Ninjaspy (Band Interview)
Today we speak to Joel from Ninjaspy.
Let’s start with this: What’s the history of your band?
We have been playing together since 1999 when we were teenagers. We played all kinds of different styles back then, figuring out what we liked. Turns out we liked a lot of things. So we spent our creative energy on mixing genres together. We became Ninjaspy in 2006 and put out an album, Pi Nature, that brought ska, reggae and metalcore together. Since then it has been pretty much all touring in Canada and Japan with a short EP release in there, No Kata. A few years ago we whipped up a new batch of song soup and got the ball rolling to make Spüken, which we just released that a few weeks ago on April 14th.
What’s your musical history? (Trained or Amateur)?
Amateur primarily, although our bassist did some jazz in post-secondary. And our drummer has done a lot of session work. But for the most part we just play whatever comes out.
So what can you tell us about your latest album? (Inspiration. Sound. Style.)
Spüken keeps the continuum of genre blending going, but with more nuance and inflection, less hard cut style to style jumping. We have honed in on a more cohesive sound with this album. And it got heavier, much heavier. And the reggae got more psychedelic. And the ska turned to surf licks.
How did you go about making it?
We recorded it in Vancouver over the span of a few years with producers GGGarth and Ben Kaplan. They are a powerhouse and their talent really shines on this album. It’s huge!
Anything you’ve learnt as you’ve gone along? Or have you simply tried a bit of everything to see how it works?
Both of those things. Never stop learning. Try everything. (Try anything once, like incest and country dancing. -Ed)
What sort of technology and instruments do you work with?
Guitar, bass, drums! Although we occasionally have a guest horn section and we recently started playing with some samples.
Anything you’re keen to use on your next album?
Well our debut had everything from kazoo to didgeridoo, and our latest has a one stringed instrument, which I built out of a bokken called a Guitana. So for the next one, who knows!
Let’s have a few general questions now. What do you see as a musicians role in society?
Musicians have multiple roles, as entertainers that can create a means of escape for the listener to get outside themselves and into the energy of a performance. Musicians also have the ability to help people connect with themselves or both of these things simultaneously.
Where do you stand on music videos? -Do you see their value in today’s world?
Music videos are absolutely valuable. They are powerful and influential and can take a song to new places, enhancing its impact. That being said, the song still has to be good.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I would like to see more grant money made available from governments, and unnecessarily difficult processes for getting work visas simplified or eliminated. More music for more people!
Any advice for new bands?
Play live a lot, and always do what you want.
Let’s have some generic questions. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Sci-Fi or Fantasy?
Books or Comics?
Trump or Putin?
Fuck em both.
Anything you’d like to tell our readers?
Why choose when you like it all?
Any last words for our readers?