After breaking a crowdfunding world record for their new music video ‘Ain’t That A Bitch’ and announcing another string of Australian shows under the Troll Burger tour name, Melbourne’s Twelve Foot Ninja continue to make waves across Australia and the world.

On the tour’s eve, guitarist Stevic MacKay explains the logistics of organising the crowdfunded music video and how he and the band went about spending the $52,600 raised.

“Before we launched the campaign, I had story-boarded the entire clip and had it priced out,” MacKay explains.

“I was way off. It cost a heap more than what we actually set out with. I had a few contacts together from the last few Ninja clips and had more of an idea about putting something together this size. As it turns out with most big projects, everything costs more than what you anticipated, but we got there in the end.”

The music video represents the ultimate revenge story on an Internet troll. While incredibly violent, the traits echo that of Twelve Foot Ninja’s past clips – in particular, ‘Mother Sky’. Spending the fans’ dollars, however, was not as easy as first expected.

“It’s like building a house and coordinating tradies. It’s hard to get people to commit to a date or a time or a price and then have variables pop up. The core expenses stayed the same, but shit like catering, and even coffee, add up. In the end I got a guy to make coffee concentrate and got everyone to heat it up in the microwave,” the musician laughs.

The music video has had over 150,000 views on YouTube. With the reputation for creating fun, violent, and charismatic clips, the five-piece will need to work hard in the future to match its predecessors.

“I think there’s more where that came from. I’ve got a few ideas, but often it’s the resources and the cost that hold us back. On that level and scale, I don’t think we’ll be doing anything like that in a while due to cost, but I have plenty of crazy ideas lined up,” the guitarist says.

As for the video’s product placement of Australian iconic savoury delight Burger Rings and its accompanying Big M strawberry milk, MacKay was a little mystified as to why no dollars had come the Ninja’s way.

“I had the Periphery guys involved, Madison Rhys who’s a Penthouse model from Perth, and a 7-foot Alaskan stuffed bear. I thought, I’d have to really do something shit to fuck this up”

“No, we didn’t get any dollars. I was disappointed on both counts. It’s kind of an in-joke with myself, the whole Burger Rings and Big M strawberry milk. Going to primary school in country Victoria, I knew this kid, and all I remember was him having Burger Rings all over his face. It stuck in my head and something that kind of freaks me.”

“The strawberry Big M milk is a drink of completely insane people. Whenever someone is fucking mental they always seem to be drinking strawberry Big M, I think it’s a really bizarre choice. If you’re going to drink something why the fuck would you drink a strawberry Big M? It’s horrible,” he adds emphatically.

In an age of streaming and downloading, Twelve Foot Ninja are a band who are embracing the music video as a way of enticing new listeners.

“It’s pretty important. People can hear you, but I think to visually get a vibe or the personality of the band is important, especially if you’ve got a whacky perspective on things, as you can bring people to a song that maybe they didn’t like previously. You don’t need to spend $60,000 on a video to make it interesting, you just need to think a little bit outside of the box.”

MacKay wrote, produced, and directed the video.

“I’ve just always made weird videos since high school. I enjoy it. It’s like music for your eyes. It sounds poxy, but I get the opportunity to come up with something and show people what’s going on inside my head. I find that interesting.”.

Perceived pressure was always going to be in the background whilst making a music video on the back of a crowdfunded project. However, the artist was confident in his own abilities.

“I guess I did feel pressure in a way, but I also knew I had a strong concept and I had the guy who did the prosthetics from the movie The Hobbit. I had the Periphery guys involved, Madison Rhys who’s a Penthouse model from Perth, and a 7-foot Alaskan stuffed bear. I thought, I’d have to really do something shit to fuck this up.”

Joining the band on the Troll Burger tour will be French electronic/metal band The Algorithm, fresh from their recent Big Day Out appearance earlier this year.

“We played with them on the German Euroblast Festival headlined by Meshuggah.”

“I think a lot of people don’t know how crazy this band are, so I hope people get the chance to come and see them because I don’t think there’s anything quite like it in Australia at present,” he divulges.

“I think to visually get a vibe or the personality of the band is important, especially if you’ve got a whacky perspective on things”

Having toured Silent Machine for a year, the band will be delving back into their discography for their upcoming shows, promising to mix some older material between the much loved debut album.

“We keep new songs pretty close to our chest in terms of playing live, but we’re going to play a bunch of old shit that we haven’t played live for quite a few years. However, we’re definitely working on new material and it’s just a matter of fitting in time to record it.”

Having recently toured parts of America with the likes of Periphery, Born Of Osiris, and Australia’s own Dead Letter Circus in 2013, it seems the Ninjas are keen to explore the United States once again, with several festival spots already lined up.

“Funnily enough, the demands in the U.S. are probably bigger than in Australia at present. The band are earning regular air play on the biggest satellite radio network in the States and we’ve been nominated for the best new talent at the Golden Gods Awards.”

“The States have bigger opportunities, so we’re really just following the opportunity more than anything. We have to give it a good crack while that interest is there.”

The band blend a mix of styles from metal to jazz to rock. It’s no surprise that they continue to defy logic when it comes to placing themselves in any given genre.

“When we first started out we played a lot with a band called Jericho and were good mates with Circles, who we played with a lot. We’re able to straddle that metal scene as well as the more straightforward stuff.”

Straightforward, however, is not a term used very often with a band that is technical enough to deliver so called ‘progressive’ music as well as the often maligned ‘djent’ style. MacKay delivers his thoughts.

“I think the djent stuff is something we try keep away from. We’re influenced by the Meshuggah kind of syncopated metal, the principle of what they do is that heavy rhythmic interesting syncopated metal, that’s what we dig. But we just want to focus on good songs as in something that people will hear through.”

“I think a lot of those bands that are heavily influencing that whole djent shit are losing focus on songs. I think Periphery are an exception as they are all good songwriters. The drummer from Faith No More summed it up when he said, “you shit what you eat”, meaning, I think, if all you listen to is djent, you’ll be doing something very similar to that.”

Whichever way they go, it’ll be violent, funny, entertaining, and rhythmic – if their live shows and videos are anything to go by.

Watch the clip for ‘Ain’t That A Bitch’ here

Vote for the band in the Golden Gods Awards here.

Twelve Foot Ninja Australian Tour 2014

w/ special guests The Algorithm

Friday March 21 – The Zoo, Brisbane
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Saturday March 22 –  Miami Tavern, Shark Bar Gold Coast
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Thursday March 27 – ANU Bar, Canberra
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Friday March 28 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
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Saturday March 29 – Manning Bar, Sydney
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Friday April 4 – 170 Russell, Melbourne
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Friday April 11 – The Gov, Adelaide (ALL AGES)
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Saturday April 19 – Rosemount Hotel, Perth

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