NINJABREADBOY INTERVIEW

Ninjabreadboy

Who are you? What do you do? What is life? What is behind the name Ninjabreadboy?

I am an illustrator and aspiring artist based in Cape Town. I currently work as a freelance illustrator but did work in the advertising world for a while and decided to go freelance at the beginning of last year for obvious reasons. I don’t use any preferred mediums for the stuff that I do, I really just enjoy trying to make cool shit with whatever is available or required on certain projects. I’m all about putting my work onto whatever I can. The name is just a personal joke; I’ve always wanted to work under an alias, and it just stuck and felt right so I just went with it.

What first got you interested in art?

I’ve always been interested in art; since I learnt how to write my name as a child. I started skating when I was very young and all the visual aspects of skateboarding were the things I really found interesting; tattoos, board graphics, graffiti, clothing, were all things I really liked looking at in skate mags. When I was 13 I remember reading an article in Blunt magazine on graffiti and there was one pic in particular that really caught my eye. It was of Wealz 130 standing on a bridge with his hands in the air, above a piece he had painted. I cut that pic out and stuck it on the wall next to my bed and remember thinking “I want to do that one day.

Mind mentioning some of your favourite projects that you’ve worked on, and why?

Last year I got to tick some things of my list that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I did a small range collab with 2BOP that I really enjoyed doing. We did a 5panel, tee, and bandana together and the response to it was really really good. Also I’ve been wanting to do a skateboard graphic since I started skating and I was super happy with how the board graphic came out that I did with Verb at the end of last year.

Ninjabreadboy x Verb

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m very inspired by Cape Town and my surroundings; the people, cultures, sub-cultures, and everything that goes along with it. I’ve also always been inspired by letterforms and various artforms that deal with letters. I’m always trying to find inspiration in different ways to keep my work fresh for myself. Lately I’ve really enjoyed looking at signage. Anything from old American funeral signage to more modern African street signage has all been really appealing to me lately.

You also delve into some other creative avenues e.g. tattooing and graffiti. What else do you get up to when you aren’t drawing?

When I’m not making something I’m normally skating. Lately I’ve also really enjoyed getting back into surfing, on weekends I try get to the beach as much as possible. I used to surf a lot in high school and only recently realized again how important it is for me. Skating and surfing are some of the only things that really help me to clear my mind.

Best and worst things about living in Cape Town?

I can’t think of any bad things to be honest. Maybe the City Council, and some ridiculous bylaws that have been implemented, that’s the only shit thing about Cape Town. And there are too many good things to mention. I really have mad love for this city.

NinjabreadboyFor iJusi #28

Got any exciting future projects you can talk about?

I’m busy with some really nice projects at the moment, one of which is some signage for a local photographer that I’m really enjoying. Also been working on some illustrated label designs. Also have some exhibitions that I’ve been producing some work for. Other than that there’s a few other things in the pipeline.

Your work is often quite dark in the way it references violence or substance abuse. A lot of it seems very Cape Town inspired. What draws you to that subject matter? Are you attempting to offer a commentary on certain things?

I’ve always been interested in quite dark subject matter. I don’t know why, it’s just kind of always been that way. I really enjoy making images that have a sense of humour but at the same time have a darker twist to them. I think this is a good way of getting people to think about what they looking at. Like I said, I’m very influenced by my surroundings and feel that there is so much interesting stuff going on around me that I don’t like looking too much at what illustrators or artist are imitating or representing outside of South Africa when there is so much cool shit here that has potential to become great subject matter. I think the stuff I draw is a mash up of what I see and experience in my surroundings, and because I’ve always been attracted to the “darker” things, those are the things that catch my attention in my surroundings.

Is there life after death?

I honestly don’t know, and to my knowledge no one on earth knows, and probably will never know, so no stress.

https://www.behance.net/ninjabreadboy

NinjabreadboyHomeward Bound Exhibition

NinjabreadboyKarate Water / Ink on 300gsm watercolour Fabriano

NinjabreadboyMa Slaan Vir Pa Wyn / Ink on 300gsm watercolour Fabriano

Ninjabreadboy x 2BopNinjabreadboy x 2Bop

TRUTH AND ITS BURDEN INTERVIEW

Photo By Christelle Duvenage

Where does the name ‘Truth And Its Burden’ come from?

It’s basically been derived from a song by a band called The Hope Conspiracy. They have this song called “Youth And Its Burden” and I just kind of changed it up and made new sense of it.

Who’s in the band? What do you guys do outside of TAIB?

The band is made up of the following dudes: Ashley / Vocals (Me) – I do graphic and web design for my own business called Capture Creative Design, Calvin / Guitar – works as an internal sales manager for a music distribution company called Agent Audio, Niekie / Bass – works as a sales clerk for a 24 hour pawn shop and Matt / Drums – works as a store manager for a bicycle shop in Fourways.

