Ninja Academy
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Ninja Academy

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by Carlos Herrera

Enter The Ninja is comprised of live instrumental drum and bass compositions. Indo Ninja and Outdo Ninja are the minds behind these 8 frantically paced concoctions that prove to be a welcomed take on a genre normally saved for electronica. Ninja Academy are on a mission to prove that there are a wide variety of inventive uses and methods that can be displayed with barely more than bass and some drums. "Ninja Ho Down" sounds like a distortion pedal and a guitar...but nope, some drums and a bass. "If You Need Me" sounds like an acoustic singer songwriter ballad...but nope, drum and bass. Toss in a sparingly few strategic sound effects and keys, and you have yourself some solid and real...yup, you guessed it...drum and bass. Not a bad listen at all. - WAV Magazine


by Bob Leggett (May 9 - 22, 2005)

Material: Providing a unique approach to music, this instrumental duo performs as a pair of Ninja warriors, complete with gong, geisha girl and sound effects. The music is composed solely of drums and bass, with occasional effects, as the "story" line progresses throughout the show.

Musicianship: Both Maramba and Shaffer have good skills and enjoy showing them off. Maramba's style of playing bass is reminiscent of Eighties metal bands, while Shaffer shows great dexterity in his ability to pound his kit and trigger the electronic stream of digital samples at the same time, which add to the "ninja" nuance of the music.

Performance: For starters, the show was performed in a store-front art gallery, and was packed to the gills with young people. The pounding electric show kept the crowd on their feet the entire performance, and each wave brought more enthusiastic cheering and body movement, with the crowd nodding their heads and keeping time to the beat.
Maramba provided the spoken words and introductions to each number. The music, however, was all over the board, covering many genres from rock to metal, and ranged from great riffs and drum loops to a jam session gone bad.

Summary: If Ninja Academy are content to play these types of gatherings to enthusiastic teens and young adults, then they've found a niche. If, however, they want to be considered serious musicians, they need to focus their efforts on developing a sound that is more than just background noise.
A word of advice - when the venue asks you to shut down, respect them - it will result in additional gigs. You may entice the crowd by ignoring the request, but you will lose respect (and possibly gain a poor reputation) as a result. - Music Connection Magazine


Before we get onto the music, firstly some facts. Ninja Academy are a two-piece, bass and drums instrumental group who wear ninja outfits when they play live. When you hear the music it begins to make perfect sense. Actually it doesn't at all; in fact it doesn't get anywhere close, but that all goes to help enhance the enigma that is Ninja Academy.

The best tracks on the album are the ones enhanced by the addition of the keyboards of Max Martinez, adding as they do a certain jazz tilt to proceedings. Specifically we're talking about the slow and moody 'Jungle Wabbit' and 'Bounce', the one that sounds like an off kilter version of the Mission Impossible theme tune.

And to show they can rock aswell as set the mood they give us 'Maniac', which swells time and again to a big wave of noise before settling down to a calm bass line and 'The Truth' which ushered the album in gently before the rock explosion near the end.

Check this out; it's amazing what you can accomplish with the bare essentials and some imagination.

For more info and to buy the CD go to www.ninjaacademy.com
- By Russell Barker


By Ryan Ritchie in The Weekly Suggests, bands we like, long beach, upcoming

In my ongoing quest to let readers know about things at least 24 hours in advance, one of my favorite local bands is playing at DiPiazza's in Long Beach tomorrow night. They're called Ninja Academy and they fucking rule.

Imagine if you will...two guys dressed as ninjas playing ferocious instrumental tunes with influences that range from the Minutemen to Coltrane to Slayer. Seriously.

Now before you say, "Ryan, I'm not into costumed bands," remember: Ninja Academy are ninjas. They're stealth. On the down low. Sneaky. Here and then gone. Without the masks, they'd be nothing but two guys playing music. Everyone loves Superman, but who the hell cares about Clark Kent?

