MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Jonathan (vocals); James (“the maestro”).
CITY OF ORIGIN:
Live From Outer Space (Ninja Party Music, 2010).
New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, U2, Radiohead or Gorillaz. (“I feel safer bridging the gap by generalizing pop music as my greatest influence at the moment,” says James.)
With a name like Ninja Party, one has to conjure visions of ninjas—donning appropriate garb and wielding requisite weaponry—taking a break from their stealthy actions by hanging at the deli tray to load up on carrot sticks and perhaps even pour themselves a cup full of PBR. Sound completely possible?
We’ll leave that one for the experts. But the Riverside-based pop duo that bears the name says they once had a San Diego gig’s audience arrive dressed as ninjas. That’s close enough.
“We hope it catches on,” says James. “We’ve had many interesting shows in the IE over the years, with our previous band and Ninja Party, but I think those stories are best saved for another occasion.”
“Not to mention, unfortunately, most of those old venues are long gone,” adds Jonathan.
“Yeah,” James laughs, “we don’t want to look old.”
Not old, just seasoned, as the pair’s been performing for a decade. But, as Jonathan adds, they started Ninja Party—winners of the 2010 Inland Empire Music Awards’ Best Electronic category—about a year ago, putting their best melodic foot forward.
“Writing for us is a very natural process,” says James. “Most of our best stuff, in my opinion, comes from simply plugging in a beat and jamming until it clicks. Jon will usually freestyle over what I’m doing, and, typically, once he finds that hook, we’re in.”
Leave it to a blending of various genres. “I think that stems from our willingness to try new things each time around,” says James. “Every song, for me, is a chance to try something new; something I haven’t done before. That alone is what sets Ninja Party apart from our previous projects.”
“Not that we didn’t try new things back then, but this is truly uncharted territory for us,” adds Jonathan. “We’re doing things we never would have let ourselves get away with a few years ago.”
So, what should one expect to see when catching Ninja Party live? James describes gigs sporting big beats, squealing and flashing lights.
“Sounds more like a train wreck,” says Jonathan.
Adds James, “It could be.”
Ninja Party at the Mission Tobacco Lounge, 3630 University Ave., Riverside, (95) 682-4427; www.missiontobaccolounge.com. Wed, 9PM.