Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms Release a Second Solo Album this Saturday

Ryan Allen is one of those guys that you feel like you know because you have seen him on stage so many times throughout the years. That's probably because Ryan's band roster is pretty solid, it includes Thunderbirds Are Now, the Friendly Foes, The Cold Wave, The Red Shirt Brigade, and my personal favorite, Destroy This Place. His latest project has him stepping away from his usual style and stepping into something different.

This weekend Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms will be releasing his second solo album Heart String Soul. The record was recorded in his parents' basement and features some of Detroit's most talented musicians making guest appearances. This includes Brad Allen,  Zach Curd, Sean Sommer, Scott Allen, Nick Piunti,  and Andy Reed.
The album release party will take place this Saturday, March 28th at The Berkley Front. Tickets are $10 at the door for singles and $15 dollars for couples. This fee gets you one copy of the album to take home and listen to. 

Check out what Ryan had to say about his latest project and head out to The Front this Saturday to see him perform live.

HID- Where was this album recorded?
Ryan Allen- "I recorded the album with my dad engineering in the house I lived in from age 12 to 18 (and on and off again, really, until I was 24 and finally moved out). The studio is in the basement at their house and it’s called Our Leisure Studios.

Growing up, I've always had the luxury of having a place that I could play, practice and record music. My parents have always been super supportive, and my dad has a real passion for music. I’m not sure where I’d be as a musician without that basement and all the time I've spent there over the years learning how to be in a band, write songs, and document them. I realize not everybody has grown up in such an encouraging environment, and I don’t take it for granted."

HID- How long did it take you to write it, record it, and master it? 
RA- "The album was written on and off over the last few years, with some songs being completely scrapped, and others being ideas for other projects that were reworked for this one. Even others came pretty late in the game, even after I thought I was done recording (“Keep Me Around”), and I ended up just recording it anyway. I really hunkered down and got 11 songs pretty much together at the beginning of the Summer of 2014, and started recording it right around then as well. The recording took about 5 months, because I could only really work on it when I had time - which I don’t really have a lot of, playing in another band, being a husband, father, and working full time. But I love music, and I was determined to get this thing finished, so I just kept plugging away. Thankfully my dad was always game to keep working even when he was tired, and we pushed through and go it done. My pal Andy Reed then helped mix and master it at his studio in Bay City, and that took a few passes, but maybe only a week or two to nail. He’s a real pro and it was a super easy process working with him."

HID- What was your inspiration on this album? 
RA- "I basically wanted to make a very personal album that was kind of a snapshot of what it’s like to be a 35-year-old guy with a wife, kid, and job, but still have an undying passion to make music. A lot of songs are very true stories about things that have happened in my life, or people that have influenced me, helped me, or given me their love. It’s an album I probably couldn't have written 10 years ago, and I’m happy to say that it’s probably the most honest and open music I've ever created. For some people I guess it’s pretty easy for them to do that, because that’s what they've always done, but for me it was a real challenge to finally get to a place where I was comfortable doing it. But I’m really glad I did."

HID- What is your favorite song on the album and why?
RA- "It’s really hard to say because they all mean something special to me in their own way. I would have to say the song “Angela ’97” is a favorite, mostly because I feel like I managed to write a love song that doesn't come off entirely sappy or contrived. Instead it really is an abbreviated and true story of how my wife Angela and I crossed paths when we were younger, got together in our early 20s, went through some awesome times, some tough times, and came out the other side with a great life and an awesome kid - and how important it is to remember that, even when times can get tough again. I also managed to write an entire chorus just saying her name and make it memorable in a non-Journey/Hall and Oates type way."

Who designed the album cover? 

RA- "The very talented Heather Miller hand drew and inked the cover and created all the hand-written text. I told her what the album was called, and she basically went from there. I love the cover and am really glad she so generously gave her time to create it. Sean Sommer (who also plays drums on the whole album) did the layout, and made it look real sweet."

HID- Were you working on the new DTP album at the same time that you were working on this? 
RA- "Yeah, Destroy This Place has been working on new songs pretty much since January of 2014, and we’re now getting ready to record our third album in the next few weeks. When it rains, it pours, I guess. Songs just kept coming along, and luckily I've been able to sort of easily figure out which project they should be slated for. I wrote a lot of songs for DTP that I really didn't bring to the band either, so I've been living with a huge batch of new material for the last few years. But it always seems that way. When my first solo album came out, the first DTP album came out just a few months later… and it seems like that’s going to happen again. Hopefully the Ryan Allen musical/self-promotion onslaught isn't too annoying throughout the rest of the year. But, you know, I’m happy to be in a position to create music and get it out there two the world, and am really psyched on both projects."

Who is playing the album release party with and can you tell us a little bit about them?
RA- "I have Sean Sommer on drums. He’s got red hair and has probably Photoshopped a picture of a dick on your face at some point. He plays drums with me in Destroy This Place as well, and I think he’s the best damn drummer in this city. I also have Mike “Juice” Majewski playing bass. Most would know him as a member of The Silent Years, though my affection for him comes from his time playing guitar in Rescue - who Thunderbirds are Now! (my old band) toured with many years ago. He’s probably the nicest guy in the world, and also owns and proudly wears a Deftones beanie."

HID- Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know? 
RA- "Only that the album is available now, both digitally and physically. The best place to get it is at That way I get all the money and can use it to by my kid more Rescue Bots and Big Hero 6 toys. Thanks."

Love Axe and Javelins will be opening up the show and doors are at 9 p.m. The Berkley Front is located at 3087 12 Mile Rd. in Berkley, Michigan. 


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