Shinobi Ninja is a genre-twisting band with an explosive live show from Brooklyn, NY. Formed in 2008 by the group’s six diverse characters, Shinobi Ninja is a unique blend of mash-up pop, hip-hop, metal, and punk. With their unique sound and incredible work ethic, they’ve since developed into a national rock act with a grassroots following built from non-stop touring, recording, and social networking.
Over the past few years Shinobi Ninja has had many successes including the release of Shinobi Ninja Attacks, a first of its kind video game album app that rewarded users with a soundtrack download after winning or checking-in via GPS at a live show. Selling over 15K copies on the iTunes store, the project’s success spawned the album app generation, which launched Shinobi Ninja into the blogosphere and to the east and west coasts on national tours.
With the momentum of the app’s success and two years of touring under their belt, the band released its first album, Rock Hood, to critical acclaim. The album’s single “Rock Hood,” was featured in the popular video game NBA 2012, which sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide. 2012-2015 included national touring, headline sets at the Warped Tour and CMJ, and the band’s first two videos “Rock Hood” and “Slow Mourning,” have been on heavy rotation on MTV and MTVU. The band has also been featured on Amped To 12, a song written exclusively as the theme to Marlon Wayans’ feature film, Haunted House.
Shinobi Ninja has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Hell’s Kitchen. This week Shinobi Ninja is returning to SxSW headlining four shows plus a performance at Afropunk. We caught up with Ninja’s Duke Sims, Maniak Mike, Alien Lex, and DJ Axis Powers for a short Q&A.
Baby G: I dance! It’s always been a passion and hobby that I’ve loved.. It helps with my creativity blocks when I get them. Before the band, I was a singer and dancer for major label artists like Rihanna, Diddy, Cassie, and Santigold, and was a fixture in the vocal master class held at Progressive by esteemed vocalist, Craig Derry of the Sugarhill Gang.
Duke Sims: My creativity is rejuvenated by watching documentaries and reading books about things that have happened in the past. I am fascinated with history.
Maniak Mike: Creativity is intensified by my love of cars and skiing! Speed and the big adrenaline rush are my passions.
DJ Axis Powers: Things most people don’t know is that I compete as a professional body builder. I’m on a constant journey to sculpt my body into a masterpiece; it’s my second artistic passion.
Alien Lex: I’m always inspired by an engrossing story that takes me to an amazing escape. I usually find that escape in books, movies, and music.
Baby G: Growing up I listened to a lot of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, Toni Braxton, and Celine Dion. They were my greatest influences.
Duke Sims: All genres of music influence me. Some of my favorites that shaped me are The Beatles, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin.
Maniak Mike: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Andy Manganello.
DJ Axis Powers: Biggie, Wu Tang, invisible scratch piklz, and Xecutioners.
Alien Lex: The Beatles. They’re the first band I ever liked and defined what being in a band is in every way and set the standards for everyone that came later.
Bold: Tell us about your support for the LGBT movement (Baby G)?
I’m a big supporter of the LGBT community. A large portion of my friends are LGBT. It’s a very warm community that doesn’t judge, so it’s special to be embraced by it. It was an honor to headline last weekend’s LGBT Expo at Javits Center in NYC. You can read more about it here: http://thelgbtexpo.com/main-stage-edara-to-perform/
Bold: Your new video was produced at NYC’s YouTube studios, what was that experience like (Maniak Mike)?
YouTube has been an awesome experience where if you get over 10,000k channel subscribers you have artist access to their facility in New York. We shoot our new music videos and we just launched a new talk show called Heavy Metal Breakfast which we shoot on the diner set. It’s like our own Wayne’s World. We shoot on the very best gear. It’s an amazing resource. We’re very blessed.
Bold: Tell us about your schedule at SxSW (Duke Sims)?
We’ve had a busy schedule with four shows this SxSW. When we’re not on stage we are networking and making new friends. It’s an amazing experience. The energy in rocking with my bandmates and other artists I admire is so wonderful. Plus the energy we get from our fans, it’s amazing!!!
Connect with us on twitter: https://twitter.com/ShinobiNinja
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Angela Severiano is a style contributor at Bold.