that?
DA: It's an iPhone App we developed for our fans. It's a 2D scroller game, just like the Ninja Turtles. The objective of the game is to get from Brooklyn to Club Babylon to play a gig. You can unlock music videos and different songs at every new level. It has a dope function with a GPS. If you download the game and then bring it to an actual gig that we're playing at, and the GPS sees that you're at the gig, it will unlock the game or a music video for you. It's going to be available for the Android soon.