I've seen Ninja Academy about a dozen times at parties and legit venues. Whether or not there's a full stage or a dude wearing a lampshade, they always rock the fuck outta me to the point where I want to join them in wherever they're taking me.

I'd wish them luck on their upcoming national tour, but they don't need that. They're ninjas ferchrissakes. - O.C. Weekly


Continuing our tour of Silver Lake venues, you might want to stop by the Silverlake Lounge on Monday nights this month. That’s when you’ll get a taste of some truly cutting-edge music, as Ninja Academy holds down a Monday residency all month long.

Ninja Academy takes the term “minimalist” and stabs, beats and bends it into something even the dictionary wouldn’t recognize. This duo is pulling off a pretty gutsy feat: They perform with nothing more in their instrumental arsenal than bass and drums.

“It can never work,” you say. Ah, but it can, and it does, and Ninja Academy has the track record to prove it.

Ninja Academy consists of Indo-Ninja (aka Joey Maramba) on bass and effects, and Outdo-Ninja (Robert Shaffer) on drums, samples and sequences.

The pair met up a few years back, and after a stint playing rock, switched to jazz to form the band bra’ka dOm. Now back firmly in the saddle of alt rock, the two put on a hell of a show. The music flows frenetically back and forth between rock and metal; Maramba provides the words and pounds his bass while Shaffer exercises percussive gymnastics and triggers samples, all without the help of a lead instrument.

The formula has worked, since the duo has toured up and down the West Coast, playing clubs like the Viper Room, The Echo, Mr. T’s and others, plus festivals along the way.

The music has been featured on MTV’s “The Real World” and “Real World/Road Rules Challenge,” as plus radio stations around the state.

If you’re sick of the same old stuff, this should provide the antidote.

By John Sollenberger - Pasadena Weekly


Unlike Brazilian Girls and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Ninja Academy are actual ninja. Skulking in half-shadows, their various masked members stand as still as stone before unleashing a furious assault of ass-kicking, textured hard rock. Ninja Academy stuns, surprises, and makes deadly love to your eardrums with a bevy of technical mastery, bizarre musical weapons, honor, and grace.

A duo on bass and drum-kit, Indo Ninja and Outdo Ninja respectively, start off the show, playing music with a clean, Slint-like vibe of long and beautiful song scapes that occasionally burst into aggressive slaughter. We caught their last show at Malibu Inn last fall, shortly before the clan disappeared back into the shadows for a few months, no doubt hanging from eaves and strengthening their iron bodies for a bloody return.

That time has now arrived with their first live show of 2008 this Friday at Safari Sam’s, where they’ll be playing with the renowned 400 Blows and Donita Sparks of L7 fame. Thrill to Indo Ninja’s dexterous command of his bass, while Outdo Ninja hypnotizes you. Outdo is one of the most engaging, badass drummers I’ve ever seen perform, it is hard to take your eyes off of his hard-pounding, with lush flurries of hammering. These ninjas skills know no match!

A few surprises leapt from the ether on the night we last saw the Academy, including the lovely Gongis Khan, who knelt silently, almost ornamentally, in time throwing off this passive disguise to batter her Taiko drum (a big-ass Japanese drum) with the same ferocity and precision as member Outdo shows while bashing his modern kit. Their shows are a treat for the ears and eyes, with theater and mystery thrown into the mix. About halfway through, another statue unfroze in the darkness and an elusive guitar whiz named Shogun began his six-string rampage. This axeman, who resembles Mortal Kombat’s Rayden, went buck in his tabi boots, massacring a set of pedals and effects that might leave Lee Renaldo jealous. A shrieking singer on the flank, Ninjamamalickum, bolstered the musically martial expertise with Ono-ish squeals, deliriously bringing the height of Ninja Academy’s gorgeous intensity to celestial spheres.

Ninja Academy’s players are incredibly skilled, their tunes simultaneously punk, dub, complex, and gorgeous, plus their shows are moody fun. They are hard-rockingly one of the best live bands I’ve seen in a small club in L.A. Check them out this Friday at Safari Sam’s.

