It’s harder than you’d expect to breathe through a spray-painted Fawkesian mask, especially when its previous owner had been smoking through it. But that’s easily forgotten when your vendetta is to “throw down a stack of money, break apart some toys, and then start punching people” (actual instructions). Turns out that when you’re behind the scenes with Shinobi Ninja, the agenda is as high-energy and eclectic as their music – and everyone is a part of it. Prior to shooting their brand new video for “Fun Day,” I kicked back with the group in a 1950s diner that was, in fact, a very convincing set at YouTube Studios in Chelsea. Between blowing up the balloons that would soon be exploding around us on film, they told me what it takes to create the authentic vibe they’re so known for.
“We are the sound of the band. The band is the sound of the records. It is transparent,” said Duke Sims, explaining the impact of having several engineers and producers in the group. “When you have that, you can actualize what you hear in your head,” added Terminator Dave. “You can take the vision you have and make it a reality, like putting it on canvas. It’s going to come to fruition the way you want it to.”
It’s fitting that Shinobi Ninja would discuss their DIY attitude while tearing into packages and assembling props for their video. “We’re pretty involved. We’ve pretty much had our hands in all of it,” said Maniak Mike. “No one’s ever really told us how to look or how to sound – at least, we’ve never let them tell us.”
“It’s life,” said Baby G, shedding light on their raw approach. “I mean, hey. If you wanna talk about big booties and cars, then that’s what you’re going through. I have no money, so I can’t talk about money. I just have to talk about what I’m going through.”
“Some of our videos were shot in front of 10-dollar posterboard that we used as a green screen. So this is by far the most intense one we’ve done,” said Dave, admiring YouTube’s ultra-sleek studios. “There was that one time in ‘Power Strangers’ we just wrote down a bunch of words on paper and tore them up,” said Duke. “We picked them out randomly, and that ended up being the rap verse. I still have all those words inside my amp case.”
“We’re always going to be hands-on. Hitting the streets with flyers – I don’t think we’re going to stop doing that. That’s just good organic stuff, and you don’t see a lot of that,” said Dave. “The joke was, you’re not a touring band if you haven’t heard of Shinobi Ninja, because our stickers are on every stop of everyone’s tour,” laughed Alien Lex.
“We’ve been on the road together so much,” said Dave. “The elements blend together in a more natural way. Now it’s like, when we’re recording, we’re just capturing the chemistry. It’s already there. We’re not trying to create something.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart