TWELVE FOOT NINJA Q&A With Rohan Hayes

Written by Dave Bruce

Twelve Foot Ninja are often classified as heavy fusion or progressive metal but whatever genre you call them, they are known for their unique combination of genre hopping and soaring melodies over heavy rock. Their creativity extends to quality music videos, comic books, and more to come in 2017. We recently caught up with Rohan Hayes and asked him a few questions.

Twelve Foot Ninja

Twelve Foot Ninja

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First things first, your FB cover photo has everyone eating an ice cream and there are no vanilla eaters. Does the band have something against vanilla?

It’s definitely less important than the other flavours.

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Now that we have got past that, while the Australian metal scene is thriving with talent and getting a bigger following with each year that passes, do you believe it’s time that the ARIA’s updated their criteria to better encompass the different genres that are in the scene these days?

Sure. I should start by saying that I don’t really understand how it logistically works and who decides what, so my desires and suggestions for the ARIAs are kind of the equivalent of some stoned potato sack saying “oi, they should build us all hover crafts already, what’s taking’em so long pal?”. There was obviously a bit of confusion around the category definition. ‘Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal’ pins bands like Twelve Foot Ninja and Amity Affliction in the same category but King Giz would have fit more comfortably in the Rock category. I don’t know how that wasn’t picked up by ARIA in advance. I’d also love to see all categories include in the broadcast! That being said, we were just stoked to be a part of the ARIAs last year. We had a bloody good time either way.

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What was it like touring with a band like Disturbed and filling our stadiums/arenas across Australia?

Short and incredibly bloody sweet. We’d never played arenas before this tour so it completely re-energised the band, plus Disturbed and the promoter Frontier Touring were amazing to work with. Definitely one of the most memorable tours to date.

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What was your experience while touring in America like?

We’ve toured the US four times now. It’s like we pause it when we leave and just ‘hit play’ again every time we return. The festivals are massive, the food is addictive and our supporters in the US are passionate! We’re always looking forward to getting back. I tend to miss home and family a bit, that’s definitely the hard part.

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Is there a difference in the atmosphere of the crowds that you’ve noticed?

There’s no real consistency between each state in Australia. Some nights are highly energetic and some nights people like to kick back. It’s quite the same in the States in that regard. But when the American fans become fans, they’re bloody passionate about it! I think the key difference on top of the population is how commercially accessible Metal is over there. There’re hundreds of Radio stations and programs that are dedicated to heavier music and a lot of people are listening!

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What is one thing you missed while being overseas? What was one thing you HAD to take with you?

I brought a lot of Nurofen on the last run. It gets rough when you can’t shake a headache and your head is constantly vibrating on the bus, in transit. Can’t go far without your passport. Also, hand sanitiser has become a bit of a ‘must’. Sorry mate that’s 3 things. There’s a lot of shit that you need to bring, ya’know?!

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The response to Outlier (your recent 2nd album) has been overwhelming in Australia. Was there something new you aimed to achieve with this album?

We wanted to write good songs that connected with people. This may read and sound like an obvious statement but we tried to refine our process to ensure that the songs would resonate with people. One of the main differences in the writing process was that we introduced the ‘acoustic guitar test’. When the head of the song sounds good at it’s core (stripped of it’s production and glitter), you know it’s an idea worth pursuing. I think there’s still plenty of room to grow for us, but it felt right and it’s a step in the right direction!

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What can we expect to see from the regional tour in the next coming months?

Highly energetic performance from myself and the lads. Some ‘Ninja’ classics in addition to new material from Outlier, a bit of a laugh and an all-round fun time.

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Twelve Foot Ninja - Outlier

Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier – available now – click above

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What are the big plans afterwards for 2017?

All of the cards are on the table and we’re lining up all of our ducks in a row as we speak. More touring and cracking into some writing to keep the ball rolling.

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You guys have some really inspired marketing, especially the use of crowd-funding and general internet usage. Do you think bands in general must use these tools, especially in Australia, to develop a fan-base for touring?

If you’re not engaging with your audience via social networking platforms you’re not in the game. One of the many blessings of the digital age is that bands can communicate directly and effectively with their fans and you can measure your digital footprint. It’s a privilege to go direct to fans but there is also an obligation to keep fans properly informed. As for crowd-funding, you don’t have to use this tool. It can be a great way to fund new projects for independent bands but it’s really important that you at least meet expectations of your crowdfunding promise.

