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Twelve Foot Ninja split with singer Nik Barker

Twelve Foot Ninja group shot against a purple backdrop
(Image credit: Press)

Australian prog metal quartet Twelve Foot Ninja have announced that they are to split with singer Nik ‘Kin Etik’ Barker.

Twelve Foot Ninja only released their latest album Vengeance in October, and have also announced that Barker will remain with the group for all upcoming Aussie shows, as well as a yet-to-be-announced farewell tour, before Twelve Foot Ninja enlist a new vocalist.

"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,” Barker said.  The creative tension between Steve [‘Stevic’ Mackay] 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.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."

“Nik and I are very philosophically different," adds Mackay. "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. 

“In summary: I'm like a robot programmed to attack tasks until the desired outcome is reached, and Nik is a spiritual earthling that 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 these last upcoming shows together.

“I just have two requests of anyone reading this: Please don't hassle Nik. Relentless pestering from complete strangers is not going to alter his decision. If anything; celebrate the closing of this chapter of Twelve Foot Ninja with him (& us). Please don't hassle band members. We just want to enjoy our time with Nik still in the band and look forward to finding a killer new vocalist. 

“Lastly, as much as we’re sad that Nik is moving on, we’re also grateful for the rare opportunity to have a year’s notice to find a new singer. We are energised by the prospect of finding someone totally new whose voice will blow our minds and inspire us to write new music that will blow yours. We want everyone to be blown.

The band have said they remain committed to their planned European tour in 2023.

Details on auditions for a new singer can be found here.

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.