Ninja Sex Party are an American musical comedy duo who have built a legion of devoted fans worldwide through sharing their over the top, 80s glam styled music videos on YouTube. Fronted by Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian, NSP’s YouTube boasts over 1 million subscribers, while the YouTube gaming channel that Danny co-hosts with Arian Hanson, GameGrumps, boasts another 5 million. With the duo heading to Perth for their Going Down (Under) Tour, MICHAEL HOLLICK spoke to Mr Sexbang and Mr Brian about touring Australia, spandex, dinosaurs, lasers and more of what we can expect at their show hitting Astor Theatre this Sunday, February 10.
You guys are very popular in the States and have built quite a fan base around the world via YouTube. Have you been able to capitalise on that and tour the world before now?
Dan: It’s something that we have wanted to do since forming the band but just hasn’t happened yet. So this Australian tour is actually will be our first time performing outside of the United States. Well, except for a few dates we did in Toronto.
Brian: This tour, being in Australia, is pretty major for us. When we first started out, the idea of performing in Europe was massive but well, I guess it seemed somehow do-able. Australia however is like “holy shit, we’ve made it.” I mean, just the idea that we could go all that way to perform and people would actually show up is mind blowing. It really feels like we are doing something legit.
What are you expecting from Australia and its audiences?
Dan: I don’t really know what to expect as neither of us have been to Australia, let alone tour there as a band. When Brian and I started this, we were just two guys in a basement making silly songs and now there are people waiting for us on the complete other end of the planet, it’s really that engagement with the fans I’m thinking about it. Like, we couldn’t be further from Australia unless we were on the moon, so it’s a really cool feeling to know that we’re going to go all that way and there are going to be people who want to meet us.
Are you bringing a new tour to Australia or will it be a continuation of last year’s (Tour De Force) tour?
Dan: Yes, this is a brand new tour that we’ve never actually performed it for anyone.
Brian: Actually, and don’t tell anyone, this tour is pretty much 85% the same as the Tour De Force tour.
Dan: (sighs) Thanks, Brian.
New show sounds exciting, what can Australian audiences expect at the shows?
Dan: There will be a lot of spandex and colourful costumes. And there’ll be songs about dinosaurs. And songs about lasers. And even songs about women too. And dancing, lots of dancing. Just a general good time.
And will there be any intersection of those topics, like any songs about dinosaurs and lasers, or dinosaurs and lasers and women, or do you like to keep things separate?
Dan: We, as a band, are the exact midpoint between all of those ideas.
So, on a Venn diagram, that’s where NSP sit?
Dan: That’s exactly right (laughs)
Are you going to do anything particularly Australian for your shows on the tour? Maybe get a kangaroo involved?
Brian: Umm… I guess a kangaroo could be cool on stage. How friendly are they?
Yeah, not that friendly…
Brian: Damnit. I guess we could try and a chilled out one and bring that on stage.
Talking about your actual music, relative to other bands, you have been quite commercially successful. Why do you think that is?
Brian: Man, I wish I knew. We have a ninja, not every band has a ninja.
Haha, that’s true…
Brian: But definitely a big part of it is YouTube. We obviously have our own channel, but also we have one of the stars of a gaming channel, which is something most traditional bands just don’t have. Think that’s one of the things that really sets us apart from other acts.
Dan: We’re fortunate in a lot of ways. We’re very eye catching because we’ve created all these weird and unique costumes. And then we’ve linked up with this awesome four piece backing band who also wear these weird, colourful costumes so that was very helpful. And additionally, the gaming channel that Brian mentioned, this isn’t my idea, this is something that everyone mentions, staying in people’s field of vision is very difficult as there is so much going on and so much trying to grab people’s attention so to be on the channel and be on GameGrumps, the one I am on, literally everyday a few hundred thousand people could be watching and they are reminded that NSP is a thing, it’s very helpful.
You have hung out with some pretty famous YouTubers, who is your favourite?
Brian: Yeah, I was going to say myself as well.
And what are your favourite YouTube channels to watch?
Brian: I think the channel I watch the most is Red Letter Media. They’re these guys that do film reviews, but there’s more to it. They’re brilliant. And there’s this Swedish girl, Simone who builds useless robots.
Dan: And as far as gamers go, besides ourselves, there’s Jacksepticeye who’s a good friend of ours and he’s one of those people, he must have over 30 million subscribers by this point, but he’s one of those guys who doesn’t let it get to his head and he’s such a down to earth dude. I really like him.
Doing the YouTube thing, you’re often alone when you’re recording it, so how do you go about engaging with your audience?
Dan: A lot of the direct interactions we have with our fans is on social media and then after or during our shows. Every show has a Q&A thing to drum up some fan interaction, but it is hard as there’s too much stuff to interact, and it’s hard…
Brian: I think that’s another thing where having the gaming channel really helps, as most of the fans are of both things so there’s not too many of fans of NSP that aren’t also fans of GameGrumps. In terms of whatever you put out on the internet, being a little older when we started we could sense that early, even when people talked shit we stay positive and keep the snarkiness to a minimum, but other people do get dragged into that, but we just want to play music.
Finally, you’re playing the Astor Theatre in Perth, which is a pretty large venue. How do you engage with everyone in a large theatre-sized crowd?
Dan: For me, I just try to run around on stage a lot and try to make sure everyone is engaged and no one is neglected. You know, I think beyond 15 rows, it starts to blend into an ocean of humanity, so you just sort of check on them every now and then, like “people at the back, what’s up?”
Brian: We do a lot of bits where we are directly talking to audience, and if someone is holding a sign we try to point it out and we also try to have a few moments in the show which are a little quieter and more intimate, and you know, try to make the room feel a little smaller than it actually is.
Dan: For the most part, I don’t know if this is going to be the case in Australia, but the people who come to our shows are very, very similar to us; like they’re nerds, we’re nerds, these are our people, so it’s a similarly great environment wherever we go and play.