By Hadley Tomicki - LA Taco


02/10/2009 06:53 PM
Dan Shapiro

Trained in the mountains surrounding the area of Los Ninjangelos, Ninja Academy is comprised of two ninjas, Indo and Outdo, who are going to simultaneously roundhouse Plush (read: rival dojo) this Thursday, Feb. 12 with their mixed martial arts.

Ninja Academy’s bass and drum instrumental fury is the perfect music for two ninjas; next to shurikens and smoke bombs, math rock is a ninjas best friend.

Indo and Outdo, although they portray a Western fictionalized depiction of ninjas in non-descript, flexible and fashionable black outfits, take ninja inspired music very seriously. They stick to their samurai code, lest they bring dishonor to their music.

They are secretly recording their new album and hope that with this tour, they can begin infiltrating the music industry, so come show a little support for some lonely ninjas, on the road, without a home, happy to roam.

Below, Outdo embodies the ninja spirit of kicking ass onstage and off by answering a few questions about Ninja Academy, rival bands and ninja racism.

AZNB: Does your name come from the 1990 comedy starring Will Egan and Gerald Okamura?

Outdo: Actually, Indo came up with the name because he was working on a project with someone (totally unrelated to that movie) and he saw the name. It wasn’t until after we were playing out that we realized there was a movie called ‘Ninja Academy.’ Crazy coincidence.

Do you have any rival bands that involve pirates or booby traps?

Outdo: There are actually other pirate and ninja bands out there, but they are not worth knowing. There’s only one ninja band worth knowing, and that’s Ninja Academy!

You have a humungous tour planned with dates all the way through the middle of May. How does a ninja keep up ones strength for touring and why are you putting yourselves through such a gauntlet?

Outdo: It’s going to be hard. We’ve never done a tour this long. Our backs will be aching, and our bodies sore. But we NEED to get our music out to the people. We strongly believe in what we’re doing and we feel that people should hear it.

What guest ninjas are you going to be touring with? Is it going to be Gongis Khan the High Priestess on taiko and dancing or Ninjamamalickum on vocal destruction?

Outdo: None, unfortunately. It’s only going to be Indo and me. We are but broke ninjas who can’t afford to take anyone else. Plus, we’ll have no room, unless one of them wants to sit inside my kick drum.

I was recently perturbed when I noticed pictures of you without your masks on. Isn’t that breaking one of the most important ninja codes?

Outdo: What? Imposters! That wasn’t us!

What are some ninja codes that you stick to more diligently?

Outdo: Writing good music and performing great shows.

You just started the Ninja Academy Blog in which you hope to discuss music as well as non-music related topics. Is this going to be another ‘Ask a Ninja’ blog?

Outdo: No, although that ninja is pretty funny. We’re funny, too, but we’re not comedians. We’re musicians. My hope for the blog is so that people can get an insight into our thoughts. Plus, I kind of wanted to keep a tour diary when we go on tour, so this is a good way to keep people informed on how we’re going while we’re on the road. We’re very much into community, so this might be another way to bring people together.

You also mention going ‘back to the circus in November 2009 for a 6-month stint in Vegas.’ What do you do?

Outdo: Well, both of us play in other bands to help pay the bills. I play drums in a circus called Spiegelworld from time to time. The Las Vegas thing is still being worked out at the moment. But even if it does happen, Ninja Academy will not stop. I will come back to L.A. to play shows and work on music.

What’s the biggest myth you’ve heard about ninjas?

Outdo: That ninjas don’t exist; Hollywood made them up.

Have you run into any prejudice against ninjas on the road?

Outdo: Actually, yes. We played in Boise, Idaho once and some drunk dude thought we were terrorists and wanted to kick our ass. Nothing happen. It was ridiculous. I really hope we don’t run into ignorant people like this on our tour. Time will tell…

You’ve been working on another album due out soon?

Outdo: Yes, we’ve finished recording and mixing it. It’s our best album yet. We’re not sure when it will be released because all the money we have now is going to be spent on this tour. I’m sure it will come out this year though.