For any band wanting to tour internationally, unless you’re willing to move, I advise getting it right in your own backyard first as that will be the foundation for any international expansion.

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What is your opinion on music streaming in general, especially considering you make your money off touring and merch? Or do you?

Streaming is amazing for discovering artists. I love being able to track down new bands and artists and listening to their material in depth before having to spend money. As I mentioned earlier though, shit got tough for musicians. You don’t have to look far to find out that Spotify’s streaming royalties are beyond poor. That’s a bit of a killer. There’s no incentive for them to increase the royalty percentage or modify the policy (like a ‘purchase the song or album after your third listen’ type deal), so we need to continue working towards finding another way. I like to think of it as a ‘temporary transition period’ but I could be wrong.

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Twelve Foot Ninja

TWELVE FOOT NINJA – Sick Tour 2017

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TWELVE FOOT NINJA

‘SICK’ TOUR – JANUARY – MARCH 2017

* SUPPORT BANDS ANNOUNCED *
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Thursday 16 February
Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD
with OSAKA PUNCH and HUMALITY
TICKETS
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Friday 17 February
V-Room, Noosaville QLD
with OSAKA PUNCH and HUMALITY
TICKETS
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Saturday 18 February
The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
with OSAKA PUNCH and HUMALITY
TICKETS
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Friday 24 February
Newport Hotel, Fremantle WA
with SPARROW and NUCLEUST
TICKETS
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Saturday 25 February
Amplifier Hotel, Perth WA
with SPARROW and NUCLEUST
TICKETS
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Sunday 26 February
Dunsborough Hotel, Dunsborough WA
with SPARROW and NUCLEUST
TICKETS
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Saturday 4 March
The Gov, Adelaide SA
with COLIBRIUM and JAPAM
TICKETS
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Wednesday 8 March
The Basement, Canberra ACT
with TROLDHAUGEN and NA MAZA
TICKETS
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Thursday 09 March
Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
with TROLDHAUGEN and HEMINA
TICKETS
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Friday 10 March
Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
with TROLDHAUGEN and HEMINA
TICKETS
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Saturday 11 March
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
with MAJORA
TICKETS

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Follow TWELVE FOOT NINJA: 

Website     Facebook     YouTube     Twitter

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Outlier album on Spotify

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Twelve Foot Ninja

Twelve Foot Ninja

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LOVE FOR

TWELVE FOOT NINJA’S

“OUTLIER” ALBUM

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“There’s a lot that’s familiar in the Mike Patton-esque vocals, the djent style, the crunchy chugs and snappy changes, but Outlier is such a rule-breaker that it’s still unpredictable and rewarding.  The five-piece have upped the ante on the complexity and diversity of their previous release.” – The Music – 4/5 Stars

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“There’s no sign of performance anxiety on Outlier, as the band shower their sophomore with a steady stream of avant-garde gold. [Twelve Foot Ninja] schizophrenically scatter between styles, cultures and instruments, dropping djent riffs so chunky you could carve ’em. ” – Rolling Stone Australia – 4/5 Stars

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“[Outlier] kicks the asses of a lot of recent alternative rock/metal releases and I’d certainly recommend it.” – Metal Injection

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“Twelve Foot Ninja are truly masters of incorporating elements into heavy music that would otherwise just sound ridiculous, and ‘Outlier’ is a shining example of heavy metal fusion done right.” – Heavy Mag

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“‘Outlier’ is bold, fun, never dull and an excellent debut follow up.” – Metal Wani

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“The album has more riffs, music styles and time changes than most bands have in their career. I’m Now a fan.” – Decibel Geek

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“…there’s nothing in the world to accurately compare [Twelve Foot Ninja’s OUTLIER] to. That sentence alone should translate as mission accomplished for the band and must purchase for heavy music fans worldwide.” – Music Feeds

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“[Twelve Foot Ninja’s] mixture of tight, heavy metal conventions is shaken up by their superb knack for cleaner, dynamic musical sections that evokes a mixture of latin and jazz styles. Whichever the case, it’s all superbly executed. ” – Killyourstereo

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AMNPLIFY – DB

February 6th, 2017

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