Shinobi Ninja

from Brooklyn by way of Madison
by Troy Johnson
May 2010

Brooklyn's Shinobi Ninja on the cover of June 2010 Max Ink

Brooklyn's Shinobi Ninja on the cover of June 2010 Max Ink

A ninja is a stealth mercenary agent who is a highly trained assassin and an expert saboteur.  Like their namesake, the six members of Brooklyn’s Shinobi Ninja are professional musicians with a broad set of skills ranging from turntablism, to hard guitar riffs to off-the-cuff street lyrics.  With an innate ability to rock a party and the musical knowledge to pay homage to a variety of influential artists, Shinobi Ninja has already built a fan following that grows each time they take the stage. 

I spoke with Maniac Mike the band’s lead guitar player while the group was rolling to Virginia Beach for a gig. I asked him him which albums he considered Shinobi Ninja’s biggest influences. He rattled off a diverse range of albums, including Pantera’s “Vulgar Display Of Power”, Janet Jackson’s“Control”and “In Utero”Nirvana’s less heralded follow up to ‘Nevermind.’  He also gave props to classic hip-hop albums by The Notorious B.I.G. and Beastie Boys, which came as no surprise.

The band’s MySpace page features three sample tracks that highlight this wide variety of musical influences. In these tracks, one can quickly identify metal, punk, grunge, electronica, hip-hop, dance, rave, reggae, beats, and Rock n’ Roll blended seamlessly together. This eclectic style lends itself equally to both live and studio music but performing in front of an audience seems to be Shinobi Ninja’s favorite medium. “We are fans of music before anything else,” Mike told me, explaining how a group with such diverse tastes can work so well together. “Half of us are producers and we are all cognitive of each other’s style. No egos.”

Before Shinobi Ninja, Maniac Mike and his twin brother, drummer Terminator Dave developed their style with future band member DJ Axis Powers.  DJ Axis was a semifinalist in the Guitar Center’s 7th annual Spin Off competition in 2006 and his cuts on the turntable can be found on his website linked up with Shinobi Ninja’s MySpace page. He is known to have deep stacks of vinyl and prefers analog to digital. DJ Axis has toured with the Wu-Tang Clan and still plays solo shows and private parties in New York. The group is adamant about keeping a party alive. When asked what their favorite type of venue to play was, Maniac Mike simply said,“lots of people.”

Terminator Dave and Maniac Mike both graduated from UW in 2005 and they continue to book shows in Wisconsin. Their ties to the Madison scene are one of the main reasons they were eager to play a stage at the 2010 Mifflin Street Block Party. Shinobi Ninja brought the party to Mifflin and then hit the road for a full time calendar of gigs along the east coast.

The band has two main vocalists, DA and Baby Girl who both have the ability to hit notes and spit lyrics. Most of their lyrics are written within the group with occasional subtle rhyme covers from other recognizable hip-hop artists. The balance of female and male echoing complement each other.

With their debut 8 track EP“Brooklyn To Babylon”it is only a matter of time before Shinobi Ninja blows up from coast to coast.  They have already brought their music to the information age with an iPod game application called “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” that plays like the classic NES game Double Dragon only with a custom Shinobi soundtrack. On July 2nd the band performs at Summerfest on the Potawatomi free stage, opening for Slightly Stoopid at 8pm. You can follow them on twitter and get free downloads from their website

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Shinobi Ninja Online:

Shinobi Ninja
CD: Brooklyn to Babylon Record Label: Self Released

Download Brooklyn to Babylon on Amazon