What’s on the horizon for Ninja Academy?

Outdo: Releasing this album, licensing our music, getting into the national consciousness, world domination…

Is there anything you’d like to say to Tucson?

Outdo: Come to our show at Plush on Feb. 12 and BUY OUR SHIT!

Ninja Academy train their skills for Plush this Thursday, Feb. 12 around 10:30 p.m. They play back to back, sandwiched between Phoenix’s Colorstore and Tucson’s Mostly Bears. The show is $5.
- AZNightBuzz.com - Tucson, AZ


Discography

Enter The Ninja - EP [2005]
bra'ka dOm - LP [2006]
Live @ The Echo - LP [2007]

Listen to tracks on www.myspace.com/ninjaacademy or
www.cdbaby.com/ninjaacademy2

Photos

Bio

"An instrumental bass and drums fury."

Ninja Academy is an instrumental rock duo consisting of Indo-Ninja on bass and Outdo-Ninja on drums. They have performed at almost every club in Los Angeles, including Spaceland, The Echo, Safari Sam's, The Viper Room, The Roxy, and The Whiskey. Notable past performances include a 5 week, sold out residency at the Silverlake Lounge; a sold out show opening for Rx Bandits at The Roxy; performing along side famous actors such as Tim Meadows, Andrew Daly and Matt Walsh at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in L.A.; performing with esteemed live painter/artist, Norton Wisdom; playing an acoustic set at a private party for Rickie Lee Jones' birthday; and performing on the KTLA Morning Show at the Queen Mary. One of their most important shows was the farewell show for their martial artist, Donkey Punch at The Echo in Los Angeles. This show was sold out beyond capacity and filmed and recorded by Spaceland Productions. It is distributed and available for purchase internationally. Other notable artists they have opened for are: Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Nels Cline Singers, Banyan (with Stephen Perkins), and Donita Sparks (L7). In 2008, Ninja Academy was awarded the 'Hear in L.A.' prize for original composition, by the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs and the Center for Cultural Innovation. Most recently, Ninja Academy was awarded a grant by the City of Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the Division of Cultural Affairs, to perform in Spring 2009's ArtNight Pasadena. All these performances have gained Ninja Academy a loyal and large fan base, in addition to numerous "Go" mentions in the L.A. Weekly. As Indo-Ninja so eloquently puts it, "You never know when a Ninja is going to show up."

Although Ninja Academy is mostly a bass and drums duo, there are many guest ninjas that join them on stage. Gongis Khan is their high-priestess who bangs on the Taiko drum and dances beautifully. Ninjamamalickum executes vocal destruction every time she steps up to the mic. There are many other occasional guests, varying from violin to guitar to martial artist. It may be interesting to note that Indo, Outdo and the two ladies are all of Asian decent and yes, they do dress like ninjas. Indo and Outdo are also in-demand musicians in their own right. Indo-Ninja has toured internationally with Rickie Lee Jones, while Outdo-Ninja has recorded with Devo and toured the United States with the circus (Spiegelworld).

Ninja Academy has three releases under their belts; two studio albums albums (one of which has cover artwork by Chet Zar, Tool's live video artist), and the above-mentioned live album. These CDs have been played on various radio stations (terrestrial and Internet) around the country, as well as having been licensed to MTV, Quicksilver and other productions. 2009 will see the release of their fourth album. National tours are being planned to promote this CD.

Here is what some have said about Ninja Academy:

"They are hard-rockingly one of the best live bands I've seen in a club in L.A.." - L.A. Taco

"That's when you'll get a taste of some truly cutting-edge music...If you're sick of the same old stuff, this should provide the antidote." - John Sollenberger, Pasadena Weekly

"…some of the most sonically diverse music since the Minutemen" - Ryan Ritchie, L.A. Weekly

"The entire album (bra'ka dOm) is interesting and sharp to listen to... Highly recommended!" - Autopia.com

"I'm more impressed with their song craft and how well they can glide through a variety of styles." - DrowningInCulture.com