West LA rock outfit Random Ninjas invades the House of Blues Anaheim on Sunday (win tickets here!), armed with a high-energy stage show that involves a, well, random smattering of influences. Anchored by guitarist Full Metal Ninja's Hetfield/Hammet-style fret work, frontlady Soozana's rangy, dynamic vocals, Agent Katchu's solid basslines and three percussionists (two Taiko drummers and a traditional rock drummer), their live show is a sonic assault.
What's the genesis of calling the group "Random Ninjas," and how does the name embody itself in the band?
Full Metal Ninja came up with the name Random Ninjas while he was trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Somehow the name just stuck. Usually when you are a ninja at a particular skill, that means you are good at that skill. So basically, we are masters of being random.
There's a good mix of genres here, namely metal, pop and jazz. Has it been that way from the get-go, or is this a cultivated sound for you?
It's always been that way for us, since that's what really comes out of our randomness. Except now, we've developed our sound to have a more focused stealth-kill rather than a messy bag of potatoes. Mmmm potatoes.
Can you talk about how songs usually come together?
Full Metal Ninja [guitar] comes up with the riffs and the shreds. Agent Katchu comes up with the groovy bass lines. Soozanna comes up with the melody and lyrics. The Yusuke, Young Doug Ninja, and Caliginous Ninja come up with the intricate beats. We mash it together and see what happens. Not necessarily in that order.
You had a pretty successful Kickstarter program. What are some Kickstarter dos and don'ts that you learned in the process?
We raised over $10k in a little over a month. A lot of donations came from our family, friends, band allies, rival ninja clans, and really awesome fans. Videos definitely help. We created "thank you" music videos by mentioning all the backers names in song form. The randomness level in that video was at 11. We impressed Kickstarter enough that they posted our thank you video on their blog.
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You raised enough dough to record yourselves at NRG, a pretty big-time LA studio. What was that experience like? Was it worth the extra money?
The experience was definitely surreal. Gavin Rossdale was mixing his music there, and Linkin Park was next door working on their new album. It was a hard process, though, because we could only afford a very short amount of time in the studio. We recorded a whole album in only six days. Over all, the experience of being in that environment alone was already a great reward in itself. That was definitely worth it. We really appreciate everyone who helped us even get this far in our music journey. We love our fans.
Anything special in store for the House of Blues show? What can we expect?
Expect our usual randomness manifesting itself through our ninja sonic attacks. We can't really reveal anymore than that though. If we tell you, then we're going to have to kill you. And by kill you, we mean kill you in a game of Street Fighter.