Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hip In Detroit Chats with Ryan Allen about His Extra Arms

Ryan Allen doesn't stop. He writes. he records and he is constantly creating music in the good times and the bad. He pours his heart into his music and works hard to curate community gatherings to celebrate releases and bring people together. He has been a fixture of the Detroit music scene for over 20 years and he has not slowed down at all, in fact, these days hes running marathons and going even harder.

He is on the verge of releasing a new album with his band Extra Arms so we wanted to check in with him to see what he had to say. Check out our interview with Ryan and then go see him play live at Bowlero in Royal Oak on Saturday, November 2nd. The show is FREE and all ages are welcome.

HID - What inspired you to write and record a new album?
RA - "I'm always writing music. There doesn't seem to be a time when I don't have a bunch of jams in the chamber. But specifically for this album, I went through a huge life change - one that left me with a desire to search for answers. I'm not sure I've gotten them all but writing songs ways my way to begin that search, cope with some incredibly tough shit, and ultimately try and find some sense of peace through the storm. Even though some of the songs might seem harsh or hard to listen to, my goal was to purge these feelings I had so I could do some healing. It worked."

HID - What's your favorite track off the new album and why?
RA - "It honestly seems to change every day. With 8 tracks on the album, you have less to choose from, but more to feel personally attached to. I wrote "No Enemies" not too long after our last album came out, and once I had that I knew I was on to something - something that still sounded like Extra Arms music, but had some elements of other things I'm into and wasn't a straight power pop song. There's some post-punky guitar in the bridge and it's in a minor key - which not a lot of EA songs are in - and kind of reminded me of what it would sound like if I tried to write a more modern, poppy Thunderbirds Are Now! [my old band] song. So while I honestly love them all, I'm going to go with that one."

HID - This is an album about growing and changing, so what is the best advice you’ve been given?
RA - "It was basically "keep doing the things you love." When you go through a major life change it's easy to get caught up in feeling depressed, guilty, confused, angry...pretty much all of those emotions keep flowing in your veins at once. But through it all I tried to hold on to the things that I feel make me, well, me - I kept writing and playing music, kept running and ran a few half-marathons and a full marathon, spent time with friends, cultivated new relationships, enjoyed the time I had with my son, held on to my sobriety...all of these things kept me sane during this process."

HID - Why did you decide to release your new album at Bowlero?
RA - "We wanted to do something that felt less like a traditional show and more like you were just hanging out. The older you get, the less inclined people are to go out and do things, which is totally understandable. We just wanted to do something that was low key and laid back, close to where we all Iive, easy for people to get to, was free and feel just like a cool party. Bowlero seemed like the perfect spot and we are super stoked to play there."

HID - What inspires you to create?
RA - "Basically anything and everything around me. Sometimes somebody will say something and I'll jot it down. Other times I'll be mowing the lawn and a melody will hit me. I'll be out on a run and something will pop in my head and the beginnings of a song is born. It can basically come from anywhere. My bandmates also inspire me. They all have different tastes and approaches to songwriting; I'm really interested in the idea of working on songs that I hope will inspire them to want to create music, too, so it works as a motivator to keep pushing myself. It's good to have an audience and they provide great feedback and collaboration to get to the final product."

HID -If you could collaborate with any artist past or present who would it be?
RA - "Answering this question seems totally impossible! There are so many artists I respect/look up to that it seems inconceivable to have to pick just one. But if I have to, I would say, as cliche as it sounds, Kurt Cobain. He's the person that inspired me to want to pick up a guitar in the first place, and in place of a collaboration, I would just want to sit and watch his creative process. It's probably not too different than mine, but just to be a fly on the wall to witness him writing those perfect songs would be amazing."

Extra Arms will celebrate the release of their new 8-song EP "Up From Here" with a free show at Bowlero Lanes & Lounge on Saturday, November 2nd. Hidebehind will be opening and Mike Trombley will be spinning jams before, in-between, and after the bands.


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