Currently poised in a state of cat-like readiness, Melbourne’s metal alchemists Twelve Foot Ninja are preparing to emerge from the shadows for a full-blown, countrywide assault that will be the Sick national tour.

A tip of the hat to the bands latest single Sick, the run of shows will once again put their brand new album Outlier on display for all to see. The record dropped back in August 2016 and was first aired to a live audience around its release.

Spending three and a half years working on the album, and the last 6 months touring and receiving feedback on the body of work, we thought we’d look back on the album process with vocalist Kin Etik to see how the album went down, and how the band feel about their latest output now that it’s had some time to resonate with themselves and with the fans.

The Neversphere: In a matter of days now you’ll embarking on the Sick Tour. The fans are in mild-frenzy; what’s the vibe like in the band?
Kin Etik: The vibes good! We’re pretty pumped about doing the tour. We had our first date at the Corner Hotel on the January 7th and it was such a good show, really good turn out, really good vibe…It was about 50 degrees on stage but it was great, it went really well. We’re pumped to get out there and see what the suburbs have to offer us; we’ve only doe the capital cities.
The Neversphere: Outlier dropped back in August so fans have had more than enough time to get their heads around the lyrics. Has it been a positive response live so far?
Kin: Absolutely. You get that instant response. Fortunately for us, our fans have received Outlier so well that they know the words to the songs already. That’s always a surprise; getting out there and people know the words to a song verbatim when it’s only been out for a few months. But they all seem to be going down really well…So far so good.
The Neversphere: Now that we’re 6ish months after the release, have you had any George Lucas moments where you look back on what you created and feel as though you should have done anything differently?
Kin: We feel good about it in general. Speaking for myself, it’s difficult to speak on behalf of the other guys, but for me it’s difficult to listen back to something like Outlier in retrospect. I feel a little bit like an author reading their autobiography. You’ve already been through that process and for us it was a three and a half year process.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tough album to make – it was. There was a lot of pressure internally to really nail it this time. I think we did the best we could with what we had but if I listen to it, I always pick things out. I hear things and think ‘Why did I use that particular line?’ or ‘Why did I sing it that way?’ So it’s best for me to sit back and leave it how it is rather than go into analysis paralysis with the release.
The Neversphere: The Ninja is a fusion band, so naturally there are so many layers on the album instrumentally and lyrically. Has there been anything you guys missed in the writing or production that fans have picked up on?
Kin: I’ve had a few instances of that. One for example, there’s a song on the album called Collateral that was received positively and I’ve heard the most comments out of any other song on the album. Interestingly enough, the lyrics are ambiguous and a lot of people have had the same interpretation. However, it’s very different from where the lyrics came from. That’s been surprising – they’ve all had the same take on it!

That’s always strange. You’ve tapped into the collective consciousness with something however they’ve had their own perception of what that is. But everyone is aligned with each other on what that songs about…it’s quiet remarkable to me.
The Neversphere: What’s that like as one of the creators behind the body of work? I can totally see how that might be a bit, I guess, frustrating?
Kin: I think it’s a really good thing. It means they’re relating to it, or relating themselves to it in someway. I think that what it’s all about! I think the listener’s perception is everything. My perception starts and ends with the creation and release of the album. Once it’s released, it’s for everyone else to interpret.

For this album we really put the lyrics under the microscope. With our first album Silent Machine, there was a lot of ambiguity in there and it was tied into the story of The Twelve Foot Ninja – it was very open ended. A lot of people had their own interpretations of what those were about as well but we wanted to make it a little more straightforward this time.

However, my style of writing is ambiguous. I’m still learning how to make a lyric more succinct. With Collateral for instance, there is some ambiguity to it. That people connected to it in such a way and implied their own meaning and I love that. If there’s connection in anyway, that’s a good thing.
The Neversphere: It’s really easy to get the sense that every note and lyric had to prove its worth. I get the feeling it wouldn’t have been easy to just stop writing once Outlier is finished. Are you already onto album #3 now that the flood gates are open?
Kin: We’ve got some sketches together for certain songs. They usually start out as either a bit of music or a melodic idea. So we’re currently surveying some sketches and we’ll get further into that probably after this national tour. That’s when we’ll decide what the next move is.

With Outlier, we’d turn the tap on and it would flow for a bit but then the sink would get clogged up with debris and it would overflow so we’d have to turn the tap off for a bit. Then let the sink drain and turn the tap back on. There were stop/starts through the process. A lot of that was due to a few American tours in the middle of everything. We didn’t have a clear run to just write and record, the process was so broken up. With the next one, we’re hoping we have a more concentrated timeframe. Hopefully it won’t take us as long as Outlier.


The Neversphere: As you mentioned, you’re taking the show to the ‘burbs. Having serviced the city folk already, what sort of response are you expecting?
Kin: We usually head out to merch and meet and greet people – it’s one of the aspects of what we do that I love. So we usually make a point of going out there. I’m looking forward to that because I’ll hear a lot more about how people are interpreting out music. It’s always exciting and refreshing to hear other peoples take on it.
The Neversphere: What can they expect from the impending show? More of The Ninja’s iconic balls to the walls, sweatfest of a show?
Kin: It will, however this time we’re just going to Skype in from our lounge rooms and hopefully we can convey as much energy as we can in person…[Laughs]…No it’s definitely balls to the wall. It’s probably one of the best sets we’ve played in recently memory. It flows really well and there’s a lot of high energy.

But yeah…It’ll be sweaty.

Twelve Foot Ninja 2017 ‘Sick’ Australian Tour Dates
Tickets available now.

Thursday, February 2nd
With Ecca Vandal & Osaka Punch
Commercial Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Moshtix

Friday, February 3rd
With Ecca Vandal & Osaka Punch
Chelsea Heights Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Moshtix

Saturday, February 4th
With Ecca Vandal & Osaka Punch
Village Green Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Moshtix

Thursday, February 16th
With Osaka Punch & Humality
Miami Tavern, Gold Coast
Tickets: Moshtix

Friday, February 17th
With Osaka Punch & Humality
Villa Noosa Hotel, Sunshine Coast
Tickets: Moshtix

Saturday, February 18th
With Osaka Punch & Humality
The Zoo, Brisbane
Tickets: OzTix

Friday, February 24th
With Sparrow & Nucleust
Newport Hotel, Fremantle
Tickets: OzTix

Saturday, February 25th
With Sparrow & Nucleust
Amplifier Bar, Perth
Tickets: OzTix

Sunday, February 26th
With Sparrow & Nucleust
Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough
Tickets: Moshtix

Saturday, March 4th
With Colibrium & Japam
The Gov, Adelaide
Tickets: OzTix

Wednesday, March 8th
With Troldhaugen & Na Maza
The Basement, Canberra
Tickets: OzTix

Thursday, March 9th
With Troldhaugen & Hemina
Uni Bar, Wollongong
Tickets: Moshtix

Friday, March 10th
With Troldhaugen & Hemina
Manning Bar, Sydney
Tickets: OzTix

Saturday, March 11th
With Majora
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Tickets: Ticketbooth