Photo by Christelle Duvenage

Tell us more about your recent American and European tour overseas.

The tours were all great. We had loads of fun, and learnt a lot about ourselves and each other. While enjoyable at the best of times, they were also tough and really gave us a more real perspective on our dreams and what we want with Truth and Its Burden in the future. I think overall we were well received abroad and we definitely are looking forward to getting back over there on bigger and better touring opportunities.

Why do you think hardcore, metal and punk music isn’t that big in South Africa, as opposed to places in Europe where you can get 60000 people at a festival?

I don’t think media cares too much for it, which sadly seeps into the general public. This might sound off-centre, but I do feel popularity is all based on perception; if media says it’s cool, then it’s cool. Right now the media here don’t think those genres are cool, whereas a few years ago they had frequent attention in magazines like Blunt, which played a huge role in placing these genres in the average kid’s pathway from early on. Radio stations like 5FM gave a damn and Barney Simon really believed in South African hard music. It was on his show that I was introduced to Shifty, Tweak, Fuzigish, and that whole live music scene for me followed shortly thereafter. MK had the opportunity to carry that torch but focus attention on the same thing too often, and only selective shows like MK Ondergrond place some mild attention on harder music. I think people took a lot for granted back then and no one followed in those steps, and by the time people thought to, the momentum built up by the above mentioned had almost disappeared entirely. I’m sure there are many factors though. I’m not even scratching the surface.

I think sometimes a lot people are keen to get involved, but actually don’t know where to start. What advice can you give someone one how to find out about upcoming events, bands etc. in the more ‘underground’ music world?

Back when I started booking shows, there was a need to create that market. I was playing in a small unknown punk band and we needed shows. We knew we would have a really difficult time getting shows with bigger, more prominent bands, so we started booking our own shows with venues, making our own flyers etc. We never had the Facebook and Myspace online outlets and relied on word of mouth, other shows and participating in a scene daily. There was a need to exist in a place we called home, which was created purely, I feel, by knowing what you wanted in life. I, like many other musicians and participants in the scene knew this early on, and because you know this about yourself, you seek out like-minded folk and express your need to contribute and participate. The easiest advice though is this: go to shows and support live music. If it grips you and sparks your absolute interest then stay involved and you’ll soon enough find yourself doing something constructive within that scene/subculture.

Your lyrics seem to hold some substance to them. What would you hope that people get out of listening to your music or watching you live?

It would be nice for people to feel good about life; just a general change of perspective on how good our lives really are. To understand that we are all very fortunate, as fortunate as being able to read and understand the text in this interview or having the means to have found this website. Sounds crazy to some folks, but there are people who literally have nothing. We just want people to feel like they can reach their dreams and be stoked on life and their talents and achievements. Few people see their own worth. That’s the real tragedy in all this, and because of it they stay in shit jobs and live life on the ‘just getting by’ mentality.

You’re touring SA with US band Betrayal closer to the end of this year. Can you tell us more about that?

We’re stoked of course, as any band would be. It’s a great opportunity for us to show the dudes what a beautiful country we have. We met Sean while on tour in USA, so having the guys out here is a real treat indeed. We will be touring alongside Conqueror as well, who have been the talk of town lately so we’re super excited to see how it all plays out. The shows are going through the entire country with fresh stop-offs in new territory like George, so we’re super excited to see how that comes together. Also, the choice of venues for the tour is totally different for hardcore bands, and we’re really trying something new. Hopefully people see this and the shows attract some new faces across the board.

What does the future hold for TAIB?

Who knows hey. We have plans of touring Europe again, as well as USA in 2014, but we have much to work out before that actually happens. We’re writing a new album at the moment, so our energy is totally focused on that right now.

Any upcoming bands we should look out for?

Hmm… Maybe not upcoming bands so much as albums we found and love; Misery Signals – Absent Light, Shai Hulud – Reach Beyond The Sun, Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell And Home, Mercia – Exile In Ruin. Most of you probably know these bands already, but they released solid albums and these are busting our ears lately.

Any shout outs?

Yeah, we’d like to thank our sponsors at Music Connection, Jagermeister, Handstyle Tattoos and Monster Energy. We’d also like to thank everyone that got involved with the Betrayal tour to help promote it, spread the word/flyers/posters/whatever. To the companies who came on board like MK Ondergrond and Revolution, we appreciate that. Lastly, we’ve recently spent time in a great studio called Watts Productions with the dudio named Clint Watts. Check this guy out and give him your time of day. He’s a great engineer with rad perspective. Look out for the new single.

Truth And Its Burden