Melbourne based alt-metal institution Twelve Foot Ninja have announced that they are parting ways with founding member and vocalist Nik 'Kin Etic' Barker.
The band, who released their acclaimed third-full length Vengeance earlier this year, made the announcement today, via their official Facebook clarifying that it is a truly mutual parting of the ways due to creative and philosophical differences and that everyone is genuinely cool with it.
Barker explained the situation from his perspective. Outlining the choice and why he made it a detailed statement.
"After 14 years, hundreds of beers, a few albums, and a couple of tours, with my favourite knuckleheads, I have made the difficult decision to end my tenure as vocalist of Twelve Foot Ninja. Being a member of TFN has allowed me to travel the world, meet, and connect with a multitude of awesome people, and experience things that most would only dream of. To those who have supported me over the years, and have believed in me when I couldn’t, you have my eternal gratitude."
As to the "Why?" The creative tension between Steve and I has contributed to some great music that I’m truly proud of. But also, it has taken its cumulative toll and I feel creatively fatigued in this particular dynamic. It has reached a point of taking more than I feel I can give to it, and this would eventually be to the detriment of the music. I’m proud that we were able to make our differences work for so long, and to still come out the other end as good mates. I have so much love, and admiration for Steve, and his work ethic. He has pushed me to grow in a lot of ways, and I thank him for his patience, and persistence. However, as hard as it is to leave, I feel ready to step away from this role"
The band's guitarist and core creative visionary Steve 'Stevic' MacKay also provided a statement that further explored the creative disconnection, attributing it ultimately to a difference of personal creative philosophies.
“I had a couple of explanations lined up in consultation with Nik...The best one was an elaborate ruse about Nik following his passion for soap making...But we decided truth is more appropriate given the disappointment we know some of you will feel about this announcement; and to those people...we wanted to provide more than the obligatory cut and paste "band member leaving post" out of respect for your support, and your attachment to this band.
Nik and I are very philosophically different. I've cultivated a culture prioritising best objective driven outcomes above personal emotion. Nik, like a lot of creative people, is primarily driven by emotion (i.e. what "feels" good). I am not like that, and although the resultant collision of these two values has positively influenced our music; it causes a lot of friction in the process, and after 14 years, the cost/benefit ratio for Nik isn't stacking up. Which I completely get."
"I subscribe to the idea that nothing great can be achieved without discomfort...However, the operative concept is; what does "great" even look like? How is it measured? And then one has to reconcile with the fact that answers may differ person to person. Cost vs benefit is subjective. "The most important question of your life" https://markmanson.net/question (written by Mark Manson) extrapolates on this better than I can in a short post. Suffice to say, not everyone's version of what is beneficial matches the appraisal of the cost (or risk) to obtain said "benefit". "
"In summary: I'm like a robot programmed to attack tasks until the desired outcome is reached, and Nik is a spiritual earthling who wants to be happy...And in this industry, with the return we get...I can't blame him for wanting something more. He's a dad, he's a talented dude and life is too short to be unhappy. I speak on behalf of everyone in the band when I say we love him, we want the best for him and his family, we support his choice and we look forward to our last upcoming shows with Nik."
Further showcasing the amicable nature of the split, the band have announced that Barker will play all remaining existing bookings well into 2022 including an as-yet-to-be-scheduled final farewell Aussie tour with Barker on vocals which will give band and vocalist a chance to say goodbye. To this point, Barker is incredibly enthused.
"I will continue with TFN into 2022, and together we'll find a killer singer to take my place, and join the band on this next phase of its evolution. I'm looking forward to smashing out the remainder of my shows with the lads, and close out this chapter, in celebration. It's the touring side of being in a band that I love the most, and it has been awesome to tour with TFN, and all of the bands we have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with. This will be an emotional time, as I'm going to miss these magnificent bastards."
Amicable as the split may be, it will no doubt come as a shock to the system of fans who had greeted the feverishly anticipated Vengeance with great fanfare. Earlier in the year we spoke to Stevic about all things Vengeance and being in Twelve Foot Ninja. Arriving accompanied by a high fantasy novel
The Wyvern And The Wolf, the final piece of an innovative record rollout that saw the band release a graphic novel, a video game and several high-concept cinematic video clips, the Vengeance is one heck of a recorded parting note from Barker's tenure with the band.
As to who steps into to fill Barker's considerable shoes, the band is taking a typically innovative, open and unconventional approach to finding a new frontperson, hosting open auditions for the role. If you've ever fancied yourself as the vocalist of an alt-metal institution, the time is now. Head on over here to audition.
Vengeance is out now!
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